Chilangos prize open spaces. The city's parks and plazas are always crowded, often overused. On weekends, it is often hard to find a quiet corner in any park, garden, or city plaza.
One of the city's most treasured open spaces is Chapultepec Park, which at 1,600 acres is the largest wooded area in the city. Chapultepec, which in the Nahuatl language means "Hill of the Grasshopper," also is important historically. Aztec emperors used the park for hunting and recreation. Tenochtitlan also got its drinking water from the park. During colonial times, the Spanish built many buildings at Chapultepec,
Many other large parks dot the city, including the Alameda Central near the Zocalo. Created in 1592, the Alameda was an exclusive area reserved for the well-to-do. In time, the park was opened to everyone. Today, the Alameda is known for strolling couples who hold hands during romantic interludes. Viveros, a large park in Coyoacan, is popular with runners and walkers who come to do laps among the large trees. The Desert of the Lions ("El Desierto de los Leones"), southwest of the city, is known for its large open spaces, mountains, forests, and springs.