The Esplanade of Magdalena Contreras is one of the smallest and most unusual local government seats in Mexico City. It’s the center of civic life in the area. But it also shares its considerable space with a big middle school just to the north. On regular weekdays, it’s jammed with students.
Like the other 15 alcaldías of the City, official functions take place here. Exhibitions, concerts, dances, and sign-ups and registrations. Like some other civic plaza, this one has a big kiosk on the eastern edge. But beyond that are a couple of unique 2001 murals by Magdalena’s own Ariosto Otero. “Identidad y Esclavismo” (Identity and Slavery) is on the northern edge. On the south is “Gran Círculo de Obreros Libres” (Circle of Worker Leaders) is on the southern side, above the stairs leading down to the Av. Álvaro Obregón.
All of this is just up over the cliffside from the old Cuernavaca train station. That railroad link helps to explain the existence of the neighborhood. Today it’s the Ferrocaril Park, most famous for another giant Otero mural. It’s a popular stop on the Cuernavaca Railroad Bikeway, too.
Those who venture up and out of the park will find the Magdalena Contreras esplanade, the municipal building, and the Mercado La Loma just a block or so to the north. This is still Magdalena Contreras, so expect uneven, rugged territory. There’s lots of volcanic rock, clever masonic uses for it, and views in every direction. It’s a spectacular neighborhood, with Magdalena Atlitic directly to the west. The church there is just about an 8-minute walk along Canal Street. San Nicolas Totolapan is another 20 minutes further continuing south.