In the Footsteps of Frida Kahlo, The Ultimate Guide to her Colorful Life in Mexico City

In the Footsteps of Frida Kahlo, The Ultimate Guide to her Colorful Life in Mexico City

Frida Kahlo is Mexico City. Not only did she live there, grow up there and die there, but she also embodied everything I have come to love from this vibrant city. One of the greatest ways of exploring a city, especially if it's your second visit, is to explore it through the eyes of someone you admire. It's like being able to step back in time or imagine yourself as that very person you might be so curious to learn about. Even the smallest detail (or street corner) sometimes can reveal so much. I spent the last month researching and writing this guide which takes you through Mexico City in the footsteps of Frida Kahlo. You'll visit not only her famous residence, Casa Azul, but also explore a multitude of other significant places. These spots were essential in the formation of her identity and connection to her Mexican heritage. If this is your first time visiting Mexico City, this tour is an excellent method of discovery. Many of her famous locations are located in the heart of neighbourhoods with a variety of other popular attractions.

In the Footsteps of Frida Kahlo, The Ultimate Colorful Guide to her life in Mexico City

This tour is divided up into four different sections, each one focusing in on a particular area of Mexico City. While it might not be the most chronological journey, it allows you to explore different neighbourhoods and learn of their significance on her life. While a chronological life tour would be better in terms of following her journey, it requires bouncing all over the city. Especially for those who are on a tight schedule, that's not the best use of your time. The three different neighbourhoods are the Coyoacán, Historic City Centre, and Xochimilco. You can easily add these spots into your existing itinerary. I would advise to only tackle one neighbourhood at a time and not try to fit it all in in one go. The last section is a list of museums which will help to give you a deeper understanding of Mexican culture, insights about Frida, and art in Mexico. Since these museums were not spots Frida really visited they are not part of the essential tour but do add a lot of contextual information if you’re interested in that kind of thing.

Below is a map of the entire tour but I have also broken up the neighbourhoods into separate maps for easy-to-follow directions.


Coyoacán

The best place to start our tour in the footsteps of Frida Kahlo is in her home neighbourhood of Coyoacán. This little village, outside the heart of Mexico City, was where Frida was born, grew up, lived and eventually died. These streets were her playground, her studio and her home, so there's really no better place to start.

Frida Kahlo Museum

La Casa Azul or "the blue house", located on Londres Street in Coyoacán once belonged to Frida's father, Guillermo Kahlo. It was here where she was born. It was the place where she grew up, suffered from illness and injury but also where she learned to be an artist. Eventually, Frida bought the house from her parents and lived with her husband, Diego. They got divorced and remarried all within these blue walls. And ultimately, it was the place where she would pass away. It was her sanctuary but also her cage. She spent more years inside these walls than perhaps anywhere else in the world. As such, it is one of the most intimate looks into her life that you can experience.

In the Footsteps of Frida Kahlo, The Ultimate Colorful Guide to her life in Mexico City

The museum is less of a simple art gallery and more like an inside look at her private world. Although there are a few paintings from both artists, the main focus of the Casa Azul is the couple's Mexican folk art. They collected pre-Hispanic artefacts, photographs, memorabilia, personal items, and more which is still on display. You feel a deep connection with Frida by literally walking in her footsteps. You get to see her inner sanctum and looking at the precious treasures she collected, which represented her passions, her wishes and her dreams. To learn more about the Casa Azul take my self guided tour!

Address: Londres 247, Del Carmen, 04100 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico
Admission: 230 pesos ($12 USD) weekdays | 250 pesos ($13 USD) weekends
Hours: Tuesday: 10:00 am - 5:30 pm | Wednesday: 11:00 am - 5:30 pm | Thursday - Sunday: 10:00 am - 5:30 pm
In the Footsteps of Frida Kahlo, The Ultimate Colorful Guide to her life in Mexico City
In the Footsteps of Frida Kahlo, The Ultimate Colorful Guide to her life in Mexico City

Coyoacan Market

South of Frida's house is the Coyoacán Market. This market has stood here for decades, and if you look at the roofline, you'll see that it's actually more than one building, pieced together. Both Frida and Diego Rivera would come to shop for their famous dinner parties held at the Casa Azul. Frida loved to cook, and there are countless recipe books out there which details her favourite recipes. At one time, she was quoted as saying,

"We could not have a child, and I cried inconsolably, but I distracted myself by cooking, dusting the house, sometimes by painting…"

In the Footsteps of Frida Kahlo, The Ultimate Colorful Guide to her life in Mexico City
In the Footsteps of Frida Kahlo, The Ultimate Colorful Guide to her life in Mexico City
In the Footsteps of Frida Kahlo, The Ultimate Colorful Guide to her life in Mexico City

Frida would come to these brightly coloured corners of the marketplace to shop for her favourite ingredients, chat with her local shopkeepers and wander around to get inspired for her next creation. This marketplace feels a little more laid back and less modern than some of the ones in the inner city. Exploring it feels like more of an authentic experience to the one Frida would have had herself. Make sure you ask about the mole paste they sell here. Mole was one of Frida’s favourite things to cook and eat, and there are countless varieties here you can buy and taste! See which one if your favourite and bring some of the powdered version home with you to make in your own kitchen!

