Mexico City Gay Travel
Energetic gay nightlife is just the beginning of the Mexico City gay travel experience. Find delicious taquerias, ancient ruins, parks, and the city’s best gay bars with wolfyy.
The Gay Travel Experience: Mexico City
Mexico City is quite well known amongst the travel community for being a gay-friendly destination. Countless gay bars line the streets of the CDMX gay neighborhood (CDMX is short for “Ciudad de Mexico”). While many of these bars come and go, the spirit of the gay district thrives.
Gay travelers have always loved Mexico City. With so much culture and a rare special ambiance, there’s no wonder why they’ve been visiting for decades.
The capital of Mexico was everything I expected, and more. Everyone I talked to before my trip mentioned the city’s great gay nightlife, but all the beautiful parks and ornate castles are just as much of a reason to plan some Mexico City gay travel. There are tons of sites to explore, and it feels great to do so in a city that is accepting of LGBT tourists.
Mexico City Gay Travel: Where to Stay
Most importantly, the numerous individual Mexico City neighborhoods have drastically different feels. Some are gritty, some more charming and authentic, and a few may have you thinking you’re not even in Mexico! Here are some noteworthy neighborhoods in CDMX for gay travelers to consider.
Polanco: Upscale and Serene
The most beautiful neighborhood of Mexico City is definitely Polanco. The atmosphere is completely different than everywhere else. Streets here are lined with boutique shops, colorfully painted walls, specialty cafes and high-end retail storefronts.
The Camino Real Polanco is a well-known and popular hotel in the area. If you’ve ever seen Instagram photos of someone standing in front of a bright pink wall with iconic abstract openings, that’s the front of the Camino Real!
Polanco is a bit isolated from the bustle of the city’s center. If you prefer your hotel to be in the midst of the most vibrant part of the city, then I would stay closer to Zona Rosa (mentioned below) or Chapultapec. But if you don’t mind the low-key surroundings, Hotels in Polanco will be a great, safe bet.
Zona Rosa: Mexico City's Gay District
Zona Rosa is the official Mexico City gay district, located about 15 minutes west of the Historic Center by car. It’s quite a small, mostly commercial district. Realistically, staying in Zona Rosa, or the adjacent Juárez or Colonia Cuauhtémoc neighborhoods will offer similar atmospheres. There are plenty of restaurants, bars and shops around.
I stayed on the fringe of the Zona Rosa neighborhood for my entire trip in an economy hotel called Hotel Block Suites. It’s a convenient location for a traveler. It was easy to get to the center of the city driving eastward, and was also quick to drive to the city’s wonderful parks to the west. This area of town is also quite safe. Walking around at night didn’t give me any weird vibes.
If you’re visiting Mexico City mainly for the gay nightlife, it will be most convenient to stay in Zona Rosa or Juarez. However, since Uber and taxis are so cheap, don’t limit yourself to this location alone if some cabbing back and forth is not a bother. Nevertheless, I would choose a neighborhood based on where you’ll spend most of your time.
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Dangerous Neighborhoods in Mexico City
Several neighborhoods in Mexico City can be dangerous for tourists, especially after sundown. Most tourists will think to stay somewhere between Chapultapec / Zona Rosa and the Historic Center, but you should be aware that there are some dangerous areas between these two tourist hotspots.
As a general rule, if you’re looking to stay in the Roma Norte, Zona Rosa or Juárez neighborhoods, don’t choose accommodations farther east than Avenida Cuauhtémoc, a main road parallel to Avenida Chapultapec.
Once you go slightly east of Avenida Cuauhtémoc, things feel a little less safe. It’s much grittier with less of the vibrance of the neighborhoods to the west. Plus, just east of east of Avenida Cuauhtémoc you’ll start getting closer to notoriously dangerous neighborhoods such as Tepito and Doctores.
Is the Mexico City Historic Center Safe?
Many travel websites list the Historic Center as one of Mexico City’s most dangerous neighborhoods. While crime may be high here, it’s mainly due to pickpocketing and petty crimes which are easy to avoid. Keep in mind the Historic Center borders many dangerous CDMX neighborhoods. So, once night falls, people tend to travel by car and avoid walking alone in the dark.
Mexico City Gay Travel Experiences
Mexico City is such a cultural haven, with authentic mariachi playing in the streets, intricate ancient architecture and even beautiful swaths of park land. Also, it’s the region most famous for authentic tacos! Here are some awesome things to do for LGBT travelers.
