By Soumya Gayatri. This guide to art in Mexico City contains affiliate links to trusted partners!
Looking to explore the Mexico City art scene?
Then you’re in the right place!
Once home to renowned Mexican artists such as Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, and Rufino Tamayo, Mexico City has a rich and vibrant art scene.
From taking guided walks through a historic center full of colorful murals to shopping for contemporary art in the bohemian neighborhoods of Roma and Condesa, Mexico City offers many unique artsy experiences.
To help you explore it for yourself, here is a comprehensive art guide for Mexico City. Discover art galleries, museums, murals, and more!
⏳ Short on time? Here are some top picks for exploring Mexico City’s art scene:
🏨 Artsy Hotels: Hotel San Fernando (La Condesa), Le Méridien Mexico City (Reforma), and Camino Real Hotel (Polanco)
🎨 Art-Focused Tours:
–Mexico City Street Art Bike Tour
–Muralist Art Semi Private Walking Tour in Mexico City Downtown
–Coyoacán & Xochimilco including Frida Kahlo Museum
➡️ Click here for a full list of Mexico City art tours
🖌️ Art Museums & Galleries: Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo House Studio, Museum of Modern Art, and the Museo National de Arte – though keep in mind that this is just a small sampling of your many options
Best Neighborhoods For Exploring Mexico City’s Art Scene
Historic Center of Mexico City
Whether you’re visiting Mexico City for a few days or more, you have to spend time exploring the Historic Center of Mexico City. It offers a great mix of both contemporary and traditional Mexican art, and is absolutely the best place for art enthusiasts visiting the city.
Filled with colonial buildings adorned with vibrant murals, Aztec ruins showcasing ancient frescoes, and nondescript shops featuring attractive street art, the Mexico City Historic Center is truly the most artistic place to be.
Visitors will love a tour of the National Palace where Diego Rivera painted some of his most famous murals including the magnificent History of Mexico.
The Secretariat of Public Education, a hidden gem, offers more murals by Rivera depicting local life, festivals, and customs.
At Calle Regina, you’ll find a ton of street art including the Meeting of Styles street art and graffiti exhibition. Much of it is painted on shop shutters, so wait until evening when the shutters go down and you can enjoy the art everywhere.
Finally, don’t miss Museo de Arte Popular which houses an incredible repository of Mexican folk art including alebrijes, textiles, pottery, and metalwork.
🎨 Pro tip: Want to see the best art this area has to offer? Book a mural tour of Mexico City’s Historic Center!
Roma & Condesa
The bohemian neighborhoods of Roma and Condesa in Mexico City are every art lover’s dream.
Over time, these neighborhoods have become magnets for artists and painters from all over the world.
That’s why they are both now filled with eclectic street art and upscale art galleries. The diversity of art on display in Roma and Condesa is truly astouding and is a reason in itself to visit Mexico City.
Be sure to step into Galleria OMR, one of Mexico’s leading art galleries that displays a wonderful mix of Mexican and international art.
Some of the other notable museums include X Espacio, Arto Otra, and Proyecto Mexico Antiguo.
For street art in Mexico City, head to Plaza Rio de Janeiro, Calle Zacatecas, and Plaza Luis Cabrera.
The quaint neighborhood of Coyoacan was once home to the celebrated Mexican artist, Frida Kahlo.
Kahlo was born in Casa Azul or the Blue House, which is now a museum in Coyoacan. She lived in the house with her husband, Diego Rivera for many years and created some of her finest paintings during that time.
Not very far away is the Diego Rivera Anahuacalli Museum which houses a treasure trove of pre-Hispanic artifacts that Rivera collected during his lifetime.
With the eternal legacy of Kahlo and Rivera behind it and some interesting street art, Coyoacan is, undoubtedly, one of Mexico City’s most artsy neighborhoods.
🎨 Pro tip: You can explore this neighborhood on a guided excursion while visiting other important Mexico City cultural spots – like a Frida Kahlo’s House, Coyoacan & Xochimilco Tour (private option here) or an excursion to visit Xochimilco, Coyoacan, Estadio Azteca, and UNAM!
The colorful borough of San Angel is another great neighborhood to explore the virbant Mexico City art scene.