In the Footsteps of Frida Kahlo, The Ultimate Colorful Guide to her life in Mexico City

The Casa de Cortes, Casa Municipal

The Casa de Cortes, on the north side, of the Plaza Hidalgo was where the seat of government was held for many years. And it was here that Frida and Diego were married. Frida's parents were not a fan of Diego...to say the least. Diego had already been married twice, and his reputation as an unfaithful husband wasn’t a big secret around town. He was also 21 years older than 22-year-old Frida. Her parents protested and begged Diego not to marry her, but the love birds could not be swayed. Her parents referred to the union as a "marriage between an elephant and a dove" since Diego was over 300 pounds, and due to her illnesses, Frida was only a petite 98 pounds. The two were married on August 21st, 1929. Their marriage in city hall was presided by the mayor of Coyaocan, and their witnesses were a hairdresser and homoeopathic doctor. Frida wore only a long skirt and simple blouse with a rebozo (shawl) wrapped around her shoulder. She would often wear these in the same way that female revolutionaries wore them during the 1910 revolution when women used the scarves to smuggle guns past government checkpoints. Diego was dressed in a plain grey suit, accessorized with a Stetson hat and a Colt revolver. After their short ceremony, they retreated to their good friend Tina Modotti’s house where the raucous reception was held. It was recorded that after the wedding, during their reception, Diego took the colt revolver and shot it off aimlessly in a drunken stupor. Frida was none too pleased at this childish behaviour, and it would be the first signs of trouble in paradise for the couple.

In the Footsteps of Frida Kahlo, The Ultimate Colorful Guide to her life in Mexico City

Cantina La Guadalupana

Just down the street from the Casa Municipal, you'll find Frida’s old watering hole, Cantina La Guadalupana. Although the original cantina is now closed, you can still see the old signage out front marking the spot. The building is much unchanged from the days when you'd catch a glimpse of Frida's richly coloured skirts in the window. The Cantina La Guadalupana was the couple’s bar of choice for drinking tequila under the dim lights and surrounded by bullfighting decor. Frida was quite the prolific drinker for her small size and other than tequila, she would love to drink pulque. Pulque is made from the fermented sap of the maguey plant, native to Mexico. It was a beverage which the ancients Aztecs invented and drinking it made her feel closer to those old gods.

Parroquia San Juan Bautista

Across the park, stands the imposing shadow of the baroque church that Frida Kahlo attended while she was growing up, Parroquia San Juan Bautista. It is also called the Iglesia de Coyoacán as the church has become the central place of worship in Coyoacán. It was built between 1520 and 1552 and run by an old Dominican order. Over the years the church has changed appearance from its original form. Renovations and fires continued to shape its evolution, but the current church is no less beautiful than all its predecessors. But surprisingly the choir, the Rosario Chapel and the main altar are still all entirely preserved from the original construction. The facade is a classical herrerian design with geometric rigour and an overall absence of decorations.

In the Footsteps of Frida Kahlo, The Ultimate Colorful Guide to her life in Mexico City

The interior, however, is covered in baroque gilded decorations, mindblowing ceiling frescos of the Immaculate Conception of Mary, a fantastical work of Juan de Fabregat. The interior feels grand and yet, at the same time, very intimate. Frida would have come here as a child and prayed her with parents. You can only imagine how such a richly artistic place would have inspired young Frida's mind.

In the Footsteps of Frida Kahlo, The Ultimate Colorful Guide to her life in Mexico City
In the Footsteps of Frida Kahlo, The Ultimate Colorful Guide to her life in Mexico City

Frida Kahlo Park

Seeing as the city is the place of her birth, it seems only right that Frida would have a park dedicated after her. Frida loved the outdoor, and although not everyone can afford to go into the Casa Azul's garden daily, they can wake their way to Frida Kahlo Park to celebrate the great artistic legacy...or at the very least, walk their dog in a lovely setting. In the centre of the park, you'll find two large, bronze sculptures of Frida and Diego. Frida is dressed in her classic Tehuana outfit, gazing over at Diego. This park has a very structured layout, the bushes around it perfectly pruned into geometric shapes, slightly resembling Aztec pyramids popping out in the background.

