Museo Soumaya: Planning Your Visit

Museo Soumaya Art Museum

TripSavvy / Taylor McIntyre

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Soumaya Museum

Address
Blvd. Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Granada, Miguel Hidalgo, 11529 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico
Phone +52 55 1103 9800

Visitors are spoiled for choice when it comes to museums in Mexico City. In fact, it's one of the world cities with the greatest number of museums, and whether you're interested in art, history, culture, or archaeology, you'll find something that's sure to be of interest. One outstanding museum with two separate locations is the Museo Soumaya. This private art museum, owned and managed by telephone mogul Carlos Slim and filled with his private collection, is best known for its modern, innovative architecture at the Plaza Carso location in the Nuevo Polanco area. The museum is named after Slim's late wife, Soumaya, who passed away in 1999.

The Collection

The museum's collection holds over 66,000 pieces of art. The collection is quite eclectic, with the largest part being made up of European art dating from the 15th to the 20th century. However, the museum also contains Mexican art, religious relics, historical documents, and a large assortment of historical Mexican coins and currency. Slim has said that the collection's emphasis on European art is to offer Mexicans who can not afford to travel the opportunity to appreciate the art of Europe.

Highlights

The distinctive architecture of the Soumaya Museum building at Plaza Carso is a major highlight in itself. This six-story building is covered with 16,000 hexagonal aluminum tiles, which is perhaps a modern take on the city's traditional colonial ceramic-tiled building facades, and their reflective quality gives the building a different appearance depending on the weather, time of day, and the viewer’s vantage point. The overall shape is amorphous and the architect describes it as a "rotated rhomboid" and some have suggested it alludes to the shape of a woman's neck. The interior of the building is somewhat reminiscent of the Guggenheim Museum in New York with its white circular ramps that travel from top to bottom.

While the building is a work of art in itself, there's plenty to goggle at inside, as well. The Soumaya Museum has the largest collection of Auguste Rodin sculptures outside of France, as well as works by European masters like Salvador Dalí, Pablo Picasso, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Joan Miró, Vincent van Gogh, Henri Matisse, and Claude Monet. Apart from making European art more accessible to local residents, the museum also highlights artists from Mexico and Latin America. Mexico's three most important muralists—Diego Rivera, Siqueiros, and Orozco—are all on display. Make sure you see Rivera's final mural, "Río Juchitán," a nearly 30-foot long piece that's painted on both sides.

Visiting Museo Soumaya

  • Locations: The Soumaya Museum actually has two locations, the original Plaza Loreto building in the southern area of Mexico City and the newer Plaza Carso location in the north of the city. Both are worth seeing, but if you're looking for "the" Museo Soumaya, it's the newer location that you want with its eye-popping architectural design.
  • Hours: Both the Plaza Loreto and the Plaza Carso locations are open seven days a week from 10:30 a.m to 6:30 p.m.
  • Admission: Admission to the Soumaya Museum is free for all visitors.
  • Visitor Tip: When visiting the Plaza Carso location, take the elevator to the top floor, an exhibition space filled with natural light, and take your time walking down the ramps, enjoying the art all the way to the bottom. After visiting the Soumaya museum, head just across the street where you'll find the Museo Jumex, which is another of the city's excellent privately-owned museums. 

Getting There

If you're going to the Soumaya Museum, you're probably heading to the Plaza Carso location in the Polanco neighborhood. If you're comfortable navigating Mexico City's bus system, there's a bus stop right in front of the museum's entrance. Otherwise, you can take the metro to the Polanco station, but it's about a 25-minute walk from the station to the museum. The simplest way to get there is to call a radio taxi or use a ride-sharing app like Uber, although Mexico City traffic may cause delays.

If your destination is the smaller Plaza Loreto location, the transportation options are similar. It's located in the San Angel district and you can take a bus directly to the museum, but the nearest metro stop—Miguel Angel de Quevedo—is about a 25-minute walk away.

Another option for getting to the Plaza Carso museum is to sign up for the city-wide bike share program, known as EcoBici. You'll have to pick up a physical card from a city office after signing up, but it's a convenient way for moving around the city and there's a bike station right in front of the museum (the EcoBici coverage area doesn't reach the Plaza Loreto location).

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Museo Soumaya: Planning Your Visit