Tickets to the famed Frida Kahlo museum in Coyoacán also include entrance to Diego Rivera’s Anahuacalli Museum. But considering it’s distance from Casa Azul, is Museo Anahuacalli worth visiting?
Given my background in anthropology and interest in Mexico’s history, I prioritized visiting the Anahuacalli Museum on my recent visit to Mexico City.
In this Anahuacalli Museum guide I share my honest opinions about this unique Diego Rivera museum, plus photos and insiders tips for those planning to visit.
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Overview of Diego Rivera’s Anahuacalli Museum in Mexico City
Located far from most popular Mexico City attractions, Anahuacalli Museum feels a bit like an off-the-beaten-track destination.
The museum features Mexican artist Diego Rivera’s private collection of over 2000 pre-hispanic artifacts, housed in a striking custom-designed building modeled after Aztec and Mayan temples.
The ancient figurines and carvings come from archeological sites across Mexico, including the ruins of the Nahuas, Zapotecs, Olmecs, Toltecs, and the people of Teotihuacan.
But despite the thousands of ancient artifacts, Anahuacalli is more of an art museum than it is an anthropology museum.
Rivera was inspired by the indigenous artists of centuries past, and built Anahuacalli as an ancient art museum so creatives of all types could gain inspiration from each piece.
In addition to the ancient art, Anahuacalli features ceiling murals designed by Rivera and other 20th century artists, early sketches of murals by Rivera, and occasional modern art exhibitions.
The museum grounds seem to attract as many local artists as they attract tourists. The museum’s cafe serves as a meeting point for Mexico City’s creatives and artists.
In many ways, Anahuacalli feels like living, breathing place that bridges between prehispanic sculptors and modern Mexican creatives.
Anahuacalli was supposed to be just one project in a larger ‘City of the Arts’ endeavor to create plazas and buildings dedicated to artists around Mexico City. Rivera died before Anahuacalli’s construction was complete, but his daughter Ruth Rivera Marín and artifacts Herbito Pagelson and Juan O’Gorman completed and opened the museum in 1964.
A peek of the striking design of the Anahuacalli Diego Rivera museum, Mexico City
Reasons to Visit the Anahuacalli Museum
1. The architecture and design is striking
Museo Anahuacalli is so much more than artifacts. The building itself is almost just as much a reason to visit as the art and artifacts are.
Walking through the dimly-lit ground floor rooms is captivating. Navigating through the building’s narrow corridors and stone staircases makes you feel you’re in a labyrinth. Stepping out of the darkness into the bright, expansive main hall is humbling. And taking in the Mexico City skyline from the rooftop is a tranquil experience.
2. See Diego Rivera’s personal collection of artifacts
The thousands of artifacts not only give you a glimpse of ancient life, they also give you a glimpse into the mind of the curator, Diego Rivera. Whether you visit for the artifacts themselves, or for Diego, you’ll take something away from Museo Anahuacalli.
3. Visit an artistic hub
Today Anahuacalli Museum is a hub for creatives and artists from around Mexico City and the world. If you sit at the museum’s cafe for long enough, you’ll surely notice that its a meeting spot for creatives. Whether you’re an artist or not, it’s a delightful spot to hang out and immerse into local life.
Hallway with murals at the Anahuacalli Museum in Mexico City
Downsides of the Anahuacalli Museum
1. There is very little information displayed about the artifacts, Diego Rivera, and the purpose of the museum
Many people show up to Anahuacalli Museum in Mexico City with little background on the museum and leave confused and disappointed.
As mentioned above, the museum feels more like an ancient art gallery than a museum, but without even naming the artists. Unlike history and anthropology museums that include plenty of plaques with details about each room and each individual artifact, very little written information is available in Museo Anahuacalli.
Thankfully, you can visit Museo Anahuacalli with a local guide to help you better understand Diego Rivera’s story and the significance of his collection.
2. The museum is out of the way
Although its located in Coyoacán, Anahuacalli Museum is about a twenty minute drive away from the neighborhoods main attractions, including Frida Kahlo’s Casa Azul (Blue House). Coyoacán itself is about a thirty minute drive from Centro Historico, Roma, Condesa, and other popular Mexico City neighborhoods.
