Few places in the world are as rich in museums as Mexico City. You could spend several weeks here and not see them all. So for the sake of expediency, here are our choices for the top ones (but by all means: stay several weeks and see them all, if you can!).
- Museo Nacional de Antropología: Occupying approximately 4,100 sq. m (44,132 sq. ft.), Mexico City's anthropology museum is regarded as one of the top museums in the world. It offers a mesmerizing, and encyclopedic, introduction to the culture of Mexico.
- Museo del Templo Mayor: Mexico City was once the capital of the vast Aztec empire, and on this very site, that civilization's most important temple stood. With style, and a good dollop of drama, the curators present the treasures that archaeologists dug up here—some 6,000-plus pieces.
- Museo Frida Kahlo: This iconic figure's home is as artistic as her work; you'll see both here.
- Museo Casa de León Trotsky: Another house museum, but one with a gruesome backstory: Trotsky was killed here, after several attempts on his life. You'll see the bullet holes in the walls, though he was ultimately assassinated with an ice pick. Located near Frida Kahlo Museum—the two were friends—this smaller venue is a surprisingly compelling visit, not just for what you'll see in the house, but for the way it brings Trotsky's career and times to life.
- The Museo de Arte Moderno: This proud institution has the best permanent exhibition of painters and sculptors from the modern Mexican art movement, including important murals by Diego Rivera (1886–1957), José Clemente Orozco (1883–1949), and David Alfaro Siqueiros (1896-1974). It has also hosted, in the past few years, highly praised exhibitions of national and international modern art.
- Museo Mural Diego Rivera: Diego Rivera's famous mural Dream of a Sunday Afternoon in Alameda Park was transferred here after the 1985 earthquake destroyed its original home, the Hotel Prado. Across 50 feet and in vibrant colors, Rivera portrays almost all of the most important figures in the city's history—including a self-portrait of himself as a boy, and his wife, Frida Kahlo.
- Museo de Arte Popular: Dedicated to Mexican folk art, the museum is a dazzler, showcasing everything from Huichol yarn paintings to Tecali glasswork. Erudite wall text in both English and Spanish explains the background of each item presented.