A sculpture of a reclining figure from Mexico City's famed Archeological Museum
Olivier Bruchez/Flickr

Mexico's Best Art, Architecture and Museums

By David Baird and Shane Christensen
Mexico's cultural heritage is as rich as it is varied. Here are our picks for the best "eye candy" south of the border.
A recreation of an ancient burial site
Museo Nacional de Antropología
The Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City contains riches representing 3,000 years of the country’s history. Also on view are exquisite artifacts of still-thriving indigenous cultures. The award-winning building, designed by architect Pedro Ramírez Vázquez, is also stunning.
Mexico City's Palacio de Bellas Artas at night
Mario Paredes/Flickr
Palacio de Bellas Artes
The country’s premier venue for the performing arts, this fabulous building is the combined work of several masters. The exterior is early-20th-century Art Nouveau covered in marble; the interior is 1930s Art Deco. It's located in Mexico City.
A snake sculpture at the Aztec Templo Mayor in Mexico City
The Templo Mayor’s Aztec Splendor
The Templo Mayor and Museo del Templo Mayor constitute an archaeological excavation and museum with 6,000 objects on display. They showcase the splendor and variety of the Aztec Empire as it existed in the historic center of what is today Mexico City.
The entrance to the Catedral Metropolitana in Mexico City
Catedral Metropolitana
This towering cathedral, begun in 1567 and finished in 1788, blends neoclassical, baroque and churrigueresque architecture and was constructed primarily from the stones of destroyed Aztec temples.
A close-up of the altar at Santa Prisca y San Sebastián Church
Enrique Lopez-Tomayo Biosca/Flickr
Santa Prisca y San Sebastián Church
Completed in 1758, this baroque church in Taxco has an intricately carved facade, an interior decorated with gold-leafed saints and angels, and paintings by Miguel Cabrera, one of Mexico’s most famous Colonial-Era artists.
The grand Gothic exterior of La Parroquia in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico
Enrique Lopez-Tomayo Biosca/Flickr
La Parroquia
Inspired by European Gothic, but lighter and more cheerful, this whimsical San Miguel de Allende church is like a fiesta captured in stone—especially at night, when it’s illuminated.
A mural in the Palacio de Gobierno in Guadalajara
Murals of José Clemente Orozco
Of the great Mexican muralists of the revolutionary period, José Clemente Orozco is perhaps the most technicly proficient and the most expressive of his generation’s concerns. To see his image of Hidalgo bearing down on you from the ceiling of the grand staircase of Guadalajara's Palacio de Gobierno is to understand what he and his compañeros were striving to accomplish.
A prized pot from the Museo Pantaleón Panduro
Jose Eugenio Gomez Rodriguez/Flickr
Museo Pantaleón Panduro
The Mexican people have always placed a high value on pottery as a field of artistic achievement. It’s a cultural continuity that spans from pre-Columbian times to the present. Museo Pantaleón Panduro in Tlaquepaque is perhaps the greatest expression of this love for pottery. Its collection holds prized pieces from the yearly national ceramics competition.
A masterwork from the Museo Virreinal de Guadalupe in Guadalupe, Mexico
Enrique Lopez-Tomayo Biosca/Flickr
Museo Virreinal de Guadalupe
Six kilometers (3 and 3/4 miles) southeast of Zacatecas in the little town of Guadalupe, this Franciscan convent and museum holds a striking collection of 17th- and 18th-century paintings by such masters as Miguel Cabrera and Cristóbal de Villalpando. The expressive, dramatic works are catnip for art lovers.
A sculpture from the Museo Antropología de Xalapa
Xalapo punto com/Flickr
Museo Antropología de Xalapa
Along with the finest examples of Totonac and Olmec ceramics and sculptures, this museum includes the best collection of the Olmec megalithic heads.
The exterior of Morelia's Cathedral
Armando Maynez/Flickr
Morelia’s Cathedral
 Balanced proportions, sober lines, a deft blending of architectural styles, and monumental height—Morelia’s cathedral is the most beautiful in Mexico. It’s constructed of brownish-pink stone that turns fiery rose in the late-afternoon sun.
The ornate ceiling of the Capilla del Rosario
Graeme Churchard/Flickr
Capilla del Rosario
This chapel, set in Puebla’s church of Santo Domingo, is a tour de force of baroque expression, executed in molded plaster, Talavera tile, carved wood and gold leaf. The overall effect overpowers the senses.