Like many capital cities around the world, there’s an abundance of interesting museums in Mexico City. These menageries have a range of focuses from contemporary art museums and natural history museums to archaeological collections and castles.
After spending the past six months in Mexico City, I’ve found that one of the best ways to learn about the city is to get to know its story. There’s no better classroom for learning about Mexican history than at Mexico City’s museums.
Visiting a city’s museums is a tried and true method for gaining insight into its rich history and culture. If you’re looking for a place to embark on a deep dive into Mexican history, then look no further than the best museums in Mexico City.
Let’s get into it!
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13 Best Museums in Mexico City
Palacio de Bellas Artes
An art museum and performance hall featuring stunning marble architecture
Palacio de Bellas Artes is one of the most iconic museums in Mexico City for its incredible facade alone. Seriously, before I even knew this was an art museum, I was completely enamored with how gorgeous the art deco building was by itself.
Inside this masterpiece of a building is a bunch of art and history exhibition halls. The murals of famous Mexican muralists like Diego Rivera and Jose Clemente Orozco are along the walls. There are also exhibitions of sculptures and photography. The museum occasionally hosts dance, theatre, and music events.
I’d recommend visiting Palacio de Bellas Artes on a Sunday when the museum has free admission.
👉 Pro Tip: Palacio de Bellas Artes is an easy museum for most tourists to visit. It’s located right smack-dab in the middle of the Historical Center near many accommodations. If you haven’t found a place to stay yet, be sure to check out my guide about where to stay in Mexico City.
Tamayo Contemporary Art Museum
An extensive collection of contemporary paintings, sculptures, and photography
If you’re a modern art fan, then the Tamayo Art Museum will make an excellent addition to your list of things to see in Mexico City. The museum’s collection includes contemporary art and items from the collection of Mexican artist Rufino Tamayo. Museo Tamayo Arte Contemporáneo also features an international collection.
Many of the permanent and temporary exhibitions are very eye-catching. It’s the definition of art that holds a presence in your mind long after you’ve left the museum. Tamayo also regularly puts on different types of programs for kids.
👉Pro Tip: Like most museums in Mexico City, the Tamayo Museum is closed on Mondays. Keep this in mind when you’re planning your trip.
A stunning architectural piece housing international contemporary art
The Soumaya Museum is another one of the Mexico City Museums that’s beautiful on both the outside and inside. The architecture of Soumaya gives off this science fiction-y, alternative universe type of vibe. It’s also one of the best contemporary art museums in Mexico City.
Inside the spaceship-looking building, you’ll find a huge collection of over 66,000 pieces that span 30 centuries. Here you can see the works of world-renowned Mexican and International artists including pieces from contemporary artists and big names like Salvador Dali and Tintoretto.
It’s one of the most-visited museums in Mexico City, and there’s a good reason for that. Not only does it feature incredible art, but it’s also completely free to visit every day.
Frida Kahlo Museum (Casa Azul)
A showcase of Kahlo’s work and life in her bright blue former home
The Frida Kahlo Museum, also known as Casa Azul, is one of the most popular and best museums in Mexico City. Casa Azul is a must-visit for anyone who’s even remotely into art or famous artists. The unique museum focuses on the work and life of one of the most highly respected Mexican artists – Frida Kahlo.
Frida Kahlo lived in Casa Azul all her life, so you’ll get the chance to walk within the walls of a world-famous Mexican artist. Her clothes, mirrors, bed, and diaries are all still there, so it really feels like her space even after death.
Besides getting to discover Frida’s lifetime home, the museum also houses some of her most famous art. Such as Viva la Vida and her self-portrait Frida. I think it’s one of the most interesting museums in the world, let alone Mexico City.
🚴Want the Day Planned For You? If you really want to gain a deeper insight into Frida’s life, I’d recommend booking this Mexico City bike tour. It includes a guided tour of the museum and a ride through Coyoacan.
Museo Nacional De Arte (The National Art Museum)
A variety of Mexican art pieces housed in a neoclassical building
Museo Nacional de Arte is home to the largest collection of Mexican art from the 16th to 20th centuries.
This museum gives you a peek at how fine art developed throughout history, from the colonial period through the Mexican Revolution. It’s one of the best museums around to learn about the intersection of Mexican history and fine arts.
📚Are You Insured Yet? Before you arrive in Mexico City, it’s really important that you’re protected in case of any emergencies. To learn more, check out this guide to travel insurance for Mexico.
University Museum of Contemporary Art (MUAC)
A public university museum featuring compelling contemporary art exhibits
MUAC is one of the coolest museums on this list. Their showstopping pieces and rotating exhibitions bridge the gap between science and art. It’s meant to be a space for artists from the 21st century and pieces made after 1952.
MUAC always has several different thought-provoking exhibitions that change regularly, so it’s hard to say what’ll be available during your trip. I recommend that you head over to the museum’s website before your visit to see what temporary exhibitions are available.
National Anthropology Museum
A highly popular museum featuring ancient artifacts throughout history
The National Anthropology Museum is a vast maze of artifacts, art, and pieces of history and culture. Many pieces date all the way back to Mayan civilizations. Seriously, this place has a mind-blowing amount of objects – over 600,000, to be exact.
It’s one of those famous museums that almost every child growing up in Mexico City remembers visiting at one point or another. It’s actually the most popular museum in the entire country as of 2020, with nearly a million visitors.
