The Best Museums In Mexico City

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There are many excellent museums in Mexico City. Whether you are a lover of history, art, anthropology, archeology, architecture or all things quirky, the capital of Mexico has something lined for you and you can spend days – if not weeks – appreciating its museums.

With more than 150 museums in town, which ones should you prioritize?

Since I have been to Mexico City several times and have visited many museums in Mexico City, I thought I’d select the most important and interesting ones for you. Want to visit them all? You may as well! Museums in Mexico City are very conveniently priced.

17 Best Museums in Mexico City

Frida Kahlo Museum

This is easily one of my favorite museums in Mexico City. Located in the lovely Coyoacan, one of the nicest neighborhoods in Mexico City, I go any time I am in town, and each time I discover a new detail, or new favorite spot or a new temporary exhibit. This is the museum to visit if you only have 3 Days in Mexico City.

Frida Kahlo was an artist and lifelong resident of Mexico City. The home where she lived, also called “Casa Azul” (the Blue House), is now a museum dedicated to her life and work.

The museum has many spaces where Kahlo lived, including a dining room, garden, studio, and her bedroom. These rooms hold Kahlo’s personal objects and artwork.

Some of the highlights of Casa Azul include paintings like Viva La Vida (Long Live Life), Mi Familia (My Family, Unfinished), and Frida Y La Cesarea (Frida and the Cesarean). Notable objects include Mariposas (butterflies), Los Clocks (clocks), and an easel.

Frida Kahlo Museum is open Tuesday to Sunday but the opening hours change depending on the day of the week. Make sure to visit the museum’s website for accurate and up-to-date information. This is the most expensive museum in town. Visiting the museum is also slightly more expensive during the weekend.

You may want to consider this guided tour of Coyoacan that also goes to the Casa Azul and Museo Anahuacalli – there aren’t many tours that go to this part of town and this is definitely one of the best.

Anahuacalli Museum

Museo Anahuacalli

Founded by Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo’s husband and fellow artist, Museo Anahuacalli is a sort of companion museum to Frida Kahlo Museum. The ‘pyramid’ as it is called, was inspired by pre-Hispanic architecture and the work of renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright.

The Museo Anahuacalli has Rivera’s collections of the ancient civilization on the second floor. There are nearly 2,000 artifacts on display here. These artifacts of Western Mexico and pre-Columbian art show a side of the everyday life of the people that lived in the region.

Museo Anahuacalli is open Tuesdays through Sundays 11:00 am to 5:30 pm. Visitors of Frida Kahlo Museum get a complimentary ticket to Museo Anahuacalli.

I recommend this guided tour of Coyoacan that also goes to the Casa Azul, it’s one of the best of this part of the city.

Trotsky Museum

Leon Trotsky Museum

This small museum in Coyoacán is entirely dedicated to the life of León Trotsky. Having left the Soviet Union, Trotsky had moved to Mexico City, where he continued his studies and writings, and entered the circle of Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo, with whom he had an affair.

For about two years, until April 1939, he lived with Kahlo and Rivera in their Casa Azul, but found a place to himself nearby in April 1939.

That’s the very same house where he was killed by Stalin’s assassins. The house is now a museum dedicated to his life and studies and will be interesting for anyone who read the works of this author.

Leon Trotsky Museum is open Tuesday to Sunday from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm.

Museo Nacional de Culturas Populares

Also located in Coyoacán and lesser known to tourists (most visitors are actually locals), this is one of the most interesting museums in Mexico City if you are keen on learning more about the many cultures and people that coexist in the country.

Exhibits include a focus on the celebrations for the Day of the Dead, which is particularly important in the country; as well as on local textiles and art.

The Museo Nacional de Culturas Populares is open Tuesday to Sunday. Visiting is free.

Museo Universitario de Arte Contemporáneo (MUAC)

Known as MUAC, the Museo Universitario de Arte Contemporaneo, or University Museum of Contemporary Art, is found inside the grounds of Mexico City’s largest university and is home to the largest collection of modern art in Mexico, so a great place to visit for art lovers.

It has an incredible exhibit of Mexican famous as well as up and coming artists, with works from the 1950s onwards that include paintings, drawings and more innovative installations.

The building – designed by architect Teodoro Gonzalez de Leon – is itself a work of art.

The MUAC is open Wednesdays to Sundays from 11:00 am to 6:00 pm.

Museo Dolores Olmedo
Pablo Fossas, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Museo Dolores Olmedo

Should you decide to push yourself to the limits of the city in Xochimilco, make sure to visit Museo Dolores Olmedo, one of the best art museums in Mexico City. Olmedo was a friend of Diego Rivera and often portrayed in his paintings.

