North-east of Bellas Artes, Mexico City
Two blocks north of Convent of the Conception, between Calles Montero, Ecuador, Allende and Santa María la Redonda, opens up the picturesque Plaza Garibaldi, which can be reached direct from the Palacio de Bellas Artes by way of the northward continuation of Avenida Lázaro Cárdenas. The square is surrounded by cafés and restaurants much favoured by tourists, and in these and in the square itself groups of musicians play folk music. Most of these groups are "mariachis" from Jalisco, dressed in Charro costume and playing trumpets, violins, guitars and the guitarrón or bass guitar. However, there are usually also other groups from Veracruz - in white costumes with straw hats, and playing harps and small guitars - as well as from other regions. Payment is expected for each song, but it is also possible to arrange for a longer performance (bargaining required!) or to hire a group for a private party. Visitors are warned to beware of pickpockets and the like, especially at night when the square is usually crowded.
Museo Nacional de Arte
The imposing building opposite Palacio de Minéra, at Calle Tacuba 8, built in the early 1900s by the Italian architect Silvio Contri, housed the offices of the Ministry of Transport and Public Works for a number of years. Since 1982 it has contained the new Museo Nacional de Arte, with two floors of 22 rooms in all displaying exhibits ranging from Maya sculptures to religious items from the Spanish colonial period and 19th C. landscape paintings through to contemporary art.
Address: Tacuba 8, Mexico
Opening hours: 10:30am-5:30pm; Closed: Mon
Always closed on: New Year's Day (Jan 1), Mexican Constitution Day (Día de la Constititución) (Feb 5), Mexico - Benito Juárez Birthday (Mar 21), Mexico - Battle of Pueblo Day (May 5), Mexico National Day (Sep 1), Mexican Independence Day (Sep 16), Mexican Revolution Day (Nov 20), Feast of the Virgin of Guadalupe (Dec 12), Christmas - Christian (Dec 25)
Entrance fee in MXN: Adult $30.00, Senior FREE, Child 14 & under FREE
Convent of the Conception
Two blocks north-east of Parliament, on the north side of Calle Belisario Domínguez, lies the Plaza de la Concepción, with an octagonal chapel in the centre. Here, too, stands the Convent of the Conception, the first nunnery to be built in the town and founded by Bishop Juan de Zumárraga in 1540. The building has been added to down the centuries, and now displays a whole range of styles from early Baroque to the Neo-Classicism of the 19th c.
Head Post Office
To the east of the Palacio de Bellas Artes, at the intersection of Avenida Lázaro Cárdenas and Calle Tacuba, is the Head Post Office (Correo Mayor, Dirección General de Correos), a building in Neo-Renaissance style with Gothic features (1902-8), designed by Adami Boari, architect of the Palacio de Bellas Artes. On the upper floors will be found a Postal Museum (Museo Postal). There is a special counter for the sale of commemorative stamps.
To the north-west of the Palacio de Minería lie the buildings occupied by the two houses of the Mexican Parliament - at the corner of Calles Donceles and Xicoténcatl, the Cámara de Senadores (Senate), with murals by Jorge González Camarena on the staircase; and at the corner of Donceles (north side) and Calle Allende the Cámara de Diputados (House of Representatives).
Mercado de la Lagunilla
A short distance east of Plaza Garibaldi, on the north side of the Calle República de Honduras, lies the Mercado de la Lagunilla. Now that most of the stalls are in a modern market hall this has lost much of its old and colourful "flea-market" atmosphere. On Sundays, however, "antiques" (rarely genuine!) are on sale.
Mercado de Tepito
A few blocks to the north-east of Mercado de la Lagunilla, around Calle de Toltecas, is the Mercado de Tepito where, around the modern market hall, second-hand articles (some smuggled!) are offered at very reasonable prices.
Palacio de Minería
West of the Post Office, fronting on to Calle Tacuba, stands the Palacio de Minería, built c. 1800 by Manuel Tolsá in the French-influenced Neo-Classical style of the period. Until 1954 it housed the College of Mining Engineers.
Address: Tacuba 5, Mexico
Opening hours: Sep 1 to Jul 31: 10am-6pm; Closed: Mon
Always closed on: New Year's Day (Jan 1), Mexican Constitution Day (Día de la Constititución) (Feb 5), Mexico - Benito Juárez Birthday (Mar 21), Mexico - Battle of Pueblo Day (May 5), Mexican Independence Day (Sep 16), Mexico National Day (Sep 1), Mexican Revolution Day (Nov 20), Christmas Eve - Christian (Dec 24), Christmas - Christian (Dec 25), Feast of the Virgin of Guadalupe (Dec 12)
Entrance fee in MXN: Adult $25.00, Students $12.00
In front of the palace stands the famous bronze equestrian statue of Charles IV of Spain, popularly known as "El Caballito" (the "Little Horse"); also by Manuel Tolsá, it was modelled on a statue by the French sculptor Girardon. The statue originally stood on the Zócalo, but after independence it was moved to various places in the city before finally ending up at its present site.
Palacio de Correos
Built in 1907, this building currently houses the Post Office Library and the Philatelic Museum. Of note is the main staircase.
Map of Mexico City Attractions