Looking out onto Alameda Central it’s hard to believe you’re in the middle of Mexico City. It’s closer in ambience and design to a green space in Paris or New York. Recently renovated, Latin America’s oldest public park now boasts marble walkways and is beautifully decorated with fountains and monuments. It’s the perfect place for friends to go roller-skating and couples to enjoy ice-creams in the sun.
Alameda Central is located in downtown Mexico City and neighbours the city’s historic centre. Everything you need from high street shops and quaint cafés to historical buildings and art museums are no more than a stones throw away. Despite it’s central location, the artwork studded park is pleasantly tranquil and safe, allowing you to enjoy the beauty of this outdoor museum at any time of day or night.
A colourful past
But Alameda Central wasn’t always the tranquil oasis it is today. Dating back to 1529 this was the first green space of it’s kind. Alameda has been home to a bustling marketplace during the Aztec period, an execution area during the Spanish Inquisition, and a space exclusively for use by the noble. The park was eventually opened for public celebrations following Mexican Independence in 1821. Alameda Central is certainly rich in history.
At the edge of the park lies Barrio Alameda, a 1920’s Art Deco office building. It was once used by professionals such as doctors, lawyers, journalists and photographers. In 1985 an earthquake caused damage to this historically listed building and left it a deserted shell, used only for late night parties. But the family owned building has now been transformed into a hip place to hang out.
The building’s stunning tile work and luxurious greenery make a visit here worthwhile. Add in what’s on offer inside, and you’ll easily spend an afternoon exploring this charming space. Barrio Alameda boasts boutique tiendas from vintage stores to tattoo parlours, trendy cafes and thriving restaurants. Above these you’ll find Chaya B&B, topped off with a rooftop bar offering incredible views of the downtown area.
Chaya B&B – boutique living in the centre of it all
Chaya B&B is the home away from home you need to rest your weary legs after a day of wandering the city. This boutique bed and breakfast is designed and decorated to perfection, with the intention of bringing a social hostel vibe to an enjoyable and relaxing space. With the best views of Alameda Central Park, Chaya’s breakfast room is a delightful place to start the day. The long table prompts story telling between travellers, whilst the food itself sets you up for another day of exploring.
Take a coffee out to Chaya’s terrace and enjoy the midday suntrap. Hammocks longed to be lounged in, surrounded by an abundance of thriving plants and cacti. The background sounds of city life hustle and bustle are remarkably relaxing. It’ll make you appreciate the comfort of the hammock and the sun on your skin even more.
Museums and galleries for days
Walk through the park and you’ll find yourself staring up in awe at the stunning Palacio de Bellas Artes. Across the road behind this you’ll enter the city’s historic centre, with museums on every corner. Incredible architecture lines the streets and will leave you wandering and snapping photos all day long.
There’s definitely no shortage of places to eat around the neighbourhood. There’s an adorable French-style panatería beside the entrance to Barrio Alameda, with amazing hot chocolate and pan o chocolait. Walk 5 minutes further and you’ll find Teikit Sushi, where you can get 2-4-1 sushi everyday after 6pm. The volcano maki is definitely worth a try!
It’s the people that make a place
And despite the coffee-to-go pace, the people of CDMX always seem to have time to make you feel welcome. Whether it’s smiling as you use your broken Spanish, or offering directions to the Museo Nacional de la Estampa. “Be careful, stay safe” said a friend of mine when I told her where I was. Being in this part of Mexico City will definitely keep you questioning how you can possibly be in the same place that you’ve heard about in the media. I could definitely see myself living here.