Chapultepec Park

Mexico City’s Bosque de Chapultepec is a lot of things on a Sunday. In the morning, it is cool and tranquil, with joggers, cyclists and walkers. As the day progresses and more people begin to arrive, the early morning feeling of solitude and peace disappears.

However, with four square kilometers of park, there is enough room for everyone and an amazing array of diversions for the day. The choices are many: a shady spot for a picnic, paddle boats on the lake, an amusement park with a roller coaster, or a couple of world class museums. In other words: do nothing or do a lot.

I have been fortunate enough to spend lazy days in London’s Hyde Park and Hampstead Heath, New York’s Central Park, Golden Gate Park, Vancouver’s Stanley Park and the Bois de Boulogne in Paris. Our Sunday in Bosque de Chapultepec was as good as any I have spent in the other world-class parks.

We entered at the Quebrada gate on Avenida Chapultepec, photographing flowers and cyclists as we walked to the Monumento a los Niños Heroes. We  met our friend Laura, and spent a couple of hours in the Museo de Arte Moderno enjoying the paintings by Rivera, Sigueros and Orozco.

Jennifer in a glass installation at the Museum of Modern Art.

When it was time for lunch we strolled to nearby Polanco, because it was nearby. But it was Sunday and a lot of restaurants were closed. The colonia (neighborhood) of Gucci, Tiffany and Bulgari wasn’t offering any interesting restaurant choices in our budget (tacos al pastor at three times the norm). In fact, the uninteresting restaurants weren’t in our budget, either.

So, we hailed a taxi and went to Colonia Roma (now our favorite neighborhood). Laura and her friend, Marie, (both working and studying in DF) steered us to Delirio, a great little bistro created by Chef Monica Patiño, one of Mexico’s celebrated chefs. This busy place is a creative Mexican mix of trattoria and deli, serving fresh food in a hip, urban atmosphere. There were great salads, sandwiches, Mediterranean specialities and reasonable prices.

After lunch, we returned to Chapultepec and the Museo Nacional de Antropología.  Another of Mexico City’s world class museums, it features installations and artifacts from each of the country’s regions.

Many of the Mayan sites in the Yucatan, Campeche and Chiapas have had their most valuable statues, stelae, and jewels removed and brought here. Since we have visited most of the sites in the Mexican Mayan world, it was only natural that we would concentrate our visit here. The quality of the museum and the artifacts is exceptional.

So, we missed the paddle boats, the zoo and some of the other park attractions. That’s the great thing about a world-class urban park, there is something for everyone. There was certainly enough for us.

NEXT: Museums of Centro and the answer to the question: “Can you find happiness on the City Tour Bus”?