Roma, Mexico City Guide: Food, Shops & More!

roma neighborhood cdmx

As you see from this thorough guide to Colonia Roma, Mexico City, I know this neighborhood inside out. I live here so I’m always trying new restaurants and finding new quirky shops and hidden gems.

In this guide, I’ll summarize what to do in Roma, where to eat, shop and stay. I hope you love it as much as I do!

roma norte cdmx
Welcome to my Roma CDMX guide…

What is Roma Norte in Mexico City like?

Colonia Roma is a very nice neighborhood with wide streets, beautiful architecture, and lots of trees. Although it’s located close to the busy, hectic streets of Centro Historico, it feels a million miles away.

In the Cuauhtémoc borough of Mexico City, the Roma area dates back to days of 20th-century grandeur. The distinct European vibe encompasses colonial mansions, Art Nouveau style, and replica statues of the Fuente de Cibeles in Madrid and Michelangelo’s David statue (the original in a Florence gallery).

However, it’s not fancy through and through. These days, Roma Norte in particular has a hipster feel with lots of coffee shops, street art, boutique shops, and other modern influences.

It attracts young people, many of them foreigners who left their home countries when remote working became popular. This is a point of contention for many chilangos (Mexico City locals) who now suffer due to inflated rents and living costs. 

roma streets
Peaceful streets of Roma Norte

History of Colonia Roma 

Wealthy types have resided here since the 15th century when Spanish conquistador, Hernán Cortés, ruled the roost and brought with him wealthy Europeans. 

But the borough we know today was largely designed in the late 1800s/early 1900s by wealthy locals keen to escape busy, sinking Centro and be closer to the lovely Chapultepec Park (I don’t blame them). 

When General Porfirio Díaz ruled Mexico as president, he was obsessed with Europe and modeled Roma on Paris, aiming to make an enclave of the upper classes. 

However, the 1950s saw the ‘downfall of Roma’ when rents were capped, lower classes moved in, and the wealthy locals relocated to Polanco. After the devastating 1985 earthquake, Roma fell to ruins.

As a result, the buildings here have been replaced and repaired in different styles through the centuries.

The result? A captivating, charming mix!

The last decade has birthed the latest era of Roma with foreign gentrification on the rise. Only time will tell where it will go from here… 

Parts of Roma

It’s a relatively large neighborhood so here’s what you need to know about the different areas… 

Roma Norte

If you’re wondering Is Roma the same as Roma Norte?, well nearly. The latter translates as Roma North, the best part of Roma (in my opinion, at least) packed with third-wave coffee shops, cocktail bars and stylish shops.

roma neighborhood mexico city

Roma Sur

Roma South is the quieter, more relaxed part of the neighborhood stretching from Mercado de Medellín to the highway. Prices are cheaper and there’s more of a local vibe. 

Avenida Álvaro Obregón

The most famous street in Roma Norte is Avenida Álvaro Obregón, named after the politician and general in the Mexican Revolution. It runs from Parque Espana to Jardin Pushkin. Another nice green space nearby is Plaza Luis Cabrera.

Lots of the best things to do in Roma Norte are here including art galleries, restaurants, shops, and bars. It’s a lively street at night.


This is one of the nicest streets of Roma Norte in terms of atmosphere and activities. In particular, the section from Avenue Insurgentes to Plaza Rio de Janeiro is awash with Roma Norte shopping opportunities, galleries and – on weekends – artisan markets. Some of Mexico City’s top restaurants can also be found here. 

Fuente de Cibeles

Plaza Villa de Madrid is a lovely open space with the Fuente de Cibeles Statue (a replica of the one in Madrid) at its heart. Take a daytime wander, ending at the Bazar del Oro market where you can browse for goods or enjoy a local meal. 

In the evening, Plaza Villa de Madrid is an atmospheric place to eat outdoors at one of the restaurants around the statue like Cancino, Zaranda, and Mythos. 

Where to stay in Roma CDMX

Hostel – for those traveling on a budget, Hostel Home is easily the best place to stay in Roma. It’s a friendly, family-run base with dorms from $20. 

