Reputed to be the city with the most museums in the world, Mexico City has a museum for everything you can think of.  Here are my tips for an eclectic mix of five different museums in Mexico City 

General Museum Tips

  • First off, there’s no way you will be able to see even half of Mexico City’s museums during your visit, it is physically impossible.  I would advise you to research the museums on offer and prepare your wish list before you even arrive in Mexico.  You will use up precious holiday time if not.
  • Most, (but not all) museums and archaeological sites are closed on Monday so check out their opening hours online beforehand to avoid disappointment.
  • Some museums are free to tourists on Sundays.
  • Many museums are free to Mexican residents so be prepared to queue to buy a ticket while your Mexican friends pass through quickly.
  • Not all museums have English translations but do offer guided tours in English when booked in advance so check beforehand if that is something that interests you.
  • Photos (no flash) are permitted in many museums as long as you purchase permission.
  • Be prepared to leave backpacks, larger bags etc. in cloakrooms in many of the main museums.
  • A number of museums offer free entry and even guided tours from 19:00 – 22:00 on Noche de Museos, which falls the last Wednesday of every month.  Check individual museum websites for tour times.  See this government page for more details (In Spanish only).

Museo de Antropologia (Museum of Anthropology) TIPS

  • Not all of the explanations are translated in English so you may want to hire a guide or rent an English audio guide
  • The most important information is available in English on the museum’s website.
  • The collection is colossal.  Enthusiasts will find it hard to see every single piece in a whole day while those who struggle with anything more than a few hours in a museum will find the enormity exhausting.
  • Lonely Planet do a great breakdown of the exhibition halls enabling you to plan a shortlist of highlights beforehand and saving you precious holiday time.
  • The museum is closed on Mondays.
  • I highly recommend you walk along Reforma Avenue and through the magnificent Bosque de Chapultepecto get to the museum.  Don’t get too distracted along the way though, as you will need the time in the museum.
  • I found some interesting details on the symbolism within the museum’s architecture here: http://www.bluffton.edu/~sullivanm/mexico/mexicocity/museoarch/architecture.html
  • Make sure to visit the permanent exhibitions on the first floor to get an interesting insight into the customs and traditions of Mexican’s indigenous cultures since the time of Spanish colonization.  The contemporary cultures are located directly above their ancestral civilizations on the ground floor.
  • The outdoor exhibition space is substantial enough to warrant a raincoat if visiting during rainy season.
  • Just outside the museum, don’t miss your only opportunity to witness the indigenous Totonac people’s daring aerial “Dance of the Flyers” in Mexico City.

Museo Templo Mayor TIPS

  • Main information available on website in English here.
  • Closed Mondays.
  • Free Sundays.
  • You need about 2-3 hours for this museum.
  • I recommend you pass the ruins and go straight to the museum first.  That way you will better appreciate what you are looking at when you visit the ruins on the way out.
  • Check out the videos in the downstairs auditorium.
  • The friendly people outside who speak great English and seem passionate about their country’s history expect a tip for the information they give you.  Politely say no if you are not prepared to pay.
  • If you have some time having seen the Museo Templo Mayor, pop over to see the “Lord of Poison” in the Catedral Metropolitana, the largest cathedral in the Americas. This statue of Christ is said to have turned black after absorbing poison meant for a man, saving his life in the process.  Look closely at the cathedral’s exterior walls as you leave and you will see where the Spanish used the very bricks of the Templo Mayor to build their own temple of Christian worship.
  • Just across the road is the Palacio Nacional where you’ll find some fine examples of Diego Rivera’s murals.

Museo Estanquillo TIPS

  • Opens 10am-6pm Wed-Mon
  • Website in Spanish only.
  • Free admission.
  • Although no English information is available in this museum, a lot of the work is visual.
  • If you don’t have much time to spend looking at the collection, try to at least make it up to the superbly located roof terrace for some photos.  You don’t have to purchase anything to access the terrace.
  • Check out the museum’s “reading room” open to the public from 10am to 6pm Wednesday to Monday.
  • I found the section of caricatures and illustrations detailing Mexican opinion on WWII extremely enlightening.

Museo Soumaya, Plaza Carso

  • Open 10:30 -18:30 every day.
  • Free admission.
  • Website in Spanish only.  More detailed info available on Wiki.
  • None of the pieces come with English translations.  Free guided tours are available in English with prior booking.
  • For those of you that speak Spanish, pieces displaying the RA Infinitum logo provide spoken explanations when you scan them using the smartphone app that can be downloaded here.
  • In the entrance to the Plaza Carso shopping centre behind the museum you’ll find a few more Dalí sculptures.
  • Getting There: Nearby metro stations include Río San Joaquín (Line 7), Polanco (Line 7) or San Cosme (Line 2).

Museo Nacional de Arte (MUNAL)

  • Open Tuesday to Sunday from 10:30 to 17:30
  • Closed Mondays.
  • General Admission: $ 33.00.
  • Free admission Sunday.
  • Chamber music recitals are held every week in the splendidly elegant concert hall.  View the programme (in Spanish) here.
  • Between the Metro stations Allende and Bellas Artes.
  • Right across road at number 5, Calle Tacuba, you’ll see the Palacio De Minería.  In it foyer are 4 meteorites that struck Mexico.  The heaviest weighs 14,114kg and rubbing it makes for a very unique and brief side trip that can be squeezed into any itinerary.

Antiguo Colegio de San Ildefonso

  • This is the birthplace of the Mexican Muralist Movement and a must for muralism enthusiasts.
  • Closed Mondays.
  • Free admission Tuesdays 10:00 to 19:30.
  • Wednesday to Sunday $45.00 10:00 to 17:30.
  • Website in Spanish only.
  • For temporary exhibitions, check here.
  • See here for a map of location.
November 3, 2014
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Museum Tips

Reputed to be the city with the most museums in the world, Mexico City has a museum for everything you can think of.  Here are my […]
November 3, 2014
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Mexico City’s Museums

Reputed to be the city with the most museums in the world, Mexico City has a museum for everything imaginable.  Although its archaeological offerings are usually […]