Castillo Chapultepec (Chapultepec Castle)
One of the most interesting attractions in Mexico City is Castillo Chapultepec. I had no idea how large and beautiful the building and grounds would be until I actually walked up the mountain path. I initially planned to spend a little over an hour here, but after seeing most of the site and taking photos, I was there for almost three hours!
Admission for Chapultepec Castle is 80 Pesos for foreigners. If you have a student or professor ID card, you can get a discount. Also, the security staff will not allow anything past the ticket booth entrance, including water, so skip packing any snacks that day.
Parque Mexico: A Serene Park Escape
A stroll through the quaint Parque Mexico will help you reset after all the city trekking. The park is very well maintained and has plenty of adorable covered benches. I relaxed here for at least an hour, watching some ducks and wandering beneath the iconic trellises.
I even made a new gay friend named Jesse while walking into the park. It was complete happenstance! A guy walking his adorable dog crossed paths with me and after satisfying my need to pet this cute puppy, we chatted for a bit.
Jesse told me about how so many of the local gay guys walk their dogs in Parque Mexico. It was lovely meeting a gay local and learning some things they love about their city, even for a only a brief encounter.
Templo Mayor & The Historic Center
I decided to take a walk through Templo Mayor while exploring the Historic Center of Mexico City. It’s totally free to enter and the interior is especially beautiful. While the grounds outside the Templo Mayor are not the most well-kept, the structure is fascinating and reminds me a little of the mesmerizing temples in Siem Reap.
While you’re in the heart of Mexico City, stroll down Ave Francisco I Madero. It’s one of the busiest tourist streets I saw found. It was enjoyable to feel the booming energy of the neighborhood here.
Another area worth seeing is the stretch of Jose María Piño Suarez south of Plaza de la Constitución. On weekdays, you’ll find this area vibrantly buzzing with both tourists and locals. If you keep walking south, you’ll find a giant thrift-style market around the Piño Suarez metro station entrance.
Visit Kiosco Morisco de Santa Maria La Ribera
This structure is one of Mexico City’s most iconic. It was designed for the 1884 World’s Fair. I stopped by on my last night in in CDMX to check it out because I’ve seen the Kiosco Morisco in photos many times before.
While the design is stunning, intricate and easily photographed, I was a bit disappointed to see how years of children using it as a playground have worn the structure. The surrounding park was filled with litter and overall wasn’t a relaxing area. If you go, I would choose a time when kids are still in school to avoid all the scooter traffic!
Teotihuacan Pyramids: A Mexico City Gay Travel Favorite
Undeniably the grandest landmark near Mexico City are the ancient Teotihuacan Pyramids. They are truly a sight to see and you’ll get some great photos when you climb the steps to the top!
My fellow traveler friend David enjoyed some of his own Mexico City gay travel the week after I did, and he highly recommends a day trip to the pyramids. I unfortunately didn’t make the journey, but I’ll share David’s tips here.
Hiring a tour guide for the Teotihuacan Pyramids will help you learn and make sense of these giant, stately structures. A guide costs about 800 Pesos. The entrance fee for the pyramids is actually quite reasonable at 75 pesos.
Since many tourists make a pyramid visit, there are plenty of restaurants nearby you can visit for lunch. No need to pack a large amount of food, but don’t forget your sunscreen and sunglasses!
Best Taco Restaurants in Mexico City
Tacos are pretty much always delicious in the central region of Mexico. At such a low price, how can you resist them? I found myself eating at a taqueria for lunch just about every day. Here are a few of the restaurants with the best tacos in Mexico City, all of which I absolutely loved.
Taqueria Arandas: Absolute Best Tacos in Mexico City
The #1 taqueria of the entire city is definitely Taqueria Arandas! You know it’s amazing when there is a line of locals and families outside waiting for a table. They’re located in the CDMX Historic Center and have a wonderful upper level with views of the street below. I was lucky enough to get a table right by the balcony. If you’re going to make a special trip for authentic tacos, it has to be Arandas.
You’ll surely find some hard-working cooks outside of Taqueria Arandas. They prepare everything on the ground level, attracting customers off the street and letting the delicious taco smell travel through the air. Get in line. It moves very quickly!
