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Step inside Mexico City’s Palacio Nacional (National Palace) to discover over five centuries of national history. Admire grand colonial architecture, explore courtyards, spot work by revered Mexican artists and peek inside presidential offices. This site was originally the 16th-century Aztec residence of Moctezuma II and was later the palace of Hernán Cortez and then the home of the Spanish viceroys. It became the Palacio Nacional in the 1800s and is today the seat of the federal government.
Stand back from the building’s main entrance to appreciate its grandiose façade, flanked by two imposing towers. Above the main door is the Campana de Dolores, the bell rung by Padre Miguel Hidalgo to proclaim Mexico’s liberation from Spanish rule in 1810. Visit at 11 p.m. on September 15th to watch the president ring the bell and signal the start of annual independence celebrations.
Walk through the Baroque-style doorway to the palace’s main courtyard, characterized by a three-tiered arcade and Renaissance columns. Inspect the central fountain, crowned by an elegant bronze statue of Pegasus.
Take the stairs to the courtyard’s second floor to see the magnificent murals by Diego Rivera. Painted over a period of 22 years, they portray significant Mexican events from the Aztec era to the early 20th century. Peak inside the palace’s rooms to see period furniture, colonial decorations and objets d’art.
Find the palace on the east side of the Zócola, Mexico City’s main public square and the heart of its historic city center. Public buses, the metro and a hop-on, hop-off tourist bus all stop close to the palace. Visit nearby attractions, such as the 16th-century Catedral Metropolitana de la Ciudad de México (Mexico City Metropolitan Cathedral) and the ancient Aztec ruins of the Museo del Templo Mayor (Great Temple Museum).
The Palacio Nacional is open daily, although it may close without notice for government events. Admission is free and you’ll need to present a form of photo identification to enter. Unofficial English-speaking guides are available and can provide insightful information about the palace and its history. Guide prices are negotiable, so be prepared to bargain.
Ensure you have heaps of time at Palacio Nacional. Below are some of the top activities:
Waited eons to make it to this lovely attraction? Then you can't leave without trying out a Historical City Center & Typical Sweet Tasting Small Group.
For many more activities, peruse our Mexico City things to do page.
Located in Reforma, this eco-friendly hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Reforma 222, The Angel of Independence Monument, and Torre Latinoamericana. Palacio de Bellas Artes and Zocalo are also within 2 mi (3 km). Juarez Station is 10 minutes by foot and Revolution Station is 12 minutes.
Located in Downtown Mexico City, this luxury hotel is steps from Ayuntamiento (City Hall), Plaza de la Constitucion, and Zocalo. Metropolitan Cathedral (Catedral Metropolitana) and Palacio Nacional are also within 5 minutes. Zocalo Station is only a 4-minute walk and Allende Station is 9 minutes.
Located in Downtown Mexico City, this hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Metropolitan Cathedral (Catedral Metropolitana), Zocalo, and Templo Mayor. Palacio Nacional and Palacio de Bellas Artes are also within 10 minutes. Allende Station and Zocalo Station are within a 5-minute walk.
Located in Downtown Mexico City, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Ayuntamiento (City Hall), Plaza de la Constitucion, and Palacio Nacional. Zocalo and Templo Mayor are also within 15 minutes. Pino Suarez Station is only a 2-minute walk and Isabel la Catolica Station is 7 minutes.
Located in Downtown Mexico City, this hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Ayuntamiento (City Hall) and Plaza de la Constitucion. Zocalo and Metropolitan Cathedral (Catedral Metropolitana) are also within 10 minutes. Zocalo Station is 6 minutes by foot and Pino Suarez Station is 8 minutes.
Located in Reforma, this luxury hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Teatro Metropólitan, Palacio de Bellas Artes, and Reforma 222. Zocalo and U.S. Embassy are also within 1 mi (2 km). Hidalgo Station is 6 minutes by foot and Juarez Station is 8 minutes.
Located in Downtown Mexico City, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Paseo de la Reforma, Alameda Central, and Cristobal Colon Monument. Palacio de Bellas Artes and Museo Nacional de la Revolucion are also within 15 minutes. Hidalgo Station is only a 2-minute walk and Juarez Station is 7 minutes.
Located in Downtown Mexico City, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Torre Latinoamericana, Palacio Postal, and Palacio de Bellas Artes. Zocalo and Metropolitan Cathedral (Catedral Metropolitana) are also within 10 minutes. Allende Station is only a 4-minute walk and Zocalo Station is 7 minutes.