8Great: Mexico City Museums


by Nilina Mason- Campbell

With Mexico City’s cosmopolitan reputation, of course the city’s art and culture is world class. Aside from gallery saturated neighborhoods like Roma and Condesa, the capital city also hosts the annual Zona Maco art fair every February; the largest in Latin America. But the top year-round attraction has to be its plethora of museums, the most out of any city in the world! And the real treat is that the bulk of them are free to enter. Often you need to only pay a small fee of around a dollar for a pass to take photos, but visiting and viewing is free. Here’s our 8 picks for all things museum related in a Mexico City:

1. Frida Kahlo Muesum

Nestled in the heart of the Coyoacán neighborhood, Frida Kahlo’s childhood home is unmissable, both literally and figurative. Painted a striking shade of blue, the building stands out on an already colorful street. Upon entering, visitors will find the rooms as they were during her lifetime; the kitchen features all the plates and utensils her and Diego Rivera dined with, her bedroom features not only her actual bed, but her easels, paints and brushes nearby. Another building on the property showcases many of her iconic wares and headpieces. While there is a collection of her art on display, this museum is more about getting to know the life behind her self portraits.

2. Museo Mural Diego Rivera

If you’re in the mood to stay on theme with the work and lives of Kahlo and Rivera, the city offers a museum that explores the work Diego Rivera. It’s museum’s main attraction is his mural Dream on a Sunday Afternoon in Alameda Park that scales an entire wall of the museum. The painting is in tribute to Mexico City’s first city park and showcases various eras of the city that span the conquest to the revolution.

3. Museo Soumaya

Situated in the upscale Polanco neighborhood, Museo Soumaya is the most visited museum in all of Mexico. While its facade is entirely futuristic from its unusual, asymmetrical vase-like shape to the silver hexagonal plating that decorates its exterior, but the collections inside keep a firm eye on preserving the past. There are several eras represented – specifically over 30 centuries of art exist across its various floors, including Pre-Hispanic Mesoamerica and an impressive assortment of sculptures created by Salvador Dalí.

4. Alfredo Guati Rojo National Watercolor Museum

Charming and quaint, this museum sits down a quiet cobblestone street in the Coyoacán neighborhood. It’s claim to fame is that it was the first museum dedicated specifically to watercolor. It houses a permanent collection with a folk-art vibe as well as displays work from up and coming artists in a separate area.

5. Museo Nacional de Culturas Populares

Museo Nacional de Culturas Populares is located in the heart of Coyoacán, less than a block from Jardín Plaza Hidalgo, the historic center of Coyoacán. This museum is dedicated to all things heritage and culture with everything from embroidery to paper crafts represented within the bright orange building.

6. Museo de Arte Moderno

The city’s Museum of Modern Art sits very near the base of Chapultepec castle, acting as the unofficial greeter to visitors entering Chapultepec Park. Inside, the museum hosts art from both national and international artists, but you’ll be treated to art before you even enter by way of the museum’s very moderns and abstract sculpture garden that stays true to its mission.

7. Museo Nacional de la Revolución

The main attraction of this museum isn’t necessarily its art, though that’s important too. This museum is dedicated to preserving the history of the revolution of 1910 and features several photographs that distill key aspects of it. However, if you reach the top of the tower, you’ll be treated to perhaps the best views in all the city. Yes, a short elevator ride treats you to sweeping panoramic views of the metropolis. And if passing by at night, you might even find a group of people doing indigenous dancing on its grounds.

8. Noche de Museos

On the last Wednesday of every month, nearly all the museums across the city stay open past their regular times and into the night. The real draw is not only having extra time to view collections, but the events that come along with staying open late! Each month, individual museums offer special programming from live music to dance recitals, workshops and free tours to accompany staying open late. You can consult the main Mexico City museum site for information in English as to what programs each museum will be hosting in conjunction with the monthly Museum Night:

For more information: Mexico City museums


Nilina Mason-Campbell currently splits her time between Los Angeles, California and Portland, Oregon. In addition to adventures, she enjoys story-telling, daydreaming about living in an airstream and crafting her own line of illustrated souvenirs. 

Follow Nilina Mason-Campbell on Twitter: @NineInchNilina