Budget hotel – for a clean, safe base with everything you need, stay at Hotel Benidorm from $40.

Mid-range – around $70 a night gets you a decent 3-star hotel with breakfast and gym facilities. Try Stanza or Block.

Treat – there are few places with as many good reviews as boutique hotel, La Palomilla, with a kitchen, spa, breakfast, and a rooftop balcony. Book from $138.

Splash out – the historical BRICK boutique hotel is an architect’s dream with meticulously-designed rooms and suites, and an upscale restaurant and bar attached. The staff will make you feel like a celebrity. Stay from $400.

Apartments: Deco House / Suites259 / Kukun.

How to get around Colonia Roma

Roma is extremely walkable but if you’re going from one side to the other, it could take an hour.

Bicycle: Unlock an Ecobici bike with the mobile app. There are pricing structures for a day, 3 days, a week or year (just 521 pesos for the latter)!

Taxi: It’s easy to call Uber, Didi, or InDrive for short distances.

Things to do in Roma

There are way more things to do in Centro since Roma more of a chilled, residential ‘hood than a tourist hotspot. However, there are lovely places to visit including museums, parks, and shops.

Some of the best places to see in Colonia Roma, Mexico City are…

Museums and galleries 

There are SO many museums in Mexico City and, although most of the big ones are in Centro or Chapultepec, there are a few smaller places of cultural interest, mainly art galleries. 

Add the following to your Roma sightseeing plans…

OMR Gallery – this petite art gallery open since the 1980s is worth popping inside for 30 minutes or so. In an industrial-chic setting, there are ever-changing exhibits by contemporary artists across two floors and a pretty patio. Entry is free.

omr gallery
Gallery OMR

MODO Object Museum – primarily a design museum featuring old commercials and packaging, this is a quirky private collection you can see in under 1 hour. Sometimes special exhibits take over, for example the Museum of Broken Relationships pop-up from Zagreb, Croatia in 2023. Entry is 50 pesos.

Object museum
Object Museum

Casa Basalta – this impressive building is home to MAIA art gallery (free) on the top floor, but the whole complex is arty with huge murals in the corridors and a black spiral staircase designed by a local architect. Don’t miss Crisopeia Cafe on the 3rd floor or Milk Pizzeria on the ground level. 


Cultural Center Casa Lamm – within walking distance of the above, there’s plenty of green open space at Casa Lamm complete with statues and a couple of indoor galleries beside it. Entry is free.

Salon of Mexican Fine Art – on Colima, this 3-level gallery is another free place to visit in Roma with paintings, photos, and sculptures by Mexican artists. It’s small but worth a quick visit. 

Visit Plaza Rio de Janeiro 

Characterized by the David statue at its heart, this spacious plaza is a key feature of the neighborhood. On weekends, one of the best things to do in Roma Norte is browse the outdoor clothes and arts market with proceeds going to women’s charities.

A notable building here is Edificio Rio de Janeiro also known as La Casa de las Brujas (‘the Witches House’) due to its peaked roof that supposedly looks like a witch’s hat. Don’t miss Bar Las Brujas next door paying homage to its neighboring casa. 

Overlooking the Plaza are quality restaurants like Toscano and Cafe Janeiro (both great for brunch).

Check out the weekend markets

  • Bunker Bazaar – a lively underground market with sustainable products like solid shampoos and soy candles. I buy my favorite macha (something between chili oil and salsa) here from Salsas Don Pica.
  • Resiliente Bazaar next door to Bunker Bazaar in a grand mansion is a second market with an outdoor section selling food products from vinaigrettes to homemade cheese and ice cream (with free samples on offer). The indoor area is packed with gorgeous – but expensive – clothes and jewelry from local designers. It’s open from 9am-8pm on Sun and until 9pm on Sat.
  • Plaza Rio de Janeiro Market – as mentioned above, this is a great place to get bargains on pre-loved clothes, jewelry, and art. It’s just a few minutes walk from the above markets. 

Spot street art

street art
Street art off Colima

This hip hood is awash with street art. A couple of notable places to see it are Zacatecas and Jardin Pushkin (don’t miss the cute dog murals), however you’ll stumble upon many colorful pieces as you stroll between the attractions in Roma Norte.