Tacontento: Cheap Tacos in Zona Rosa
Tacontento is the best taqueria in the Zona Rosa neighborhood. They are fast, have great service and the sauces are delicious and spicy. Just for your information, the name of the taqueria is a play on words. They blend the Spanish words “tan contento,” meaning “so happy,” so that their name begins with the word taco!
Tacontento is super cheap and open all the time. Whenever I walked by, they had a decent number of customers. I would definitely stick with the classic food options here. Get some tacos al pastor or some steak tacos. Make sure to bring cash, too. They do not accept credit cards.
Taqueria El Rey del Suadero: Delicious Tacos in Polanco
One of my favorites in Mexico City is Taqueria El Rey del Suadero. It’s is a great option if you’re staying in the Anzures or Polanco neighborhood. Taqueria El Rey is an authentic, no-frills and absolutely delicious taco spot. The staff are attentive, the service is quick and you can’t beat the prices. If you’re in the area, it’s an absolute must.
El Pescadito Taqueria: Seafood Tacos
Once you’ve finally had your fill of traditional tacos, try some seafood tacos at El Pescadito! They fry nice chunks of fish as well as shrimp and other favorites, and then slap them on a tortilla with different sauces. Although they’re not as rich as the oil-saturated tacos al pastor, their tacos still have great flavor.
I also tried their special Enchilote Enchiloso, as the cook recommended it to me. It’s definitely worth it, and only a little more expensive than a regular taco. Lastly, at El Pescadito, you order at the counter and get only the basic tacos then and there. They bring any special orders you make to your table shortly after.
What is “Al Pastor?”
Al pastor is something you will see in every Mexican restaurant. You may be more familiar with another name for it…Shawarma! Lebanese immigrants brought this flame-cooked style pork to Central America and the Mexican culture has made it their own ever since.
The phrase “al pastor” literally means “shepherd style,” from the traditional method of meat preparation. For practical purposes in Mexico, “al pastor” means thinly sliced pork mixed with a delicious mix of chilies, pineapple, spices and vinegar.
For anyone who cringes at pineapple, I must say that I never once got a pineapple taste while eating tacos al pastor in Mexico. Maybe it was overpowered by other spices, or maybe they left out the pineapple!
Mexico City Gay Bars & Clubs
Just about all the gay bars in Mexico City are in or nearby the Zona Rosa neighborhood, known as the official gay district. There are dozens of establishments to choose from, each catering to a different crowd with a unique vibe. With so many gay bars, you’ll have to choose wisely!
Overall, most Zona Rosa gay bars are busiest on Friday and Saturday, although there is still some action during the week. Thursdays attract some partygoers but the bulk of the gay club parties are on the weekend.
Nicho Bear & Bar: Local Bear & Leather Bar
Bears, stocky guys and their admirers enjoy nights at Nicho Bear & Bar. My favorite part is the big neon pawprint sign on the wall. If you’re a solo gay traveler, I’d say it will be easy for you to make friends because there were a decent number of guys hanging out here on their own. Thursdays are usually good at Nicho Bear Bar as well, if you are not in town for the weekend.
The dancing space at Nicho is limited, as the layout is optimized for socializing. They still play great Latin music in a fun, dimly-lit setting. Cover charge is 50 Pesos.
Tom’s Leather Bar: Dancing & Gay Cruising
Without a doubt, my favorite gay bar in Mexico City is Tom’s Leather Bar! They have a little of everything and all different types of guys. Tom’s has quieter areas on multiple levels without booming music where you can socialize, a big dance floor, handsome men all around and even a dark room.
The cover charge at Tom’s Leather Bar is 200 pesos, which includes either two beers or one mixed drink. The best night to visit Tom’s is Saturday and if you’re in town during the week, Tuesday is also popular.
Lastly, note that you’re not allowed to take pictures while inside the bar. It seems the staff try to protect the identities of the dancers who work there. I hope you check this place out!
Baby Club CDMX
Baby Club is definitely one of the best gay dance clubs in Mexico City. The club is pretty spacious and plays lots of Spanish hits and R&B. It’s not so much of an electronic or circuit-style club. Baby also has an outdoor area behind the main room where it’s a bit easier to socialize.
While Baby Club is a great time, I will mention that this gay club has the most women of all the gay venues I visited in Mexico City. Some gay guys dislike when gay clubs become predominantly girls, so if this bothers you, it may be best to try a different club.
