Art & Culture

Your guide to best art galleries, museums, shows, musicals and plays in Mexico City

The 10 best museums in Mexico City
Museums

The 10 best museums in Mexico City

Mexico City is one of the cities with the most museums in the world. Don’t wait until International Museum Day, which is celebrated annually on 18th May, to visit them. Among the huge number on offer, we are recommending which 10 museums to visit if you are staying or living in Mexico City.  Mexico City is home to the most visited museum in the country: the Museo Nacional de Antropología, which holds one of the most important collections of pre-hispanic art. You’ll also find places dedicated to the rich history of Mexico, such as Chapultepec Castle which used to be the official residence of Charlotte and Maximilian of Habsburg; in others, you will find wonderful photography and contemporary art exhibitions.  

Museo Tamayo Arte Contemporáneo
Museums

Museo Tamayo Arte Contemporáneo

The Tamayo Contemporary Art Museum is one of the preferred museums of art lovers, thanks to the fact that it continuously houses vanguard exhibits and for its impressive collection of Rufino Tamayo, donated by the artist for the museum’s creation, as well as its international collection from the 1960s-70s. The space, which opened in May 1981, nowadays enjoys notable popularity following the 2014 exhibit “Infinite Obsession” by Yayoi Kusama. Thanks to that event, the space is now seen as an international point of reference for contemporary art.  In January 2015, the museum came under the direction of Juan Gaitán, a young Colombian with a full curator career, relieving Carmen Cuena Carrara, the director who oversaw the museum during its remodeling stage. An arduous, year-long renovation was completed in August 2012, and the result was a 30-percent addition to the building. The architect in charge of the transformation couldn’t have been anyone other than Teodoro González de León, who along with Abraham Zabludovsky, developed the original project. With more ample space and new and remodeled rooms, there’s been a notable increase in the affluence of visitors. There are as many offerings for children and youth as well as adults, all of which are aimed to a transformative contemporary art experience. Thanks to the Department of Education, the museum organizes inspiring workshops in the temporary exhibitions. All the activities have the goal of amplifying the knowledge of the a

Time Out says
5 out of 5 stars
The 10 best museums for kids in Mexico City
Kids

The 10 best museums for kids in Mexico City

Mexico City is bursting at the seams with things that’ll intrigue your little ones: pre-Hispanic wonders, the archeological remains of our ancestors, inspiring pieces of historic art and hands-on installations focussing on modern technology can all be found in the city’s best museums. From the obligatory sites like the Museo Nacional de Antropología and the Museo de Historia Natural, even interactive museums like the MIDE and the Universum, explore, as a family, all these alternatives that the city offers and don’t forget to make time to visit these 10 best attractions in Mexico City.

The best Frida Kahlo art in Mexico City
Art

The best Frida Kahlo art in Mexico City

Mexico City is home to legacy of many great Mexican artists, such as the muralists Diego Rivera, David Alfaro Siqueiros and José Clemente Orozco. The painter Frida Kahlo is no exception. Frida Kahlo’s life was marked by tragic events, such as the accident she suffered at age 18 which caused various fractures in her spinal column. The painter surrounded herself with the great muralists of that era and maintained a strong transgressive opinion in regards to topics such as politics and gender. All this was depicted in her work of art which André Breton labelled as surrealist, but for her it was nothing more than her feelings. Metaphorically, sensitive and hostile are adjectives which are used to describe her work and that has made her one of the most emblematic Mexican artists in the world. Her work has been exhibited in places such as the Orangerie Museum in Paris, the Botanical Garden in New York and the Cultural Museum of Milan. Find out which of Mexico City’s museums exhibit her work, such as the Frida Kahlo Museum, “Casa Azul”, where she was born on 6th July 1907 and also died on 13th July 1954; in fact, her ashes are now found in what used to be her bedroom. You can also discover other spaces, such as the Studio House of Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo, in which the architect Juan O’Gorman (1932) understood Diego and Frida’s needs, combined them with his own queries and exhibited the result in a functioning building.