Eat at Mercado Roma

Don’t expect an authentic Mexican market from this hipster hotspot: it’s a trendy indoor market with pop-ups from the top local restaurants.

From paella to popsicles and tacos to Turkish kebabs, Mercado Roma is a foodie’s dream. It’s a little expensive, like the majority of the neighborhood to be honest!

Shop and eat at Mercado de Medellín 

mercado medellin roma sur
Fresh produce and piñatas

For a local thing to do in Roma, head to this authentic Colombian Market in Roma Sur. Even if you’re not planning on buying or eating, Mercado de Medellín is an atmospheric place packed with fresh fruits and veggies, spices, and flowers.

If you’re feeling adventurous, tuck into some insects! If not, save yourself for the food court at the back with plenty of delicious, traditional options like tortas, tostadas, soups, and agua frescas (fresh fruit waters). You won’t pay more than 100 pesos for a hearty meal!

Catch a movie at Cine Tonala 

My favorite place in Roma Sur is Cine Tonalá, an arts cinema showing new and old releases. Check the online schedule to see what’s coming up (and which movies are in English/have subtitles if you’re not fluent en Espanol).

More great things about Cine Tonala include the bar with excellent margaritas, the bargain prices (cinema tickets start from 50 pesos), and the lovely rooftop area that you can enjoy whether or not you’re catching a flick. 

Wander Huerto Roma Verde

This community garden is a pleasant green place to visit in Roma Sur with an arty vibe and regular community events.

There’s a small cafe at Huerto Roma Verde and, on weekends, a market selling homemade products.

Support independent shops in Roma Norte 

In addition to the weekend markets in Colonia Roma (Bunker Bazaar on Colima and the nearby Plaza Rio de Janeiro market) that I mentioned already, there are plenty of places to go shopping in Roma Norte. 

These are…

Librería Ático – with books dating back to the 1920s in both Spanish and English, this is one the borough’s best used bookstores located on Álvaro Obregón.

Chic by Accident – not in the market for ludicrously expensive furniture? Neither was I, but that’s not a problem. This impressive homeware boutique in Roma Norte is more like an art gallery with a huge pre-hispanic head statue in the entrance and a nice rooftop area. 

chic by accident
Chic By Accident

Casa Bosques – this is a stylish, independent bookshop in a colonial mansion reached via a white staircase lined with potted plants. Browse socially conscious books, old maps, and more. They’re all in Spanish, but it’s worth a browse whatever your language.

Naked Boutique – below Casa Bosque is this women’s boutique selling clothes, shoes, jewelry, and perfume by Mexican designers. 

Happening – this is an ultra-stylish boutique stocking items from Mexican designers like shoes, clothes, sunglasses, jewellery, and homeware.

Casa Elena – a concept store in Roma Sur selling pretty homeware and clothing.

El Parian – this elegant shopping mall is worth a visit for boutique shops, upmarket restaurants and Cafe Nadie, a popular bar with a record shop theme. Walking from one end to the other connects two popular Roma Norte streets: Chihuahua and Avenida Alvaro Obregon.

Tours & activities in Roma Norte

For something a little more structured, try…

Taco tour by bike

For a fun way to see the neighborhood (and a couple of others, too) on two wheels, take a bike tour with a twist: you’re riding for tacos.

Roma food tour

To get engrossed into the local food culture, take this highly-rated tour visiting a coffee shop, bistro, microbrewery and several restaurants, all while learning about the area.

Audio guide 

If guided tours aren’t your thing, download this informative Roma audio guide narrated by a local author. Learn about the history and culture as you stroll, starting from Plaza Luis Cabrera.

Restaurants in Roma 

Now we’ve covered what to do in Roma, let’s really enter my area of expertise… Food!

Puebla street food stands – for street food, you can’t beat the endless stalls running along Puebla. From tacos to tortas and even seafood, there are lots of options. My only advice is to choose somewhere busy so you know there’s a fast turnover of ingredients.