This is where you’ll find the Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo House Studio. Both Kahlo and Rivera lived and painted in this house – which is actually a set of two houses connected by a bridge – together. The twin houses are now a museum where you can see Rivera’s amazing paper mâché collection.
The lesser-known Museo Casa del Risco has an extensive collection of religious art from Europe, landscapes, and portraits. The museum’s collection of 10 stained glass windows dating to the 16th century is awe-inspiring.
Mercado Melchor Muzquiz, the local market in San Angel, has one of the largest collections of colorful murals by Ariosto Otero Reyes, a contemporary Mexican artist. Covering both the interior and exterior walls of the market, these murals depict the history and culture of Mexico.
🎨 Pro tip: For a creative San Angel excursion, book a Saturday Bazaar, Convent of Carmen & San Angel Tour or a San Angel Mexican Food & Culture Tour.
Colonia San Rafael or the San Rafael neighborhood in the borough of Cuauhtemoc is an upcoming, and often overlooked, artsy destination in Mexico City.
Home to the wealthy and affluent during the Porfiriato – an era of dictatorial rule during Porfirio Díaz’s presidency of Mexico – San Rafael now plays host to young artists and chic art galleries.
The neighborhood has an eclectic collection of Mexico City art museums like the El Eco, Espectro Electromagnetico, and Taller Lu’um.
Additionally, there’s Jardin del Arte Sullivan, San Rafael’s open-air art market where local artists and sculptors sell their creations. It is the perfect place to shop for authentic Mexican art pieces if you want to take one home.
San Rafael is perfect for art enthusiasts looking to escape the crowds of the Historic Center and the exorbitant prices of Roma and Condesa. This also make it popular with people traveling solo in Mexico City.
Where To See Street Art & Murals In Mexico City
The importance of street art in Mexico City
Mexico City has been the center of Mexican muralism ever since the mural movement began in the country in the 1920s.
After the Mexican Revolution, the government decided that murals were a colorful way of uniting the people of Mexico. Art was the best way to reach out to remote, unlettered communities and convey a united vision of Mexico.
Mural masters such as Diego Rivera, Jose Clemente Orozco, and David Alfaro Siqueiros painted massive murals depicting life, culture, and festivities but most importantly the political beliefs and the mixed heritage of the Mexican people. For the first time, the concept of Mestizo became crucial in the formation of a new, independent country.
In Mexico City, murals are not just a form of art. They are the very essence of Mexican identity.
If you’d like to dig deeper into Mexican culture, exploring its murals is a great way to do it. Here’s a list of the best places to see murals in Mexico City.
Begin your Mexico City mural tour at the impressive Palacio National or the Mexican National Palace.
A stunning example of colonial architecture, the National Palace is also home to several awe-inspiring murals by the maestro himself, Diego Rivera. His History of Mexico mural that covers three towering walls of the palace’s stairwell is absolutely unmissable.
The National Palace is now the seat of the Mexican government. Therefore, you can explore the murals only on an authorized guided tour that you can easily sign up for.
Secretariat of Public Education
One of the best, often overlooked, places to see murals in Mexico City is the sprawling campus of the Secretariat of Public Education.
The walls of the secretariat’s courtyards are adorned with more than 200 mural panels painted by Diego Rivera in the 1920s.
Each mural tells a unique story, offering insights into the culture, customs, and traditions of Mexicans.
The Public Education complex is different from other mural places in CDMX because the overarching theme here is culture instead of politics – which dominates the paintings in the other places. Therefore, it is a must-visit place for art enthusiasts and culture lovers alike.
UNAM Central Library
The Central Library at UNAM or Mexico’s National Autonomous University has its entire façade covered with murals.
The murals, created by Juan O’Gorman from thousands of colored tiles, represent ancient, colonial, and modern periods of Mexican history. Collectively, they are known as the “Historical Representation of Culture” mural.
The Central University Campus is a UNESCO World Heritage Site today.
Paseo de la Reforma
One of the best places to see street art in Mexico City is Avenida Paseo de la Reforma, the wide central road that cuts through the heart of the city.
Spot Mexico City’s most eclectic street art pieces as you wander through Paseo de la Reforma.