It was in his honor that she opened the museum in 1994. The exhibit has a strong focus on Rivera and Frida Kahlo. Dolores Olmedo curated the museum in person until 2002, when she passed away.

The museum is temporarily closed. The official website doesn’t have much information on its reopening but if you are interested, check it regularly for updated information.

Castillo de Chapultepec

Chapultepec Castle

This castle, located atop Chapultepec Hill, is an awesome site and one of the best Mexico City Museums. The hill is over 7,000 feet above sea level. The view from its terraces, according to explorer James F. Elton, “Can’t be surpassed in beauty in any part of the world.”

The name comes from the Nahuatl word that means ‘hill of the grasshopper’. The castle was featured as the Capulet Mansion in the 1996 film Romeo + Juliet starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes.

Chapultepec Castle contains numerous historical exhibits and artwork. Make sure to devote some time to the Museo Nacional de la Historia, where you can learn more about the history of Mexico, from the colonial era to the Mexican Wars of Independence, and the Mexican Revolution.

The architecture of the castle, dating back to 1564, is itself a wonder to see. Inside the castle are many murals depicting Mexican history and its people. Several periods of Mexican history are on exhibit in the 15 History Rooms of the castle.

You can visit this marvelous castle Tuesdays through Sundays from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. You can also go on a guided tour of Chapultepec Castle – it’s one of the most interesting in the city.

Alternatively, you could consider this tour of Chapultepec Castle that also goes to the Anthropology Museum.

Museo Nacional de Antropología

Easily one of my favorite museums in Mexico City, should you decide to visit just one museum when in town (other than the Casa Azul, that is), I wholeheartedly recommend this one!

The Museo Nacional de Antropologia is the largest and most visited museum in Mexico. It was opened in 1964 by Mexican President Adolfo Lopez Mateos and is managed by the National Institute of Anthropology and History.

Anthropology enthusiasts will feel right at home at Museo Nacional de Antropologia. The museum has numerous collections containing artifacts from Mexico’s pre-Columbian heritage. Inside you can view archeology collections, as well as many ancient ethnography pieces. This museum also has a regular schedule of temporary exhibitions.

One highlight of the museum is the Stone of the Sun, which is arguably the most famous piece of Mexican sculpture. The 16th century Aztec Xochipilli statue displays the god of art games, dance, and flowers and is a permanent exhibit at the museum.

The National Museum of Anthropology is open Tuesday to Saturday. For up-to-date opening hours, visit the museum’s website.

This is a large museum with lots to take in. I have been several times but if you are only going once, you probably should join this guided tour – it’s actually a great introduction to much of the rest you’ll see in the country.

best museums in Mexico City
Photo by Alejandro Barba on Unsplash

Museo Tamayo Arte Contemporáneo

Entirely dedicated to 20th century Mexican artist Rufino Tamayo, famous for his surrealist works, Museo Tamayo is located in Polanco, one of the city’s best neighborhoods, and focuses on the best works of the artist, but its exhibit also expands on other contemporary artists.

It’s one of the best contemporary art museums in Mexico City.

Museo Tamayo Arte Contemporaneo is open Tuesday to Sunday from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm. The museum is free for all on Sundays.

Memory and Tolerance Museum

Memory and Tolerance Museum

As a former human rights lawyer, I wholeheartedly recommend visiting this museum. Established in 2010, the Memory and Tolerance Museum promotes tolerance, respect, nonviolence and awareness through the history of vulnerable people worldwide.

The museum has many exhibitions and themed contents. Notable exhibitions include sections commemorating the Holocaust, Armenian Genocide, Rwanda, and the former Yugoslavia.

The tolerance exhibitions include Culture of Peace and Non Violence, Human Rights, Diversity and Inclusion, and Stereotypes and Prejudices. The MyT, as it is also called, also has a children’s museum that has age appropriate activities and workshops.

The Memory and Tolerance Museum (Museo Memoria y Tolerancia in Spanish) is open Tuesday to Sunday – opening hours vary so you are better off checking them out on the museum’s website. Tours of the museum are available on a regular basis.

Museo de Arte Popular

Fans of folk art and handicrafts will be delighted by all there is to see at Museo de Arte Popular, also known as the Museum of Folk Art. This is where you can see handicrafts and folk art, including textiles, pottery, furniture, plus much more.

Every year the museum hosts a parade called Noche de Alebrijes (Night of the Albrerjes) where giant creatures are constructed and paraded through the Zocalo to the Angel of Independence Monument, where they compete for prizes. The Museum of Folk Art also hosts social services programs, including internships for professionals and students.

You can admire the folk art at this museum from Tuesday to Sunday from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm. There is a small fee for visiting. On Sundays, admission to the museum is free to all.

