While there are hundreds of different neighborhoods and pockets of Mexico City to explore, you can’t miss spending some time in Polanco on your first visit! Polanco is an upscale neighborhood near the center of Mexico City that is perfect for basing yourself to explore. From here, you can walk to important tourist sites, some of the best restaurants in the world, and world class shopping. Whether you’re staying in Polanco for your entire trip to Mexico City or just planning to spend a day or two exploring the area, there is so much to check out. Keep reading to discover some of the best things to do in Polanco!
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Where is Polanco, Mexico City?
Polanco is in the perfect location for exploring Mexico City. It’s within the Miguel Hidalgo borough of Mexico City and is northwest of the downtown district. It’s located just north of the Chapultepec park and west of the central historical district–two areas you’ll most likely spend plenty of time in as you explore!
In less than 30 minutes by foot, you’ll find yourself at Chapultepec park. Museo Nacional de Antropología and many other museums are within a brisk 20 minute walk. In the other direction, you can walk to Museo Soumaya and Museo Jumex in under 30 minutes! A stay in Polanco also places you close to some of the best restaurants in the world. Pujol and Quintonil–both on the list of top 50 restaurants in the world–call Polanco home! Polanco is truly one of the best neighborhoods to base yourself on your visit to Mexico City.
Where to stay in Polanco
Due to its location and general vibe, there’s no shortage of boutique and luxury accommodations in Polanco. In Polanco, you’ll find curated interior design with local flair, excellent service, and a great location within walking distance to many Mexico City hot spots. However, keep in mind that the neighborhood also calls for higher rates. Mexico City as a whole tends to be affordable, but you can find yourself paying several hundred dollars a night at some luxury retreats. Polanco is a wonderful place to stay but I also recommend Roma Norte or Condesa!
Orchid House is a small chain of hotels in Central America offering a luxury boutique experience. Each room is uniquely designed to reflect the Mexican style that perfectly complements the gorgeous hundred year old mansion. Orchid House is in the perfect location of Polanco, within walking distance to all the best restaurants, bars, and attractions. You’ll feel like you’re staying in your own little oasis–home away from home!
Casa Polanco is an adorable boutique hotel overlooking Parque Lincoln. The property used to be a private home built in the 1930s and is now a quaint hotel with 19 suites. As you’d expect from a quaint boutique hotel, the rooms are expertly designed to feel calm and welcoming. There’s not much in the way of amenities, but Casa Polanco does have an onsite spa that can’t be missed. With so many top notch restaurants being walking distance you’ll want to extend your stay to explore it all!
Intercontinentale Presidente Mexico City
Located just steps away from Chapultepec, the anthropology museum, and the National Auditorium, you will be sleeping in the center of everything. Not to mention, if you realllllyyy wanted to, you could stay here and never have to leave (I don’t recommend that, CDMX is too amazing). There are 5 restaurants, a pool, a bar, gym, and spa. The rooms aren’t the most stylish, but it’s the impeccable service the Intercontinentale is known for that we’re after!
Hyatt Regency Mexico City
I am a Hyatt queen, so this would be one of my top choices! It’s affordably priced, located right next to Chapultepec park, and is rated 5-stars. Yes, please! Rooms are freshly renovated in a sleek, modern design. You’ll also have amazing dining right at your fingertips located in the Hyatt Regency.
Las Alcobas is a luxury boutique hotel in the heart of Polanco. Even though the hotel is owned by Marriott, it’s not a watered down chain hotel. What once was a palatial residence is now converted into adorable little alcoves (where the hotel got its name!). The decor is utterly Mexican. Las Alcobas is perfect if you want a smaller, local vibe with the amenities of a luxury hotel like a restaurant and spa.
Need more inspiration? Check out this full post on where to stay in Mexico City.
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Best things to do in Polanco
Polanco is a big neighborhood with tons of offerings. Whether you are staying in Polanco or just want to explore the area, there’s something for everyone. Polanco is definitely more upscale, but don’t let that sway you! Despite all the luxury shopping and 5-star eats, there are museums, parks, and tons of culture and sight-seeing in this beautiful neighborhood.
Stroll & shop on Avenida Presidente Masaryk
Avenida Presidente Masaryk is one of the major streets in Polanco running from Calzada General Mariano Escobedo to Avenida Ferrocarril de Cuernavaca. It is luxury shopping at its best–think Dolce & Gabbana, Louis Vuitton, Chanel, and more. Although you can either spend all your cash or just do some window shopping, there are other sites of interest, as well! Check out Pasaje Polanco, which is a courtyard with small, historic shops dating back to the 1930s or the National Conservatory of Music.