3. The museum is not accessible for people with mobility issues or wheelchairs
With dark, tight passageways and no elevator, the Anahuacalli Museum is not an accessible place for anyone with a wheelchair or mobility challenges.
Some early sketches of Diego Rivera’s murals at Anahuacalli Mexico
Things to see and do at the Anahuacalli Museum in Mexico City
1. The Facade
As mentioned above, the Anahuacalli Museum is a unique architectural piece that was modeled after prehispanic temples. Designed by Diego Rivera and his hired architects, the facade is made of volcanic rock from the Xitle volcano. There is a large courtyard in front of the building, and greenery planted along the sides.
2. Indigenous Artwork
The main building of the Anahuacalli Museum includes exhibits with thousands of pre-hispanic art pieces from cultures across Mexico. In addition, onsite warehouses hold over 60,000 more artifacts and art pieces that are not on display.
3. Rivera’s Early Murals
Some early sketches of Diego Rivera murals are on display on the second floor of museum. While Museo Anahuacalli is not known for these murals, fans of the famous artist can appreciate their significance.
4. Anahuacalli Rooftop
The rooftop of the main building features a stunning view of the landscape surrounding the museum, including nearby brightly painted houses, greenery, and the distant Mexico City skyline.
5. Endemic Flora and Fauna
Diego Rivera chose to build the Anahuacalli Museum on top of volcanic material and lava flow leftover after the eruption of the Xitle volcano. He named it Anahuacalli, which means “house surrounded by water” Nahuat, and chose to revitalize the natural environment by reintroducing endemic flora and fauna. If you’re interested in exploring Anahuacalli’s ecological reserve space, you can join the tour on Saturdays and Sundays.
6. Anahuacalli Coffeeshop
The onsite coffeeshop is a lovely place to catch your breath and enjoy some delicious drinks and small plates. As mentioned above, it attracts artists and creatives from around the city, so you may meet some interesting people if you hang around for a few hours!
7. Gift Store
There is a small gift store next to the coffeeshop, with interesting items made by local artists.
8. Other Buildings
There are a handful of other buildings on the property, including warehouses, a large dance hall, multipurpose rooms for events, a library, a workshop building, and office. While you can’t enter most of the buildings, you can wander down the concrete slabs and stone walkways that connect them outside.
Also read: The Ultimate Mexico City Packing List
Is Anahuacalli Museum in Mexico City Worth Visiting?
All things considered, I thought my time at Museo Anahuacalli was worthwhile.
Although it was difficult to learn about the history of the displayed art pieces and Rivera’s vision for the City of Arts without a tour guide, wandering through the temple was an immerse experience that I would recommend to others.
I also enjoyed the gift shop and coffeeshop, which reminded me of boutique stores and artsy coffeeshop you find in trendy areas of CDMX like Roma and Condesa.
If I were to do it again, I would book a tour with a local guide, especially if I was pressed on time and wanted to visit the Anahuacalli Museum along with other attractions in southern Mexico City.
Whether you are a creative, art lover, a Mexican culture aficionado, an admirer of Frida and Diego, or someone who is curious about Anahuacalli, I highly recommend squeezing in some time to visit.
Best Museo Anahuacalli Tours
★★★★★ 5/5 stars
Roundtrip transportation from hotels and meeting points in Centro Historico, Condesa, Roma, Juárez, Reforma, and more
Spend a day immersed in the lives of Mexico City’s most famous artists, Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera. This highly-rated tour includes visits to La Casa Azul, where Frida spent most of her life, Anahuacalli, as well as Museo Estudio Diego Rivera y Frida Kahlo, where the couple once lived together… in separate houses. The chance to see Frida’s famous blue house, the striking Aztec pyramid museum Anahuacalli, and Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera’s Studio all in one day is such a great opportunity!
“We had a fantastic experience. Our guide Luis was very knowledgeable and showed us some true hidden gems in between the scheduled museum visits. We were especially interested in Diego Rivera and learned a lot about his personality, his style, his history and his art work. Definitely worthwhile and no hesitation to highly recommend this tour, a fantastic day out diving into the lives of Frida and Diego.”Review from Marielle on Booking.com
★★★★★ 5/5 stars out of 250+ review
Roundtrip transportation from hotels and meeting points in Centro Historico, Condesa, Roma, Juárez, Reforma, and more
This tour combines the highlights of both Xochimilco and Coyoacan, two charming colorful neighborhoods in southern Mexico City. For folks hoping to get the most out of their time in Mexico City, this tour is the one to book. Floating down the tree-lined canals of Xochimilco in colorful boats in one of my favorite experiences in Mexico, and immersing into the lives of Diego and Frida via Museo Anahuacalli and La Casa Azul is another unmissable experience. I love that this tour makes it possible to do it all in one day without having to worry about your own transportation!
