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- A Review of Northern Mexico City
About 3 months ago, I moved to the northern part of Mexico City.
Particularly around Lindavista area.
When I moved, I was coming from the southern part of the city near Copilco area.
As of about 5 days ago more or less, I moved back to the southern part of Mexico City.
I had given some thought to where I’d move to again and I contemplated moving to maybe the area around Pantitlan, Refineria, Buenavista, Bosque de Aragon or Tepito.
However, I couldn’t find any places for rent in Tepito on Facebook and I’ve never had much luck with rental advertisements in the street as you can see here.
And I didn’t have much luck finding too many spots I liked near the other areas with the time I gave myself except Pantitlan.
I did check out one place near Pantitlan but I chose not to move there.
The general area I checked out had a similar problem that I felt around northern Mexico.
That problem being?
Lack of Soul
In discussing some parts of northern Mexico City that I checked out, I’d say that I generally didn’t vibe well with the area.
Something about the area didn’t feel right.
It wasn’t a particularly dangerous area outside of a few sketchy moments.
At least compared to what I’ve experienced before, it felt OK to live in.
And it looked relatively more modern than other parts of Mexico City.
On top of that, there was some cool history and some decent sights to see as we’ll discuss soon.
Not to mention that the people were nice.
But, for some reason, I didn’t “feel at home” in the area.
When I walked the streets, it felt “dead” even though there were people outside.
It just didn’t have the amount of activity that I like in an area and, as I said, the area didn’t vibe well with me.
Having said that, there were some positives to the area.
Now, to be fair, this area generally doesn’t have the coolest places to see in Mexico City.
But it has something going for it!
For example, you have the Basilica area that has plenty of religious importance and, especially in December, you have a lot of activity in the area.
More on the Basilica in this article I wrote here.
You also have a few cool parks like Parque Nacional El Tepeyac and it has one of my favorite parks in Mexico City: Parque Bicentenario.
A park I wrote more about here.
And, on the other side of this area of the city, you have Bosque de Aragon with a cool zoo next to it as you can see here.
Among other parks also obviously.
For those who like markets, you can find a decent open air market in the center of Azcapotzalco.
When it comes to museums, this general area is lacking in them but it has a few that I visited like this one here and this one here.
Speaking of history anyway, one thing I liked about this area was the history of the railroads in the this part of town that you can read more about here.
Despite how boring it sounds, it was actually cool to read about and give consideration to as you walked through the streets and appreciated the history they carried.
Beyond touristy sites to see anyway, where should you live in this general area?
Recommendations for Where to Live
Right off the bat, living on Montevideo Avenue is a safe option.
It has an alright amount of activity and is relatively modern.
It has a nice mall nearby and a few metro stations and plenty of metrobus stations to serve you.
Various restaurants to try.
And is close enough to the Basilica that is worth a visit.
Outside of that, there’s a few other spots worth mentioning.
For one, you could always live close to the Metro station Autobuses del Norte.
While the area outside it isn’t very exciting with little activity, it does serve well for the gringo who wants easy access to a bus to take him to visit other parts of Mexico outside of the city.
Next, you have the general area around both Metro Bosque de Aragon and Metro Refineria.
Both deserve a mention because they both have very nice parks just outside of them that I loved and the general area outside wasn’t too bad.
Personally, I can see myself moving back up there but closer to Metro Refineria simply because I loved Parque Bicentenario so much.
Though, for those thinking of living close to Metro Bosque de Aragon, just know to stick close to that area and not go too far north or else you’ll end up in Neza.
Neza is a city next door that has a bad reputation.
You also have the option of living close to Metro Azcapotzalco as it does have some activity nearby with a solid outdoor market.
The only other area that caught my attention for relocating to was near Metro Rosario.
One of the reasons why I liked it was because the metro has a big mall inside with a supermarket that would be very convenient to live close to.
Though the issue with taking visits to this mall/supermarket is that you’ll have to walk at least 10 to 15 minutes to get outside as there’s a long walk that I noticed to get outside of the metro.
So it’s not that convenient.
The outside of the area didn’t seem too bad to me though but I did stumble easily upon an area close by that wasn’t very nice looking.
