The Best Parks In Mexico City
By Francesca de Luca
If you think about Mexico City, the first image that probably comes on your mind is a maze of busy streets and avenues packed with buildings and houses, and you are indeed right. However, what you may not know is that the city has plenty to offer in terms of parks, gardens and tree-lined streets along with world-class museums and historical buildings. Here is our list of Mexico City´s favourite green spaces.
Mercado de Jamaica
If you love flowers, mercado de Jamaica (Jamaica market) is the place to visit. As the capital's wholesale flower market, it offers an incredible experience, an explosion of colours and flagrances. Besides all the regular flowers and plants, the market changes a lot according to the season. For example in October and November, the market turns orange as it is filled with “cempasúchil” (Mexican marigolds) for the Day of the Dead celebrations. Whatever the season, enjoy the stroll among the market’s huge variety of flowers, many of which will be probably new to you!
UNAM botanical garden
To enjoy a completely different landscape, head to the botanical garden located on the volcanic ground of the main campus of UNAM, one of the most important universities in Mexico City and the whole Latin America. Cactus and other succulents are the stars here however you can admire the whole country’s flora diversity that includes also plants typical of jungles and forests. One of the oldest in the country, it hosts up to 24,000 species of native plants, 300 of these thought to be considered at some level of endangerment.
Parque Hundido is an ideal noise-isolated spot for relaxation because of its sunken landscape, hence its name. Reproductions of archaeological pre-Hispanic sculptures are placed in various parts of the park tracing various walking routes - the Zapotec, Mayan, Olmec, Totonac, and Huastec – which are used mainly by runners and joggers. The main attraction is a floral clock, created by a prestigious watchmaker. There is also the Audiorama, an seating area with speakers tucked away in lush vegetation, which sometimes hosts events such as conferences, bingo games, some small-scale plays, workshops or jazz festivals.
The greatest urban park in Mexico City, Chapultepec is the capital’s lung with an extension of roughly a thousand and a half acres. This urban oasis is not only extremely rich in flora and fauna, hosting also its own botanical garden, but also in art and history being home to the Chapultepec Castle and some of the best museums in town: the Museum of Anthropology, one of the finest museums in the world of its kind, the Museum of Modern Art and Tamayo Museum. Locals love spending their weekends there walking, visiting one of the museums, rowing a boat in the lake or just relaxing. Chapultepec has something to offer to every one so enjoy discovering its hidden gems and locals favourite spots!
Built at the end of the XVI century with the aim of embellishing the city, Alameda Central is the capital’s oldest park one of the preferred areas of Mexican families to go for a stroll during the weekend. Located in the heart of the historical centre, near the white-marble opera house and museum, Bellas Artes, the park takes its name from the beautiful “alamos” (poplar trees) which were originally planted in the park. In fact, every central park of every town in Mexico takes on the name “Alameda”. Stroll around the park’s paved pathways, fountains and sculptures, and enjoy some people watching!
Parque México y España
If its true that all streets lead to Rome, all the streets of La Condesa converge at Parque Mexico, the jewel of the trendy neighbourhood’s life. Characterised by its elliptical shape, Parque Mexico stands out for the Art Deco style of its fountains and its open-air theatre, Foro Lindbergh. Also many of the buildings that line the park on all sides are great examples of Mexico City Art Deco so make sure to get a glimpse of them. The park is also home to a pond and walkways where people love walking their dogs, exercising or simply chilling. In its vicinity, Parque España is also worth a visit. This leafy area was once the entrance to the Condesa’s race tracks, and today, serves as an important green area in the neighbourhood.
Viveros is the Coyoacán borough’s oasis of greenery and fresh air. The park operates as a tree nursery and it hosts a large number of plant species including tropical plants and different types of cacti. It is an excellent spot to simply walk and chill or to play sports. Early in the morning and at weekends it fills up with joggers, martial artists, people doing yoga or simply having a picnic with friends and families. It also hosts a permanent flower and plant market.