Tacos Orinoco – mighty meaty tacos are what’s hot at this famous taqueria! The menu confused me at first but, to cut a long story short, res = beef, chicharron = dried pork, and trompo = pork from a rotisserie. The perfect meal is one of each, slathered in salsas!

Rosetta – by world’s top female chef, Elena Reygadas, this is a beautiful restaurant with creative dishes and fantastic flavors. Expect to pay around 120 USD a head for 3 courses with a drink. Book a month ahead or show up at 6pm for walk-ins. Alternatively, get in line for a guava ricotta roll at her bakery across the road.

Lalo – insane French toast, delicious baked goods, and a fun, colorful setting, what more could you want? If it’s getting a seat without standing in an hour-long line, visit on a weekday or very early on the weekend!

Plantasia – serving vegan Asian food, this is one of my all-time favorite Mexico City restaurants. The coconut udon noodles and fish-free sushi dishes are phenomenal, plus the restaurant setting is nothing short of decadent.

Read next: my Mexico City vegan restaurant guide

Mog Bistro – a stand-out Japanese restaurant serving sushi, ramen, dumplings, matcha desserts, and more.

Churrería El Moro – these golden morsels rolled in cinnamon and dipped in liquid chocolate are almost religious. The Roma Norte cafe isn’t as atmospheric as the Condesa cafe (beside Parque Mexico) but it’s great for dessert after dinner at any Alvaro Obregon restaurant.

Food courts in Roma

For a hipster food court with world cuisine and pop-up stalls from the popular Roma restaurants, Mercado Roma is a buzzing spot with a rooftop beer garden.

For an equally atmospheric food court popular with locals, try Comedor de los Milagros. They have kitchens from different Latin American countries where you can try Peruvian ceviche and Colombian empanadas. I don’t think the food here is particularly high quality but it’s undeniably a cool spot with live music on Friday and Saturday nights.

Coffee shops in Colonia Roma 

Once you’ve ticked off the main things to do in Roma Norte, reward yourself by relaxing over coffee.

Quentin – great coffee and lovely pastries in ambient settings.

Cumbe – if there’s one thing Aussies always do well, it’s coffee and brunch! This third-wave Melbourne-inspired coffee shop has perfected the ‘magic flat white’ with simple breakfast dishes to boot.

Cafebrería El Péndulo – bookworms will enjoy this bookshop cafe where you can browse for a new read, drink coffee, and enjoy a tasty brunch in Mexico City

Panaderia Rosetta – although this famous cafe does serve coffee, the highlight is the delish pastries dreamed up by famous Elena Reygadas (order the guava roll!) You’ll need to get to the Colima branch before 9am to bag a seat, so maybe try the smaller, lesser-known Puebla branch instead. 

Café Memorias de un Barista – over in Là Romita, this classy cafe with black and white tiled floors is a small, quiet place for me-time. 

Forte – this has been one of my favourite cafes for years with a hipster vibe and amazing coffee, baked goods, brunch and, later in the day, pizza and wine. 

Cucurucho – this cafe serves some of the best coffee in all of Mexico City and I’ve even heard locals agree! The cafe in Roma Sur has indoor and outdoor seating, plus a shop selling lovely posters. 

Where to drink in Roma 

With the average cocktail costing 200-300 pesos ($11-16) in the Roma area of Mexico City, drinking isn’t cheap but the cocktails and bars are super high quality. 

Some of the coolest bars in Mexico City are located here… 

Craft beer in Colonia Roma 

Drunkendog – with indoor and outdoor seating, this is one of the best-established brewpubs in CDMX with endless IPAs and stouts etc. Side note, I didn’t think the food here was great so I suggest just coming for beers. 

Falling Piano Brewing Co – this microbrewery is an atmospheric place with a real piano suspected from the ceiling. Try their house beers or tap takeovers from other Mexican breweries. (There’s another brewery in the same complex called All Wood that we went to by mistake thinking it was Falling Piano but it was also good).

La Roma Brewing – sample lagers, sours, and stouts at this busy bar and sober up with the Cubano sandwich.

Cyprez Tap Room – in Roma Sur, this is a great place to try craft beers alongside a hearty dinner before catching a movie at nearby Cine Tonala (an independent cinema with a rooftop bar). My roomie and I loved the veggie tacos here but sadly they’ve been removed from the menu; we are petitioning to get them back.

