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Did you know Chapultepec Park in Mexico City, also called the Bosque de Chapultepec, is the second largest park in Latin America?
It’s known as the lungs of Mexico City and is an oasis of greenery and an escape from the bustling city outside it. However, Chapultepec isn’t your usual park by any means and there’s much more to it than just some trees and jogging trails.
This complete Chapultepec guide covers everything you need to know about the Mexico City park, including:
- History and Fast Facts
- 10 best things to do in Chapultepec Park
- Map of the top things to do in Chapultepec Park
- Neighborhoods to explore near Chapultepec Park
- And much more!
Ready to go? There are over 700 guided experiences in Mexico City on Airbnb – and many of them go to Chapultepec – but this guide will help you discover all that Bosque de Chapultepec has to offer on your own time!
Want more of the outdoors? Join our new Sustainable Hiking Collective on Facebook to connect with the international hiking community, discover new destinations, join virtual trail cleanups, and take part in monthly sustainability challenges.
History and Fast Facts About Bosque de Chapultepec
In Spanish, Bosque de Chapultepec literally means Chapultepec forest because it covers more than 1,700 acres of the city.
The trees work hard to clean the smog and carbon from the air in Mexico City and also create a space for locals and tourists alike to stretch their legs and breath some fresh(ish) air in the capital.
It was first used as an escape for Aztec rulers (see Moctezuma’s Baths below) and then the castle was built for Mexican rules in the same vein.
They had good taste, because now that us commoners can get in the park gets more than 250,000 visitors every single day!
Chapultepec Castle has 360-degree views of the Mexico City skyline only made better with a gorgeous foreground of gardens, statues, and balconies.
10 Best Things to do in Bosque de Chapultepec
There’s a lot to see and discover here, but you can get started with this list of the 10 best things to do in the park!
1. Enjoy the View at Castillo de Chapultepec
Visiting the imposing Chapultepec Castle is the best thing to do in Chapultepec Park and you should definitely prioritize it. Entrance to the castle costs 70 pesos / 3.50 usd per person and is so worth the money.
We started our day walking up the winding road to the top of “Grasshopper Hill” where the castle sits. Once there, we explored the gardens and took in the beautiful panoramic view of Mexico City. On a sunny day it’s really stunning.
There’s also a museum explaining the history of the castle and lots of totally ornate and over the top bedrooms, bathrooms and sitting rooms you can check out.
We spent about two hours here, but if you’re a huge history buff you’ll definitely want to stay longer, or even book a guided tour of Chapultepec Castle to get the most out of your visit.
If you’re a photographer, the Chapultepec Castle is definitely one of the best things to do at Chapultepec Park
2. Ride a Roller Coaster
This park is so big there’s an entire theme park in it!
We didn’t visit it, but La Feria Chapultepec Magico is a great thing to do in Chapultepec Park if you have kids.
Day passes to La Feria Chapultepec Magico are 200 pesos / 10 usd per person (you can get them for 180 mxn online) and the amusement park has food, drinks and over 40 different rides and attractions to check out.
3. Visit a Museum
There’s a museum in Chapultepec Park for every taste.
The list includes:
- Museo Tamayo
- The Museum of Modern Art (free on Sundays)
- The National Museum of Anthropology (the most visited museum in Mexico City)
- The National History Museum (located in Castillo de Chapultepec)
- Casa de Largo Cultural Center
- And many others!
We visited the Casa de Lago Cultural Center, which is located in a lake house and had a small but interesting gallery inside. But if you only have time for one, I recommend the insanely massive National Museum of Anthropology because it’s one of the most popular tourist attractions in the country. This top-rated Anthropology Museum tour on Airbnb is a great way to get the most out of your visit.
Entrance costs 75 mxn / 4 usd and it’s open from 9 am to 7 pm every day of the year.
If you’re an art or history lover, visiting the museums should be at the top of your list of things to do in Chapultepec Park. You may even need to make more than one trip just to see them all!
Can you spot the Giant Panda in this photo?
4. Visit the Giant Pandas at the Zoologico de Chapultepec
I gotta admit, I’m a sucker for some pandas.
It’s been my dream for years to see one but despite all the traveling I do I’ve actually never gotten to. Because of that, I was so excited when I found out there are two pandas at the Chapultepec Zoo and that the zoo is free!
This was second on our list of things to do in Chapultepec Park and was about a 20-minute walk from the Chapultepec Castle.
China gifted two pandas to Mexico City in the ’70s and the two living at the park today are their surviving offspring. They were just laying and chilling and doing super cute panda stuff while we were there and I loved it!
The zoo also has tons of other animals and exhibits, but it was so crowded when we went that we decided to just see the pandas and call it a day. If you go on a weekday rather than a Sunday afternoon, you’ll probably have a better time.
5. Shop ‘Til You Drop at the Chapultepec Market
I’m not sure whether or not the market is open all week, but it was definitely poppin’ on the weekend.
On Saturdays and Sundays (at least) tons of vendors set up stalls selling food, snacks, ice cream, treats, souvenirs, and toys.
There’s a lot of interesting Mexican street food here that you should try before you leave the country like giant pork rinds with piles of toppings, mango with chili sauce, and these dried fruit balls whose description definitely got lost in translation for me.