Finally, with El Rosario, you’ll at least have quicker access to two different metro lines which is always a plus for me as I always use the metro to get around.
Which is also a reason for why, if you were to live by Montevideo Avenue as discussed before, you’d be better off living closer to Metro Deportivo 18 de Marzo.
Of course, there might be other areas you could live in depending on your taste.
For areas you shouldn’t live in though, I’d say anywhere near Indios Verdes isn’t good as I’ve heard a lot of bad about that area.
I checked it out and, while it wasn’t scary looking to me, it does have a bad reputation to warn you.
I also lived by Politecnico area and, while I had no problems there, others might warn you about that general area also.
Furthermore, the general area around Metro Misterios looks pretty shit from what I remember and I wouldn't live over there.
Next, let’s go back into negative territory and discuss one thing I really didn’t like about this area.
As someone who likes to eat dinner a little bit later sometimes closer to midnight, I found that more challenging in the neighborhoods I moved into.
To keep it short, I genuinely found the amount of street food options to be oddly not so abundant and to close up shop early into the night if I did find one.
Early into the night meaning 11 PM at latest but most closing around 9 PM.
What the fuck?
Most restaurants closed up 8 PM also.
For those who live here, one tip is to go for the Casa de Toño they have in the Lindavista shopping mall on Montevideo Avenue.
They are open usually until 11 PM.
You also have a few pizza places that are open like Dominos or Little Caesar’s.
There’s also a really good food spot basically in front of the Basilica that is open around 1 PM to 11 PM that serves tacos, hamburgers, etc.
So, as you can see, no street food options past midnight unfortunately.
Which, as I said, is so annoying.
It’s one benefit of where I live now after I’ve moved as I got food options until 2 or 3 AM down here.
In the northern part of Mexico City, I either had to cook at home more or be much more conscious about when I need to leave the house to get a bite for later.
And, as I said, compared to the rest of Mexico City, I just found A LOT less street food options.
Though, for those who like street food, the general area outside Metro Refineria had plenty.
That was one golden spot for street food that I found.
Among others that probably exist that I didn’t come across.
Anyway, let’s move on.
As you can imagine, nightlife in the area isn’t killer.
You just don’t see that much nightlife.
If you were to walk down Montevideo avenue and go past Lindavista mall, you’d find a few bars here and there but they are fairly calm.
Outside of that, I just can’t remember seeing too many other bars in the general areas that I visited.
For my last birthday, I decided it would be best to celebrate it in another part of the city with a chick as you can read here.
If you do live here, you’ll likely have to do that unless you find a particular small bar that fits what you want.
Given the large area we’re talking about, I’m sure there’s numerous bars I missed that you could enjoy.
But, if I had to guess, they’re probably small in nature and not overly exciting.
Which isn’t bad – I like a small bar setting.
There’s one other bar that I remember visiting right now that was closer to Metro Instituto de Petroleo.
It was small with purple lighting and cheap beer.
It was alright.
Now, when it comes to chicks and dating, I would say there’s plenty of cute chicks around here.
Really, I’ve never been to anywhere in Mexico City where I couldn’t find cute chicks.
It’s a huge ass city with over 20 million people so you always have options.
Having said that, as you can imagine, the relatively fewer nightlife options isn’t very helpful when it comes to dating.
Taking any chicks to a bar up there will usually mean a small bar that isn’t overly exciting but will at least have cheap beer.
There is one benefit to dating up there though that I saw and that is, by being in the northern part of Mexico City, you’re naturally closer to Metro station Autobuses del Norte.
In my time dating in Mexico City, I’ve always had the occasional chick here and there come visit me from another city like Pachuca, Puebla, Toluca or somewhere else in Estado, etc.
When you have chicks show up though, they almost always show up first to Metro Autobuses del Norte.
So, in theory, for those few chicks who do show up time to time from other areas, being closer to Autobuses del Norte isn’t the worst thing in the world for dating.
Easier to pick those few chicks up.
Which, to be fair, is a minor benefit to dating up there given most chicks you’ll meet here actually live in Mexico City but still.
Anyway, where should you set yourself up when it comes to dating in this area?
Well, I’m always of the opinion that you should prioritize finding an area that you like the most over which area is logistically better for dating.