Cocktail bars in Roma

Some of the best places to go in Roma Norte for stylish drinks are…

Salon Rosetta – another mention for Elena Reygada’s empire goes to this intimate, atmospheric salon above Rosetta Restaurant. Cocktails may be 300 pesos but they’re delightfully delicate with twists on the originals like the vanilla carajillo. You can order snacks and desserts from the restaurant to the bar.

Bar Las Brujas – the ‘Witches Bar’ beside Plaza Rio de Janeiro is worth booking ahead for. With its spooky, potion-style cocktails and stylish vibe (and a mention on the 2024 North America Best Bars list), it’s little surprise it’s so popular.

Ladina – for a hidden gem with low lighting and great cocktails, come for a leisurely night or intimate date at this hipster heaven on Colima. 

Licoreria Limantour – have you heard of the 4th best bar in the world? While I think this place is highly overrated (I prefer other entries on the same list like Hanky Panky and Handshake both in Juarez), it’s still worth a visit. The al pastor cocktail is tasty and unique.

Gin Gin – the Roma Norte branch of this Mexico City chain is great for those who like gin… If you can ever choose from the long menu! I loved the watermelon gin with cubes of frozen fruit. The interior is striking to say the least with a funky skull decor. 

gin gin
Watermelon gin

Mexican drinks 

Pulque Insurgentes – forget all about fancy cocktails! This colorful three-level bar with different music on each floor is a local gem that’s popping at weekends. It serves – as the name suggests – pulque, a Mexican beverage made from fermented maguey sap. If you don’t acquire a taste for it, sip a beer and enjoy the vibe.

La Clandestina – an edgy mezcal bar with low-lighting, Oaxacan snacks, and hundreds of types of Mezcal served straight or within cocktails.

El Palenquito – this small bar on Avenue Álvaro Obregón is another place to try Oaxacan mezcal. Sip it like the locals do or try it in a fruity cocktail with watermelon, cucumber, kiwi, or hibiscus.

Dancing in Colonia Roma

One of the best things to do in Roma is enjoy the lively nightlife. A few places I can recommend are…

Departamento – the rooftop bar here is great for warm-up drinks. Later on, there’s a club downstairs. 

Patrick Miller – visit earlier in the evenings to see Mexican locals of all ages show off their dance skills. Later, it becomes a regular club.

Muma Rumba – cheap dance lessons bring tourists and locals here in the early evening, and they stay as it turns into a club later. 

Safety in Roma Norte, Mexico City

Roma Norte is one of the safest parts of Mexico City so you have little to worry about. 

Many people will be wondering ‘can you walk in Roma Norte at night?’ and the answer is yes although, after 10pm, I would air on the side of caution and get an Uber especially if you’re a woman.

Condesa or Roma Norte?

This is a question many travelers consider. If you like upscale, fancy areas then Condesa is for you.

If you prefer hipster and quirky areas, then Roma Norte is better than Condesa. 

How to spend a day in Roma, Mexico City

Here’s what to do in Roma CDMX if you just have a day…

10am brunch: Lalo/Forte or any of the other Roma Norte brunch places.

11am coffee: Cumbe, Café Memorias de un Barista, Panaderia Rosetta.

12pm: Medellin Market (and lunch if you’re hungry).

1pm: Wander Plaza Rio de Janeiro.

2pm museums/galleries: the Object Museum, Casa Basalta, OMR, Casa Lamm.

4pm shopping: Casa Bosque, Naked Boutique, Chic by Accident.

7pm dinner: Rosetta/Blanco Colima (fancy), Plantasia (vegan), Mercado Roma (food market), Tacos Frontera, Orinoco, Taquería Álvaro Obregón (tacos).

Don’t miss dessert churros at El Morro.

9pm drinks: Bar Las Brujas, Ladina, Licoreria Limantour (cocktails), Pulque Insurgentes, La Clandestina, El Palenquito (local drinks).

Alternative evening option – movie at Cine Tonala.

Thanks for reading!

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