When it comes to cities that I’ll return to over and over again no matter what travel plans I have slated, Mexico City tops the list. The city has a magnetism to it—its stunning architecture, endless food options, and plentiful museums have annually called me back since 2021. As with most cities, location is everything in Mexico City, and choosing a home base in one of its 16 alcaldías (similar to boroughs) can be a challenge.
My first choice of where to visit is the Roma neighborhood in Mexico City, specifically the northern region referred to as Roma Norte. With all of the things Roma, Mexico City has to offer, this lineup of restaurants, shops, bars, activities, and places to stay is a great start.
Where is Roma, Mexico City?
Roma, Mexico City is a neighborhood located in the Cuauhtémoc borough. Roma has three regions: Roma Norte (known for its plentiful restaurants, shops, and art galleries), Roma Sur (known for being more residential), and La Romita (a small residential section of Roma). Roma Norte and Roma Sur are separated by Coahuila Street, which runs through the middle of the neighborhood.
Roma is located about eight miles from the Mexico City International Airport, though the exact time it’ll take to drive the short distance depends on the traffic conditions. Roma Norte is within walking distance of the Condessa, Hipódromo, Juárez, and Doctores neighborhoods. Visitors can easily get to and around the area with public transportation, taxis, rideshares, and walking.
What to do in Roma
Have a first (or second) visit at the Museo Objeto del Objeto
You’ll likely come across the Museo Objeto del Objeto (MODO) multiple times while wandering around Roma thanks to its central location. The museum is located on the busy Colima Street and has a revolving door of exhibits focusing on objects that have been important to people throughout history. Exhibits are updated every few months, making it a place to stop by on each visit to Mexico City. Past exhibitions include The Museum of Broken Relationships, The Objects of Confinement, and Mexico in Color.
Peer into a classic Roma home at Casa Guillermo Tovar de Teresa
- Visit: Casa Guillermo Tovar de Teresa Museum
- Location: Valladolid 52-P. B, Roma Nte. | Find on Google Maps
Explore the former home and art collection of Mexican historian and art collector Guillermo Tovar de Teresa at the Casa Guillermo Tovar de Teresa Museum. Besides the thousands of paintings, books, and textiles, the home also offers a glance inside a classic colonial Roma home, complete with a personal library and sculpture garden. Admission to the museum is free, and it’s open Monday through Sunday.
Learn about up-and-coming artists at Galería Mascotaz
Focusing on emerging international artists from around the world, Galería Mascota’s exhibits offer a wide range of media, including paintings, photographs, and thought-provoking sculptures like Yves Scherer’s Eternity, which features a mix of colorful floral-inspired paintings and an attention-grabbing cat sculpture. The gallery also has a small but cozy courtyard.
See contemporary art at Galería OMR
Galería OMR was one of the first to help boost Roma Norte’s reputation as an art-forward neighborhood when it opened in 1983. The gallery focuses on contemporary work by artists, with the impact of ecological climate issues, unconscious desires, and natural phenomena being past exhibition themes. A recent favorite is Desert Flood, a two-room exhibit with neon signs and a sand-filled model desert meant to bring attention to the impacts of climate change.
Spend your day—and night—at Departamento
Operating as a restaurant with a greenery-filled terrace during the daytime, Departamento’s deceivingly calm daytime bar vibes transform into a nightclub once the sun sets. The property is open Wednesday–Sunday and has a wide selection of DJs and performers that keep the show going all night long. Curious visitors can get more information on the upcoming week’s lineup by checking out its Instagram account to know who and what to expect. (Make sure to have pesos on hand; it typically charges a cover fee that starts at 100 pesos.)
Dust off your salsa shoes at Mama Rumba Roma
If you’re looking to dance into the early morning hours, Mama Rumba is your best bet. The nightclub features a live band and plays salsa music all night. Visitors can expect to brush shoulders with locals and tourists alike while sipping cocktails from the full-service bar. You can also expect to pay a cover fee of around 50 pesos here.
Dance through the decades at Patrick Miller
- Location: Merida 17, Roma Nte.| Find on Google Maps
Patrick Miller offers a frills-free environment, complete with themed 1980s, ’90s, and early 2000s music nights. The two-floor warehouse-sized disco is only open one day a week, on Fridays from 9:30 pm to 2:30 am. Come early with some local cash, as partygoers can expect long lines and to pay 100 pesos as a cover for entry. The club only has two drink options—beer and water—so if you’re looking for a cocktail, make a stop at a nearby bar (Bar Las Brujas is less than 10 minutes away) before heading over.
Where to shop in Roma
- Location: Córdoba 25, Roma Nte.| Find on Google Maps
Pick up stationery, prints, magazines, and even decor inspo from Casa Bosques, a bookstore/concept shop located near the border of Roma Norte and Juarez. The store boasts an impressive collection of international magazines and books. It’s nearly impossible to leave without picking up a postcard or an international magazine that you can’t get your hands on in the United States.
- Location: Tabasco 188 col Roma Nte. | Find on Google Maps
For a truly unique souvenir, Esculturas Vivas’ face-shaped ceramics will do the job. The small shop is filled with plants and has a turf-lined floor. Its shelves are filled with clay planters, cups, vases, and shot glasses that all feature carved and painted faces with varying expressions.
- Location: Frontera 105, Roma Nte. | Find on Google Maps
Audette’s well-crafted leather bags make it a must-stop for picking up a new bag or for some healthy window shopping. The bags are designed by French designers Aude Jan and Charles Gout and are handmade in Spain. My favorites from its extensive lineup are the half-circle-shaped Le Nuit and the takeout-container-inspired Baguette styles. The brand also offers free international shipping in case you’re hit with a strong wave of FOMO after leaving one of its gorgeous bags behind.
