Running in Mexico City

Posted: September 7th, 2021 | Filed under: Out Of Town

It took a bit of research and exploring to find good places to run while we were in Mexico City. There are a couple obvious spots — people run along Paseo de la Reforma, through Bosque de Chapultepec and along Avenida Ámsterdam for example — but I also found a couple of routes that took advantage of the pleasant pedestrian malls along the center of streets in Roma and the pedestrian-only streets in Centro Histórico.

Running first thing in the morning is pretty manageable. Keep in mind that the sun basically rises in the 7 o’clock hour in Mexico City — earlier or later depending on the season and daylight saving time (in August while we were there it rose between 7:10 and 7:20 or so) — so you can’t go out too early. That said, it sort of seemed like things didn’t really start to get busy until closer to 9, so there were good opportunities to run along the sidewalks relatively unimpeded — the routes below took advantage of this: while I generally tried to follow car-free paths, it was necessary to go on regular streets at some point, but early in the morning it wasn’t ever too crowded.

We stayed by the Cuauhtémoc metro station, on the very edge of Juárez, which afforded great access to Roma to the south, the Centro Histórico to the east and Paseo de la Reforma and Bosque de Chapultepec to the north and west. All of these runs start from around Cuauhtémoc — Avenida Bucareli and the quiet streets leading to Paseo de la Reforma were fine to use in the morning (or any time of day, to be honest).

With the exception of Alameda Central and Avenida Francisco I. Madero, most of the paths tended to have uneven spots — definitely keep your eyes open — but it wasn’t too bad overall (definitely not a dealbreaker).

Avenida Álvaro Obregón and Avenida Ámsterdam
There are several pedestrian malls in the center of the avenues in Roma, and Avenida Álvaro Obregón is one of them. Running down the center is lovely:

Avenida Álvaro Obregón, Colonia Roma, Mexico City/Ciudad de México, Mexico, August 26, 2021

A little past Avenida Insurgentes, make a left onto Calle Cacahuamilpa which connects to the horsetrack-shaped Avenida Ámsterdam, which follows an oval around Colonia Hipódromo. The median around Avenida Ámsterdam is narrow, but morning is a nice time to run through there. On the way back I was able to bypass the pedestrian traffic along Avenida Cuauhtémoc by using the quiet Morelia up to Avenida Chapultepec — a good option with a traffic light at the end. This whole route was 4.3 miles.

Running in Mexico City: Avenida Álvaro Obregón and Avenida Ámsterdam

Roma Pedestrian Malls: Calle de Durango, Avenida Mazatlan, Alfonso Reyes, Avenida Nuevo León, Avenida Álvaro Obregón
This route follows the pedestrian malls around Roma and Condesa: Calle de Durango is a quiet street until you get to Plaza Villa de Madrid, after which it has a pedestrian mall in the center of the street. At the end of Durango, the path turns toward the southwest, where Avenida Mazatlan begins. About a block before the end of Mazatlan, turn left (east) onto Alfonso Reyes. Follow Alfonso Reyes until you reach Avenida Nuevo León, then turn left (north) and follow Avenida Nuevo León to Parque España, which puts you about a block away from Avenida Álvaro Obregón. Great route: about 5 miles from our spot near Cuauhtémoc metro station.

Running in Mexico City: Calle de Durango, Avenida Mazatlan, Alfonso Reyes, Avenida Nuevo León, Avenida Álvaro Obregón

Running in Mexico City: Calle de Durango, Avenida Mazatlan, Alfonso Reyes, Avenida Nuevo León, Avenida Álvaro Obregón

Paseo de la Reforma and Bosque de Chapultepec
Modeled after European boulevards like the Champs-Élysées, Paseo de la Reforma features two wide pedestrian malls on either side of the street that are great for running. The paths, situated between the main road and a service road, are uninterrupted between major roundabouts. Paseo de la Reforma is great any morning, but particularly Sundays, when the street is closed to vehicular traffic and you can run on the roadway itself.

Paseo de la Reforma, Mexico City/Ciudad de México, Mexico, August 15, 2021

Paseo de la Reforma runs right into the massive Bosque de Chapultepec, which has a nearly two-mile circular route that goes through the first section of the park. The part with the vendors gets crowded later in the day, but the morning is a great time to run through there.

Avenida H. Colegio Militar, Bosque de Chapultepec, Mexico City/Ciudad de México, Mexico, August 12, 2021

This route is six miles, but I also took the subway to Chapultepec station one morning, ran around the park and back via Paseo de la Reforma, which was 4.2 miles.

Running in Mexico City: Paseo de la Reforma and Bosque de Chapultepec

Centro Histórico
I innocently thought it would be wonderful to run through the Zócalo in Mexico City’s historic center, but the Zócalo was blocked by the police every morning I ever went down that way. Not sure if this was protest season or whether it’s a normal thing, but there were still nice spots to run in the Centro Histórico.

