The National Museum of Anthropology is Mexico’s most-visited museum. And it’s easy to see why. It has a vast array of exhibits related to Mesoamerica’s cultural history. And it is a region with an exceptionally rich cultural history.
It’s not just about Aztecs and Incas, although there’s an abundance of artifacts from each. But there’s much more than that. There are exhibits on temples of Teotihuacan as well as everyday life in villages in Mexico’s diverse regions. And while the emphasis is squarely on the region’s pre-Columbian history, there are also sections that focus on how cultural heritage as survived in regional areas today.
And then, of course, there are the famous highlights like the imposing and much-misinterpreted Stone of the Sun, which was long known as the Aztec Calendar but is now believed to be what is known as a temalacatl, a stage for sacrificial gladiatorial fights.
What it might lack in the latest whizz-bang museum innovations it more than makes up for with fascinating artifacts. It all makes for an incredibly impressive museum that surely ranks among the world’s best–a place where it’s very easy to spend several hours wandering through the various diverse exhibits.
I have many more photos of the National Museum of Anthropology here.
- This is a large and fascinating museum. Budget several hours to get a proper appreciation for its depth and scope. You can wander around at your own pace, and it can absorb a huge number of visitors before it feels crowded.
- Food options are limited. There is a cafe on site, but it’s not the most expansive. A better bet is to head across the street, the Paseo de la Reforma, to the sprawling Bosque de Chapultepec, where you’ll find anything from sit-down cafes to food carts.
- You’ll have to check bags. The bag/coat check is on the left-hand side of the main foyer, next to the gift shop.
Travel Advice for Mexico
You can find the latest U.S. Department of State travel advisories and information for Mexico (such as entry visa requirements and vaccination requirements) here.
Health & Vaccinations
The CDC makes country-specific recommendations for vaccinations and health for travelers. You can find their latest information for Mexico here.
Guidebooks for Mexico
If you're looking for a guidebook to make the most of your visit, these are some of the most popular ones currently for Mexico. Some are available in both paper and e-book formats.
- Lonely Planet Mexico
- Lonely Planet, John Noble, Kate Armstrong, Stuart Butler, John Hecht, Anna Kaminski, Tom Masters,...
- Lonely Planet Cancun Cozumel the Yucatan
- Lonely Planet, John Hecht, Lucas Vidgen
- DK Eyewitness Travel Guide Mexico
- DK Travel
- Rough Guides
- Kindle Edition
- Mexico City An Opinionated Guide for the Curious Traveler
- Jim Johnston