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Jardín de Santiago, Tlatelolco

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Photo: Comisión Mexicana de Filmaciones on Wikimedia Commons


The Jardín de Santiago, like so many places in Mexico City, seems to have been established for no other reason than to defy your expectations. This is Tlatelolco, the massive complex of mid-20th-century housing blocks. This is Mario Pani, the Faustian master-builder whose reputation soared and crashed more spectacularly than New York’s Robert Moses. Finally, this is the corner of two very busy streets, Paseo de la Reforma and R. Flores Magón.

Yet the Santiago garden remains a refuge not just of manicured walks and shady trees. It’s practically unknown even to Mexico City residents. It’s a well-used park. But like in so much of very public Tlatelolco, respectability here depends on discretion more than adequate room for your neighbors’ privacy. It’s not easy to find this park crowded.

400+ Years

The park serves as a botanical garden, for this corner of the neighborhood. It’s home 62 species. Of these, only some 11 are native to Mexico City. It was historically the garden of the Santiago de Tlatelolco monastery. The monastery kept a garden here since the mid-16th century. An atrial cross was preserved from that garden.

Pani took charge of the park 1960. It was part of the overall plan for his Nonoalco Tlatelolco Urban Complex. That’s to say, it was integral to the overall project. A stone balustrade surrounds the entire garden. But on the southern edge, a wide stretch of sidewalk seems to keep traffic on R. Flores Magón at quite a distance.

Pani’s garden included a monopteros colonnade (pictured above) as a centerpiece. A phrase with which the emperor Cuauhtémoc described Tlatelolco is inscribed within:

“Here we place and settle in the way we found the great lagoon, permanently: its waves like silver and as shiny as gold, especially  fragrant, here we founded our town of Tlatelolco”.

Today’s Jardín de Santiago is among the pleasing places to find oneself. The greatest surprise may be that even as so many people will visit the Plaza de las Tres Culturas on the other side of the monastery, very few will happen upon the garden. On the northwest corner of the Glorieta Cuitláhuac, most guests will arrive from the Plaza or the Monastery.

Sources Cited on this Page:, Diego Cera: Jardín Santiago,
un parque de Mario Pani entre los edificios de Tlatelolco
How to get here
  • Av. Ricardo Flores Magón, Tlatelolco, Cuauhtémoc, 06900 CDMX


Museo de Tecpan

Nearest at 0.15 kms.

Caja de Agua Museum at Tlatelolco

Nearest at 0.19 kms.

Church of Santiago Tlatelolco

Nearest at 0.26 kms.


Plaza de la Conchita

One of the deepest darkest public plazas in the city, La Conchita and its legends go back a long way.

The Bosque de Tlalpan Nature Reserve

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San Juan de Aragón Zoo

There's a substantial alternative for animal and nature lovers in the Bosque de de Aragón.

Parque España

One of the city's favorite parks is in Condesa and it's nearly a hundred years old.

Bosque de San Juan de Aragón

One of NE Mexico City's favorite parks and recreation areas.

Mexico City

Cultural Capital of the Americas