Mexico City is becoming one of the greenest cities in the world. Last year, it claimed first place in the category of “Living Green for Climate Change” in the World Green City Awards 2022, a competition organized by the International Association of Horticultural Producers. Sure, the word “green” could be substituted for “sustainable” in that context, but efforts like replanting the countryside and installing vertical gardens in the urban center helped to earn Mexico City the award, which means it’s also literally becoming a greener city.
Parks are one of the most obvious places to look for greenery in Mexico City. And the parks in Mexico City boast some impressive titles of their own, from the oldest and largest park in Latin America to the oldest public park in the Americas at large. You probably won’t have time to see every single park in Mexico City during a single trip, but it’s worth planning to see at least a few. These are nine of the best parks in Mexico City to prioritize when you need a peaceful moment to yourself in the world’s fifth most populated city.
The best parks in Mexico City, mapped
Bosque de Chapultepec
According to the World Monuments Fund, Bosque de Chapultepec claims two superlatives as Latin America’s largest and oldest urban park. That also makes the pre-Columbian meeting place one of the oldest city parks anywhere in the world. Technically, bosque translates to forest, but the park is a nice mix of green spaces, paved areas, and water features, which cover a total of nearly 1,700 acres. Attractions within the park include Chapultepec Castle, the National History Museum that’s housed within the castle, the Museo Rufino Tamayo contemporary art museum, and a zoo.
Where New York City has Central Park, London has Hyde Park, and San Francisco has Golden Gate Park, Mexico City has Alameda Central, which is often cited as the oldest public park in the Americas, dating back to 1592. The park covers roughly 20 acres and is flanked by several important museums and landmarks, including the Palacio de Bellas Artes, Museu Nacional de Arte, and Museo de Arte Popular. Visitors can enjoy a number of relaxing activities in Alameda Central, from strolling along the promenades, to relaxing at kiosks within the park, to attending cultural events like concerts and open-air theater performances.
Parque Ecológico de Xochimilco
If you’re at all familiar with Mexico City travels, the name Xochimilco probably rings a bell, owing to the Xochimilco canals, a UNESCO World Heritage site and popular outing for float days. But the canals belong to a greater nature reserve in Mexico City called the Parque Ecológico de Xochimilco that spans more than 400 acres. Visitors can explore various ecosystems within the park, such as wetlands, marshes, and forests with trails. Parque Ecológico de Xochimilco is also home to a number of traditional Mexican cultural artifacts, including ancient ruins and chinampas, referring to a Mesoamerican agricultural technique resembling floating gardens.
Parque Hundido’s most recognizable feature is its flower clock, a beautifully landscaped timepiece designed by watchmaker Relojes Centenario. Another unique feature of the park is its audiorama, which is essentially a small amphitheater that’s designed for listening experience such as classical music or jazz concerts, poetry readings, or outdoor film showings or plays. A nice park for families and visitors of all ages, Parque Hundido also has children’s playgrounds and chess areas, as well as designated spaces where pet-owners can keep their dogs off-leash. To get a little movement, find an EcoBici station by the park and enjoy the bike tracks.
Parque Nacional Bosque de Tlalpan
Bosque de Tlalpan is a federally protected park on the southern edge of Mexico City. Spanning more than 600 acres, it makes for a nice day trip for nature lovers. Some 200 species of flora and 130 species of fauna (83 of which are birds) are known to inhabit the park, including tropical ash trees and a type of orchid called bletia urbana. Animals you might encounter within the park include rufous-breasted hawks and crested quetzals. Joggers can loop the park on running tracks, there are also plenty of paved pathways to walk. If you’re lucky, you might even be able to catch a concert or performance at the park’s Casa de la Cultura.
Parque Masayoshi Ohira
Parque Masayoshi Ohira adds something different to the Mexico City parks landscape: a Japanese-inspired park with a pagoda-esque structure, East Asian-inspired bridge, torii gates, and cherry trees. The park takes its name from Masayoshi Ohira, the first prime minister of Japan to visit Mexico. Originally called Parque de la Pagoda when it was inaugurated in 1942, the park already had an East Asian theme prior to Ohira’s visit, after which it was rehabilitated and renamed in his honor. The park’s nicely maintained current form is the product of multiple reconstructions due to fire damage and general disuse over the years.