La Escuela de Pintura y Escultura

Located on the east end of Coyoacán, is La Escuela de Pintura y Escultura. Frida began teaching here in 1942. She hoped that it's close proximity to her house would mean she could easily commute to and from and continue to educate Mexico City's artistic youth. She loved her students and teaching, but her leg was bothering her more and more and eventually, she couldn't leave the house. Luckily, the students loved her as well, and the dedicated pupils would come to the Casa Azul, where Frida could continue to instruct them. She would always inspire her students to look to Mexican culture for inspiration, instead of being influenced by European trends. While Frida might not have taught here for a long time, the school grounds are a beautiful and inspiring place to explore.

Jardín Centenario

The Jardin del Centenario is the central greenspace in Coyoacan. It is marked by a gorgeous double archway which they call the 'Arcadas Atrial' or the 'Arcos del Jardín del Centenario'. The gardens were once part of the entrance to the old 16th century Parish Church of San Juan Bautista built during the colonial period. Stone pieces from the original building were woven onto either side of the archway. Take a closer look to see how decorative motifs from that period depict both European and indigenous influence. This beautiful garden is also where you'll find a fountain which contains a bronze sculpture of two coyotes, which refer to the borough's name. The name Coyoacán comes from the Nahuatland word meaning "place of coyotes." Today you'll see the symbol of the coyote everywhere you look; on park benches, on street corners and even in flower gardens! On either side of the garden are lush Indian laurel trees which spread out to form a canopy over the walkway below.

In the Footsteps of Frida Kahlo, The Ultimate Colorful Guide to her life in Mexico City

This delightful park is where a place Frida would frequently come to stroll or celebrate during her life in Coyoacan. It was here where the city would hold parades, festivals and fairs. Diego Rivera's daughters have written extensively about their time living with Diego and Frida in Coyoacán. They lived with them inside the Casa Azul for two years while they completed college. The Jardín CentenarioIn is featured heavily in their accounts as Frida loved to come there to ride carnival rides and march in parades on any day of festivity and would always bring Diego's daughters with her. Although Frida could never have children herself, she mothered so many young people along the way, acting as a parental figure any time she got the chance.

In the Footsteps of Frida Kahlo, The Ultimate Colorful Guide to her life in Mexico City
In the Footsteps of Frida Kahlo, The Ultimate Colorful Guide to her life in Mexico City

Casa de Cultura Jesús Reyes Heroles

The Casa de Cultura Jesús Reyes Heroles is a cultural centre, free to enter and explore. The "House of Culture" was named in honour of the distinguished historian and political scientist, Jesús Reyes Heroles. The building was originally located on the property of an Izotitlán, meaning "izotes" which is a type of wild palm. Those palm trees still grow like wild all over the property. Just inside the entrance to the Casa is a sculpture of Frida and Diego sitting on a park bench, cast in bronze. You can take a seat alongside and get your picture taken with the famous couple. The house has existed here since 1780, occupied by a variety of different families. It's no stretch to imagine that the previous owners would have welcomed the famous couple into their garden for a visit or a dinner party from time to time.

In the Footsteps of Frida Kahlo, The Ultimate Colorful Guide to her life in Mexico City

Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera's House-Studio

Farther west, just outside of Coyoacán in the neighbouring district of San Angel is Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera's House-Studio. Frida and Diego had this building custom designed by their friend Juan O’Gorman. The studio was intended to be two separate buildings, connected by a bridge. A way of physically showing the differences between these two artists, who despite all odds, still manage to come together. Diego's studio is painted off-white and rust-red. Simple, natural colours. Frida's studio, on the other hand, is painted the same ethereal cobalt blue as her home in Coyoacán. Diego's house features thin windows along the top of the walls. Frida's features almost floor to ceiling windows, giving the interior space that indoor/outdoor feeling. The house is separated from the street by a perimeter fence which instead of being made from wood or wrought-iron, is made from stacking rows of tall cacti along the roadside.

The couple lived here from 1934 to 1939. In 1939, they got divorced, and Frida moved home to Casa Azul, leaving Diego to live full time, alone in the studio-house. Even after getting back together, only 9-months later, Frida and Diego kept the studio to use as more workspace. Today the interior of the studio features a lot of Diego Rivera's work and decor, especially his collection of papier-mâché figures. The Frida side of the house is pretty bare since most of her treasures moved over to the Casa Azul, but it is still interesting to view the architectural designs from inside. The best part of her studio to explore is her bathroom. It was in here that she was inspired to paint 'What the Water Gave Me' while staring down at her feet in the bathtub in one of her fits of depression. The very tub which is portrayed in the painting can be still seen today inside the studio. Frida also painted such iconic images as 'The eye of the eye' and 'The deceased Dimas' while she lived at the studio-house.