Where to eat and drink in Roma
- Location: Colima 179, Roma Nte. | Find on Google Maps
If you have breakfast anywhere in Roma, Panderia Rosetta should be number one on your list. The bakery—owned by chef Elena Reygadas, who also runs the nearby Rosetta restaurant—boasts a seemingly never-ending flow of visitors looking to dine in and enjoy pastries and coffee at one of the bakery’s outdoor bistro tables. My last day in Mexico City ritual usually involves stopping by the Panderia to grab a few pastries to enjoy once I’m back stateside (yes, they’re that good). Plan to head over early—before 11 a.m.—if you’re looking to avoid long seat times. While the pastry-filled menu can be overwhelming, you can’t go wrong with a guava roll, dulce de leche bun, and any flavor concha or berliner.
- Location: Zacatecas 173, Roma Nte. | Find on Google Maps
The lesser-known sister eatery of the popular Maximo restaurant, Lalo! is a great stop for brunch or a late lunch. The simple menu blends Mexican, Italian, and American cuisines, with classic breakfast options, sandwiches, pizzas, and pastas available. The French toast, topped with fresh fruit and delicious whipped cream, is my go-to order when I visit.
- Location: Av. Yucatan 84, Roma Nte.| Find on Google Maps
Don’t be surprised if you find yourself engaged in spontaneous conversation with the table next to you while dining at Páramo, since tables are stacked everywhere in the restaurant, including next to the busy bar and balcony windows (my favorite seat in the house). The walls are decked out with eye-catching artwork, sculptures, and dried flowers, which make it feel as though you’re eating dinner in a stranger’s living room. The restaurant’s taco, tostada, and chalupa selection has shrimp, steak, pork, and chicken with unique toppings like pineapple vinaigrette, poached and fried eggs, and more. You can expect hefty wait times here, so it’s best to put your name down on the list and enjoy a cocktail from Páramo’s bar.
- Location: Calle de Durango 200, Roma Nte.| Find on Google Maps
Locals and tourists alike flock to Contramar for a lively dinner atmosphere in the heart of Roma, Mexico City. Its seafood-forward menu includes standouts like its shrimp aguachile (a spicy shrimp-based dish that’s prepared similarly to ceviche), calamari toast, and decadent meringue strawberry dessert.
Pro tip: If the wait time is longer than you can stand, try Contramar’s sister restaurant, Entremar, which is located in Polanco and serves the same menu.
- Location: Frontera 122, Roma Nte.| Find on Google Maps
After enjoying your fill of tacos, seafood feasts, and pasta, make your way over to El Moro for a delicious late-night dessert. The popular churreria has locations across Mexico City and its Roma location is open until 11 p.m. every night. Besides churros, El Moro also crafts Mexican, French, and Spanish variations of hot chocolate. If you’re picking up churros, make sure to get the chocolate dipping sauce to enjoy them fully.
- Location: Av. Álvaro Obregón 106, Roma Nte.| Find on Google Maps
Licorería Limantour’s imaginative cocktails and buzzy atmosphere consistently push it to the top of best international bar lists and for good reason. The crowd typically leans young and professional, but don’t get it confused—they know their stuff when it comes to cocktails. The two-floor bar is pumped with upbeat music and blue-toned lighting at night making it a great place to enjoy a drink or two before partying. Its cocktail lineup has something for everyone: classic espresso martinis, a margarita al pastor (made with taco mix), and the sgroppino limantour made with grapefruit and pink pepper sorbet.
Bar Las Brujas
- Location: La Casa de Las Brujas, Calle Rio de Janeiro 56 Local B Col, Roma Nte., 06700 Ciudad de México | Find on Google Maps
For a spooky nightcap, hit up Bar Las Brujas, a witchy-themed bar with an all-female staff to really drive the coven feel home. The vibe is intimate with less than 20 tables, and the cocktails are heavily apothecary-inspired, calling for unique ingredients like yellow jasmine, squash blossoms, and cocoa bitters.
Where to stay in Roma
La Valise Mexico City
You’ll have to be quick to snag a stay at the Valise Hotel since there are only three intimate suites in the entire hotel. Each suite has its own standout feature: the Patio suite’s outdoor patio complete with a hammock, the Luna suite’s full moon-shaped rotating door, and the Terraza suite’s moveable bed that can be pushed outside for a night of watching the stars. The hotel offers breakfast service, and entrusts you’ll find something great to eat in the restaurant-filled Roma Norte neighborhood for all other meals.
Named after the yellow bricks brought over from London in the early 20th century that originally constructed its facade, the Brick Hotel is a top choice if you’re looking for a modern getaway, while still being centrally located in Roma Norte. Its on-site Mexican restaurant, the Brick, has a stacked menu with guest favorites like the pork belly bun, tuna tostadas, and ragu pappardelle. The hotel also has a spa, sauna, and workout classes on site. Its coveted two-floor rooftop suites are outfitted with private patios, panoramic Roma views, and sun beds.
How to get to Roma
Ubers, Didis, and registered taxis are the most convenient way to get around Roma (and are extremely affordable!). This is also the best choice for heading to Roma Norte from the airport.
Public transportation in Mexico City can be confusing and require frequent transfers depending on where you’re coming from. But if you’re looking to avoid traffic and move through the city quickly, the metro (5 pesos/ride) and Metrobús (6 pesos/ride) offer an affordable alternative during morning–early evening hours.
Roma, Mexico City is fairly small compared to bigger neighborhoods like nearby Centro and Polanco. To move from North Roma to South Roma, walking and biking are your best options. On foot, it’ll take about 30 minutes to get from the North to the South.