Mexico City is a big, chaotic, beautiful, and truly unique city for photographers.
For the past 4 years, I’ve been sharing my street photography on Instagram and I just finished a short documentary of how to navigate Mexico City as a photographer – especially aimed at foreigners visiting Mexico.
Watch the photographers guide to Mexico City
Is Mexico City Safe for photographers?
Mexico doesn’t have the best reputation in the world when it comes to safety – but it’s a bit country, and Mexico City is a huge city, so it’s difficult to talk in general, when speaking about anything related to Mexico or Mexico City.
“Is it dangerous to walk around with my camera in Mexico City?”
I’d say it’s like any other big city. Some areas are safer than others. La Roma, Condesa, Coyoacan, Polanco and Chapultepec are all safe, if you ask me.
I have walked those areas hundreds of times, with all my street photography gear, and had no issue. (I always walk around with multiple fuji lenses and my Fuji X-T4 which is a pretty small camera).
Downtown Mexico City or Centro Historico is a bit rougher around the edges. Think LA downtown. It’s fine if you know you’re way around and speak the language a bit, but it’s not a smart place to flash your expensive camera around, alone, at night.
Travel-tip: Always use Uber or Didi for moving around – unless it’s walking distance of course. Never use the taxis. You want your trip being tracked for your own safety, plus it’s a lot cheaper.
La Roma and La Condesa
The two popular and fancy neighborhoods of Mexico City. La Condesa and La Roma are safe to walk with your camera out in the daytime. I have lived in both neighborhoods and they are basically identical. Lots of foreigners, restaurants, and bars – and Condesa just has a bit more green juice and activewear.
Xochimilco and the colorful boats
I can not recommend going to Xochimilco enough. Just watch the video at the beginning of this blog post and you’ll see why. You must go to the boats in Xochimilco called La Trajineras – and bringing your camera is important for this unique place.
Downtown (Centro Historico)
Downtown is my favorite place for doing street photography, because of the wide variety of people from every class of the society, unlike La Roma or La Condesa.
If you, as a foreigner and especially as a female photographer, I’d recommend walking around with a friend and avoid taking photos in the night or evening.
The Pyramids in Teotihuacán
The pyramids in CDMX are a sight worth seeing, especially if you’ve never seen pyramids before, which I hadn’t. Going to the pyramids I’d suggest you go my Uber and ask your river to wait there and bring you back after your visit. If you’re into landscape photography, visiting the pyramids is a must.
Coyoacán – The town with Frida’s museum
The hometown of Frida Khalo and where her Museum is. This is a perfect place for foreigners and tourists to explore Mexican culture in a safe environment. Coyoacan is always packed with people enjoying their spare time and there will be plenty of opportunities for taking street portraits of strangers if you’re into that.
The Day of The Dead
The concept of the day of the dead is confusing to a lot of photographers, because it is confusing! The Day of Dead is the 2 November and the Saturday before this, is the Day of The Dead Parade, two different events.
Upon Mexico’s Day of the Dead, I’d recommend you to visit San Andrés Mixquic or Michoacán. Don’t stay in Mexico City, because you want to see the beautiful alters and cemeteries as a photographer, and for that, you need to be in either Michoacán or Mixquic.
El Bazar Sabado in San Angel
This bazaar is every Saturday and probably Mexico’s best art market. In this video is explore the art market while taking photos of strangers.
Best Tacos in Mexico City
This is a very subjective topic, but my favorite street food and tacos in Mexico City are Los Cocuyos in Downtown Mexico, made famous by Anthony Bourdain’s episode on the best street food in Mexico.
Polanco and Chapultepec
If you’re into luxury clothing Polanco is the place to go. Avenida Masaryk has all the big brands like Louis Vuitton, Prada, Gucci and all that.
And while you’re there, make sure to visit Chapultepec which is a huge green garden that’s very nice on Sunday’s.