As much as we love the Ciudad de México, creating a guide to one of the largest cities in the Western Hemisphere (with nearly 9 million chilangos, as Mexico City natives are often called) is a difficult task. For first-time tourists, exploring the city can be even more difficult … but absolutely worth it.
We recommend starting with the Mexico City’s best, safest, and most fun gayborhood …. Zona Rosa!
Getting There & Where to Stay
Ok. First, you will need to actually get to Mexico City.* Skyscanner is one of our favorite places to search for and keep track of deals. Some airlines offer deals directly from their websites: Iberia.com and AirFrance.com, For package deals with airfare and hotels, your best bet might be Expedia.
*Two big travel dates to be aware of in 2019 are Gay Pride Weekend (Jun 28) and Mexican Independence Day weekend (Sept 15 – 17.)
After your plane lands, we highly recommend using Uber to get around Mexico City. It’s safe and cheap. Try calculating your fare with the Uber’s Mexico City fare calculator and get a discount with the promo code “ubervamosgay.”
As you search for a place to stay In Mexico City, you will find many openly gay guys renting their spaces through AirBNB (and, the gay-owned and operated MisterBNB is also available. ) However, for a wild weekend in Zona Rosa, you might prefer a hotel for your busy weekend. We recommend two gay-friendly options:
This can be a your perfect home base as you spend the weekend bar crawling though Zona Rosa. Simple, modern, and stylish, the Valentina is a boutique hotel that is literally steps away from the action. The front desk is very helpful and very gay friendly. More info, photos, and lowest rates »
The historic décor of this grand old hotel includes antiques and works of art. Located in the heart of Zona Rosa, the Geneve tops many lists of LGBT-friendly hotels in CDMX (as Mexico City is known.) More info, photos, and lowest rates »
Exploring the City by Day
Mexico City is full of world class museums, shopping centers, and street fairs to keep your daylight hours busy. Two books available in print and Kindle that we recommend to first-timers is Lonely Planet Mexico and a newer travel book named Mexico CIty: An Opinionated Guide for the Curious Traveler.
From the starting point of Zona Rosa, follow the Paseo de la Reforma, Mexico City’s spacious grand avenue which connects many of the city’s neighborhoods and is a gold mine of museums and art galleries. Find the most popular locations on our Google map to the Best of Gay Zona Rosa.
Restaurants & Cafes
At any newsstand, pick up copies of Chilango Magazine and Time Out: Mexico City. They are colorful and informative ways to see the thousands of places to eat in CDMX. For this quick-and-easy “gaycation” guide, here are two cafes and five restaurants that we highly recommend.
Take your magazines find a comfy spot at Cielito. There are a few locations in and around Zona Rosa where you can have a coffee break (or meet your Grindr date.) You can also try the similarly named Cafe Punto del Cielo. Both are great alternatives to Starbucks which has many locations in Mexico City.
A cafe within the grandeur of a library, Cafebreria El Pendulo also features live classical music on the weekends. Visit the Pendulo website to check out photos and get more info. Our map links to the the Zona Rosa location at 126 Calle Hamburgo, but there are 5 other branches of El Pendulo throughout the Mexico City.
This cherished 100 year-old spot was best described by the Fodor 2016 Travel Guide. “Bellinghausen’s partially covered hacienda-style courtyard at the back, set off by an ivy-laden wall and fountain, is a midday magnet for executives and tourists. A veritable army of waiters scurries back and forth serving such tried-and-true favorites as filete chemita (broiled steak with mashed potatoes) and chamorro Bellinghausen (make-your-own tacos of minced lamb shank).”
The best place for Mexican classics! Gays and straights line up for tables at the Zona Rosa location of La Casa Del Toño (one of six throughout Mexico City.) Nothing posh, just really good food. Click the menu on their website and prepare to salivate.
Old enough to be the favorite Zona Rosa restaurant of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, La Fonda Del Refugio opened in 1954 as the first upscale restaurant to celebrate Mexico’s humble culinary tradition. This article from Culinary Backstreet delves into the history of La Fonda Del Refugio and what visiting foodies can expect today.
