Zona Rosa (Pink Zone) is a bustling district in Mexico City mostly known for its nightlife, its shopping, its cafes, its gay scene and its immigrant heritage, which can be seen everywhere in its architecture as well as its street names (all named after European cities).
Originally, Zona Rosa was named Zona Americana and was mostly a residential area for the affluent upper class in Mexico City. However, around the 50’s, its antique mansions began being transformed into cafés, boutiques, art galleries, clubs and more. It became known for its bohemian feeling and was a favourite go-to place for intellectuals.
During the devastating earthquake that destroyed Mexico City 1985, Zona Rosa was deeply affected and many of its inhabitants moved to other up and coming zones such as Polanco.
In the 1990’s, Zona Rosa resurfaced and became known for its gay community due to the high amount of bars and clubs that formally declared themselves gay. Zona Rosa, however, is not 100% a gay district compared to others in cities such as San Francisco and New York. The largest gay scene can be found along Ambares Street, but other neighboring streets such as Madrid are not officially declared as such, creating a wonderful mix of tolerance.
Due to its ever-changing status and the need to reconstruct many of its buildings after the historical earthquake of 1985, Zona Rosa is a mixture of modern and old buildings. However, its art Nouveau influence is visible in every corner.
Zona Rosa is also the home to a large number of museums, including:
The origin of name of the district is attributed to its original look, because most buildings were painted pink. Other sources state that the name was given to the zone by José Luis Cuevas, a Mexican painter who came up with the idea of Rosa (pink) because the area was “white” during the day and “red” during the night (the red attributes to its gay scene and high number of drugs and prostitution). Others say that the name honours Cuban actress Rosa Carmina.
All in all, even though Zona Rosa has lost its “chic” status from before the 50’s, it is still a must-see if you are in Mexico City. Its buildings, pedestrian streets such as Genova street and nightlife will not disappoint you and you will find yourself wanting to come back and urging everyone who visits to give it a go.
Metro: Insurgentes or Sevilla
Metrobus: Reforma, Hamburgo or Insurgentes