Mexico City is packed full of great things to do, and culture loving travelers will find that there are no end of museums waiting to be explored.
In fact, the Mexican capital has one of the highest concentrations of museums in the world and locals will happily inform you that their city can rival the likes of London or Rome when it comes to history.
They aren’t wrong, and you can spend days, perhaps even weeks, trying to visit all the best museums in Mexico City. From the sprawling corridors of the anthropological museum in Mexico City to the artsy interior of the iconic Frida Kahlo Museum, here are our favorite museums to visit in the capital.
1. Frida Kahlo Museum
There’s always a long line stretching around the bright blue exterior walls of the iconic Frida Kahlo Museum in Mexico City’s Coyoacán district as it is one of the best museums to visit in Mexico City.
This is the former home of famed Mexican artist Frida Kahlo, and the museum is dedicated to her life and work. Frida Kahlo lived from 1907 to 1954 and became well known for her self portraits and for her colorful relationships with eccentric characters such as the artist Diego Rivera and the communist in exile, Leon Trotsky.
This is one of the busiest museums in Mexico City, but it’s well worth the queue to learn more about Mexico’s most acclaimed 20th century artist.
2. Leon Trotsky Museum
Also located in Coyoacán is the equally fascinating León Trotsky Museum. The infamous communist revolutionary was exiled from the Soviet Union by Stalin and found his way across the world to Mexico City, where he continued writing socialist literature.
He began a scandalous affair with Frida Kahlo, and his public life eventually drew the attention of Stalin’s assassins, who gruesomely murdered him in his own house.
The house where the murder happened is today the Leon Trotsky Museum in which you can learn about his life along with Mexico’s history with communism and the Soviet Union.
3. Museo Nacional de Antropología (MNA)
Make sure that you have plenty of time before you step into the extraordinary Museo Nacional de Antropología as it is one of the largest museums in the world, and you could easily spend days browsing through the exhibits.
This huge museum is perhaps the best in Mexico City, especially if it’s your first time in the capital. It takes you on a journey through Mexican history and culture, focusing of course, on the people.
The museum starts in the prehistoric age, before moving slowly through Mayan and Aztec history, into the Spanish colonial era, and then onto the modern era. You can find the Anthropology Museum by Chapultepec Park, and there’s a big restaurant and cafe inside for when you need a rest.
4. Museo del Palacio de Bellas Artes
Found in the Centro Histórico, the Museo del Palacio de Bellas Artes is found inside one of the most beautiful buildings in the Mexican capital.
The Art Nouveau building is glorious from the outside, dating back to the early 20th century. Inside, the artwork and designs are absolutely stunning too.
The museum displays the wonderful works of art that the Palace is so famous for, whilst you can also enjoy concerts and performances which are held regularly inside the grand and opulent building.
5. Museo Memoria y Tolerancia
One of the most interesting museums to visit in Mexico City is the Museo Memoria y Tolerancia, or the Museum of Memory and Tolerance.
Found by Alameda Park, just a short stroll from the Palacio de Bellas Artes, this museum is dedicated to remembering some of the worst human massacres and genocides in history.
The museum focuses on the Holocaust in Europe and other, lesser known genocides committed in Latin America. It aims to foster a sense of memory and a sense of tolerance in those who visit, in an effort to ensure that these events are never again repeated.
6. Museo Universitario de Arte Contemporáneo (MUAC)
If you’re a lover of the arts then the Museo Universitario de Arte Contemporaneo – or the University Museum of Contemporary Art – could be the best art museum in Mexico City for you to visit.
Usually known a little more simply as MUAC, this is a museum that’s home to the largest collection of modern art in Mexico, and one of the largest collections in the Americas too.
MUAC displays the best contemporary art from Mexico, and has become one of the best platforms for emerging and contemporary artists in the country.
7. Museo Nacional de Arte (MUNAL)
Another fantastic art museum to visit in Mexico City is the Museo Nacional de Arte, or MUNAL.