Baby charges 50 pesos for entry at the door. One or two drinks are included, depending on whether you arrive during their two-for-one special. Check Baby Club’s Facebook Page for more information on events and pricing.
Daddy Club: Mexico City Gay Travel Must
One of the more popular gay clubs in Mexico City is Daddy Club. Looking back, I completely regret not trying it out. After talking with some other gay travelers who were in Mexico City at the same time I was, I learned how much better Daddy Club is compared to most of the other clubs.
Expect drag queen performances, great dance music and some handsome performers. Also, take note that Daddy Club isn’t exactly easy to find because of neighboring construction (as of early 2020). If you come across who looks to be an abandoned looking building, don’t fret. Just check out the Daddy Club Facebook Page to see scheduled events.
El Almacén CDMX
Expect a bustling crowd at El Almacén. Fun lighting and a spacious area to dance make this gay bar a great option for starting your night. Everyone here was very friendly. Even though El Almacén isn’t the fanciest bar, the overall vibe was fun. Guys in this bar spanned the spectrum; I saw people of all different ages, races and body types.
At the door, El Almacén charges a cover of 50 Pesos, which includes two drinks. This is about the best drink special you’ll find at a gay bar in CDMX. On weekends, they have two-for-one cocktail specials for 80 Pesos. You can’t beat it.
More Gay Bar Options
It’s hard to try them all, so you’ll have to choose between some great spots. Here are some other CDMX gay bars that deserve a mention, although I wasn’t able pay these a visit myself.
Kinky Bar is popular for a large interior plus an outdoor balcony on the second level. A vibrant and cherished gay bar in Mexico City, Kinky Bar makes quite a presence on the edge of the Zona Rosa neighborhood, especially with their six-pack wielding bartenders.
Last but not least is Cabaré-Tito Punto y Aparte, a smaller and lesser-known gay bar in Zona Rosa. You’ll probably hear a bunch of people singing from outside the bar as you walk down Calle Amberes. If you try this one out, send wolfyy an email sharing what you think. Don;t forget to check out the Cabaré-Tito Facebook Page.
CDMX Gay Bars to Skip
Since Mexico City has so many gay bars and you’ll need to weed a few out, I’ll start you off with some spots that didn’t impress me. I recommend skipping these gay bars, but for different reasons.
I checked out Gayta Pussy Bar to see what it’s like, but I can’t say I would return. The space is very run down and I didn’t feel comfortable in the crowd. There didn’t seem to be any sense of community here. The presence shown online did not at all match the reality of the bar.
A few steps away from Gayta is a place called Macho Dance Bar. I don’t have anything negative to say about this place, but I wouldn’t exactly recommend you visit. It just seemed a bit rambunctious, but not in a good way.
Mexico City Gay Travel Tips
Before you head out to any gay bars in Mexico City, make sure you have some personal identification on you. Americans are used to this, but Americans are also used to leaving their government ID home when traveling in other countries!
You’ll need to show your license or passport to the bouncers to enter (although I personally would never want to bring my passport out to bars unless I had no other option).
Is Mexico City Gay Travel Safe?
Mexico City is quite safe as long as you don’t pass through any bad areas at night and you don’t dress in any fancy-looking clothes. If you find yourself on a deserted street, you probably wouldn’t want to be wearing jewelry or be perceived that you’re carrying lots of cash.
Personally, I never felt threatened walking alone in Mexico City, and I passed through a few rough neighborhoods. As long as you appear to know where you’re going and you keep expensive belongings out of sight, you’ll be fine. This is the most precaution you’ll need to take.
Unfortunately, Mexico City has a very high homeless population. There are people living on the street in just about every neighborhood. It is very likely that you will encounter this. Sometimes, if you are sitting in an outdoor bar or restaurant, beggars may approach you. If you notice them coming toward you, just ask the restaurant to take care of it. To avoid this, you can just take seats inside the establishment.
Using Public Transit
Trams and subways in Mexico City are cheap and easy to use. Although Uber is very cheap, I did use the metro once since it was convenient. A ride only costs five pesos! Put some cash through the teller window in the station and they’ll give you a ticket.
I definitely recommend avoiding public transit in Mexico City after dark. It’s better to be on the safe side and take an Uber home than to wander near dimly lit transit stations when there aren’t many people around.
Traveling around Mexico? Don’t miss Guadalajara. Believe it or not, the gay clubs rival those of Mexico City!