Tlalpan and Pedregal is a district of Mexico City.
Tlalpan is the largest borough of Mexico City and comprises several neighbourhoods and small towns in the south of Mexico City, including Tlalpan itself, Chicalcoyotl, San Pedro Mártir, San Andres Totoltepec, Xicalco and San Miguel Ajusco. Many of these towns are now merged into the urban sprawl, but most of Tlalpan is still very much green and the southernmost parts have a clearly rural character. It is home to the Fuentes Brotantes and Bosque del Pedregal National Parks. The elevation rises towards the South, and it contains the Ajusco volcanic range with the highest peak measuring 3,937 meters above the sea level.
Tlalpan itself, formerly known as San Agustín de las Cuevas, was the first rest stop on dry land when leaving the island of Mexico City towards the South. The former causeway linking it to the city is the avenue now known as Calzada de Tlalpan. Tlalpan has been relatively prosperous throughout history, which still can be seen in its well-preserved stately colonial houses and cobblestoned streets. Nowadays, it is better known as the location of most hospitals in Mexico City and its most natural parks.
In terms of foreign tourism, Downtown Tlalpan is a barely known place, which could make it a highlight if you visit it. Overall is a quiet and safe place, with pretty colonial architecture, cobblestone streets and lots of trees.
Pedregal is a wealthy residential area built on top of and using lava rock from the Xitle volcano. The University City campus of UNAM, a World Heritage Site, and the San Ángel Ecological Reserve are in the Pedregal.
The easiest way to reach the Centro Histórico of Tlalpan is using a bus or microbús from any point North along Calzada de Tlalpan (such as Metro Pino Suárez, Metro General Anaya or Tren Ligero Estadio Azteca) or using the Metrobús along Insurgentes Sur (Metrobús Fuentes Brotantes). The bus should have a sign that reads "Tlalpan San Fernando". Ask the driver you want to go "Tlalpan Centro". As in many other places in Mexico, the area lacks of traffic signs, so it is better to ask people for directions.
The Centro Histórico of Tlalpan is easily reachable by car from central Mexico City by driving along the Calzada de Tlalpan and turning right on Miguel Hidalgo (the second street after San Fernando). Street parking is relatively plentiful (by Mexico City standards) and free. From Hidalgo, there is a public car park on the right side just after passing by the central square.
There are also RTP buses that reach most of the towns in Tlalpan all the way up to Parres. Most of these buses start from the bus station opposite to Tren Ligero Station Estadio Azteca and pass by the intersection of Calzada de Tlalpan, Viaducto Tlalpan and Insurgents Sur, which later becomes the Federal (Libre) Highway to Cuernavaca.
The Centro Historico of Tlalpan comprises an area of maybe 6 x 6 blocks bordered by Insurgentes Sur to the West, Calzada de Tlalpan to the East and San Fernando to the North. Ask for a map at the Tourist Booth in the Zocalo (main square). It is all easily walkable. Other parts of Tlalpan can be reached by RTP bus from Estadio Azteca Tren Ligero Station, taxi or car. The Metrobús along Insurgentes traverses the Pedregal, and the bus lines running along Calzada de Tlalpan, Periférico, Boulevard Picacho-Ajusco are useful to reach the main urban areas in Tlalpan.
The Centro Historico de Tlalpan or historical Downtown of Tlalpan is a good place to visit. You can stroll through the streets around the Plaza de la Constitucion (Zocalo) The main square. Some of the main attractions within the Centro Historico are:
- Parroquia y Convento de San Agustín de las Cuevas. Church and former convent from the 17th century. Tlalpan itself was formerly known as San Agustín de las Cuevas.
- Parque Juana de Asbaje. Leafy park next to the square. Includes a nice Fondo de Cultura Económica book store and café.
- Municipal Hall, Plaza de la Constitucion.
- Mercado Publico, Plaza de la Constitucion. This public market is the last "Porfirian" style that remains in Mexico City.