MUAC, Museo Universitario de Arte Contemporáneo
Museums

MUAC, Museo Universitario de Arte Contemporáneo

Art had ceased to be called modern in the last century and the city lacked a space dedicated exclusively to house the latest artistic endeavors, those that the younger generations were developing which now, for lack of a better name, is called contemporary art. It was at that point that emerged one of the most functional and beautiful museums in the city. Inaugurated in November 2008 and with an impressive design by Teodoro González de León, this is a multimodal space that also allows for the exhibition of retrospective work, which is a space of installations designed specifically for this building. Backed by the National Autonomous University of Mexico and located among the volcanic rock of its cultural center, the museum complements the fascinating creative offering that this campus has given to our city with concert halls (Sala Nezahualcóyotl and Sala Carlos Chávez), Dance halls (Sala Miguel Covarrubias), theaters (Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz forum, Teatro Juan Ruiz de Alarcón), Film (Julio Bracho and José Revueltas rooms), a cafeteria that has won prizes for its exquisite gastronomy (Azul y Oro) and a hallucinating sculpture space that extends into the El Pedegral ecological reserve. One of the museum’s most interesting offerings is the Experimental Sound Space: a dark room where sound works of all types are created. It’s worth getting informed about the temporary exhibits in that they are truly interesting. The museum has an excellent offering of workshops and seminars

Time Out says
5 out of 5 stars

Best museums in Mexico City

Templo Mayor, museo y zona arqueológica
Museums

Templo Mayor, museo y zona arqueológica

Majestic even in name, the main temple houses Mexico’s most precious history. The vestiges of this ceremonial center tell of the lineage of all Mexicans and of the vast cosmogony that still prevails. Leaving no room for doubt, each archaeological piece is fitted with information in both Spanish and English. A guide is not necessary as the route is very concrete and well planned. The fusion made between the ruins and the city outside is fascinating. Drums and Bells adorn the walkway of Tlaloc and Huitzilopochtli with great harmony. The adventure continues inside the roofed museum, where there are sculptures and original artifcats from the pre-Hispanic era, as well as staging of the lifestyle of the people, throughout nine large rooms. We recommend you enjoy the museum and respect the rules, especially regarding cameras, as flashes are forbidden in order to prevent deterioration of exhibited ancient materials. Keep an eye out for the legend of the god of War and seek out the story of Coyolxauhqui.

Time Out says
3 out of 5 stars
Museo Nacional de Antropología (MNA)
Museums

Museo Nacional de Antropología (MNA)

They say that school actually ruins a lot of things for us, for example those of us who studied Mexican history year after year in elementary school may have a consequential repulsion to the name Josefa Ortiz de Domínguez. The same happens with this museum, a favorite place of teachers, who managed to make a trip to see the marvelous collection seem like a punishment. Many of us haven’t been back since we were 10 years old, but it’s worth another chance. If you do, you’ll see the Toltec culture with new eyes now and better understand the Mexica and probably will have a new-found passion for the Maya. And if none of that is the case, at least the architecture will impress you. It’s impossible to see the entire museum in one day, but coming back and seeing the Coatlicue with adult eyes will change your perception of one of Mexico’s most important museums. After 54 years, it was necessary to restore its two great murals: “The World of the Maya” (Leonora Carrington) and the “Map of Meso-America” (Ernesto Vázquez y Luis Covarrubias). The restoration was completed under the direction of restorer Gilda Salgado and the museum’s conservation lab, who over a period of two months carried out the detailed salvage, with a surface cleaning using a vacuum and brushes; as well as the elimination of residues from previous restoration attempts. The magic world of the Maya is a work that evokes the myths and legends of the tzotziles and tzeltales cosmology, with whom Carrington had direct ex

Time Out says
5 out of 5 stars
Museo Frida Kahlo. Casa Azul
Museums

Museo Frida Kahlo. Casa Azul

The selling point of this museum – the most visited in all of Mexico City - is that it was the house where Frida Kahlo was born, lived her life and died. When one enters the Blue House, they’re transported immediately to Frida’s universe, and within it, you’ll find not only her most famous works like “Viva la Vida” and “Frida and her Cesarean,” but also diaries, dresses, mirrors and even her bed. In fact, her ashes can be found in what was her bedroom. This house is history in itself, being that it became a meeting point for the city’s Bohemian set in the 1930s-40s. Diego Rivera lived here as well, and continued to live there after their divorce, in a separate room that now presents part of the muralist’s pre-Hispanic collection. Diego Rivera had asked Dolores Olmedo to turn the house into a museum after they had both died, leaving it completely open to the public, with the exception of one bathroom, which could be opened 15 years after his death. Those 15 years turned into 50, and upon opening the space, thousands of documents, photos, dresses, books and toys were discovered. There was so much new material that they ended up converting the neighboring house into an additional showcase. The museum offers dramatized guided visits during the day, and at night with jazz music accompaniment. Tickets for these visits go fast, so it’s recommended to buy in advance. Fridabús Take advantage of the transport service between this space and Frida Kahlo’s Casa Azul Museum for $100 p