This is Mexico’s most important art museum, and it’s home to some of the most treasured paintings and sculptures in the country.
The national art museum has works of art that date back as far as the early Spanish colonial era, right through to the 20th century.
8. Museo de Arte Popular
The Museo de Arte Popular is a unique museum that focuses on Mexican folk and popular art.
The museum has wonderful, colorful displays of traditional pottery, handicrafts, and instruments, from indigenous traditions through to religious and more modern traditions too.
Once a year the Museo de Arte Popular sponsors the iconic Alebrije Parade, which sees enormous depictions of Mexican folkloric monsters being paraded through the streets of Mexico City.
9. Museo Tamayo Arte Contemporáneo
The Museo Tamayo Arte Contemporáneo is an art museum that’s dedicated to the Mexican artist, Rufino Tamayo.
The 20th century artist was famed for his surrealist works, and the museum today houses a huge collection of his best pieces.
The museum also holds displays focusing on other contemporary artists, making this a great place to learn more about the country’s best modern artists.
10. Museo del Tiempo Tlalpan A.C.
The Museo del Tiempo Tlalpan is a wonderfully niche museum that makes for a fascinating break from art and culture.
This is Mexico City’s Museum of Time, and it delves deep into the past as it looks at the unique topic of the history of time.
That means you can expect to find archaic time keeping devices as well as antique clocks and watches on display here.
11. Museo Dolores Olmedo
Located in Xochimilco, the suburb known for its Aztec era canals, the Museo Dolores Olmedo is one of Mexico City’s best art museums.
The museum was originally curated by Dolores Olmedo, until her death in 2002. Olmedo was a lifelong friend of iconic Mexican artist Diego Rivera, and she appeared in several of his paintings.
She dedicated her art museum to Rivera in 1994. Inside you can find a huge selection of Rivera’s work, alongside works by Rivera’s wife, Frida Khalo.
12. Museo del Templo Mayor
Found in the Zocalo, Mexico City’s main central square, the Museo del Templo Mayor houses the remains of an Aztec temple that used to rise high above the city.
Mexico City was known to the Aztecs as Tenochtitlan, and when the Spanish Conquistadors arrived they simply tore down the temples of the Aztec capital and built the zocalo on top of the ruins.
The museum protects the few temple ruins that remain in Mexico City, and is a great way to delve into the hidden history that lies beneath the Mexican capital.
13. Museo Soumaya
Art lovers won’t want to miss out on a visit to the brilliant Museo Soumaya, one of the most extensive art museums in Mexico City.
The museum was founded by Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim and named in honor of his late wife. The museum is home to an incredible art collection which displays pieces ranging from throughout Mexican history.
Inside the Museo Soumaya, you can find artwork dating back as far as the early Mayan period, and indigenous works of art and sculpture that survived the colonial period.
You can also find famous works by colonial Spaniards and Europeans, and more modern works by iconic artists such as Salvador Dali.
14. Museo del Chocolate (MUCHO)
Chocolate traces its origins to Latin America, where it was grown and harvested and even used as currency by the Aztecs and Mayan.
They turned chocolate into a hot drink, and when the Spaniards arrived this was one of the first pieces of indigenous culture and cuisine they took back to Europe and then spread across the world.
At the Museo del Chocolate you can learn more about the fascinating history behind chocolate. From its origins in the jungles of the Americas to the chocolate bars you can buy in the shops today.
15. Museo Nacional de Historia
The Museo Nacional de Historia is found within Chapultepec Castle, one of the only royal palaces to have been built in North America.
The historic location features exhibitions of Mexican history beginning from the colonial era, into the Mexican Wars of Independence, and then the Mexican Revolution all defining events which helped to develop the Mexico of today.
There are literally hundreds of museums to visit in Mexico City, and this guide of the best museums in Mexico City is barely scratching the surface. There are many more niche and lesser-known museums to visit, so if you love history and culture, be prepared to be enthralled by Mexico City’s vast array of wonderful museums.