Like I said, you got cute chicks everywhere in the city and really most of the northern part of Mexico City isn’t as ideal for dating versus being set up in say El Centro, Roma Norte, etc.
Still, if I had to pick an area, I’d probably either set you up by either Metro El Rosario, Metro Deportivo 18 de Marzo or Metro Martin Carrera.
Simply all 3 of those metro stations have direct access to two metro lines and that’ll make it slightly more convenient for dates to visit you.
Out of all 3, Deportivo 18 de Marzo is preferable as the immediate area around it is nicer to be in when compared to either El Rosario or Martin Carrera.
And also because Metro Deportivo 18 de Marzo is connected to a longer metro line that cuts through more of the city and more important areas of the city.
So you’ll have more chicks who’ll have easier access to you than if you were to live by Metro Martin Carrera for example.
As I said, the general area of Gustavo A. Madero where places like Lindavista is isn’t known to be very safe.
When I told a Mexican chick that I was moving up there before leaving Copilco, she said something to the effect of “god!! Why move there?!?”
Still, I truly didn’t feel like it was dangerous.
Granted, my perception of what is dangerous might be different than yours.
I’ve been feeling, over the last few months when I speak to other gringos, that I might have a warped sense of what is dangerous or simply a higher tolerance for areas that other gringos might shit themselves in.
And that’s not to say I’m a tough motherfucker – I’m a normal looking dude.
But just keep in mind that my tolerance might be different than yours.
The weirdest moment I had up there was when I left my apartment by Deportivo 18 de Marzo and walked down the sidewalk at maybe 9 PM or so.
As I got closer to the corner, some fat dude in a dress with an object in his hand (a pipe?) peaked his head around the corner and stared at me.
It stopped me in my tracks and I yelled out in English “fuck you want?”
Dude didn’t say shit and kept staring.
I kept moving along.
No issues thankfully.
Outside of that, as I said, the area around Indios Verdes isn’t too good.
A chick I used to fuck around with lives up there and has told me that she’s seen people dead on the street outside her apartment where she lives with her sister.
Other Mexicans have told me that the area around Indios Verdes sucks major dick.
So I’ll just take their word for it and assume it’s really bad.
Anyway, I never felt in danger when walking around at night as late as 11 PM or 12 AM.
It feels fine overall but your experience might vary.
Some of the safer spots to be is that space along Montevideo Avenue from the Basilica to the Lindavista mall and also some of the streets close to Metro Refineria seemed very safe.
When I moved up there, I left behind an old gym that I used to go to in the south of Mexico City.
As a result, I looked around for gyms up there.
First, you’ll notice an odd amount of physical recreational spots outside Metro Instituto de Petroleo.
Especially if you leave the exit of that metro that is connected to the red metro line and not the yellow metro line.
Once you do that, head towards street n. 25 for example.
You’ll find an area that has a public pool, a place for boxing if I remember right or something like that and a few gyms.
If you walk onto the street in front of that and head left, you’ll soon find another area that I think, if I remember right, is for boxing also or something like boxing.
In that general area anyhow, I noticed other gyms also in the area.
Next, you won’t find too many gyms around Metro Rosario area outside of just a few from what I remember.
But, a few metro stations south of Rosario and you’ll find more gym options by Metro Refineria.
Of course, there might be more spots with a heavier gym presence.
When I looked around for gym options closer to Bosque de Aragon, I only saw one that was just north of Bosque de Aragon. That area seemed lacking in gym options relatively speaking.
And for other metro areas? I didn’t check for gyms in every single area of this part of Mexico City so the ones mentioned are all I know about and maybe you’ll find other options if you look around.
Niceness of the People
As I wrote here, I once went to get some tacos and this Mexican taco dude was REALLY nice talking about how “we Mexicans love foreigners” and all that.
I met other really nice people by that hamburger/taco place in front of the Basilica.
Truth is that, in my experience, people in Latin America tend to be nicer, more down to earth and easier to connect with when outside of touristy areas.
Less upper class folks with a bad attitude and less folks seeing you as an English tutor or an ATM machine.
All around, I just find it easier to connect with the locals in areas like that.
The areas around northern Mexico City are similar in that I found the people to be quite nice.