Address: Avenida Diego Rivera #2, Col. San Angel Inn, Del. Álvaro Obregón, México, D.F.
Admission: 35 pesos ($1.8US) with an additional 30 pesos ($1.50) charge for photography. Free on Sundays.
Hours: Tuesday - Sunday 10:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

The Historic City Centre

The historic centre of Mexico City was the place of Frida's youthful energy. There are lots of places to visit here where Frida began her revolutionary journey. The Historic centre might be full of tourists, but it's worth the crowds to discover these off the
beaten path Frida locations.

Former College of San Ildefonso

We begin this part of the tour at the Former College of San Ildefonso. It seems very fitting to start the journey here since it was a place of so many firsts for Frida. This was where Frida first went to college in 1922. There she met some of her best friends, her first boyfriend and, most importantly, first met the love of her life; Diego Rivera. Frida's father had the utmost confidence in his daughter. Even after she had spent a good deal of her adolescences homeschooled, due to her polio, he still thought she was a genius. Her father decided to send her to this former Jesuit college, at much expense to the family. She was one of only 35 girls, out of 2000 students who went to the school. But she had always gotten along with boys almost more than she did with girls, so she flourished there. Frida would even be seen wearing men's clothes to the college from time to time and embraced her more masculine side.

At the same time, Frida was at school here, Diego Rivera has been commissioned to paint an enormous mural on the lecture room walls. The painting, called 'The Creation' was Rivera's first gigantic mural of this kind. It was commissioned by the Mexican government to educate the masses of people who couldn't read but wanted to learn about history. The mural covers more than a thousand square feet and portrays mythological and religious motifs.

It was here when painting the mural that Frida first laid eyes on Diego. She would sneak in to watch him paint his nude models anytime she could. Diego, although married to Lupe Marin at the time, would frequently be found by Frida in the midst of making love to one of his models. She took it upon herself to even warn the artists if she saw his wife coming. Frida would mock and tease him as he worked, but he saw her as a charming little pest. She would go on and on about him to her friends, and despite their age difference, and would proclaim that one day, she would be his wife and have a child by him. Although the latter would never come to pass, who knew how right she would be about the rest.

Biblioteca Pública 

Down the street from her college, we find the Biblioteca Pública where Frida would come to study. She would come here to meet up with her schoolmates the 'Los Cachuchas'. It was here they would discuss at length the politics of the day and plan their communist rallies. But the library was not just a place of learning for Frida. The library was also where she would spend hours falling in love with her first boyfriend, Alex Gómez Arias. In addition to Alex, she also met a gorgeous female librarian and had her first affair with a woman amongst these books. This relationship caused quite the scandal in the community but was her first foray into exploring her bisexuality.

In the Footsteps of Frida Kahlo, The Ultimate Colorful Guide to her life in Mexico City

Secretaría De Educación Pública 

Just to the north of the school, is the spot of another one of Diego Rivera's masterpieces. There are 235 panels in the Secretaría de Educación Pública featuring Diego's favourite themes of blue-collar workers, and the glorification of all things Mexican. It was here while painting these murals in 1928 that Frida Kahlo would come to see Rivera once more. After her injury from the bus accident, she needed to find a way of making money for her family and art was always something which had interested her. But Frida didn't know if her artwork was skilled enough to become an accomplished artist. So she went to ask the one man she admired above all others and whom she knew would tell her the truth. She marched right up to him, her work under her arms, and asked him for an honest critique. He was flabbergasted at her brash attitude and charmed by her confidence. It looks him some time to recognize her as the little pest from years before, but it was here that perhaps Diego first fell in love with Frida.

Mexico City Metropolitan Cathedral

Frida's mother was a fiercely religious woman. The Mexico City Metropolitan Cathedral was right beside where Frida would walk to school every day and as such a part of her daily life. Even though many of Frida's paintings contain a wide variety of indigenous imagery, she was raised in a Catholic household. Elements of religious iconography can be seen in her pictures, especially in her studies of ex-votos. This church is a beautiful place to explore and discover different references you might compare to some of Frida's famous portraits. The church itself was built after the Spanish conquest of the Aztec Empire. The Spaniards decided to build their first church on the site of the Templo Mayor of the Aztec in the city of Tenochtitlan. Stones from the destroyed temple of the Aztecs were used to create the church. And although we now look upon the destruction of that ancient temple as something to morn, it is incredible to stare up at this church and see stones stuck throughout from over 1000 years ago. The construction of the Cathedral began in 1573 and took until 1813 to complete! The enormous cathedral is over 350 feet long and 200 feet wide. This makes it Latin America’s largest and oldest temple.

