Is Mexico City Safe for Tourists?

Before planning my trip to Mexico City, I read on many forums that Mexico City is unsafe. Well, I just want to let you know that Mexico City is just as safe as any large North American metropolitan city such as Los Angeles and New York. I think Mexico City is even safer than Los Angeles and New York because there is such a large police presence everywhere you go.

Mexico City Highway

Mexico City Highway

Police vehicles always have their lights on which is the norm so they can easily be sighted during the day and night. In addition to police vehicles  there are armed guards with shotguns and automatic weapons inside shops, including McDonalds! There is a heavy police presence in the Centro Historico Zocalo district where there is a police officer in almost every block.

Mexico City is only unsafe if you are in the middle of nowhere at midnight where no one is walking and there are hardly any vehicles. You should definitely stick to the main areas where there is heavy foot traffic and stay away from rural areas at night. During my 4 days in Mexico City, I have never encountered a rural area in Mexico City and just stuck to the tourist and the main street, Avenida Paseo de La Reforma.

Metro Auditorio Subway Station in Mexico City

Metro Auditorio Subway Station in Mexico City

If you want peace of mind, carry an unlocked GSM cell phone where you can buy a prepaid SIM from a local cellular provider called TelCell. I paid $150 MXN for a prepaid sim card which gave me unlimited local text, 75 anytime minutes, and free incoming calls. This is a bargain because you can call your hotel or a trusted taxi, Sitio 300 to come pick you up if you feel unsafe.

I walked pretty much everywhere on Avenida Paseo de La Reforma and there were plenty of joggers and people walking their dogs out, even during the midnight hours! There were a few DUI checkpoints being conducted during the night on Paseo de La Reforma, but nothing out of the ordinary. The structures in Mexico City are very modern, clean, and even more technological advanced than some developed cities in North America.

I did encounter some protests in Mexico City, but seemed pretty harmless as there was a police presence including media coverage.

Protesters on Avenida Paseo de La Reforma

Protesters on Avenida Paseo de La Reforma

Protesters want President Obama to stop the deportations

Protesters want President Obama to stop the deportations

The only slightest thing you will be disturbed by are beggars. You will see little kids, fake blind people, grown ups, and the elderly asking you for money. I encounter a beggar every day when walking in Downtown Los Angeles and on freeway off ramps, so this is no different.

Of course, you should always be aware of pick pocketers in any major city. So guys, please do not leave your wallet in the back pocket- always carry it in the front. Ladies, hold your purse in front of you and make sure your bags are all zipped up. The metro and buses tend to get packed during rush hour, so be on your guard.

Street vendors in Mexico City

Street vendors in Mexico City

You will encounter a lot of vendors everywhere which I assume most don’t have a license to sell because you can put up a shop anywhere on the streets of Mexico City. There are a lot of roaming vendors that will try to sell you 2 packs of gum for 5 pesos and marizpan/snacks around the city streets and subway metros- all of which are harmless. Here is a video I filmed of the Mexico City Metro system where roaming vendors are in every car of the metro trying to sell you their wares:

Overall, I would highly recommend Mexico City as a tourist destination since it’s relatively safe and you will get a great bang for your buck $1 USD = $12.72 MXN Pesos . It costs 3 pesos ($0.23 USD)to ride the metro, 5 pesos ($0.39 USD) for a can soft drink at 7-11, and 7 pesos ($0.55 USD) for a street taco.

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Points Summary
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17 Comments on "Is Mexico City Safe for Tourists?"

  1. Perfect timing, I’ve been thinking about a long weekend in Mexico City.

    At night, did you ride the metro or did you use taxis instead?

  2. I am going there next month. I haven’t heard anything bad about it thanks for the heads up.

  3. Hey would u say its safe to take a DSLR camera? I am going to the grand bahia principe tulum andvery nervous as my family is comin and they keep saying its not safe.

  4. I am going back to the states in a few weeks, but I am definitely coming back to Latin America (Peru has been home for over a year now). However, I have been torn lately between starting out in Mexico (specifically Mexico City), or Guatemala. I am on a tight budget as a travel writer. I would like to be able to /at least/ make it to Colombia before having to stop and replenish my funds. I was wondering if you could tell me approximately what you budgeted a day and how you lived on this budget.

  5. Thanks for the great info! Here some more, if anyone is interested.

  6. I couldn’t agree more with your assessment of Mexico City security. One, being from LA I know that there are areas which you do not visit at night or alone, but I also know that these are not areas I would want or need to go. The main areas when I visit Mexico City are the Centro Historico, La Roma, Condesa, San Angel and Coyoacan. These are the areas that you would want to see which happen to be safer and more affluent. With some exceptions, there is not much reason for the typical visitor to stray into more dangerous areas.

    Just use common sense and caution with taxis, etc. and you will feel the enchantment!

  7. My day in Mexico City earlier this year was fantastic. Like you said, very inexpensive, lots of great sites and just as safe as any major US city!

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