The Frida Kahlo Museum in Mexico City’s Coyoacán neighbourhood is the top tourist attraction in the city. This vibrant blue house known as Casa Azul was actually the family home of Mexican artist Frida Kahlo. It is now a museum dedicated to the artist where you can see some of her artwork, walk through her home and studio, and explore her beautiful garden.
This museum has been an art history bucket list item of mine for a long time. Frida Kahlo’s work has always interested me. Her beautiful introspective, often surrealist self-portraits that draw on Mexican folk art explore questions of gender, identity, culture, post-colonialism, race and class in Mexican society. In recent years Kahlo has become a feminist icon and style icon that have made her even more famous in the social media age. As a result her house museum has become a “must do” in Mexico for tourists.
Visiting her home requires a little bit of advanced planning, especially during high tourist season or on weekends. It’s advised to buy tickets in advance online to guarantee entry into the museum. You can purchase tickets on the museums’s website here usually 1-2 months in advance. The museum’s ticketing system operates a bit differently than most for some reason. Even though the museum opens at 10am most days you can only buy tickets online as early as 10:30am entry.
When I visited I arrived around 9:30am hoping that they would let people with 10:30am tickets in at 10am when the museum opened. There seemed to be two lines forming on either side of the entrance but there was little to no clear signage about which line to stand in. Eventually I figured out I had to be in the line on the right side of the entrance for advance tickets. At 10am they started to let the people without advanced tickets in and then at 10:30 they started to let people with time tickets in. I found this whole system to be very confusing and frustrating. If you really want to experiences the museum without a huge crowd of people your only option is to arrive at the museum extremely early to wait in the standby line so you can be one of the first ones in.
The museum is very small since it was the artist’s home so it’s not a very enjoyable experience shuffling through in a big crowd in a warm museum. I feel like I rushed through the house and couldn’t really look at any of the art or appreciate the rooms of the house. In the garden you have a bit more room to breath and you can explore all the details without feeling rushed or packed in with people. There is also a small exhibition space on the other side of the garden with an exhibition on Frida Kahlo’s famous dresses. This area was much less crowded since it was off to the side and I guess most people didn’t realize it was there.
Overall I did enjoy visiting the Frida Kahlo Museum has a lover of her artwork. I especially loved seeing the gardens and her dresses. I wish I could of taken more time to explore the house and look at the few rooms with her artwork but they were just way too crowded to fully enjoy and appreciate. This is really unfortunate since the rooms of the house have many interesting details and artifacts from Kahlo’s life inside.
I do recommend visiting the Frida Kahlo museum if you are in Mexico City but just be prepared for the crowds. Either arrive very early, probably around 9am or earlier to get in the standby line or buy your tickets in advance to get in at the entry time. Also know that you need to pay an extra fee to take photos anywhere in the museum, including in the gardens. There is a little table just to the right when you get into the museum grounds where you can do this. Also plan for it to take around an hour to get to the museum from downtown Mexico City, longer if you’re coming from Polanco.
After visiting the museum I’d recommend walking over to the Jardin Hidalgo Coyoacán, only a 10 minute walk away. We stopped at Cafe Negro, just at the far edge of the park for a snack and iced tea to refresh before heading over to our next sight. Since you’ll already be down the in southern part of the city I’d also recommend taking an Uber over to the Museo Casa Estudio Diego Rivera y Frida Kahlo. This was the shared home of Frida Kahlo and her husband, the famous Mexican artist and muralist Diego Rivera. If you’re a fan of modern architecture it’s a must! You can read my full blog post on the museum soon!