Parque La Mexicana
Parque La Mexicana is a state-of-the-art public park in Santa Fe, a modern and business-centric area of Mexico City. Spanning nearly 75 acres, the park has a wide range of amenities in addition to lawns and gardens, including a jogging track, bike lanes, and a skate park. Water features are another highlight of the eco-minded park, notably rainwater-filled lakes that help with irrigation while the artificial lighting is powered by solar panels. Additions to the park are still in the works to improve the visitor experience, from the number of shops and restaurants visitors can enjoy to facilities for sports like soccer and basketball.
Parque Nacional Desierto de los Leones
The name of this park translates to “desert of the lions” in English though it’s neither arid nor will you see any big safari cats roaming around. It’s referred to as a desert because it occupies a sparsely populated area in the Sierra de las Cruces mountains west of Mexico City — sprawling over 4,500 acres to boot — and the name Leones comes from the original landowner. In addition to hiking trails and a variety of wildlife, the park was once the site of a 17th-century convent and showcases a number of interesting stone structures with which visitors can interact. One of the buildings now houses a museum.
Parque México, officially Parque General San Martín, is a historic park in La Condesa, a fashionable neighborhood in Mexico City that’s famous for its tree-lined streets, Art Deco and Art Nouveau architecture, and many shops, cafes, bars, clubs, and restaurants. At roughly 22 acres, the park is the beating heart of La Condesa, or perhaps the lungs given the greenery that it adds to the area. You’ll find all the features of a charming city park in Parque México, from the statues and fountains to the duck pond and dog park. Grab a book, claim a bench, and enjoy.
Where to stay near the best parks in Mexico City
Mexico City is a large, dense city located in a highlands plateau, so you always feel like you’re surrounded by nature. That means that in addition to the urban parks scattered around the city, there’s a lot of open space on the outskirts, as well. The parks in Mexico City listed above aren’t concentrated in a single area, but many of them are situated in popular neighborhoods where there are lots of accommodations, from homey Mexico City Airbnbs to trendy Mexico City hotels. Here are a few good options near the best parks in Mexico City.
The Ritz-Carlton, Mexico City
One of Mexico City’s premier hotels, the Ritz-Carlton is located on the northeastern edge of Bosque de Chapultepec in the financial district, which also means it’s about 15 minutes by car to Alameda Central and 25 minutes to Parque México on foot. The sky-high luxury hotel’s proximity to some of the finest parks in Mexico City is a major selling point, but honestly, you’ll get some of the best views of Chapultepec from right inside your room.
Where: Av. Paseo de la Reforma 509, Cuauhtémoc, 06500
Price per night: From $644
If you’re looking to stay someplace cool but quiet in Mexico City’s trendy Coyoacán neighborhood, you’ll love the Casa Jacinto guesthouse. The rooms and bright and airy, the decor is cozy yet vibrant, and there’s a lovely garden on the property that would make for the perfect final stop on a tour of Mexico City’s parks. In addition to being walking distance from attractions like the Mercado de Coyoacán and Museo Frida Kahlo, Casa Jacinto is also close to Parque Hundido and Parque Masayoshi Ohira.
Where: Segunda, Cda. Belisario Domínguez 22, Del Carmen, Coyoacán, 04100
Price per night: $126
Two-Bedroom Apartment in Parque La Mexicana
It’d be hard to get closer to Parque La Mexicana than this spacious two-bedroom apartment in Santa Fe, which advertises itself as being inside the park. The Santa Fe neighborhood itself is an excellent choice for travelers, being one of the busiest areas in Mexico City. Filled with professionals, students, and tons of great restaurants, you’ll find endless options for dining, drinking, and shopping — plus a respite from the bustle in Parque La Mexicana.
Two bedrooms, seven guests
Price per night: $179