When I think of Mexico City, I think primarily of amazing food. Obviously you can find great Mexican food all over the city–some more authentic or street-style than you’ll find here–but there’s no doubt Polanco is the place to be if you want unique, upscale dining. You could spend weeks dining solely in Polanco and still not hit all the hot spots. Plan far in advance if you want to dine at one of these famous restaurants–reservations are very coveted.
Here are just a few amazing restaurants to eat at in Polanco:
Trust me, there’s a million more but these are just a few to get you inspired!
Bosque de Chapultepec
Bosque de Chapultepec is a public park located in the heart of the city. The park is Mexico City’s “green lung” because it provides much needed greenery in an otherwise packed city. It’s two times the size of New York City’s Central Park…. spend several days getting lost here! While many people just stroll through the park on their way to other attractions, it’s easy to find interesting things to do just inside Bosque de Chapultepec! Enter the Castillo de Chapultepec, hit the theme park La Feria Chapultepec Magico, shop at the Chapultepec market, or just have your own picnic with food from the stands inside the park!
Who doesn’t love a great zoo? Especially if you are traveling with kids in tow, the Chapultepec Zoo is a great stop to add to your Polanco itinerary. With almost 2000 animals calling this zoo home, you’ll be able to see many different species native to Mexico but also from all over the world. Located in the middle of Chapultepec park, it’s easy to swing by the zoo after a picnic or stroll through the green lung.
Museo de Antropologia
If there’s one thing you don’t miss while spending time in Polanco, make it this! The Museo de Antropologia, or National Museum of Anthropology, is home to the world’s largest collection of Mexican art and ethnographic exhibits about indigenous groups of Mexico’s past and present. If you want to see it all, I’d recommend blocking out a full day because this museum is truly in depth. We spent the better part of an afternoon here and enjoyed seeing ancient art and learning more about the important indigenous groups that shaped Mexico.
Given its flashy design, even if you never step foot inside, you can’t miss the Museo Soumaya! Constructed of thousands of silver hexagons, the shiny 6-floor building is hard to look away from. Once you venture inside, you’ll find over 60,000 pieces of art by Mexican artists as well as artists from all over the world. Be sure to admire the works of Mexican artists Diego Rivera and Rufino Tamayo. The best part? Entry is free!
Polanco has no shortage of amazing art to be admired, and Museo Jumex includes some amazing pieces, as well! Just beside from Museo Soumaya, Jumex is a contemporary art museum holding over 2,500 works. Notable pieces include those by Andy Warhol, Martin Kippenberger, and Damien Hirst.
Here’s a little history lesson for ya: this park is named after Abraham Lincoln because he opposed the US invasion of Mexico between 1846 and 1848. Not only was it named after an American president, it also was designed specifically for Polanco! The park takes up quite a bit of space and is designed to effortlessly weave into the surrounding urban landscape. It is home to an open-air theater, two reflection pools, and a playground. It’s an easy detour to or from Chapultepec on your way from Polanco!
Antara Fashion Hall
Ready to do some shopping at some of the top luxury designer stores in the world? It’s no secret that Polanco is posh and upscale, so Antara Fashion Hall fits in beautifully. The fashion hall is a mall comprising stores like Carolina Herrera and Burberry but also Mango and Zara. You’ll find whatever you’d like here… or just do some people watching to see how the other half live.
Parroquia de San Agustin
Nestled in between the chic shopping streets and architectural wonders like the Soumaya museum, the beautiful Parroquia de San Agustin sits. The church was built in the 1940s and looks like a beacon in the middle of Polanco. Taking up almost half a city block, this church is a sight to be seen! It’s one of the main churches in Polanco for its beauty and size. Be sure to stop by and snap a few pics!
Go on a food tour
One of my favorite things about Mexico City is all the delicious cuisine! Want to try it all and learn a little something in the process? Take a food tour! There are hundreds of offerings in any neighborhood, but the Polanco food tours are a bit more upscale. Spend your morning or afternoon sampling a handful of different Mexican foods from local vendors and restaurants. Check out one of these tours below!
Final thoughts/recommendations on best things to do in Polanco
Polanco is a lively upscale neighborhood nestled right near the center of Mexico City. You can easily spend a day or even several days just getting lost on the beautiful streets of Polanco! Whether you want to eat, learn, or shop you can find the best of it in Polanco. Be sure to snag reservations at Pujol for a once-in-a-lifetime dining experience. Explore the Museo de Anthropología and then do some window shopping on Avenida Presidente Masaryk. However, you choose to spend your time in Mexico City, be sure to check out some of the best things to do in Polanco!