It honestly felt like the road never ended. Anything you want to buy in Chapultepec Park… it’s here.
6. Eat Lunch at the Food Stands in Chapultepec Park
If you know me, you know eating will always be one of my favorite things to do in Chapultepec Park.
I had the best meal there and it was so cheap! We ate near the zoo entrance and market where there is a road with a bunch of small restaurant stands on it.
I ordered chicken Milanese and got a huge piece of fried chicken with rice, a salad, french fries, and tortillas for only 75 mxn / 4 usd. Pretty much everyone around us was eating something different and literally, everything looked and smelled amazing… you can’t go wrong with the Mexican food at Chapultepec Park.
Boats on Chapultepec Lake
7. Relax at the Lake
Bring a blanket and a good book to Chapultepec Park and you’ll be set for the day.
After walking all around the castle and the zoo I was ready to relax.
There’s a large lake on one side of the road where you can rent boats to ride around in and a smaller lake that has green space and trees around it.
We plopped down in a shady spot and spent Sunday doing what Sundays are for… nothing 🙂
8. Chill in the Hammock Zone
This is seriously such a good idea, I don’t know why more parks don’t implement it.
There’s a hammock zone in Chapultepec Park with poles set up for visitors to hang their hammocks on. There are some hammocks already there that you can use (if they’re not already taken) or you can bring your own to enjoy.
Definitely won’t be forgetting mine next time we go!
9. Visit Moctezuma’s Baths
Remember Moctezuma from history lessons in school? This dude was mad important and one of the last Aztec rulers of Tenochtitlan before the Spanish conquered the city.
Just like us today, the ancient Aztecs appreciated the beauty of Bosque de Chapultepec – so much so, that Moctezuma bult his baths there to sit, relax, and mull over the many problems that ancient rulers tended to have.
They’re not super exciting, but they’re a cool piece of history and you should definitely stop by while you’re in Chapultepec Park!
10. Explore Chapultepec Park by Bike
Mexico City has a really cook initiative called EcoBici. They put bike stands every where and you can sign up for one-day rentals all the way up to one year rentals.
The one-day rental is 104 mxn / 5 usd and you can rent the bikes for unlimited 45-minute periods.
Sign up here and then all you have to do is enter your registration info at the bike rental stands themselves.
There are a few all around Chapultepec Park all you have to do is search EcoBici on Google Maps and they’ll all pop up – or see two of the closest ones marked on the map of the best things to do in Chapultepec Park below.
(You can also book this popular guided bike tour of Chapultepec if you don’t want to rent one on your own.)
Map of the Best Things to do in Chapultepec Park
Use this map to discover the top things to do in Chapultepec Park from the ruins to the zoo to the castle and everything in between. I didn’t mark the Chapultepec Market on the map but you can find it right by the zoo.
Beyond just the top spots listed here, though, take your time to put your phone away, detach for a minute, and just wander the greenery to see all the cool, hidden places to discover in Chapultepec Park.
Bosque de Chapultepec is – without a doubt – the best park in Mexico City
What neighborhoods are near Chapultepec Park?
Another awesome perk about visiting Chapultepec Park is that it’s right near some of the top neighborhoods in Mexico City. Polanco and Condesa are both in walking distance from the park.
To the north you can easily walk to Polanco – also known as ‘The Beverly Hills of Mexico City’ because it’s so glitzy and upscale – and explore it with my nine-stop Polanco walking route.
To the south of Chapultepec you can also walk to my absolute favorite neighborhood in Mexico City: Condesa. It’s super green and full of trendy shops and restaurants. If you decide to go, make sure you don’t miss my roundups of the best cafes and, more importantly, the best tacos in Condesa.
Roma is a little farther from Chapultepec but you can also walk between the two destinations. Or, an Uber from Roma to Chapultepec Park and vice versa will cost about 80 mxn / 4 usd and take 15 minutes.
Finally, if you’re staying in the Centro Historico and Uber between the two destinations will cost about 100 mxn / 5 usd and take around 30 to 40 minutes.
Visit Chapultepec Park in Mexico City With This Guide
Honestly, these ten things to do in Chapultepec Park are just the tip of the iceberg.
There are a million more things to do in Chapultepec Park that didn’t even make this list like practice yoga, meditate, climb a tree, go for a run, ride the carousel, take a nap, the list goes on and on and on.
If you’re only in Mexico City for a short visit, you should definitely prioritize the park as a must-see while you’re here. Book one of the many Chapultepec walking tours and experiences on Airbnb – like this photography tour or this bike tour through the park – or use this guide to see all that the lungs of Mexico City have to offer.
Ready to go?
Then, browse hundreds of food, culture, and outdoors experiences on Airbnb to round out your itinerary. (Or, check out these multi-day Mexico tours with Intrepid to finish you travel planning in one click!)
Then, join our new Sustainable Hiking Collective on Facebook to connect with the international hiking community, discover new destinations, join virtual trail cleanups, and take part in monthly sustainability challenges.
This article is part of the Mexico City Neighborhood, Parks, and Greenery Guide. Read the rest below:
Or, explore the complete Mexico Series for 40+ more articles on what to see, do, eat, drink, and discover in the country.
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