“Very professional tour company, Mariana our tour guide was exceptional, she explained everything perfect, we never felt rushed, she answered all our questions. This is a must do tour while in Mexico City.”Review from Armando on Booking.com
Essential Mexico Travel Resources
Have a Mexico trip coming up soon? There are a lot of travel companies out there, but some are better than others. After traveling to dozens of countries and living abroad on several continents, here are some of my favorite websites and resources for planning unforgettable trips.
Anahuacalli Museum Visitor’s Information & FAQs
Museo Anahuacalli Opening Hours
The Diego Rivera Anahuacalli Museum is open Tuesday through Sunday between 11am and 5:30pm. The museum is closed on Mondays.
Museo Anahuacalli Entry Fee
General Admission: $100 pesos
Admission for Mexican Nationals: $80 pesos
Elementary, Jr High, High School, and University Students and Teachers: $35 pesos
Senior Citizens, Preschoolers, and Public Elementary School Students: $20 pesos
Children under 6, handicapped visitors, and residents of nearby neighborhoods: Free
Photo Permit: $30 pesos per person
Anahuacalli Museum Address
Museo 150, Col. San Pablo Tepetlapa, Del. Coyoacán, CP. 04620, CDMX
How to get to the Anahuacalli Museum
By car: Museo Anahuacalli is about twenty minutes away from the Frida Kahlo Museum in the Coyoacan neighborhood of CDMX. After driving about three kilometers on Av. División del Nte., you turn right onto Calle Árbol del Fuego, and shortly after turn right on Museo. The museum will be on your right. To reach the museum from another part of the city, first drive to the center of Coyoacan, and then follow the aforementioned directions.
By taxi/Uber/DiDi: When I recently visited Museo Anahuacalli I took an Uber from Centro de Coyoacán. It cost $80 pesos and took about twenty minutes with traffic. DiDi is another rideshare app you can use instead of Uber, and it typically has slightly lower prices. Taxis also operate throughout the region, though I typically prefer to use Uber in Mexico City.
By public transportation: There are trams and buses that stop about a ten-minute walk from the Anahuacalli Museum in Coyoacan. I recommend checking Google Maps for the exact directions based on where you’re staying in Mexico City.
By guided tour: There are a handful of tours that include roundtrip transfer from most hotels to Museo Anahuacalli. Most tours also include a visit to the Frida Kahlo Museum and other nearby attractions. These tours can help you get the most of your time and money, so I highly recommend booking a tour if you’re pressed for time.
How long do you need at the Anahuacalli Museum?
I recommend spending a minimum of 30 minutes at the Anahuacalli Museum, though my preference would be to spend about two hours, including time spend relaxing at the cute cafe.
Who was Diego Rivera?
Diego Rivera is considered to be the greatest Mexican painter of his time. However, today he more widely known as the husband of Frida Kahlo.
When the two were alive, Diego he was more well known than Frida, and had a stronger influence on the international art scene. He was commissioned across Mexico, Europe, and the US and was friends with Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque, and other world famous artists.
Diego was a dynamic artist who explored many different styles and mediums, though he is most for his murals and cubist art. He helped reintroduce frescoes into modern art and is still one of the most important Latin American artists in history.
Other Things to do in Mexico City
★ Ride through the ancient canals at Xochimilco with a group of friends
★ Explore Chapultepec Park, the Anthropology Museum, and Chapultepec Castle
★ Climb to the top of Torre Latinoamericana for one of the best views in Mexico City
★ Eat churros at sunset in Parque Mexico in Condesa
★ Wander through Roma Norte, one of Mexico City’s most tranquil neighborhoods
★ Ride over the ancient ruins of Teotihuacán in a hot air balloon
★ Ride the Mexico City CableBus over nontouristy colorful neighborhoods