One of the most famous ones is the Tree of Life mural on the façade of Fontan Reforma Hotel.
The Flying in Sorority mural (depicted in the picture above), which honors feminist movements in Mexico, is a recent addition. There are several more, each with a unique story of how it came to be.
Casa de Azulejos
Downtown Mexico City is dotted with artsy buildings. One of the unmissable ones is Casa de Azulejos or the “House of Tiles”.
Apart from featuring a beautiful façade adorned with blue and white Talavera tiles, Casa de Azulejos is also home to a magnificent mural called Omniscencia.
Painted by Jose Clemente Orozco in 1925, Omniscencia depicts Mexico’s sociopolitical values from the early 20th century.
Art enthusiasts will enjoy a visit to the Chapultepec Castle for its large collection of murals painted by some of Mexico’s most famous artists. Visiting is one of the top things to do in Mexico City.
Do not miss the poignant The American Intervention by Gabriel Flores adorning the dome of the main entrance, Eduardo Solares’ Allegory of the Revolution in the main stairway, and David Alfaro Siqueiros’ Porfirismo to Revolution in the Siqueiros Room.
🎨 Pro tip: There are a variety of guided tours that include this site, like:
📍Private Tour in Mexico City Downtown & Anthropology Museum & Chapultepec Castle
🧬 Chapultepec Castle & Anthropology Museum Tour
🏰 Private Tour to Chapultepec Castle
The neighborhood of Roma Norte, which is also a Mexico City arts district, is well known for its eclectic collection of street murals, artsy cafes, and classy art galleries.
Be sure to look out for the vibrant animal mural by Farid Rueda, an artist of international acclaim. There are many more by local and international artists including Jorge Tellaeche and Aaron Glasson.
La Roma is also the best place to shop for contemporary art in Mexico City.
Pyramids of Teotihuacan
Teotihuacan is an unlikely addition to this list of artsy spaces in Mexico City but an important one nevertheless.
That’s because the Teotihuacan Archeological Site is one of the best places to see the murals created by the ancient people of Teotihuacan, dating back more than 2000 years.
There are several interesting murals at Teotihuacan, the mural of the Jaguar being a famous one. You’ll find colorful paintings on the walls of the Palace of Butterflies and the Tepantitla Architectural Complex.
There’s even an in-house Beatriz de la Fuente Mural Museum that displays over fifty mural reliefs excavated on site which you can easily visit on day trip to Teotihuacan from Mexico City.
Mexico City Art Galleries To Visit
Blue House or Casa Azul or Frida Kahlo Museum
The Blue House is one of Mexico City’s most popular art galleries where you can see Frida Kahlo’s best creations.
Also known as Casa Azul, the Blue House in Coyoacan is the house where Kahlo was born and spent her life with her family and her husband, Diego Rivera. This is also the house where Kahlo breathed her last. No doubt, La Casa Azul is the mecca for art lovers around the world.
The museum has several rooms displaying Kahlo’s personal art collection, pre-Hispanic sculptures, folk art, photos, and documents. You can walk into the artist’s bedroom and kitchen and soak in the vibe of her beautiful home that inspired her to create.
Unmissable highlights from the permanent collection at the Blue House include iconic Frida Kahlo paintings such as Viva la Vida and her first self-portrait.
There’s also a small souvenir shop onsite where you can buy Frida Kahlo-inspired jewelry, books, and other knick-knacks.
Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo House Studio
If you’d like to see where Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo worked and painted together, head to the Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo House Studio in the San Angel neighborhood of Mexico City.
As mentioned above, the studio includes two houses connected by a small bridge. Designed by famous architect Juan O’Gorman, these two houses functioned as separate working studios for the couple yet allowed them to ideate and work together when required.
The house studio is a museum now and showcases an amazing collection of Diego Rivera’s papier mache figurines, also known as the Judas collection.
Palacio Bellas Artes
Culture enthusiasts and art seekers cannot miss Palacio Bellas Artes or the Palace of Fine Arts in Mexico City’s Historic Center.
Often touted as an art lover’s paradise, Palacio Bellas Artes is home to some of the most comprehensive collections of Mexican art.
