Top Museums Walking Tour, Mexico City, Mexico City (Self Guided)

Mexico City is one of the most dazzling cultural sites in the world, having more museums than any other city. Mexico City also has a rich history of artistic expressions. It was home to the Aztec civilization and the Spanish Empire both of which have left behind an impressive heritage and a unique culture.
How it works: Download the app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from iTunes App Store or Google Play to your mobile phone or tablet. The app turns your mobile device into a personal tour guide and its built-in GPS navigation functions guide you from one tour stop to next. The app works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

Download The GPSmyCity App

Download 'GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities' app for IOS   Download 'GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities' app for Android

Top Museums Walking Tour, Mexico City Map

Guide Name: Top Museums Walking Tour, Mexico City
Guide Location: Mexico » Mexico City (See other walking tours in Mexico City)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 7
Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.3 km
Author: doris
1
San Ildefonso College

1) San Ildefonso College (must see)

Located in the Historic Center of Mexico City, the Antiguo Colegio de San Ildefonso is an art and culture museum housed in a former educational institute established by the Society of Jesus. The museum hosts both permanent exhibits of famous Mexican artists and temporary exhibits of contemporary artists.

Construction of the building that houses the Colegio began in 1712 and was completed in 1740. The design incorporates Spanish colonial and indigenous architectural styles. The building was used by the Jesuits as a college and as a school and became the National High School of Mexico in 1867. In 1902 an amphitheater dedicated to Simon Bolivar was added to the existing structure.

The Antiguo Colegio de San Ildefonso was used for different purposes after the expulsion of Jesuits from New Spain. It became military barracks for Mexican and invading armies, it was a school of jurisprudence and also the headquarters of the school of medicine. The National High School was again moved to the building and remained there until 1992 when it was remodeled to become the unique museum it is today.

Visitors, students, educational institutions and the general public can learn about the art and culture of modern Mexico and the workers' movements that shaped the mind of the artists at this museum in Mexico City.

Why You Should Visit:
Great place to see Diego Rivera's first mural, along with some of Orozco's most famous, as well as other muralists.
Also, the woodwork in the Salón el Generalito is nothing less than stunning.
As a bonus, you have various interesting changing exhibits of current art.

Tip:
After a visit and if you are hungry – try eating at El Mayor or Las Sirenas restaurants nearby.
El Mayor (on the terrace and top floor of the Porrúa bookstore) has a spectacular view over the Zócalo, Cathedral, National Palace and Templo Mayor site.

Opening Hours:
Tue: 10am-8pm; Wed-Sun: 10am-6pm
2
Templo Mayor

2) Templo Mayor (must see)

The Templo Mayor located near the Zocalo in the Historic Center of Mexico City contains the ruins of an ancient Aztec temple and a museum containing its artifacts. The temple was dedicated to Huitzilopochtli, the Aztec God of war and Tlaloc, the God of rain. The site became part of the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1987.

The remains of the ancient Templo Mayor were discovered when an electric company found a pre-Hispanic monolith in 1978. The monolith had a relief with the image of the moon goddess Coyolxauhqui from the 15th century. From 1978 to 1982, archeologist Eduardo Moctezuma and his team of experts worked to excavate the area that forms the present location of the temple. 13 buildings had to be demolished for the excavation and more than 7000 objects from the ancient Aztec temples were recovered from the site.

A museum designed by architect Ramirez Vazquez was constructed to house the discoveries made during the excavation of the remains of the Templo Mayor. Eight exhibition halls dedicated to different themes make up the museum. Some themes represent different Aztec Gods while others showcase the flora and fauna and the ancient agricultural technology used in the land that now is modern Mexico. Notable remains of the Aztec civilization include the Wall of Skulls, two life-size figures of Aztec warriors dressed in Eagle costume and a large pot with a God's face in blue paint that has not faded through the centuries.

Why You Should Visit:
One of the only places – if not the only place – you can see significant Aztec ruins. You can follow the construction of the seven successive pyramids, as well as the excavation of the Eagle Warrior Temple. The museum is also very worthwhile, well laid out with some impressive artifacts and exhibits, and worth 2-4 hours, depending on your level of interest.

Tip:
The outside part can get very hot. Make sure to wear a hat and stay hydrated, or try to avoid the midday heat.
If wishing to climb the Pyramid of the Sun, head there first because long lines can form early.

