As the great dancer (he was also a philosopher, apparently) Nietzsche once said: “We should consider every day lost on which we have not danced at least once”, and that is even more true when visiting the Mexican capital! We put on our dancing shoes and went to the most hip-and-happening salsa bars we could find to bring you this list of the 5 best salsa clubs in Mexico City!
Born from a combination of Cuban son, jazz, and other Caribbean rhythms, salsa has become one of the foundations of the city’s nightlife. From legendary dance halls to cosmopolitan nightclubs, you’ll never run out of amazing salsa dancing spots!
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1. Salon Los Angeles
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People have been dancing the night away at Salón Los Angeles dance hall since 1937, and it’s such an established salsa club that their motto is: “If you haven’t been to Los Angeles, you haven’t been to Mexico”.
Salón Los Angeles has seen the birth of many famous salsa bands over the years, and has been a favorite hangout for iconic Mexican celebrities such as Cantinflas, Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, and even Fidel and Raúl Castro during their stay in Mexico making it the undeniable centerpiece of the Mexico City dance scene.
Located in the heart of the Guerrero neighborhood, drop by for the famous ‘Danzón Tuesdays’ or ‘Caribbean Music Sundays’ for a lively experience.
Can’t dance? No problem, Salón Los Angeles has weekly dance classes for beginners!
Where is Salón Los Angeles? Lerdo 206, Guerrero, Cuauhtémoc, 06300 Ciudad de México, CDMX
2. El Babalú
El Babalú is one of the most popular salsa clubs in Mexico City thanks to its classic décor, incredible live music, and young international crowd.
To enter the dance hall, make your way through the popular Salón Ríos bar, where palomas (grapefruit soda with tequila) or whiskey on the rocks flow freely, and head up the narrow stairs at the back of the bar.
Get your salsa on every Thursday night, and if you need to brush up on your dancing, beginner classes start at 9:00 pm for just $100.00 MXN per person (includes a free drink to loosen you up). From 11.00 pm the live music kicks off and the place starts to really fill up.
On Fridays, there’s usually only bachata and kizomba music playing.
Where is El Babalú? Rio Lerma 218, Cuauhtémoc, 06500 Ciudad de México, CDMX
3. La Bodeguita del Medio
You’ll be hard pressed to find a more authentic Cuban experience in Mexico City than La Bodeguita del Medio. This bustling bar is decorated with old Cuban photos, and it even has a sister bar in Havana! The walls peppered with graffiti and autographs of famous visitors, a tradition originally started in their Havana branch where Ernest Hemingway and Agustín Lara have left their mark.
There’s live music here every night, and authentic Cuban son fills the dancefloor with twirling salsa dancers. Beginners should visit on Tuesdays for some of the best salsa classes in the city.
Don’t leave without trying their incredible mojitos!
Where is La Bodeguita del Medio? Cozumel 37, C. U. Benito Juárez, 06700 Ciudad de México, CDMX
4. Mama Rumba
For more than 25 years, Mama Rumba has been the go-to Cuban salsa club in Mexico City. Located in the beautiful Roma neighborhood, Mama Rumba once saw celebrities such as Javier Bardem, Johnny Depp, and Catherine Zeta Jones busting some moves on its dance floor.
Nowadays, it continues to be a bastion of Cuban salsa, with crowds dancing into the early hours – they say that not sweating enough at Mama Rumba is even considered rude!
You don’t need to be a salsa expert to come here and have a good time, just sit back with a mojito and some Cuban snacks and enjoy the music. If you’re lucky, one of the regulars will be more than willing to show you the basics for free!
The best day to visit Mama Rumba is Wednesdays: women don’t pay an entry fee and there are usually deals on cocktails.
Where is Mama Rumba? Calle Querétaro 230, Roma Norte, 06700 Ciudad de México, CDMX
5. Salón Tropicana
Salón Tropicana and its vibrant atmosphere have become legendary over the years, making it one of the most popular salsa clubs in Mexico City. With live music varying from Afro-Caribbean salsa, to merengue, to rumba, Salón Tropicana attracts huge crowds of dancers and spectators every weekend.
If you’ve built up an appetite after all that dancing, there’s plenty of tasty food on offer here. Snack on a spicy guacamole and wash it down with a cocktail or a clamato beer!
There’s no entry fee before 9pm, but the party really kicks off around 11pm.
Where is Salón Tropicana? Eje Central Lázaro Cárdenas 43 Planta baja, Centro Historico, Cuauhtémoc, 06010 Ciudad de México, CDMX