Mexico City has more museums than any other city in the world, so you could spend weeks just visiting museums and not see anything else. We don't recommend that; Mexico City has a range of attractions and you should try to encompass a range of them, no matter how long your visit is. However, you should definitely make some time in your schedule to visit a few of these outstanding museums. Keep in mind that many museums are closed on Mondays, so plan your itinerary accordingly.
The National Anthropology Museum boasts the best collection of Pre-Hispanic pieces in the country, and possibly in the world. You could spend days here, but plan to stay for at least a couple of hours. Don't miss the Aztec room where you can see the impressive Aztec Sun Stone as well as Coatlicue.
Mexico's National History Museum is housed in a castle that was originally the home of Emperor Maximilian and his wife Carlota, then the official residence of Mexican presidents. Located in the center of Chapultepec Park, it offers an overview of Mexican history, as well as containing murals by famous Mexican artists, and some rooms left as they were furnished in Maximilian and Carlota's time.
Visit the famed artist's family home where she was born and died. She and her husband Diego Rivera lived here for many years and left their imprint on the home, decorating it with traditional Mexican folk art. The museum is located in the southern borough of Coyoacán, about a twenty-minute walk from Coyoacán metro station. This is far from the only place to learn about these artists. Take our Frida and Diego tour of Mexico City.
The main temple of the Aztecs is convenient to visit, in the heart of the historic district, just beside the Zocalo. The temple was excavated in the 1970s after electric company workers uncovered the monumental stone disk with the image of the Aztec goddess Coyolxhauqui (pictured). See this piece and learn about the ancient Aztec civilization at the Templo Mayor archaeological site and museum.
National Art Museum
Located in the historical center on Tacuba street, the National Art Museum (known as MUNAL) houses a collection of Mexican art ranging from the 16th to the first half of the 20th Centuries. The building itself is among the finest examples of architecture, with a beautiful curved staircase. The museum has a substantial collection on permanent display and also hosts interesting temporary exhibits.
Address: Tacuba 8, in the Plaza Tolsá, Historical Center
Metro: Bellas Artes (blue line)
Hours: Open Tuesday to Sunday from 10:30 am to 5:30 pm.
This contemporary art museum was formerly housed within the Jumex factory but opened in its new space designed by architect David Chipperfield on the edge of the swanky Polanco district in November 2013. It houses the collection of Eugenio López Alonso, the owner of the Grupo Jumex corporation. The collection is expansive and wide-ranging.
Address: Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra 303, Colonia Granada
Metro: San Joaquin or Polanco (both Line 7)
Hours: Open Tuesday to Sunday from 11 am to 8 pm
Just across the street from the Jumex museum, you'll find the Soumaya museum, which Contains the eclectic private art collection amassed by Mexican tycoon Carlos Slim. This museum is worth a visit for those interested in modern architecture and European art. It holds the largest collection of Rodin sculptures outside of Europe and also contains several pieces by Dali. Start on the third floor and make your way down the stairs to the bottom.