Time Out says
4 out of 5 stars
Munal. Museo Nacional de Arte
Museums

Munal. Museo Nacional de Arte

Dominating the plaza in front of the National Museum of Art is the equestrian statue designed by the illustrious architect for which this space is named: Manuel Tolsá. Better known as “The Little Horse” it features Carlos IV of Spain on his steed, a piece has wandered half the city: First in 1803 when it stood in the Zócalo; later in 1822 when it was given to the university to save it from the anti-Spanish fury which predominated after the Independence; later in 1852, once tensions had been calmed, it was moved to the suburbs, to what is now the intersection of Paseo de la Reforma and Bucareli. In 1979, it was transported to its current location, where it fits in perhaps best of all. At the same time, Sebastían the sculptor, substituted the New Spanish horse for his most famous work, the yellow structure also called Caballito. It’s safe to say that had a thing for horses. The building behind the statue is the old Palace of the Secretary of Communications and Public Works, designed by Italian architect Silvio Contri, who began its construction in 1904. On the inside, it opens to a beautiful staircase whose marble steps show the footprints of time. There’s also impactful, French-influenced marble sculptures in the vestibule, such as the famous “Malgré Tout” (“Inspite of it all”) by Jesús Fructuoso Contreras (1882-1948), that represents a young, naked woman in chains, being dragged on the ground or the scandalous “Après l’orgie” (“After the Orgy”) by Fidencio Lucano Nava (1869

Time Out says
5 out of 5 stars
See more of the best museums in Mexico City

Best art galleries in Mexico City

Celaya Brothers Gallery
Art

Celaya Brothers Gallery

Brothers Víctor and Ricardo Celaya have numerous art, design and publicity projects for both Mexican and foreign institutions, among which the "Seres Queridos" and All City Canvas stand out. In 2014 they decided to fund the Celaya Brothers gallery, a space that is conceived as an artistic nucleus, almost a creative laboratory, in which the exhibition, sale and interaction with contemporary art productions of artists from different latitudes can take place. Involved in multiple levels with the creative processes of the invited artists, the Celaya brothers promote conditions that manage to test the limits of the creators’ artistic expressions. The idea is to have guests "do things they have not done elsewhere; challenge them," says Ricardo Celaya. If in other projects they sought to take the art to the streets, now they propose to open a space for artists, both established and emerging, to experiment with their past exhibitions and experiences acquired during their Mexico City stay.

Time Out says
3 out of 5 stars
Galería OMR
Art

Galería OMR

Pioneers in showing Mexican art abroad, Jaime Riestra and Patricia Ortiz Monasterio founded OMR in 1983. A space that has been able to gain an important presence at renowned fairs in the international arena. Now, under the control of his son Cristóbal Riestra, the gallery was relocated a couple of streets from the original house in Plaza Rio de Janeiro park in the Condesa neighborhood. In the words of Cristóbal, he envisioned "an innovative space in which the limits of artistic practices can be expanded. We want to be a mirror of the way in which artists' study work ". The remodeling of the space was handled by Mateo Riestra, José Arnaud-Bello and Max von Werz. "Although nothing is written in stone, we want the public to have an active dialogue with the work. So, we plan workshops, conferences, film screenings and other activities, to expand beyond just a gallery. We try to design a cultural center, the challenge is to keep it relevant," says the new gallery director. OMR seeks to produce culture and to move away from the commercial and traditional model of a gallery that generates value through free market. His interest is in observing the result of the cultural projects he shows and the social impact that they can generate.

