Courtyard of museum with concrete walls
Take in artifacts from Aztec, Mayan and Teotihuacan cultures.
Photo Credit: Flickr

Become More Cultured by Visiting These 10 Museums in Mexico City

So Much History Packed Into One City

Mexico City is blessed with an abundance of incredible museums. In fact, with over 150, it boasts more museums than any other city in the world!

To tempt you further, most of them are either free of charge or a mere few pesos’ entrance fee. You could spend a month in this metropolis and still not get around to experiencing them all.

Here are a few of the best museums in Mexico City.

1. Museo Nacional de Antropologia

This world-class museum is the largest and most visited in Mexico. You will need to set aside a few hours to appreciate it fully. Visitors to the Museo Nacional de Antropologia are taken on a fascinating journey through the geographical regions of Mexico exploring Aztec, Mayan and Teotihuacan cultures.

Artifacts are beautifully displayed and the building itself is an impressive architectural feat. Even if anthropological museums are not usually your thing, you will not fail to be impressed.

Blue house with cars parked along roadThe house where Frida Kahlo lived is open to the public as a museum.Photo Credit: Wikipedia

2. Museo Frida Kahlo

Frida Kahlo is the most iconic Mexican who ever lived, man or woman. Her images can be seen on everything in Mexico from t-shirts to placemats. The house where she and Diego Rivera lived, La Casa Azul, is open to the public as a museum. Located in the lovely suburb of Coyoacan, the Museo Frida Kahlo provides fascinating insight into the life of this multi-faceted artist.

Wandering through the vibrantly decorated rooms, it is easy to imagine not only the suffering that Frida endured from her illnesses, but also the raucous parties that would have taken place in the house. Much original art hangs on the walls and the most poignant room is Frida’s bedroom and the scene of her death.

Her wheelchair is on display, as well as her paints and easel. The garden is beautiful, full of lush tropical plants, the incredible blue house striking under the Mexican sun. A highlight of any trip to Mexico City.

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White building with colored windowsMany of the exhibits in this museum are Day of the Dead related.Photo Credit: Bluffton

3. Museo de Arte Popular

Probably the most colorful museum in the world! Housed in a renovated art deco-style fire station, Museo de Arte Popular is a contemporary space on several levels. At the top of the building, there is a fabulous and flamboyant collection of piñatas hanging from the ceiling. Each exhibition room is a feast for the eyes with a plethora of Mexican folk art on display.

Many of the exhibits are Day of the Dead related — everything from skeletons on bicycles to ornately decorated skulls. It is fun, quirky and in your face. Kids will adore it and adults will love it just as much. An excellent gift shop offers a vast range of treasures, profits from which go directly back to the artisans.

Dig site with building in backgroundPeruse the archaeological site and museum.Photo Credit: Sue King

4. Museo del Templo Mayor

Situated adjacent to Mexico City’s main square, the Zocalo, this combination of archaeological site and museum offers a compelling slice of Mexican history. The site was only uncovered in 1978 when an electrical company that was working in the street inadvertently uncovered a monolith of an ancient goddess!

Over the next few years, buildings were demolished and excavation work took place. Over 7,000 artifacts were discovered. Nowadays, you can stroll the boardwalks and peruse the site. The fact that it is in the middle of such a metropolis is difficult to comprehend.

The Museo del Templo Mayor itself is superb and offers an overview of Mexico City through the ages.

Grey outside of buildingA visit to this museum is a sobering experience.Photo Credit: Wikipedia

5. Museo Memoria y Tolerancia

A visit to the Museo Memoria y Tolerancia is a powerful and intense experience. Over several floors, it covers the chilling history of genocide and human rights abuses throughout the world. From the atrocities of the Holocaust to Darfur, the exhibits are well-presented and comprehensive.

As well as documenting the past and present, the museum does an excellent job in highlighting the importance of tolerance and understanding. It’s a reminder of the dark side of human nature and the evils of racism, homophobia and all forms of discrimination.

Lit up palaceThis museum is located in the heart of Mexico City.Photo Credit: Facebook

6. Palacio de Bellas Artes

Located in the heart of Mexico City, the spectacular Palacio de Bellas Artes is home to the greatest collection of muralist art in the world. The mural painted by Diego Rivera in New York was recreated here after it was removed from the Rockefeller Center because it included an image of Lenin.

The building is as impressive inside as out, with grand marble pillars and ornate décor. On certain nights of the week it is possible to attend the spectacular folklorico ballet at the theater inside the palace.

Red building with red fenceThe house has been left exactly as it was when Trotsky lived there.Photo Credit: Wikimedia

7. Casa de Leon Trotsky

The Casa de Leon Trotsky is the house where Trotsky spent the last year of his life hiding from Russian Stalinists. After several assassination attempts, he was murdered in his office with a pickax. The young man who killed him gained entrance claiming to be the boyfriend of Trotsky’s personal assistant.

The house has been preserved as a museum and left exactly as it was when Trotsky lived there. It is an intriguing glimpse into his time in Mexico City. Austere and somewhat bleak, it is run by an organization supporting those seeking political asylum. A couple of rooms have been added showing pictures of Trotsky with family and friends.

Building with many shiny disks on outsideThis museum is an architectural wonder on the outside and contains many priceless pieces of art on the inside.Photo Credit: Facebook

8. Museo Soumaya

Designed by Fernando Romero, the Museo Soumaya is an architectural wonder, reminiscent of New York’s Guggenheim. The interior houses a private collection of art by the European masters including Van Gogh, Monet, Renoir and Degas.

The top floor is devoted to the sculptures of Rodin and includes “The Thinker,” one of his most famous pieces. Entry is free.

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Graffiti on outside of buildingThis bizarre museum is sure to delight you.Photo Credit: Wikipedia

9. Museo del Juguete Antigua

2,000 toys from all over the world are featured in the delightfully bizarre Museo del Juguete Antigua. Owner Roberto Shimizu started collecting the toys at age 10 and now has 1 million, most of which are in storage. The period of toys on show ranges from the 19th century all the way through to the 1980s.

In addition to a few classics, which will take visitors on a trip down memory road, there are also some rather more offbeat exhibits. All four floors are brimming with vintage toys and packed into display cabinets constructed from salvaged items.

It is chaotic and crazy, but lots of fun for both children and adults. On the rooftop, you can enjoy some cool street art/graffiti. Certainly one of the city’s less conventional museums.

Outside of building with palm leaves drawn on frontLearn all about the production methods of tequila and mezcal.Photo Credit: Wikipedia

10. Museo del Tequila y el Mezcal

Located in Plaza Garibaldi, the home of mariachi, the Museo del Tequila y el Mezcal is a small but fun museum and a perfect way to round off the day! You can learn all about the production methods used to make tequila and mezcal and the history of Mexico’s favorite tipples.

The highlight is a spectacular display of hundreds of bottles, all with striking labels. Afterward, you will receive some complimentary samples and can enjoy them while sitting on the rooftop bar overlooking the plaza. If you are lucky there will be a mariachi band or two.

If you want to carry on sampling, the bar is well-stocked with a variety of both drinks and also serves snacks.

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