In the Footsteps of Frida Kahlo, The Ultimate Colorful Guide to her life in Mexico City
In the Footsteps of Frida Kahlo, The Ultimate Colorful Guide to her life in Mexico City

The Palacio Nacional

The Palacio Nacional or National Palace is an enormous building which stretches out across the Zocalo. While some of the Palace is still used for governmental purposes, the rest of the building is open to the public and filled with incredible gardens, murals, fountains and works of art. But the most meaningful Frida related piece in the palace is the mural by Diego Rivera entitled, 'The History of Mexico'.

In the Footsteps of Frida Kahlo, The Ultimate Colorful Guide to her life in Mexico City

The mural features the history of Mexico from pre-Columbian ancient times to the 1930s. Rivera painted the mural between 1929 and 1935. Key events in the mural feature stories like the Spanish conquest, the colonial period, the Independence movement, and the 1910 Revolution. The right side of the mural is a chronological study of the indigenous Aztecs before colonization. The left side of the painting is less chronological, featuring smaller groups of stories about Mexico’s Independence. Along the bottom of the mural on the left is the portrait of Frida Kahlo, her iconic monobrow making her easily distinguishable from the others. She looks over a young boys shoulder at his book and is seen wearing a necklace with the communist star. In front of her, dressed in a red, is Cristina, Frida's sister, holding open a copy of the Communist Manifesto. Years later, Diego would have an affair with Cristina, so seeing the two women here together, years before these dramatic events would unfold feels slightly foreboding.

Address: Plaza de la Constitución S/N, Centro, Cuauhtémoc, 06066 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico
Admission: Free to enter (they to hold onto a piece of ID while you're inside so sure to have something with your identification on it)
Hours: Tuesday - Sunday: 9:00 am to 5:00 pm
In the Footsteps of Frida Kahlo, The Ultimate Colorful Guide to her life in Mexico City
In the Footsteps of Frida Kahlo, The Ultimate Colorful Guide to her life in Mexico City

Avenue 5 de Mayo

Walk along the Avenue 5 de Mayo, towards our next destination. While the pedestrian street Avenue Francisco Madero is more popular, I always find it'd packed with tourists and people hawking flyers. In addition to this, the stores are all American brands which don't feel as authentic to Mexico City. Walking along the street, you'll see that many of these shops are incredibly old. There are dozens of stores along the way that Frida herself might have popped her head in while she worked in the city. During her adolescences, she would come into the historic centre to work both in her fathers' studio or at other artists workshops. Frida worked as an artist apprentice in the city, where she had her first affair with a married man. All of this before the age of 18. These streets filled her life with passion, and that can be seen in her escapades.

In the Footsteps of Frida Kahlo, The Ultimate Colorful Guide to her life in Mexico City
In the Footsteps of Frida Kahlo, The Ultimate Colorful Guide to her life in Mexico City

Garibaldi Square

Plaza Garibaldi is known as the home of mariachi music. Throughout the day, you'll find mariachi bands playing all over the square. Frida herself loved coming here. She would bring her friends and family here anytime there was a celebration or holiday. She adored dancing to the music and often took part singing songs with the band members.

NOTE: Due to it's proximity to the dangerous neighbourhood of Tepito, this area should be visited with caution, during the daylight hours. In recent years the city has taken many precautions to help with the safety concerns including increased police presence and the creation of the Bellas Artes-Garibaldi Tourism Corridor. This corridor has improved street lighting as well as the addition of beautiful gardens and sidewalks in the neighbouring streets to help improve the appearance of the area.

Palacio de Bellas Artes

Palacio de Bellas Artes and its iconic rainbow stained glass roof are one of the most iconic images of Mexico City. The Palacio de Bellas Artes hosts events in music, dance, theatre, opera and literature and is therefore aptly named the "Cathedral of Art in Mexico". The exterior of the building is primarily Neoclassical, but inside you'll discover a plethora of Art Deco and Art Nouveau stylings. On the 3rd floor is Diego Rivera’s famous 'El hombre en el cruce de caminos' (Man at the Crossroads). This mural was initially painted for New York City's Rockefeller Center in 1933 but torn down by Rockefeller when Diego refused to paint out the image of Lenin he had sneakily included. Frida's life in New York City, following Diego around from commission to commission, was such a significant point in her life. Gazing upon this mural, albeit the second version of it, is still such a powerful connection to the couple.