Time Out says
4 out of 5 stars
Galería Hilario Galguera
Art

Galería Hilario Galguera

Damien Hirst changed Hilario Galguera's life. After all, it was Damien artist who proposed that Galguera open his own gallery, after he had lost everything, and was in a moment of crisis. After reevaluating his life and priorities, he accepted, and the exhibition that opened the gallery was one of the most prominent of the Young British Artists. From there, Galguera expanded their collection, which is focused more towards foreign artists than local talents, even though it shows great Mexican artists such as Daniel Lezama.

Time Out says
4 out of 5 stars
Proyectos Monclova
Art

Proyectos Monclova

  This Polina Stroganova directed gallery, is a platform for emerging domestic and foreign artists. Although it was founded in 2005, it wasn’t until 2012 that it moved to this location in the Roma neighborhood and subsequently became one of the most important contemporary art projects in Mexico City. The space has two exhibition areas, a screening room, and it shows six to ten exhibitions annually. Among some of the artists that the gallery shows are Julius Heinemann, Martin Soto Climent and Tercerunquinto.  

Time Out says
4 out of 5 stars

Most popular theaters and forums

Teatro de la Ciudad Esperanza Iris
Theater

Teatro de la Ciudad Esperanza Iris

Located in the Centro Histórico, along Calle Donceles, is a majestic building that has born the name Esperanza Iris (1884-1962) Mexico’s “queen of the opera” for 100 years. In 1918, despite being in the throes of the Mexican Revolution, this building was constructed as one of the most important buildings in the country, as so it remains. Its architecture is inspired by neoclassical Greek and Roman temples (iconic columns and pilasters). It also features the busts of Giuseppe Verdi, Georges Bizet, Franz Lehar, Jacques Offenbach and Esperanza Iris. In its early years, this place became the exhibition space for great artist who debuted their works here in Latin America, even before taking them to New York, like Enrico Caruso, María Conesa and Giacomo Rimini. These days it’s home to the Coordinación del Sistema de Teatros de la Ciudad de México, and has been the headquarters of numerous festivals such as the Festival del Centro Histórico and the Festival Internacional Cervantino, as well as awards shows, including the Premios Metropolitanos, and the awards of the Asociación de Críticos and Periodistas Teatrales and los Premios Fénix. It’s a relevant art space and a must-stop for national and international advocates of theatre, dance, music and cinema disciplines. They’ve filled the theater’s more than 1,344 seats with artists such as Silvio Rodríguez, Pablo Milanese, Joan Manuel Serrat, Mario Benedetti, Daniele Finzi Pasca and Michael Nyman.

Time Out says
5 out of 5 stars
Auditorio Nacional
Music

Auditorio Nacional

If you grew up in Mexico City, surely you have more than one fond memory associated with this place: a concert that blew your mind, a magic show that left you spinning, a televised opera that made you feel cultured ... This spectacle host has seen acts of all kinds from politics, music, theater, dance, writers, poets, dozens of traveling merchants and endless rows of fans. Not only are events in its impressive capacity, they also host them on the outdoor mezzanine, where you can find anything from photography exhibitions to book fairs. Designed by Pedro Ramírez Vázquez and Gonzálo Ramírez del Sordo in 1952 and remodeled and enlarged by Abraham Zabulovsky and Teodoro González de León in 1989, the Auditorio Nacional is probably, along with the Palacio de los Deportes, the most emblematic Mexico City music forum.

Time Out says
4 out of 5 stars
Teatro Telcel
Theater

Teatro Telcel

It's like Broadway... but in Polanco. That’s what was promised by creators of the newest and most well-equipped theatrical venue in Mexico City, similar to the New York Minskoff and the London Coliseum. Both of which are symbols of musical theatre. Located six floors underground, this auditorium is also considered to be the most complete in Latin America because it is the only one to have the Advanced Constellation Audio system, which includes 270 loudspeakers distributed throughout the room (24 x 24 meters). This is all to say that, from each of the 1,400 seats, the spectator hears as if their seat were only six meters from the stage. The construction of the Telcel Theatre began in 2008 and the design concept was headed by Spanish architect Antón García Abril, who borrowed from the composition of ancient Mexica temples, by creating terraces and platforms. The main design allows the access of natural light, similar to pre-Columbian architecture. The hall was created by Mexican architect José de Arimathea Moyao, who has been in charge of designing important stages such as the Sun Forum, the Pepsi Center and the Telmex Auditorium in Guadalajara. Since comfort is a requirement for the enjoyment of any show, the armchairs are 52 centimeters wide and interspersed so that the people in front of you don’t hinder your visibility. The distance between each row is an refreshing 95 centimeters. Federico González Compean, corporate director of the international division of the CIE g

