The name Xochimilco mean Flower Field in Nahuatl. The names refers to the flowers that have been grown on the banks since pre-hispanic times. It is sometimes referred to as the Venice of Mexico because of the extensive waterways.
Actually, all of Mexico City used to be based on waterways. Before the Spanish arrived it was called Tenochtitlan and was an island created in the center of Lake Texcoco.
It has since become more of a tourist destination than anything else, but it is still a gorgeous experience to drift along the water in a brightly painted Trajinera.