Outdoor Activities in Mexico City

Find out about the many parks and outdoor activities in Mexico City <strong><em>–</em></strong> hiking, cycling and adventure sports...

Mexico City has much to offer outdoor enthusiasts and there is a wide range of activities which can be enjoyed year-round due to the mild climate. The Department of Tourism (Secretaría de Turismo) in Mexico City has listings of outdoor and ecotourism activities, searchable by location.

Parks

There are 13 national parks in Mexico City (CDMX) and neighboring Estado de México. Wikipedia has a comprehensive list of national parks in Mexico.

There are many city parks and green spaces in Mexico City. These are very popular destinations, especially on weekends, for picnics, to play sports, walk dogs, ride bicycles or simply for a stroll. Many parks have weekend tianguis (open-air markets) nearby, and some have museums, art galleries, zoos, and other attractions on site. Others are important ecological sites and protected zones that feature nature walks and the opportunity to see various types of wildlife. Some of the most popular parks are listed below:

  • Chapultepec Park (in Spanish): Latin America’s largest city park is located near Polanco/Chapultepec, with easy access by Metro. The park features a zoo, a lake with paddle-boats, the Chapultepec Castle, the Museum of Anthropology, the Tamayo Museum, several important monuments and more. There is an extensive network of paths in the park, and many are lined with vendors selling food and souvenirs
  • Lincoln Park: Located in Polanco, the park features a museum, an aviary, a theater, several monuments, a playground and two man-made ponds popular with toy-boat enthusiasts. The restaurants and shops in Polanquito are only a few steps away from this park, and on weekends, there is a tianguis
  • Parque Nacional Desierto de los Leones (in Spanish): West of the city, this national park is situated in a pine forest, with a wide range of animal and plant life. Underground tunnels, gardens, walking paths, a deer reserve, restaurants and a former convent are other features of this extensive outdoor space
  • La Marquesa: This national park is located just west of the city, in Estado de México, and is a popular area for walking and horse riding. Nearby activities include go-karting, zip-lining, cycling and motorcycling. There are also several restaurants
  • Tlalpan (in Spanish): This delegación is located in the south west of the city, and is home to several national parks, including the Cumbres del Ajusco, ecological conservation zones, pyramids, and extinct volcanoes. Horse riding, mountain biking, cycling, hiking, and ATV (quad) courses are available at various locations throughout the area
  • Vivero Coyoacán (in Spanish): This national park features an extensive tree nursery, producing trees that are donated to various organizations with the goal of reforesting the city
  • Reservo Ecologico Cuernanco-Xochimilco: Located in the south of the city, this green space features picnic areas, walking and cycling tracks, and children’s activities
  • Parque Ecologico Xochimilco (in Spanish): Designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, this park has areas for sports, cycling paths, botanical gardens and boat rides

Cycling

A cycling culture has grown significantly in recent years in Mexico City. The Ecobici cycle-sharing program has encouraged cycle use, and the number of cycling paths continues to increase.

Cycle paths

Maps of cycle paths (ciclovías) are available via the following websites (in Spanish):

Sunday Cycling on Reforma: Every Sunday, Reforma and connecting routes to the Zócalo are closed to traffic until 14:00 and taken over by cyclists, roller skaters, walkers and joggers. The route is lined with repair and medical stations, and there are music, yoga and dance classes. Ecobici stations can be found along most of the route, making this event accessible to those who do not own bicycles, including visitors to Mexico City.

Ciclotón: On the last Sunday of every month, an extended cycling route allows cyclists to ride more than 30 Km throughout the city. The route is closed to traffic, and runs from 08:00 to 14:00. Occasionally, the Ciclotón is canceled for marathons or other events along the same route. Up-to-date information about the Ciclotón is available on the INDEPORTE Ciudad de México website and the Ciclotón Facebook page (in Spanish).

The national park known as Parque San Nicolás Totolapan has a popular mountain bike track with several downhill courses.

Hiking and Mountaineering

Mexico City’s proximity to mountains and extinct volcanoes makes it an excellent place for mountaineering and hiking. A very popular spot for hikers is the Ajusco Volcano, located just south of Mexico City.

The Nevado de Toluca, Mexico’s fourth highest mountain, is located west of Mexico City, and offers moderate alpine climbing.

Iztaccíhuatl, frequently referred to as The Sleeping Lady, is Mexico’s third highest mountain, and is located less than two hours from Mexico City. Summit Post provides an overview of Mexico’s mountains and volcanoes, with detailed information about how to get there, suggested climbing routes, and local guides, as well as information about any permit requirements or fees.  Additionally, many tour operators offer organized trips to these and other mountains.

Water Sports

Diving: Although there are no diving spots in the city itself, Mexico City is only a few hours away by car or air from Cozumel, Cancun, Chetumal, Ixtapa and other famous diving destinations in the Riviera Maya and the Mar de Cortes. There are many dive shops in Mexico City that offer courses, certification and equipment rentals; many also arrange diving trips to various destinations.

Adventure Sports and Activities

Go-karting: There are several places to enjoy go-karting within 90 minutes of Mexico City.

Hang-gliding and paragliding: Valle de Bravo, 150 Km from Mexico City, is renowned for hang-gliding and para-gliding. Several companies offer packages for all levels of experience, including instruction, equipment and flying time.

Hot-air ballooning: Hot-air balloon rides are possible over the Teotihuacan Volcano, with a range of package options including private rides, group rides, and anniversary, engagement or birthday themes.

Horse riding: Horse riding and excursions can be arranged by tour operators at the base of the Ajusco Volcano, and there are a number of riding clubs and ranches offering lessons or day-trips.

Golf: Mexico City is home to many golf courses. Most of these are private; however, some allow guests.

Tour Operators

There are many tour companies in Mexico City that offer various activity-based tours and days out in and near the city.  Group Segway tours can also be organized.