Time Out says
4 out of 5 stars
Teatro Metropólitan
Music

Teatro Metropólitan

We’re certain that all Mexico City residents have visited Teatro Metropólitan at least once in our lives. Built in 1943 by architect Pedro Gorozpe Echeverría – with the help of cine Its exterior is slice of art deco (they say that it’s inspired by Radio City Music Hall) and it’s interiors are neoclassical. It was inaugurated by ex-president Manuel Ávila Camacho with the projection of Los Miserables (1935) Richard Boleslawski. After nearly 40 years of showings, it was one of the venues that closed due to the cultural rut that the city suffered in the early 1990s. It was rescued and restored in 1996 by OCESA, the business that converted it into a space dedicated to theater, conferences, movie projections, dance presentations and above all, a place for concerts. Its red rugs and two Greek sculptures – at the sides of the stage – have borne witness to exciting shows: the first visit to Mexico by Placebo and The Pixies, the 35th university of Bauhaus with Peter Murphy, and spectacular show by David Byrne and his American Utopia tour.

Time Out says
3 out of 5 stars
Teatro de los Insurgentes
Theater

Teatro de los Insurgentes

Since its inception in 1950, this venue was aligned against the established: the small and colonial theaters. For this reason, creator José María Dávila, who was a writer and politician, bet everything he had to turn this into the largest theater in Mexico, made specifically for the middle class. With a budget of 350K pesos, the construction was entrusted to architect Alejandro Prieto, and finished by 1953. The stage measures 15 x 15 meters and has a rotating disk that’s nine meters in diameter. The stage premiered on April 30 of the same year with the play Yo, Colón, starring Mario Moreno, better known as "Cantinflas". Said character not only had the privilege of inaugurating this venue but was immortalized in the mural created by Diego Rivera himself on the theater’s facade. This emblematic piece, which gives identity to the place, was created with glass mosaics and portrays the history of Mexico in two parts: the left side is dedicated to Mexican Independence and the wealthy classes (capitalist, military and clergy) that are represented by the work Carlota and Maximiliano in Miramar, by Rodolfo Usigli. On the right side the homeless are portrayed and the Mexican Revolution is alluded to. Again, hinting at Usigli, but with a fragment of the piece, El Gesticulador. It is curious that these two stories are bridged by the Cantinflas, at the center of the mural. In the mural, the comedian finds himself receiving money from the upper class to give it to the lower class, like

Time Out says
4 out of 5 stars
Polyforum Siqueiros
Museums

Polyforum Siqueiros

The murals housed in Polyforum Siqueiros tell a great part of the its history, as a cultural, social and political space. You’ll see concerts, theater works, conferences, film showings and other cultural events. Construction on the multifunctional building began in 1966 and was inaugurated in 1971, under the design of Manuel Suaréz y Suárez, and muralist David Alfaro Siquieros, for whom the space is named. Highlighted rooms include: El Foro Universal Here you’ll find the world’s largest mural “La Marcha de la Humanidad” by David Aflaro Siqueiros, distinguished by its sheer mass: including 12 combined murals that amount to about 8,700m2 of space.  Divided into four thematic areas: La marcha de la humanidad to la revolución democrática burguesa, La marcha de la humanidad to la revolución del futuro, Paz, cultura y armonía and Ciencia y tecnología, they talk about the metaphor of man and woman seeking a better society for all.   The room in itself is a work of year that is revives itself each weekend with a spectacular light and sound show. 12 exterior murals This consists of a dodecahedron also known as the “Diamond” or the “Star.” The pieces are complimented in high relief, and include El liderato, El árbol seco, El árbol renacido, El circo, Alto a la agresión, Moisés rompe las tablas de la ley, El cristo líder, La danza, La huida, Invierno y verano, El mestizaje, La música and El átomo.  Wall mural This wall commemorates the 50th anniversary of the Movimiento Murali

Time Out says
4 out of 5 stars