Parque Las Palapas is a classic Mexican plaza—complete with benches, quesadilla stands, and little girls running around in frilly dresses and big sneakers. It’s the place where locals come to take a break from the heat, to gossip with their friends, and to listen to the local teenagers playing their guitars. On weekends, artisans set up tables to sell their creations and the merry-go-round across the street lights up.
At the corners of Parque Las Palapas are two smaller parks also worth checking out: Parque Los Artesanos is a bohemian hangout, with disaffected young artists who fill the small park with their bongo drum jam sessions, and on weekend evenings, with their handmade clothes, jewelry, and art; and Jardín del Arte, a space reserved for art expositions and concerts. Some of downtown’s best restaurants and hotels are situated here or on nearby Avenida Yaxchilán.
Note: Parque Las Palapas took a serious beating from Hurricane Wilma in 2005, and the city took its time repairing it. Today, the park is bathed in cement with young palm trees and bushes planted here and there. Needless to say, the park has not regained its former charm. It’s still worth a visit, though, and with any luck Parque Las Palapas will be a greener place when you stop by.