This artistic venue is housed in a beautiful, 20th-century Art Nouveau and Art Deco building and is the headquarters of the Mexican National Institute of Fine Arts and Literature (INBAL).
The Palace of Fine Arts in Mexico City has on display several murals by famous artists such as Diego Rivera, Rufino Tamayo, and David Alfaro Siquerios. In addition, the museum also houses a remarkable collection of paintings, photography, and sculptural exhibits.
Visitors often head to Palacio Bellas Artes for their popular Folkloric Ballet by Amalia Hernandez that’s held every Sunday and Wednesday.
Galleria OMR is one of the best contemporary art galleries in Mexico City. Founded in 1983, OMR is a renowned name in local and international art space.
They promote both established and emerging artists and participate in many popular art fairs including Art Basel, Art Basel Miami, Art Brussels, and Zona MACO Mexico.
This avant-garde Mexico City art gallery is located in the heart of the Roma district and is a must-visit for every art enthusiast traveling to the city.
Another one of the best art galleries in Mexico City is Mooni, where you can shop for art from new and upcoming artists.
Mooni is an inclusive exhibition space that promotes fresh talent. They have over 150 artists in their catalog.
The best part is that you can shop for Mooni art online on their official website and pick it up from their galleries in Roma and Condesa.
Mexico City Art Museums To Visit
Museo National de Arte (MUNAL)
Museo National de Arte (MUNAL) is Mexico’s National Museum of Art. It was founded in 1982 and houses a massive collection of Mexican art in the country and is one of the top museums to visit in Mexico City.
MUNAL has more than 3500 art pieces including paintings, sculptures, photographs, and folk art.
Most of it dates to the period between the 16th century and 1954, the Viceregal era. Therefore, it provides interesting insights into the growth and development of Mexican art from the early colonial period to the creation of modern Mexico.
Located in the posh neighborhood of Polanco, Museo Soumaya is one of Mexico’s most avant-garde art museums with modern architecture and a sleek design.
Home to more than 60,000 pieces of art, the Soumaya Museum is one of the world’s largest art museums. The collection is spread over 6 floors and is full of works by European old masters, Mexican art from the Viceregal era, and pre-Hispanic collections.
The museum is open every day from 10:30 am – 6:30 pm and is free to enter.
Museum of Modern Art
The Museum of Modern Art or Museo de Arte Moderno is a contemporary art museum in Mexico City that hosts over 3,000 art pieces from the 20th and 21st centuries.
These include sculptures, photographs, and paintings including many by Mexican grandmasters such as Diego Rivera, Jose Clemente Orozco, Rufino Tamayo, and Frida Kahlo.
Located in the heart of Chapultepec Park, the Modern Art Museum is one of the lesser-known art museums in Mexico City. If you’re looking for a peaceful but artsy space in CDMX, be sure to visit.
The Tamayo Museum is another contemporary art museum located in the middle of Chapultepec Park. It was founded by famous Mexican artist, Rufino Tamayo in 1981 and has a large collection of artworks by Tamayo himself.
The real motivation behind the founding of Museo Tamayo was to give the Mexican people an opportunity to learn about contemporary international art.
Because of this, the collection includes paintings and sculptures by some of the world’s most renowned artists of the 20th century – Pablo Picasso, Henry Moore, Franz Kline, and Roberto Matta.
It’s a popular art museum in Mexico City you won’t want to miss!
The Anahuacalli Museum by Diego Rivera in the Coyoacan neighborhood of Mexico City is an interesting art museum to add to your Mexico City itinerary.
Anahuacalli is different from the other museums in the city because it was designed by Diego Rivera himself to house his large collection of pre-Hispanic artwork. The building, inspired by Toltec and Mayan architecture, is an attraction in itself.
Want to visit more than one Mexico City art museum? Good news: Entrance to the Anahuacalli Museum is included in the admission ticket of the Frida Kahlo Museum, so you can easily combine the two on a day out in Coyoacan.