Bars & Clubs: Zona Rosa’s Top Ten
One question gay first-time visitors always ask about Mexico City …
“How safe is Zona Rosa?”
The honest answer is that bar crawling through Zona Rosa feels as safe as Barcelona, and some might argue even safer than a big city like San Francisco. On the map below, you will notice that many bars are only minutes away from each other (some are even next door neighbors.) Our listings link to each club’s Facebook page where you can get the most accurate hours of operations for your visit. The map also list many bars and clubs that didn’t make our top ten list.
The mature and masculine start the night with cervezas at El Almacen, one of the first gay spots in Latin America. The layout is perfect for the lost art of cruising (let your Grindr app have the night off.) While waiting to hook up, enjoy one of El Almacen’s weekend strip shows. Wednesday are exceptionally wild and strippers go all the way.
From muscular physiques to swimmer’s builds, BB Show Bar specializes in male strippers. Great shows on a good night, but a bit inconsistent.
“Where the strippers dance for you, and not your girlfriends.” The motto of Botas Bar is a direct slap at the straight go-go boys who ignore gay patrons to spend time with their female BFFs. Under the direction of nightlife impresario and former porn star Charly Diaz, Botas Bar features some of the hardest working strippers in CDMX. They’re always happy to join you at your table and offer “private dances.” Occasional guest dancers from adult film industry. Thursdays through Sundays from 9PM to 4AM.
Discover the joys of mezcal, a distilled alcoholic spirit derived from the heart of the agave plant. In Mexico, mezcal is generally consumed straight and has a strong smoky flavor. La Botica is a friendly bar where you can order a glass, chat with friends, and even enjoy some karaoke. Save the strippers and drag shows for later.
And speaking of drag … Cabaretito (the little cabaret) has some of the best in the city. There is nothing posh about this Zona Rosa institution, but the dance floors are fun and flirty. Boys may want to skip Thursdays which are popular with lesbians.
Highly recommended on the weekends!
When Lollipop, one of our favorite nightspots on Calle Amberes, closed for “renovations” we feared the worst. However, the nightclub’s new incarnation as Dirty Dance Bar maintains the best elements of the multi-level club where you can groove to hip hop, top 40 dance remixes, or latin pop.
Upscale, young, attractive, with a nice mix of straight boys and girls. This multi-level nightspot is not a dive bar, so don’t expect dive bar prices. The outdoor area in the summer is extremely popular and there is more than enough room to dance. Lots of lesbians on Thursdays.
The best bear bar in Mexico is so much more. Nicho’s is also the place to cruise for hot 40 and 50 year-olds.
The perfect place order an Indio (one of the region’s most popular brands of beer) and start the night. There’s a small dance floor, but Papi Fun Bar is mostly a place to chat, laugh, flirt, and make out. But don’t be shy … Papi Fun Bar’s glass windows (and the guys inside) are a popular attraction for anyone passing by.
Mexican cowboys (known as vaqueros) dress to impress from the cowboy hats on their heads down to their pointy cowboy boots. Most nights skip the dress-code. Visitors are welcome to step in for a drink and a good time.
Saunas & Sex
Along the streets of Zona Rosa, there are various sex shops and adult bookstores, in addition to the three popular options listed below.
Technically this is a gym (wink wink) with condoms at the front desk. Club San Francisco gets a nice mix of young Mexican men and American visitors.
With more toys than Santa Claus, Erotika Love Store is a popular destination in the “pink zone” for straight couples shopping for dildos and sexy lingerie. Their cabinas de pelicula (video porn booths) are a popular with the gays.
The best gay sauna in Zona Rosa is technically outside of the zone in the Polanco district. Check out our map and see if the walk isn’t too long for you, or if you prefer to take a quick Uber ride. Either way, SoDoMe is a spacious, newly-renovated space that you won’t forget. Check out the SoDoMe website for all of their amenities and photos.