4. Palacio de Bellas Artes

Art Deco on the inside…

Imagine a building with the civic importance of the New York Public Library, Carnegie Hall, and Chrysler Building all rolled up into one. That will give you a sense of where the Palacio de Bellas Artes (Fine Arts Palace) lies in the soul of Mexico City. It is the city’s leading cultural venue, iconic symbol, and twentieth century architectural masterpiece, containing theaters, museums, and public galleries with murals.

Palacio de Bellas Artes, Mexico City

Construction began in 1904 with an Art Nouveau exterior by Italian architect Adamo Boari, but it was not completed until 1934 due to the Mexican Revolution and other obstacles. The interior has an Art Deco design by Mexican architect Federico Mariscal with exquisite detailing, including pre-Columbian inspired works.

…Art Nouveau on the outside

Bellas Artes is also home to “Man, Controller of the Universe,” a 1934 mural by Diego Rivera. This tourist favorite is the re-creation of “Man at the Crossroads,” which was originally commissioned for another Art Deco landmark, Rockefeller Center, but was destroyed due to its communist content.