Coyoacán – in southern Mexico City- is a very popular tourist destination, for locals and foreigners. Most folks who visit stick to old central Coyoacán. That makes sense, since the central historic area is packed with bars, restaurants, and street vendors. Central Coyoacán also home to popular sites such as the Museo Frida Kahlo (The Blue House), Museo Casa de León Trotsky, Mercado Coyoacán, and the twins squares Plaza Hidalgo & Jardín Centenario. However, Coyoacán is a vast delegation and its home to multiple colonias (neighborhoods). In this post we’ll explore lesser-known southeastern Coyoacán.
Our tour starts at the Museo Nacional de Culturas Populares (The National Museum of Popular Cultures). This free cultural art museum is located at the eastern edge of Central Coyoacán. It showcases folk, popular, and contemporary art from all over Mexico. After visiting the museum, walk east along Av. Miguel Hidalgo for two and a half blocks. Turn right on Fernández Leal and walk south for half a block.
Arrive at the Centro Cultural Elena Garro. This cultural center was named after a prominent Mexican writer, and features a pretty glass-fronted facade. It has a two-story bookstore and an events venue. After browsing the bookstore, continue south down Fernández Leal for one block.
Plaza de la Conchita will be to your right. This public green space features cobblestone paths and lots of shady trees. It’s also home to the Capilla de la Conchita. This rustic little chapel is one of the oldest in the city. Hernán Cortez ordered its construction way back in 1521. In 2013, archaeologists discovered a pre-Hispanic shrine underneath the church, along with over five hundred indigenous skeletons. This church is still in use today, so visitors should be respectful if they choose to enter.
After exploring the plaza and church, exit via the plaza’s southeast corner. Cross the street and you’ll see Parque Frida Kahlo. This park is dedicate to the famous Mexican Surrealist. It features two different statues of Frida. One of them shows a seated Frida perched atop a mini-pyramid. The second is a larger-than-life statue of Frida with her husband, Diego Rivera. This park is family-friendly and has a kid’s play area at the eastern edge. Next, visit Museo Anahuacalli. Use a ridesharing app like Uber. The journey takes fifteen minutes by car.
Arrive at Museo Anahuacalli. This massive sculpture museum holds Diego Rivera’s extensive pre-Columbian art collection. Over forty-one thousand pieces are stored here, although only a small fraction are on display. Frequently rotating temporary exhibits showcase work from emerging artists. The art is world-class, but the architecture is equally impressive. Architect Juan O’Gorman designed the hulking structure in 1964, with help from Rivera. The exterior resembles an Aztec pyramid, and the interior feels like a dungeon. It’s made from locally-sourced black tezontle. Be sure to visit the rooftop, it offers nice views of CDMX.
This concludes our tour. If you’re hungry, there are several small restaurants just north and south of the museum, on Calle Museo. Or, use ridesharing to return to Central Coyoacán for a meal, before going back to your lodging. For an alternate Coyoacán walking tour, including map, get a copy of my book Mexico City: The Ultimate Travel Guide.