In the Footsteps of Frida Kahlo, The Ultimate Colorful Guide to her life in Mexico City

When Frida Kahlo died, Diego arranged for her body to be laid in state at the Palacio de Bellas Artes. The government agreed, only if they would make it an entirely non-political event. Diego agreed, but unbeknownst to him, one of her students came to pay their respects and after he did, threw a huge communist flag over her casket. The government threated to have her body removed, but Diego refused to let them. He said if they tried, he would carry her dead body in his arm and sit with her on the steps of the palace. Before she died, the last words she wrote in her diary read:

"I hope the exit is joyful - and I hope never to return".

Address: Av. Juárez S/N, Centro Histórico de la Cdad. de México, Centro, 06050 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico
Admission: Free to view from the outside and to peek inside the lobby but to go to the 3rd floor to see the murals you'll have to buy a ticket. The lineup is usually quite long but is only 70 pesos (about $3.70). Admission inside is free on Sunday, but as such, is very busy.
Hours: Tuesday - Sunday: 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
In the Footsteps of Frida Kahlo, The Ultimate Colorful Guide to her life in Mexico City

Alameda Central

One of Rivera's most famous paintings is the fifty-foot fresco 'Sunday walk through Alameda Park'. The picture is currently in the Diego Rivera mural museum, but visiting Alameda Park is an excellent opportunity to take a walk inside of the painting itself. Alameda Park was Mexico City's first city park and was built on the grounds of an ancient Aztec marketplace. Frida is painted into the mural, wearing the traditional Tehuana dress. She is holding in her left hand the Yin-Yang symbol, which represents duality. Perhaps this is the duality of life, or maybe Diego painted it as a reference to Frida's dual personality. Frida is resting her hand on young Diego's should, like a mother protecting her young one. You can imagine how many times Diego and Frida would have come to this park together, to paint and to relax. Take some time to walk around and even buy some street food snacks to enjoy under the Jacaranda trees which bloom bright purple in the springtime.

In the Footsteps of Frida Kahlo, The Ultimate Colorful Guide to her life in Mexico City

Museo Mural Diego Rivera

If you've visited the real Alameda Park, then it's a treat to then see the mural of, 'Dream of a Sunday Afternoon in Alameda Central'. Look how closely Diego captured its likeness and the personalities of the people in the park. Despite being called a museum, the Museo Mural Diego Rivera is more of a housing spot for the mural, but the admission is just over a dollar. Originally the mural it was located at Hotel Del Prado. After the devastating 1985 earthquake, the hotel was condemned. Luckily, the mural was saved (in pieces) and moved the museum where it was reassembled.

Address: Balderas 202, Colonia Centro, Centro, 06000 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico
Admission: 35 pesos ($1.5 USD) + 350 pesos if you want a photo permit ($1 USD) . Free on Sundays
Hours: Tuesday - Sunday: 10:00 am - 6:00 pm

La Ciudadela

Another iconic destination on the tour of Frida's Mexico City is to the La Ciudadela marketplace. While this market only opened up in 1968, Frida would have frequented markets like this many times throughout her life in Mexico City. Places like this would have been where she came to purchase folk art, traditional textiles and elaborate, locally-made jewellery. So many of the old Tehuana patterns and dresses which Frida was known for can still be found in marketplaces like this. Because this market is so large, you'll have the largest selection and artisans comes from all over the country. Oaxaca is the best place to buy textiles from so if you see signage saying the products are from there you know they'll be top-notch. If you've visited the Casa Azul already, you can even buy replicas of her favourite objects since many of those folk pieces are still made in the same way today. It's like shopping in a Frida Kahlo themed store!

In the Footsteps of Frida Kahlo, The Ultimate Colorful Guide to her life in Mexico City
In the Footsteps of Frida Kahlo, The Ultimate Colorful Guide to her life in Mexico City

Xochimilco District

Xochimilco and the surrounding Aztec waterways was a place were Frida and her friends would come to escape the city. A famous photo of Frida on a boat along the Xochimilco canals shows her dipping her hand into the water. She felt at home along here, a place to run away from her dramatic marriage, her pain and even perhaps, herself. Today it's a vibrant neighbourhood where you can experience much of the same journey Frida would have taken. It's also the neighbourhood where you can visit a museum containing the world's most extensive number of her artworks.