Mexico City Itinerary

Templo Mayor Museum

Templo Mayor Museum is located in the Historical Center of Mexico City, adjacent to the Templo Mayor ruins. It was built in 1987 as the headquarters of the Templo Mayor Project and all its discoveries.

There are eight separate sections of the museum, each with a different theme. The various historical themes include: Archeological Background, Ritual Sacrifice, Tribute and Commerce, Huitzilopochtli, Tlaloc, Flora and Fauna, Agriculture, and Historical Archeology. The exhibits here include a wide range of artifacts from the pre-Hispanic and colonial periods of Mexico.

Besides the exhibitions, the museum has activities for its guests. These include a movie theatre, workshops, tours, and cultural activities incorporating music, poetry, and theater.

Be sure to take time before or after the museum to visit the Templo Mayor archeological site. This temple was dedicated to the gods Huitzilopochtli and Tlaloc, and each had a shrine atop the pyramid.

The construction of the temple began around 1325 and was rebuilt six times. Templo Mayor was destroyed by the Spanish in 1521 to construct a new cathedral.

The museum is open Tuesdays through Sundays from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. If you want, you can get your tickets in advance ahead of your visit.

National Palace

Mexico City’s National Palace is located in the historical center of the city. It is the seat of the federal executive in Mexico and the residence of the President of Mexico. During the colonial period, all except two of the New Spain viceroys lived in the National Palace residence.

The first President of Mexico, Guadalupe Victoria, was also the first president to live in the National Palace residence.

The National Palace has been the home and headquarters of the ruling class of Mexico since the Aztec Empire. Therefore, it has much historical significance in Mexican history. Inside the palace grounds are numerous historical structures.

Moctezuma’s New Houses are decorated with marble and painted stucco and was a place where the elders and the emperor would settle disputes.

Hernán Cortés commissioned architects Rodrigo de Pontocillos and Juan Rodriguez to rebuild the entire palace starting in 1521. Martin Cortés, son of Hernán Cortés, kept many of the remodeled palace’s features.

The National Palace is open to visitors Tuesday through Sunday from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. The best way to see The National Palace is to book a walking or group tour from any of the tour companies available on booking sites. The costs of these tours vary based on tour inclusions.

I recommend this walking tour of Mexico City historic center that also goes to the National Palace.

3 days in Mexico City

Museo del Palacio de Bellas Artes

The Palacio de Bellas Artes was built in the early 20th century in Art Nouveau style. It is located in the Centro Histórico and thought to be one of the most beautiful buildings in town. What many don’t know is that the interior great to visit too! The small exhibit displays beautiful works of art. or a fabulous experience, make sure to book a ticket to see a performance.

The Museo del Palacio de Bellas Artes is open Tuesday to Sunday. Opening hours vary frequently, so you are better off visiting the museum’s website for accurate information. There is a small admission fee to visit, and there is an extra fee for photography. Free admission for everyone on Sunday.

museums in Mexico City
Photo by naturemyhome on Pixabay

Museo Soumaya

The Soumaya Museum is a privately owned museum that contains over 66,000 pieces of art. The majority of these pieces include works from European artists between the 15th and 20th centuries, such as Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Salvador Dali, Leonardo de Vinci, and Vincent Van Gogh, plus many more.

This museum has the largest collection of sculptures created by Auguste Rodin outside of France. It is also the largest private collection of Rodin’s sculptures worldwide. The Soumaya Museum also contains Mexican art and artifacts, including religious relics and historical documents. The museum has the largest collection of pre-Hispanic and colonial-era coins.

The Soumaya Museum is open daily from 10:30 am to 6:30 pm and there is no admission fee.

Museo del Objecto (MODO)

This lovely small museum is spread across the three floors of a former home in Roma Norte, one of the nicest neighborhoods of Mexico City. Launched in 2010, there’s no permanent exhibit, but temporary ones that change every few months and that cover a variety of topics all related to daily life.

You wouldn’t give it two cents – yet, it somehow captures your attention and interest.

The Museo del Object is open from Tuesday to Sunday. To check out opening hours, visit the museum’s website. That’s where you’ll also learn what’s on!

MUCHO – Mundo Chocolate Museo

One of the lesser known museums in Mexico City, the MUCHO – Mundo Chocolate Museo is located in an early 20th century home and entirely dedicated to chocolate. With cacao being native of Mexico, the country has a long chocolate tradition!

Most of the museum is focussed on the historical facts about cacao and chocolate, but there also are some more interactive exhibits and interesting workshops.

MUCHO is open daily from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm.

Further Readings

Make sure to read my other posts about Mexico:

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