This museum is equally as exciting for solo travelers as it is for families with kids because there’s so much stuff to see. It’s a staple when it comes to Mexico City museums.
👉Pro Tip: Visiting the museum on your own is great, but to get the most out of your visit, I’d book a tour with an informative guide. This guided tour of the National Museum of Anthropology is a great option.
Museo de Arte Popular
A colorful collection of popular and Mexican folk art with fun activities for children
Museo de Arte Popular is a folk art museum with a variety of Mexican handicrafts like textiles, furniture, piñatas, and alebrijes. It’s a place filled with vibrant rainbows of color and super intricate art pieces.
Like many others, Museo de Arte Popular is located near the museum hotspot of Centro Historico. It’s really easy to throw together a day where you stop by a bunch of the museums in these neighborhoods. A bunch of the best restaurants in Mexico City are located in this area too.
Memory and Tolerance Museum
A tribute of remembrance to international genocides with contemporary exhibits
The goal of the Memory and Tolerance Museum is to acknowledge the impacts of genocide around the world in an effort to create a better future. It contains a series of rooms that take you through some of the most heinous acts of history and injustices that are still occurring today.
Your journey through this museum will be split up into two parts. You’ll see exhibits that pay remembrance to genocides of the past, like the Holocaust. In the Tolerance section, you’ll come face to face with the reality of today’s issues including things like having an open dialogue and modern discrimination.
It sounds really heavy and depressing, which it is. But, it’s important to be familiar with the tough parts of history to avoid it happening in the future.
Leon Trotsky Museum
Explore the home of an exiled and assassinated Russian leader
The Leon Trotsky Museum allows visitors to get a better sense of this exiled (and later assassinated), Soviet leader. In the museum’s complex, you can stop by the house where Trotsky lived with his second wife. It’s the same house that he was murdered in.
The house is largely kept the same as it was when he lived there, similarly to Casa Azul, so you’ll be truly immersed in Trotsky’s world. The museum also runs cultural activities throughout the year, like workshops and presentations.
👉Pro Tip: Places like the Leon Trotsky Museum and other attractions outside the main city center might require some driving to get there. Many people opt to rent a car during their trip to do all these faraway activities, but this process is pretty complicated in Mexico City. For more information, read this guide to renting a car in Mexico.
Franz Mayer Museum
The home of the largest decorative arts collection in Latin America
The Franz Mayer Museum specializes in decorative arts that are representative of Latin America, most of which come from the 15th to 20th centuries. There are also some items that come from Europe and Asia. Picture lots of exquisite handicrafts like textiles and Talavera pottery.
Something that’s unique about the Franz Mayer Museum is that it’s housed in a repurposed old monastery and hospital. The museum grounds have a lovely cafe located in their garden, and they sometimes hold interesting workshops.
📚Related Reading: Have you been wondering (or worrying) about your safety in Mexico City? You can put those feelings to rest by reading my guide to safety in Mexico City.
An 18th-century castle with gorgeous views over the city and the National Museum of History
Chapultepec Castle is one of the top attractions to visit in Mexico City for its historical significance and overall beauty. The Museum of History is located at this hilltop castle, which attracts a lot of tourists.
Chapultepec Castle also provides visitors with expansive views over the entire city.
👉Pro Tip: If you want to take a lot of the legwork out of visiting Chapultepec Castle, just join a tour! I’d recommend this tour to Chapultepec Castle and the Anthropology Museum. It includes transportation, tickets, and a guide to show you around.
A cozy contemporary art museum with striking exhibits and events for kids
Museo Jumex holds a stunning collection of works made by famous contemporary artists like Andy Warhol and Gabriel Orozco. Compared to many of the other museums on this list, Museo Jumex is fairly new as it opened in 2013. Museo Jumex frequently rotates its exhibitions, so give their website a look before you stop by to see their current offerings.
Best of all, you can experience all of this museum’s art for free – every day, adults and children can explore Museo Jumex free of change. They also put on workshops for families and children pretty often.
📚Need Travel Advice? There’s a lot to learn before traveling to Mexico. To get the inside scoop, make sure you check out these 23 Mexico travel tips.
FAQs about Museums in Mexico City
What are three popular museums in Mexico City?
The Museum of Anthropology, the Blue House (Frida Kahlo Museum), and the Palacio de Bellas Artes are the three most popular museums in Mexico City.
Where are the museums in Mexico City?
The museums of Mexico City are scattered throughout the area, but many of them are located in Centro Historico, Coyoacan, and Zona Rosa.
What is the most visited museum in Mexico City?
The National Museum of Anthropology is the most visited museum in Mexico City. It’s even the most visited museum in the entire country of Mexico as of 2020. There were 940,000 visitors to the Anthropology Museum in this year.
Are museums in Mexico City free?
Some museums in Mexico City are free every day like Museo Jumex and the Soumaya Museum. Many of the other museums in the area offer free admission one day per week, such as the Museum of Modern Art and Palacio de Bella Artes on Sundays.
Most Mexico City museums have free entry for children under a certain age. Museo del Templo Mayor and Tamayo Contemporary Art Museum both allow kids under 12 to visit for free.
There are so many museums to visit in Mexico City that they could be an entire trip in themselves. But, if you only have time for a few, hopefully, you’ve found your top choices.
If you’re planning on making any getaways from CDMX, be sure to read my list of the 19 best day trips from Mexico City.
Have fun discovering the history and art museums of Mexico City!