Must-Visit Museums in Mexico City’s Historic Center

Mexico City, aka CDMX, is one of the cities with the greatest cultural diversity and number of museums in the world. Its Historic Center is a vibrant area full of culture, gastronomy and nightlife, and it's also home to some of the best museums in the city.

If you're visiting the Historic Center of Mexico City, here we'll look at 7 museums you should consider visiting. Of course, we'll mention some of the most famous ones, such as the National Museum of Art and the Palace of Fine Arts, but we'll also tell you about lesser-known venues, such as the Citibanamex Palace of Culture and the Antiguo Colegio de San Ildefonso.

Are you ready for a visit full of history, culture and art? These are some of the best museums in Mexico City's Historic Center.

National Museum of Art

Of course, we start with this precinct, considered one of the best art museums in the country, plus it is housed in one of the most beautiful buildings in the city (take your time to admire it inside and out).

MUNAL has a permanent collection of more than 3,000 pieces of Mexican art, mainly paintings from the 16th century to the first half of the 20th century. It also hosts magnificent temporary exhibitions, so feel free to ask about its current program so that you can take advantage of them.

Antiguo Colegio de San Ildefonso

The Colegio de San Ildefonso was founded in 1583 and was one of the most important educational institutions in the capital of New Spain. Today, it is a venue with a fabulous cultural richness and one of the best museums of modern and contemporary art that we have in CDMX.

Here you can find some of the best temporary exhibitions of photography, painting and sculpture that come to the city. But, what really makes this museum unique are its interiors decorated with murals created by great Mexican muralists such as Diego Rivera, David Alfaro Siqueiros and José Clemente Orozco. In fact, San Ildefonso is considered one of the cradles of the Mexican muralist movement.

Templo Mayor Museum

The Templo Mayor was the main ceremonial center of the Aztecs, and its ruins are located a few steps from the Zocalo.

You can tour the archaeological site and then visit the museum with an important collection of pre-Hispanic art, objects and remains found in the Templo Mayor and some surrounding buildings.

A visit to the Templo Mayor Museum will allow you to learn about the evolution of the Aztec people, from their settlement in the ancient Great Tenochtitlan (today CDMX) to the arrival of the Spanish conquistadors and how both cultures merged.

Citibanamex Palace of Culture (Former Iturbide Palace)

Madero Street is home to some of the most beautiful architectural gems downtown. Among them is the Former Iturbide Palace, which today houses the Citibanamex Palace of Culture.

This museum exhibits innovative national and international exhibitions, with a strong focus on the diffusion of Mexican popular art and the vast culture of our country.

Palace of Fine Arts Museum

A must-see, not only in the Historic Center but in the entire city, is the Palace of Fine Arts. Beautiful inside and out.

This precinct is considered the ultimate house of art in Mexico. Some of the most renowned cultural events in the country take place here, such as operas, ballets and symphonic concerts. The Main Hall, with its fabulous crystal curtain created by the prestigious Tiffany House of New York, is definitely something you must see.

The second and third floor of the Palace is a museum where extraordinary temporary exhibitions are presented. On its walls, you can admire 12 murals by 7 of the most renowned Mexican muralists: Diego Rivera, David Alfaro Siqueiros, José Clemente Orozco, Rufino Tamayo, Jorge González Camarena, Manuel Rodríguez Lozano and Roberto Montenegro.

Franz Mayer Museum

A few steps from the Palace of Fine Arts, facing the Alameda Central, is the Franz Mayer Museum. It is located in a beautiful building from the 16th century, considered a historical monument, and that for 4 centuries functioned as a hospital.

This museum houses the main collections of decorative arts in Mexico with pieces of ceramics, engravings, silverware, furniture, sculptures and paintings from Europe, Asia and Mexico.

The Franz Mayer Museum also hosts temporary design and photography exhibitions, such as the World Press Photo, the most important photojournalism exhibition in the world.

Memory and Tolerance Museum

Finally, we mention the Memory and Tolerance Museum, which offers an extraordinary visiting experience.

This museum's mission is to spread tolerance and human rights through historical memory. Its exhibition is divided into 2 parts: memory, which presents exhibitions of genocides and other terrible social events; and tolerance, which promotes respect, acceptance and non-violence. It’s a very interesting museum that will make you reflect on humanity and our role in society.

With this place, we close this list of the museums you must visit in CDMX Historic Center.

Of course, there are many must-see museums in other areas of the city, such as the National Museum of Anthropology and the National Museum of History, both in Chapultepec Forest; or Frida Kahlo's Casa Azul in Coyoacán. But, if you want to focus only on the Historic Center, the cultural gems we have mentioned are the ones you should not miss.

We hope you enjoy visiting these places full of history, art and culture. At Central Hoteles, we are waiting for you to offer you the best lodging experience in the heart of Mexico City’s Historic Center, just a few steps away from all these wonderful museums.

We look forward to seeing you!


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