The Parque Cantera is a new Mexico City park. Thoroughly rehabilitated in two stages, the most recent update finished in September of 2021. A big claim to fame for the park is actually in what replaced. Today’s center of outdoor activities, sports, and general city park fun resulted on the site of an old and very dirty asphalt plant. You’ll see references to that facility in the names around the area. Few green areas in Mexico City were as lovingly welcomed as this one.
Today’s Cantera Park is sandwiched between the University City to the west and the Estadio Azteca to the east. That means it’s roughly equidistant between the Universidad Metro station and the Estadio Azteca stop on the Xochimilco light rail. It’s also roughly a 40-minute walk (15 in a taxi) north of the Centro de Tlalpan.
It’s a masterwork of City Park planning. There are climbing walls, a skateboard area, bike paths, courts, and playgrounds for kids. The entire space uses surfaces of stone from the El Xitle volcano that famously erupted in the 2nd century. That’s the origin of the Pedregal Lava Fields, and of their name too. Today, it’s the origin of the park’s unique color, texture, and character, too.
The 2021 expansion of the Parque Cantera brought the total land area to seven hectares. The park also sometimes retains the name of the Avenida Imán that borders the park. The Parque Imán was an early version of a replacement for the asphalt plant. The avenue though is curiously a misspelling of the acronym for Institución Mexicana de Asistencia a la Niñez (IMAN). They used to run a hospital, today the Shriner’s Children’s Hospital, at the southeast end of the same avenue.