Opening Hours:
Tue-Sun: 9am-5pm; free admission on Sundays.
Visitors can make reservations for a guided tour in English.
Sight description based on wikipedia
3
National Art Museum

3) National Art Museum (must see)

The building formerly known as the Communications Palace that served as the main post office in Mexico City now houses the National Art Museum. The museum has a large collection of art from the 16th century to the works of 20th-century Mexican artists. The architect Silvio Contri designed and supervised the construction of the Communications Palace between 1905 and 1911. The building was constructed for the regime of Porfirio Diaz, a former military dictator of Mexico. The style was an eclectic combination of renaissance and neoclassical styles. The entrance hall has Corinthian columns and an ornate iron staircase designed by the Florentine firm Pignone. The ceiling is decorated with an elaborate allegorical painting representing peace.

The museum houses over 3000 artworks from 1550 to 1955. There are two large art galleries within the National Art Museum that showcase western assimilation and the construction of the nation of Mexico. The collection at the museum includes paintings, drawings, sculpture and ceramics. The museum has paintings by notable Mexican artists including Juan Correa, Miguel Cabrera, Eugenio Landesio and a large collection of landscapes by Jose Maria Velasco.

The museum’s permanent collection is designed to give a panoramic view of the development of the fine arts in Mexico from the early colonial period to the mid-twentieth century. The artwork is subdivided into three distinct periods. The first covered the colonial period from 1550 to 1821. Entitled “Asimilación de Occidente” (Assimilation of the West), it is contained within Salons 1-14 on the second floor. The second covers the first century after Independence and the third covers the period after the Mexican Revolution to the 1950s. It is entitled “La construcción de la Nación” (Construction of a Nation) and housed in Salons 19-26 of the second floor. The last time period is titled “Estrategías plásticas para un México moderno” (Strategies for the fine arts in modern Mexico) and is housed in Salons 27-33 on the first floor. Historically, this period is after the end of the Mexican Revolution when questions of modernity and nationalism were foremost.

Why You Should Visit:
The permanent collections are vast, and when you add the temporary ones, plus the live concerts, guided tours and the other smaller Telegraph Museum inside, it would be easy to spend a day here.

Tip:
Excellent place to bring groups and kids, as it offers workshops all year round and during the summer – for all ages.

Opening Hours:
Tue-Sun: 10am-5:30pm; free on Sundays
Sight description based on wikipedia
4
Franz Mayer Museum

4) Franz Mayer Museum (must see)

The Franz Mayer Museum (Spanish: Museo Franz Mayer) in Mexico City opened in 1986 to house, display and maintain Latin America’s largest collection of decorative arts. The collection was amassed by stockbroker and financial professional Franz Mayer, who collected fine artworks, books, furniture, ceramics, textiles and many other types of decorative items over fifty years of his life. A large portion comes from Europe and Asia but most comes from Mexico itself with items dating from the 15th to the 20th centuries. Many pieces in the collection are fine handcrafts, such as textiles and Talavera pottery, and they are important because they are items that often did not survive, as most did not consider them worth preserving.

The museum is housed in the historic center of Mexico City in the former San Juan de Dios monastery and hospital, an 18th-century structure which was rehabilitated for the museum. In addition to displaying the items Mayer collected, of which only over a quarter is visible, the museum still makes acquisitions, holds workshops, sponsors temporary exhibits and has a cafe located in the center courtyard/garden.

Why You Should Visit:
One of the hidden gems in Mexico City... The eye of a private collector is always interesting, but Mayer's eye was remarkable. Not to miss!

Tip:
If you're a teacher/professor, you get a discount for the entry ticket, even if you're not Mexican.

Opening Hours:
Tue-Fri: 10am-5pm; Sat-Sun: 10am-7pm; closed on Mondays
Sight description based on wikipedia
5
Museo Mural de Diego Rivera

5) Museo Mural de Diego Rivera (must see)

Diego Rivera painted a famous mural that takes viewers down the history of Mexico on the wall of the Hotel Prado in 1947. The hotel was badly damaged by the earthquake that shook Mexico City in 1985. The mural called 'Dream of a Sunday Afternoon in Alameda Park' was saved and shifted to its present location, the Museo Mural de Diego Rivera in 1986.