North from Avenida Chapultepec via Avenida Bucareli, you make a right onto the wide sidewalks at Avenida Juárez where it meets the Paseo de la Reforma. In a few blocks you will pass Alameda Central, which is a nice place to run (with perfectly smooth sidewalks), but just past there at Torre Latinoamericana is the Avenida Francisco I. Madero pedestrian mall. That in itself is a great place to run, though you will have to stop at the cross streets:

Avenida Francisco I. Madero, Centro Histórico, Mexico City/Ciudad de México, Mexico, August 16, 2021

If the Zócalo is impassable, just turn left onto the last possible street, then run up to the next open street and make a right (east) — for me, it was Donceles, which becomes Justo Sierra — these are the streets immediately to the north of the Zócalo and Templo Mayor and are quiet in the morning. A few blocks past Templo Mayor is Leona Vicario — turn right (south), and in a block it becomes a pedestrian-only street. On maps, this path is called De La Santisima, then Alhóndiga, then finally Talavera. Toward the end of Talavera you reach Plaza de Juan José Baz: make a right (west) onto Calle Regina. Calle Regina is a regular street for a while until it becomes pedestrian only at Avenida 20 de Noviembre.

At the end of Calle Regina, you have a choice to turn left (south) or right (north). The first time I went down I turned left and ran into José María Izazaga and the Salto del Agua metro station, which was too busy in the morning…

Running in Mexico City: Centro Histórico

The next time I tried, I turned right, to the north, and eventually got to Plaza de San Juan, at the southern end of Calle Dolores, which becomes Barrio Chino, or Chinatown. The northern end of Dolores is Avenida Juárez…here’s what that route looks like, about 5.4 miles:

Running in Mexico City: Centro Histórico Pedestrian Streets (Avenida Francisco I. Madero, Talavera, Calle Regina, Calle Dolores)

Running in Mexico City: Centro Histórico Pedestrian Streets (Avenida Francisco I. Madero, Talavera, Calle Regina, Calle Dolores)

Bosque, Second Section

Posted: August 29th, 2021 | Filed under: Out Of Town

Panteón de Dolores, the huge city cemetery located between the second and third sections of Bosque de Chapultepec, is closed for covid — a lot of things in Mexico City have been closed for covid . . .

Panteón de Dolores, Mexico City/Ciudad de México, Mexico, August 28, 2021

Panteón de Dolores, Mexico City/Ciudad de México, Mexico, August 28, 2021

. . . so we walked over the pedestrian bridge adjoining the cemetery entrance into the Segunda Sección of the Bosque de Chapultepec. This part of the park dates to the 1960s and, compared to the primary section of the park, is scrappy and interesting in its own way:

Walkway to Bosque de Chapultepec, Segunda Sección, Mexico City/Ciudad de México, Mexico, August 28, 2021

Bosque de Chapultepec, Segunda Sección, Mexico City/Ciudad de México, Mexico, August 28, 2021

The fish in the lakes must not get fed or something because they will almost jump out of the water when you approach:

Lago Menor, Bosque de Chapultepec, Segunda Sección, Mexico City/Ciudad de México, Mexico, August 28, 2021

As much as my Spanish would allow, I understood this all to be a big fountain, and part of an aeration system between the two lakes in the park:

Avenida de los Compositores, Bosque de Chapultepec, Segunda Sección, Mexico City/Ciudad de México, Mexico, August 28, 2021

Avenida de los Compositores, Bosque de Chapultepec, Segunda Sección, Mexico City/Ciudad de México, Mexico, August 28, 2021

Fuente Xochipilli, Bosque de Chapultepec, Segunda Sección, Mexico City/Ciudad de México, Mexico, August 28, 2021

Elsewhere, more of the waterworks:

Bosque de Chapultepec, Segunda Sección, Mexico City/Ciudad de México, Mexico, August 28, 2021

Bosque de Chapultepec, Segunda Sección, Mexico City/Ciudad de México, Mexico, August 28, 2021

Cablebús Línea 2

Posted: August 29th, 2021 | Filed under: Out Of Town

The Lionel-Industrial Complex would have you believe that trains are the singular solution to public transportation, and while a quaint light rail route is lovely and fun — ding, ding! — they are still expensive and difficult to build. Even bus rapid transit requires wide roadways and no pesky mountains. Thus, in some countries in the Americas, the rise of the aerial cable car. These latter-day ski gondolas are relatively inexpensive, relatively easy to build (less than two years it appears) and work in the trickiest of terrains — not to mention they take traffic off the overloaded streets in these far-flung neighborhoods and reduce travel times exponentially for residents. In Mexico City this summer two such lines debuted. The first was north of the center city and the second, Cablebús Línea 2, serves neighborhoods to the south and east:

Constitución de 1917 Station, Cablebús Línea 2, Mexico City/Ciudad de México, Mexico, August 26, 2021

Cablebús Línea 2, Mexico City/Ciudad de México, Mexico, August 26, 2021

Cablebús Línea 2, Mexico City/Ciudad de México, Mexico, August 26, 2021

Also, THEY’RE AMAZING TO RIDE. In Mexico City, the brand-new Cablebús Línea 2 departs from the end of the number 8 subway line and flies into the hills high above the city — it’s mesmerizing watching the scenes below — you are like a drone flying over them. I don’t know how I’d feel living under a ski gondola but as a passenger it’s well worth the trip; in our six-person car there were ourselves, a tourist from Colombia and two local retirees who were just there to take it all in. Highly recommended.

Cablebús Línea 2, Mexico City/Ciudad de México, Mexico, August 26, 2021

Cablebús Línea 2, Mexico City/Ciudad de México, Mexico, August 26, 2021

We bonded with the fellow passengers in our car and eventually they finally successfully impressed upon me (what with my terrible Spanisha comprehension) that these airplanes sitting in the middle of these parks are libraries!

Cablebús Línea 2, Mexico City/Ciudad de México, Mexico, August 26, 2021

Cablebús Línea 2, Mexico City/Ciudad de México, Mexico, August 26, 2021