Mexico City Art Tours
To really gain a deep understanding of Mexico City’s art scene, consider booking a guided tour. A few top-rated Mexico City art tours include:
- 🚲 Mexico City Bike & Cultural Tour including Diego Rivera’s Murals & Papantla Flyers Show
- 🎨 Mexico City Street Art Bike Tour
- 🖌️ Muralist Art Semi Private Walking Tour in Mexico City Downtown
- 😍 Coyoacán & Xochimilco including Frida Kahlo Museum
- ✨ Frida Kahlo Museum VIP: Skip-the-line & Bikes & Churros
Artsy Mexico City Hotels
Instead of just exploring the Mexico City art scene during the day, why not immerse yourself in art overnight? Mexico City is home to a number of art-themed hotels, a few of which include:
🏨 Hotel San Fernando (La Condesa). This boutique hotel transforms a 1947 apartment building into an gorgeous property full of art deco details, vibrant jewel tones, stained glass windows, and furniture and design pieces by local artists from Mexico.
🎨 Le Méridien Mexico City (Reforma). Located on the mural-filled Avenida Paseo de la Reforma, this luxury property worked with local Mexican artists to create its inspiring design. Additionally, guests get discounted access to local arts and culture attractions through their Unlock Art program.
🛏️ Camino Real Hotel (Polanco). This luxe eco-friendly hotel sits near to some of Mexico City’s best art attractions like Chapultepec Castle, Tamayo Museum of Contemporary Art, and Museo de Arte Moderno. Inside you’ll find murals by local Mexico City artists.
➡️ Click here for a full list of Mexico City hotels. You can also use this map to peruse hotels, hostels, vacation rentals, and more. It’s currently set to the La Roma neighborhood, but you can easily change it:
Mexico City Travel Insurance
Before visiting Mexico City, it’s important to get travel insurance. Of course, you never think something will go wrong, but it always can – especially when you’re being active.
One top provider recommendation is SafetyWing as they’ve got a large network and offer both short-term and long-term coverage — including coverage if you’re traveling for months as well as limited coverage in your home country.
Additionally, SafetyWing is budget-friendly and offers $250,000 worth of coverage with just one low overall deductible of $250.
Mexico City Art Scene: FAQ
Now that we’ve discussed how to explore Mexico City’s art scene, let’s discuss some frequently asked questions:
Q) Is there an arts district in Mexico City?
There are several arts districts in Mexico City including the bohemian neighborhood of La Roma that’s full of contemporary street art pieces and chic urban galleries, the traditional Historic Center that was once (and still is) the canvas of Mexican muralists, and colorful Coyoacan that was home to both Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera.
Q) What are some contemporary art galleries in Mexico City?
Some of the contemporary art galleries in Mexico City include the Frida Kahlo Museum, Museo Tamayo, Galleria OMR, Mooni, Museum of Modern Art, the House of Gaga, and many more.
Q) Who are some famous painters in Mexico?
Some of Mexico’s famous painters include Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, Rufino Tamayo, Jose Clemente Orozco, and David Alfaro Siqueiros.
Q) Where can I buy art from Mexico in Mexico City?
If you’re looking to shop for traditional Mexican art in Mexico City, head to the La Ciudadela Artisan Market where you’ll find an amazing collection of Mexican handicrafts including Talavera pottery, alebrijes, Otomi dolls, and embroidered textiles. For good deals on paintings by local artists, head to Jardin del Arte Sullivan open-air market in San Rafael.
Q) Where can I buy paintings in Mexico City?
You can buy paintings at one of the many art galleries dotting the Roma and Condesa neighborhoods in Mexico City. Be sure to head to Mooni Gallery for fresh talent or take a walk through Jardin del Arte Sullivan in the San Rafael neighborhood for some enticing art by local painters.
Final Thoughts On The Mexico City Art Scene
With a vibrant street art scene and an eclectic set of museums and galleries, Mexico City is a true haven for every art lover in this world.
Whether you wish to learn all about the history of Mexican muralism, marvel at colonial art pieces, shop for contemporary artwork, or simply stroll through alleys filled with vibrant street art, Mexico City is the perfect place to be.
What would you add to this Mexico City art scene guide?
About The Author
Soumya is a culture enthusiast who has traveled to more than 30 countries in her quest for art, architecture, history, and food. Her writings about cultural travel have been published in BBC Travel and Architectural Digest. Through her travel blog, Stories by Soumya, she helps her readers plan immersive cultural trips around the world.