Xochimilco Canals

Xochimilco is the Venice of Mexico. In the southern district of Mexico City, you'll find is over 170 km of waterways which spread out in all different directions. Before the Spanish arrived in Mexico City, the indigenous people had created an incredible network of canals. They used these channels for transportation and to supply water throughout the country. Xochimilco means “Floating Gardens" as it refers to the Aztecs creation of the chinampas. Chinampas are artificial agricultural plots, rich in minerals, that are grown in shallow lake beds. In Xochimilco, they were used to produce thousands of flowers which looked like they were floating in the water. After the Spanish invasion, they dried up many of the canals in the centre of Mexico City to make room for modern roads. But the channels in Xochimilco remained.

In the Footsteps of Frida Kahlo, The Ultimate Colorful Guide to her life in Mexico City
In the Footsteps of Frida Kahlo, The Ultimate Colorful Guide to her life in Mexico City

Frida adored her Mexican heritage and the colourful culture which Mexico is all about. Today, Xochimilco is the best place to bask in that colour and energy. Along the canals, you can listen to mariachi bands, call over boats with mobile kitchens to serve up fresh tacos or delicious elote. Paddling along the stream are artisans selling flower crowns which resemble the flowers that Frida herself would wear in her hair. Even here, her iconic image is prevalent. To learn more about Xochimilco read my full guide here >> 

In the Footsteps of Frida Kahlo, The Ultimate Colorful Guide to her life in Mexico City

Museo Dolores Olmedo

While in Xochimilco, make sure you make a stop at the Museo Dolores Olmedo Museum. The museum is located inside the grounds of an old 16th-century residence. In 1962, Dolores Olmedo bought the house. Dolores was a fierce collector of art as well as a lover of Mexican culture. It is no surprise to learn then that she old became the largest collector of private works of Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo. In 1994, her collection was transformed into the museum we now find today. Luckily, Dolores lived until 2002, so she was able to see this fantastic house converted into an art gallery for the public.

Today you can explore gardens filled with exotic Mexican plants, magical peacocks and Xoloitzcuintles. Xoloitzcuintles are a dog breed which was once only thought it exists in mythical stories of the afterlife but is actually an ancient Aztec dog. Frida herself loved these dogs and owned multiple throughout her lifetime. Inside the museum, you can find such famous Frida Kahlo's as 'The Broken Column', 'Henry Ford Hospital', 'Self-portrait with Changuito', 'A few Piquetitos' and 'Mi nana Nand Me'. If there is a particular painting, you wish to see be SURE to check online as so often her pictures are out on loan, being shown around the world.

Address: Av Mexico 5843, La Noria, 16030 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico
Admission: 100 pesos ($5 USD) | Free admission every Tuesday
Hours: Tuesday - Sunday: 10:00 am - 6:00 pm

Museums

These museums will help to give you a deeper understanding of Mexican culture, insights about Frida, and art in Mexico.

Templo Mayor Museum

Mexican culture and history were so essential to Frida's life. Although Templo Mayor wasn't discovered until after her death in 1978, Frida would have loved to have seen this relic from the past unveiled. Today, you can visit the museum and see what archaeologists discovered; the remains of the Aztec temple which the Spanish destroyed on their conquest into Mexico. The 10-foot carving of the Mexican goddess Coyolxauhqui and the over 7,000 Mexica artefacts is an entire half days worth of discovery!

Address:Seminario 8, Centro Histórico de la Cdad. de México, Cuauhtémoc, 06060 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico
Admission: Admission: $ 75 pesos ($4 US)
Hours: Tuesday - Sunday: 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
In the Footsteps of Frida Kahlo, The Ultimate Colorful Guide to her life in Mexico City
In the Footsteps of Frida Kahlo, The Ultimate Colorful Guide to her life in Mexico City

Museum of Modern Art

The Museum of Modern Art in Mexico City has a stunning collection of 20th-century Mexican art. The most important being Frida Kahlo’s "The Two Fridas". This painting is one of the most essential pieces in her oeuvre. It was painted after she divorced Diego and depicts what she saw as her two different personalities. The one on the left is dressed in traditional Tehuana costume, with a broken heart, her blood spilling out on the white of her dress. This Frida's makeup is done, her lips painted deep red and rouge on her cheeks. The Frida on the right is dressed in a more modern outfit. She is the independent Frida, whose heart is not broken and who can take on the world without Diego. But the two exist together, shattered and complete, heartbroken and confident. I love this painting as I feel it is so poignant to all of our lives and how we can be all things at once. Strong and weak, shy and loud, brave and scared. You don't need to commit to one thing alone, we are complex beings, and this painting is a beautiful interpretation of that.

Address: Av. Paseo de la Reforma s/n, Bosque de Chapultepec I Secc, 11100 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico
Admission: $ 70 pesos ($3.60 US), free on Sundays
Hours: Tuesday - Sunday: 10:15 am - 5:30 pm

NOTE: Before visiting, be sure to check the website to see if the painting is on loan to another museum. Since this is the only piece of Kahlo's inside the museum if you're going expecting to see that and it's on loan I know how disappointing that might be. So checking in advance is super important!