- Casa de Santa Anna (San Fernando Avenue and Madero Street). Previously, the home of Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, Mexican president. Today, offices of an insurance company.
- Tlalpan Mint (Moneda and Juarez street). For 2 years, in the late 1800s, this building housed the Mexican Mint, today is a secondary school.
- Casa Frissac (Plaza de la Constitucion and Moneda streets).
- Casa Chata (Matamoros and Moneda streets).
Outside the centro histórico, you can visit:
- Parque Ecológico Cuicuilco. A large uneven circular pyramid comprises the ruins of the oldest settlement in the Mexico City area. The Cuicuilco civilisation was destroyed by the eruption of the Xitle volcano, the source of the lava stone that is widely used in Tlalpan.
- Villa Olímpica. The housing complex used for the Mexico City 1968 olympics. There are a couple of other minor ruins from Cuicuilco inside the complex.
- Ruta de la Amistad. The route of the Periférico was once used for large-scale sculptures by international artists made for the 1968 Olympics. After the construction of the elevated toll road over the Periférico, most sculptures have been relocated to the interchanges between Insurgentes and Viaducto Tlalpan with Periférico.
In the towns south of Tlalpan, you can see:
- Church of Asuncion Chimalcoyotl, Rosal Street. dating back to the XVII century.
- Church of San Pedro Martir de Verona (Ensenanza Street and Laurel Street). Built in the XVIII century.
- Parroquia de San Andres Totoltepec (Morelos Avenue and Palma Street). This parish was built in the XVII century , refurbished in 1965.
- San Miguel de Xicalco Church (Mexico Avenue and 16 de Septiembre street). This church was built in the XVII century. An imazing place to be....
The local Tourism Department offers walking tours, ask for information at the Tourism Booth located in Plaza de la Constitucion (Main Square).
- 1 Six Flags Mexico City (is located along the Picacho-Ajusco road in Tlalpan, 1 km South (uphill) from the Periférico.). the largest amusement park in Mexico City
- KidZania. is a theme park where children can play to do adult jobs in a child-sized city. Inside the Plaza Cuicuilco shopping mall.
- Ollin Yoliztli. concert hall houses the Mexico City Philharmonic Orchestra. There are concerts every weekend as well as other cultural activities.
Visit some of the parks in the borough:
- Parque Nacional Fuentes Brotantes. Forested area with natural springs just across Insurgentes Sur from the Centro Histórico
- Bosque de Tlalpan. Another National Park, it is a hilly forest 1 km west of the Centro Histórico. There are plenty of free courses and activities at the Casa de la Cultura (cultural centre). The impressive building facade was once located in the Condesa and was a pumping station used to bring water from Xochimilco to Mexico City.
- Parque Ecológico Loreto y Peña Pobre. Green area in the springs of what used to be a paper factory. There is a restaurant, as well as examples of green technologies, such as rainfall capture systems and sustainable housing.
- 2 Parque Nacional Cumbres del Ajusco. Containing the highest peak in Mexico City, the Ajusco National Park can be accessed by going South along the Picacho-Ajusco road from the Periférico. The road leads to a circuit where one can drive all the way around the mountain and towards the State of Mexico. It is a popular day trip for people from Mexico City. In the winter, there is often snow on the mountain. The circuit road is closed when conditions are icy.
- 1 Perisur. The largest shopping mall in the South of Mexico City.
- Plaza Cuicuilco. Shopping mall housed in a former paper factory.
- Cafetlán. great authentic food and live acoustic music.
There are several cafés and bars in the arcades opposite to the main square, including a popular branch of the De la Selva café.
Some hotels operating in this area include:
- Hotel Costa del Sol, Carretera Federal a Cuernavaca No. 5101 Tlalpan.
- Radisson Paraiso, Cupside 53, Colonia Parques, ☏ . 4-star hotel. USD$ 125-150.
- Royal Pedregal, Periferico Sur 4363, Jardines en la Montaña.