No issue here!
I found the amount of supermarkets in the area to be relatively disappointing.
They do exist!
For example, there’s a Soriana in the shopping mall connected to Metro Rosario.
There’s some mini supermarket across the Lindavista shopping mall.
Among a few others that I’m sure I missed.
Either way, compared to other parts of Mexico City that I’ve lived in, I just found that, in my experience alone, I had to put in a little more effort to get to a supermarket.
Though, like I said, you do have some open air markets also like the one by Azcapotzalco.
Never forget those!
My Favorite Spots?
It should be no surprise that my personal favorite spots in this general area were the following:
- By Metro Refineria close to Parque Bicentenario.
- By Bosque de Aragon outside of Metro Bosque de Aragon.
- The whole stretch of Montevideo Avenue from where Basilica is to where Lindavista shopping mall is.
As I said, I personally could see myself moving back up north.
I don’t think I’d do Montevideo Avenue again because it was “lacking that something” but I could easily see myself moving by Metro Refineria someday if I’m in Mexico City long enough before moving on to travel again.
Special Mention: Buddy
As a last mention, it should be said that one of my highlights of being that far up north was a dog that my first landlord had that I wrote about here.
Throughout all of my childhood and until I left Iowa, I always had pets at home.
Having a dog in the house made for a few months made me realize how much I miss having pets.
While the dog’s name was officially some stupid shit like Faostruck or something (something truck because the landlord is a geek who named his dog after his food truck company basically), I decided to call him Buddy.
Got to Americanize that name, you know?
And the name “Faostruck” is kinda retarded for a dog.
Give the dog some proper respect with a good name, will you?!
I miss Buddy already.
For those curious about what Buddy looks like, I included a pic of him in the top of the article since I wasn’t sure what else to put up there.
Anyway, Buddy was definitely a highlight of my time up there but let’s wrap this up.
Who Should Live Here?
Of course, we should do something we haven’t done yet – identify what I mean by “northern Mexico City.”
I’m mostly just talking about Guastavo A. Madero and Azcapotzalco.
Generally, I feel the person who would fit in best up there is someone who fits some or most of the following characteristics:
- Doesn’t need to live near a lot of nightlife.
- Has a higher tolerance for less safe areas relatively speaking.
- Would enjoy some really cool parks like Bicentenario or Bosque de Aragon.
- Wants cheaper rent.
- Is looking to see more of Mexico City beyond the touristy areas.
- Would be OK with limited street food options.
- For a few select areas of that part of the city, it might not be the worse idea to raise kids up there maybe (like on Montevideo Avenue).
- Doesn’t want to see other gringos.
- Wants easier access to the rest of Mexico by bus.
- Has an odd fascination with railroad history and would enjoy the history of railroads in this part of the city.
- Someone who is very religious and wants to visit the Basilica everyday.
- Maybe someone who wants to study at one of the universities up there like Instituto Politecnico Nacional or UAM Azcapotzalco.
Outside of those reasons based on my limited time of only 3 months in that general area, I can’t think of any other reason for why someone would live up there.
It’s not a bad area to be honest.
The main reason why I got tired of that general area up there and what really drove me away was just the “lack of soul” that I felt outside.
Lack of energy.
Lack of activity.
For some reason, it just felt very dead up there.
And I’m not talking about nightlife.
Just something in how I wasn’t vibing well with the area.
That’s all really.
Anyway, that’s all I got to say.
In the next few weeks, I'll probably upload a few more last articles on this area since I did a little more sightseeing but it takes forever to upload all of the photos onto articles on this website so give me some time to get around to it.
If you got anything to add, drop a comment below in the comment section.
And follow my Twitter here.
Thanks for reading.
PS: Enjoyed this article? Then check out a few other articles (among others) that I wrote on my experiences in Northern Mexico City in the links here.
Article 1: A Shower to the Sound of Bullets in Mexico City
Article 2: How to Get a Free Mask in Mexico City
Article 3: Half-Ass Work in Latin America
Article 4: An Afternoon at the San Juan de Aragon Zoo in CDMX
Article 5: Road Rage in Lindavista
Article 6: Personal Experiences with the Water Shortage in Mexico City