Xalapa is renowned for its parks and their wonderful tropical flora. A couple of fine potential picnic spots are within walking distance of the centre. The Parque Los Tecajetes, ten minutes’ walk west of the zócalo along María Ávila Camacho, is a pristine public park with lush vegetation and plenty of shaded seating areas. South of the zócalo, Herrera leads steeply down towards the Paseo de los Lagos, where walkways lead around a series of small, artificial lakes edged by parkland; popular with runners in the morning and strolling families later on. In the north of the city, the entrance to the woody Parque Ecológico Macuiltépec is close to the Anthropological Museum.
At 1590m, the easily climbable Macuiltépec is the highest of the hills on which the town is built, and from its mirador you might catch a glimpse of the Gulf. There are panoramic views of the city even if you don’t make it to the peak, and it also has a small Museo de la Fauna with a reptile house and aviary. Finally, on the edge of the city on the old road to Coatepec, about 3.5km from the centre, the Jardín Botánico Francisco Clavijero boasts an impressive collection of plants native to the state.