Roaming Mexico (Part 1) – The Museums of Mexico City

Our three-week long Mexican holiday plays like a stop-motion animation in my head. It reminded me a lot of home. Mexico is similar in so many ways, yet so different. It’s a beautiful country with a fascinating history, the most vibrant culture, friendly people, and stunning art and architecture. My little notebook is bursting with scribbled experiences, and I decided to document the highlights from our travels into a ‘Roaming Mexico’ series.

We started out with a couple of days in Mexico City, most of which were spent at the museums. It was a great place to start; getting a background on how the subcultures evolved. The visual references helped to paint a broad picture of the country before we set out to explore.

Museo Nacional de Antropología, Mexico City

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The Museum of Anthropology is home to some spectacular archaeological and anthropological artefacts from Mesoamerican cultures. They have really nice aesthetics, and I love the geometry in their art and architecture. I also saw their fascination with animals in some crazy sculptures, many of which show their sacred animals intertwined with gods and accomplished warriors.

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The Aztec exhibit was a real standout for me. It’s a massive display of their military might and destructive capabilities, but looking at the details on their buildings, sculptures and tools, I was really inspired to create.

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Tips for Museo Nacional de Antropología – 

  • The museum is huge! I recommend dedicating at least a day to it.
  • While you’ll find an introduction in English in each salon, descriptions for most artefacts are in Spanish.
  • Taking the subway to the Auditorio Station is a good way to get here. The museum is a nice ten-minute walk along the Chapultepec Park.
  • There’s a lovely outdoor café here which makes some really good sandwiches and shakes.

Museo de Arte Popular 

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The Museum of Popular Art is in an old firehouse, and has exhibits of Mexican handicrafts and folk art. It’s a colourful, whimsical display of everyday life in Mexico through local art forms like sculpture and woodcarving. This is a great place to start for a handicraft hoarder like me. I found lots of things I loved here, and traveled on to see how some of them were made in different parts of the country.

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My favourite exhibit was that of the dressed up skulls and skeletons showing an unusual relationship with death. It shows skeletons engaged in everyday activities which made me feel like death is a party; a celebration of the lives of departed loved ones rather than a silent mourning. This, for me, signifies the joyous spirit of the Mexican people.

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Tips for Museo de Arte Popular –

  • The museum has a really nice gift shop.
  • There’s free entry on Sundays!

Museo Frida Kahlo

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I loved Frida Kahlo’s cobalt blue house, her paintings of surreal dream sequences, and a collection of some beautiful, intimate photos of her. Her unfinished self-portraits made me feel like she was around there somewhere with her paintbrush and a palette.

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If you visit at a time when it’s not too crowded, Frida’s personal spaces are an amazing experience. I loved the kitchen with it’s yellow furniture and funky pots, and her beautiful studio!

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Tips for Museo Frida Kahlo – 

  • Try getting here early to avoid the crowd.
  • The local buses are a cheap, safe option to get here, but they’re super crowded and the museum is about twenty stops (forty five minutes) away from Centro Histórico. If you’re not feeling adventurous, taxis are a more comfortable option.
  • There are descriptions in English for most exhibits here.

That’s all from our museum-packed couple of days in Mexico City. Let me Next stop, Oaxaca!

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