I’ll never forget the first time I flew over Mexico City. Looking out my airplane window, I was shocked by the stark contrast of concrete buildings against the green landscape. CDMX a.k.a. Ciudad de México is one of my favorite cities because of the sheer volume of nature that is integrated within it. Sure, there’s still plenty of commercial buildings and far too many cars on the road, but whenever I need a break from it all, I simply walk to the nearest park.
Since living here, I’ve discovered that Mexicans take their parks very seriously. There is always an occasion to visit one. At any moment, you’ll find birthday parties, salsa classes, artists displaying their work, fitness groups, dog walkers, street food vendors, couples cuddling, families taking a stroll, or all of the above.
For me, the parks serve as a way to better get to know the nature in Mexico City, breathe some fresh air, and take a break from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. For others, they serve as a meeting point and symbolize community. While there appears to be a park or plaza on nearly every corner, here are some of my favorite parks to explore the next time you’re in Mexico City.
Av México, next to Amsterdam in La Condesa, 06100 Ciudad de México, CDMX
I know this park the best and it holds a special place in my heart. It’s the first park I discovered when I moved to CDMX. Each time I visit it, I get nostalgic thinking about my journey to be able to call Mexico City home. Located on the border of two popular neighborhoods (Roma and Condesa), it’s my favorite spot to take a stroll and people watch with an americano while listening to a podcast. The park surrounds a large plaza that is adorned by beautiful arches and flowers. At the center, there’s typically children running in circles, personal trainers instructing with their clients, and of course, dogs playing fetch. Beautiful old buildings and traditional restaurants surround the park, so when you’re done people watching, be sure to grab a coffee or churro nearby.
Av. Insurgentes Sur S/N, Benito Juárez, Extremadura Insurgentes, 03740 Ciudad de México, CDMX
Literally meaning “sunken park” and referring to its sunken landscape, this is a great spot to grab some shade further south in the city and see nature in Mexico City. There are paths integrated throughout which are frequented not only by runners, but by rollerbladers and walkers as well. An unusually quiet spot due to its sunken nature, you might just find an old man dozing away on the park bench near the oversized floral clock, or a woman selling fresh pressed orange juice. If you come on the right day, you just might catch a concert in the park’s small amphitheater, tucked away in the middle of it all.
Between Av. Hidalgo and Av. Juarez, next to Palacio de Bellas Artes, Centro, 06010 Hervidero y Plancha, CDMX
Not to be confused with Parque Alameda, the popular shopping center, Alameda Central is a mere 15 minute walk from Plaza Zocalo and one of the oldest parks in the Americas. For that reason, it boasts a beautiful blend of history and classical fountains and is home to many civic events. The Benito Juárez Hemicycle is not to be missed, an impressive Neoclassical monument that commemorates the Mexican statesman Benito Juárez, well known and celebrated for his progressive nature. Go on a Sunday, when the main streets are closed to vehicular traffic, and you’ll have the entire road to yourself. No horns. No motorcyclists. Just you and other pedestrians enjoying a Sunday stroll on your way to the park. It’s a lovely way to experience nature in Mexico City and the best way to start the day! There are a variety of local artisans and vendors selling their handmade jewelry, art, and clothing amongst an impressive amount of statues. Definitely don’t miss out on a visit to Palacio de Bellas Artes next door. It’s the most stunning building in the entire city, in my humble opinion, and you can catch the perfect view from the Sears tower across the street.