The Plaza Central de Xochimilco is the main government esplanade in popular Xochimilco. It includes the wooded parks of Jardín de Xochimilco and the slightly smaller Jardín de Morelos. Both are directly north of the main open plaza where the central clock tower makes a good meeting point.
International visitors will often arrive directly to the embarcaderos, the popular boat launches. And it’s a wonderful way to see more of this part of the City. But the broader historic center makes a fascinating journey.
As an ancient city, it’s one of the original settlements of Xochimilco. It’s also one of just 11 important “chinampa towns” that are leading the region in water management. They’re combining ancient agricultural techniques that are more important than ever to the area’s sustainability and environmental health.
The Plaza Central may sound like a mere civic plaza. But it’s the historic atrium of the Cathedral of Xochimilco. It’s also the site of all kinds of events. From concerts and dances, to performances and educational events. That’s why you’ll often see tents erected on the otherwise open plaza.
Facing the cathedral, there’s the ubiquitous statue of Miguel Hidalgo. It’s directly in front of the alcaldía building. On the southeast corner of the plaza is a monument commemorating the meeting of Pancho Villa and Emiliano Zapata. That famously took place in Xochimilco in 1914. The fascinating Casa Amaya, just across the street, is essential to understanding the town’s long and important history. It’s likely the oldest house in Mexico City.
International visitors will often pass en route to the giant marketplace. It takes up two enormous halls directly south of the Plaza Central de Xochimilco. There may be no better place to sample some of the food that all of those chinampa farmers are producing.