Museo Nacional de Antropología

Throughout her life, Frida would often refer to "being the daughter and Mexico". Her mother was unable to breastfeed young Frida, and so she was breastfed by her indigenous wetnurse. This is an image Frida has painted in a myriad of artworks. Frida always thought that by feeding on the milk of her country, she absorbed the cultural roots of her heritage from the minute she was born. Visiting the National Anthropology Museum is a window into the pre-colonial history of Mexico and those roots Frida so often referred to. The museum is also filled with many indigenous artworks as well as some of Frida and Diego's student's artwork they helped inspire.

Address: Av. Paseo de la Reforma s/n, Polanco, Bosque de Chapultepec I Secc, 11560 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico
Admission: $ 75 pesos ($3.80 US), free on Sundays
Hours: Tuesday - Sunday: 9:00 am - 7:00 pm

Mexican Art Gallery | GAM

Inés Amor founded the original Mexican Art Gallery in Mexico’s City in 1935. This was where Frida's first art show in Mexico would take place. She exhibited her artworks during the inaugural International Surrealist Exhibition in 1940 with her painting 'Las Fridas' (The Two Fridas, which is now at the Modern Art Gallery of Mexico). Even though there are no longer any of her pictures hanging on the walls, this is still an extraordinary place to visit. The gallery was the first to recognize the talents of Frida Kahlo professionally, and they are doing the same thing with current, contemporary Mexican artists today.

Address: Gobernador Rafael Rebollar 43, San Miguel Chapultepec I Secc, 11850 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico
Admission: $ 70 pesos ($4 US), free on Sundays
Hours: Monday - Friday 10:30 am - 5:30 pm

Museo Franz Mayer

The Franz Mayer Museum is one of the most beautiful pieces of architecture in Mexico City. It also houses a wonderful personal art collection from collector Franz Mayer. Here you can find over six centuries of objects he took great care in collecting throughout his lifetime. These collections feature ceramics, furniture, silver, sculpture, paintings and engravings.

But there is also a room, called the Marguerite Rostan gallery, which highlights traditional Mexican textiles and costumes. The collection contains clothing from 14 different ethnicities such as Amusgos, Triquis, Chinantecos, Mazatecos, Nahuas from various places across Mexico. This acquisition represents and embodies an important contribution to the knowledge of traditional Mexican costumes. Many of these dresses are so similar to the ones Frida wore throughout her life. If you're interested in learning more about traditional Mexican fashion, this is a great place to visit.

Address:Av. Hidalgo 45, Centro Histórico de la Cdad. de México, Guerrero, 06300 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico
Admission: 260 pesos ($3 US) 10 pesos for the cloisters ($0.50 US)
Hours: Tuesday - Sunday: 10:00 am - 5:00 pm

Museo Anahuacalli

On your way to Xochimilco, you should stop by the Museo Anahuacalli. Your ticket into the Casa Azul actually also covers your entry into this museum as well, so you kinda get a two for one! The Museo Anahuacalli was another one of Diego Rivera's homes. Diego and Frida were both fierce nationalists who loved their home country and wanted to preserve its history. Diego and Frida dreamed of opening their own museum dedicated to these objects. Sadly, in their lifetime, this dream never came to fruition. But after Diego's death, his daughter took up the project and created what is now the Museo Anahuacalli. Architects, Juan O'Gorman who designed their studio, also designed this house as well. The exterior of the house was made using black volcanic stone, taken from an old volcano in Mexico and the texture is something truly unique. There are over 50,000 pre-Hispanic pieces inside the museum. Some of these Diego would collect while he and Frida would travel to ancient Aztec pyramids outside of Mexico City. Each one of them was a piece of Mexico's heritage, a heritage that inspired the work of Frida Kahlo and I know she would be proud to have helped in the creation of this museum which stands today.

Address: Museo 150, San Pablo Tepetlapa, 04620 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico
Admission: Free with admission to the Casa Azul or 230 pesos ($12 USD) weekdays | 250 pesos ($13 USD) weekends
Hours: Tuesday - Sunday: 11:00 am - 5:30 pm


If you've made it all the way through this post, I commend you! There is so much in Mexico City to see in the footsteps of Frida Kahlo. You can easily adapt this tour to your personal interested or locations you're already planning on visiting. Frida is one of the most exciting artists I've ever studied, and I loved writing and researching this tour, so I hope you have as much fun following it as I did in creating it!

Happy Travels Adventurers!

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