It is a large mural, 15 meters long and 4 meters high, that shows the history of Alameda Park from the time of Cortes to the times of the murder of democratically elected president Franciso Madero and the ensuing years of civil unrest. Many important people who helped shape the history of Mexico are shown in the mural, though not in chronological order.

Visitors to the museum can sit in comfortable chairs and marvel at the vast mural that stretches before them. English and Spanish guides help visitors recognize the figures in the mural and explain the role they played in shaping Mexico’s history.

Why You Should Visit:
The one single mural here makes the place unforgettable – not only for its size but also for its complexity.
Great way to start an exploration of Rivera's murals!

Tip:
You also can walk on the back of the mural to see the special structure built to support it in case of another earthquake.
If you're lucky enough to visit on a Saturday or a Sunday and it's a nice day, you will see much activity in the square next-door...

Opening Hours:
Tue-Sun: 10am-5:30pm; closed on Mondays
Sight description based on wikipedia
6
Museo de Arte Popular

6) Museo de Arte Popular (must see)

The Museo de Arte Popular occupies a building that was once an old firehouse located in the Historic Center of Mexico City. The museum is dedicated to Mexican folk arts and handicrafts. This repository of folk traditions not only promotes folk art but preserves them by holding workshops teaching children to make traditional crafts.

The building that houses the Museo de Arte popular is an art deco structure that once served as the home of the fire service. Architect Vincente Mediola designed the building. There is a central hall for parking fire engines and three floors with rooms that served as offices and residences. The facade of the structure is made of stone with ancient Aztec reliefs decorated with motifs. A tower with a light to signal emergencies faces the intersection near the museum. The building was donated by the government of Mexico City for a museum and Teodoro Gonzales de Leon was given the task of restoring the building for the purpose. The inner courtyard is now covered by a large glass cupola.

Opened in 2006, the Museo de Arte Popular has a large collection of textiles, pottery, handicrafts made of glass, piñatas and figures of fantastical creatures called alebrijes. An annual parade is sponsored by the museum called the Noche de Alebrijes where large alebrijes are taken on a parade and their creators compete for prizes.

Why You Should Visit:
When you enter this museum, you feel immediately energized by the colors and gorgeous displays of fantastic art! Small and very do-able to walk through and see everything in under 2 hours. The gift shop has tons of crafts from all over the country and many potential fun buys!

Tip:
Make sure to start your visit on the top floor and work your way down.

Opening Hours:
Tue, Thu-Sun: 10am-6pm; Wed: 10am-9pm; closed on Mondays
Sight description based on wikipedia
7
Museo de Cera

7) Museo de Cera

The Wax museum of Mexico City lies in the Calle Londres and features a collection of life size wax figures of famous Mexicans and a horror show. The Wax museum is next to the Ripley’s believe it or not Museum. It contains over 160 wax works and is considered to be one of the best wax museums in the world.

The Mexico City Wax Museum is a franchisee of the Wax Museum in London. It opened to the public in 1979, housed in the building designed by the well known Mexican architect Antonio Rivas Mercado between 1900 and 1904. The concrete structure has an art nouveau style with vitreous ceramic tiles decorating the façade.

The wax museum has separate rooms for different personalities. The displayed figures include royalty, historic individuals, Mexican movie stars, local millionaires, religious personalities like Pope John Paul II and Mother Teresa, sports persons, literary figures such as Miguel de Cervantes and literary characters from Don Quixote. There is a small theater with an animated singing figure of Placido Domingo. The basement has a horror show with real life moving figures of cannibals. Visitors can see animated tortures inflicted on heathens during the Spanish Inquisition.

Operation Hours: Monday - Sunday: 11 am - 7 pm

Walking Tours in Mexico City, Mexico

Create Your Own Walk in Mexico City

Create Your Own Walk in Mexico City

Creating your own self-guided walk in Mexico City is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Famous Religious Edifices Walk in Mexico City

Famous Religious Edifices Walk in Mexico City

Mexico City is considered a great vacation destination, featuring something interesting and entertaining for everyone. The landmarks here are amazing and the architecture is impressive and unique. Every religious building in this city is a part not only of Mexican religion but also of Mexican culture and life. Take this walking tour to discover some of the most famous churches in Mexico City.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.9 km
Historic Center Walk

