Published on July 12th, 2016 | by Mark Chesnut
Roma Norte: A Shopping Tour of Mexico City’s Coolest Neighborhood
As one of the largest cities in the world, Mexico City is a hub of creativity with countless neighborhoods to explore. When it comes to shopping, the area known as Roma Norte is one of the most rewarding if you’re in the market for interesting and unique work by Mexican designers. The broad avenue called Alvaro Obregón is the main strip to wander, but taking strolls down nearly any shady street will eventually lead you to interesting shopping.
I have to admit that this isn’t my favorite topic, but luckily my husband Angel is more of a shopaholic, so he very kindly offered to take notes during our most recent Mexico vacation, to show the fruits of several days of shopping in Mexico City’s hip Roma Norte neighborhood. Not a single big clothing chain here, and no so-called “luxury brands” — just authentically stylish Mexican designs that can help you look good. Here’s a roundup of some of the best places to shop in Mexico City (as well as a sample of what Angel bought in several of them). And in case all this shopping in Mexico City has you feeling tired, you can also check out my recommendations on 7 Things To Do in Mexico City’s Condesa District (which is nearby), and I’ve included a couple interesting Roma Norte restaurants for refueling.
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Located on a beautifully quiet little block, 180° stocks eye-catching clothing and footwear for men, women and children — as well as a handful of well-curated art and photography books — promising “Mexican design beyond the trends.”
What Angel bought: Sweatpants-style casual pants, and a skinny cloth tie with polka dots, made by a designer in the workshop space above the store.
A Través del Espejo
Avenida Alvaro Obregón 118
No fashion here, but if you’re looking for a few vintage books to add to your collection, in either English or Spanish, this is an interesting place to poke around.
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Avenida Obregón 185
If you’re in Mexico City long enough to buy a bicycle, come here for some retro two-wheel flavor, with lots of colors and accessories.
Avenida Obregón 185
Casual clothing, jewelry, accessories and shoes for men and women from a variety of Mexican designers fill this tiny, two-story shop.
What Angel bought: A two-tone gray button-down shirt that looks like it has reverse stitching. I also picked up a pair of spectator shoes with camouflage fabric.
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Custom-made shoes are the specialty here; you can choose your favorite fabric, color, pattern and style and they will create it for you (off-the-rack sales are also encouraged). The shop also stocks men’s and women’s clothing and accessories. In the back there’s a retro-hip barbershop with exposed brick walls and guys with beards.
What Angel bought: Seafoam-green leather Bilbo shoes.
Pasaje Commercial El Parian, Avenida Alvaro Obregón 130 Local 5
Located in a narrow walkway lined with interesting small shops, this single-brand boutique stocks the creations of Mexican designer Jaime Hemsani, including colorful shirts, pants and shoes.
What Angel bought: A pair of spectator-style sneakers.
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Calle Mérida 122
Psychedelic and colorful T-shirts with Mexican and other images, Larva is a boutique for men and women looking for casual style.
What Angel bought: A sport jacket ant two tank tops with complex, vibrant designs that look almost glow-in-the-dark.
This eclectic shop stocks clothing, home decor, skateboards, and also does tattoos and body piercing — and also hosts art exhibits.
What Angel bought: A surprisingly subdued dark-blue T-shirt with black accents and balloonish Glom Urbain shorts with anchor motif.
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RESTAURANTS IN ROMA NORTE
Burger Bar Joint
Alvaro Obregón 100
It’s not Mexican, but if you’re using too many calories and need a major transfusion, consider this casual eatery, which is open late and serves good milkshakes, giant onion rings and towering hamburgers with lots of condiments.
Alvaro Obregón 154
Fresh seafood, Mexican specialties and cocktails are served for lunch and early dinner, with perfectly retro-cool decor and indoor and outdoor seating that’s perfect for people watching.