Historic Center Walk

Mexico City is a populous, high-altitude capital of Mexico, renowned for its wealth of history and tradition. The local landmarks are numerous and include, among others, the Baroque-style Catedral Metropolitana de México of the Spanish conquistadors and the Palacio Nacional, home to the historic murals by Diego Rivera. All of these are found in and near Plaza de la Constitución, the enormous...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.9 km
Mexico City's Nightlife

Mexico City's Nightlife

Mexico City is one of the largest cities in the world and also one of the most populated. Its nightlife is all about amazing music, great drinks and spectacular fun. The music here is mainly a combination of Spanish and English-language rock, electronic music, some Latin/Caribbean music, Latin pop, and sometimes traditional Mexican music. Take this walking tour to enjoy the unique nightlife...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.6 km
Exploring Zona Rosa, Mexico City

Exploring Zona Rosa, Mexico City

Zona Rosa, or The Pink Zone is one of the Mexico City's famous neighborhoods. It is located near the historic center of the city. The neighborhood was called the Pink Zone because of the pink tiles that are prevalent here. The area offers amazing Beaux-Art architecture, the city's best handicraft markets and antique shops. Take this walking tour to discover the beauties that Zona Rosa...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.9 km
Souvenir Shopping Part 1

Souvenir Shopping Part 1

It would be a pity to leave Mexico City without having explored its specialty shops and bringing home something truly original. We've compiled a list of gifts and souvenirs, which are unique to Mexico City, that a visitor might like to purchase to reflect their visit.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.9 km
Chapultepec Park Tour, Mexico City

Chapultepec Park Tour, Mexico City

Chapultepec Park is one of the most famous parks in Mexico City. It is located on the Chapultepec Hill, that has a major historic importance for Mexicans. This park features some of the best known tourist attractions in Mexico city, like the Tamayo Contemporary Art Museum, Chapultepec Castle, and Papalote Children Museum. Take this walking tour to explore Chapultepec Park.

Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 6.0 km

Useful Travel Guides for Planning Your Trip


10 Must-Try Mexican Foods in Mexico City

10 Must-Try Mexican Foods in Mexico City

While Mexico is a treasure trove in terms of cultural and artistic heritage (ancient history, architecture, etc.), the vast majority of visitors to the country are lured mainly by, let's face it, bodily pleasures. The latter are manifested in the form of sandy beaches, sun and, most...
Souvenir Shopping Guide: 17 Must-Buy Local Products from Mexico City

Souvenir Shopping Guide: 17 Must-Buy Local Products from Mexico City

Both historic and modern day Mexico's are worth each other in terms of cultural and artistic heritage. The country's capital Mexico City is a showroom of what the label "Made in Mexico" stands for in its entirety. Whether it's authentic food, drink or piece of craftsmanship...

Tips for Exploring City on Foot at Your Own Pace

Whether you are in Mexico City for a quick stopover or have a few days to see the city in more detail, exploring it on foot, at your own pace, is definitely the way to go. Here are some tips for you to save money, see the best Mexico City has to offer, take good care of your feet while walking, and keep your mobile device – your ultimate "work horse" on this trip - well fed and safe.

Taking Care of Your Feet


To ensure ultimate satisfaction from a day of walking around the city as big as Mexico City, it is imperative to take good care of your feet so as to avoid unpleasant things like blisters, cold or overheated soles, itchy, irritated or otherwise damaged (cracked) skin, etc. Luckily, these days there is no shortage of remedies to address (and, ideally, to prevent) these and other potential problems with feet. Among them: Compression Socks, Rechargeable Battery-Powered Thermo Socks for Cold Weather, Foot Repair Cream, Deodorant Powder, Shoes UV Sterilizer, and many more that you may wish to find a place in your travel kit for.

Travel Gadgets for Your Mobile Device


Your mobile phone or tablet will be your work horse on a self-guided walk. They offer tour map, guide you from one attraction to another, and provide informative background for the sights you wish to visit. Therefore it is absolutely essential to plan against unexpected power outages in the wrong place at the wrong time, much as to ensure the safety of your device.

For these and other contingencies, here's the list of useful appliances: Portable Charger/External Battery Pack, Worldwide Travel Charger Adapter, Power Converter for International Travel Adapter, and Mobile Device Leash.