July 26, 2017

A Photographer’s Guide to Mexico City Architecture

Words + Photos : David Muñiz

One of the most fascinating aspects of Mexico City is its architecture. The cityscape is diverse with architectural styles ranging from ancient colonial buildings to postmodern structures. If you’re visiting and want to explore the best architectural highlights, here are the places you must see

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1. MUNAL Museum

Undoubtedly, the MUNAL Museum is one of the most photogenic buildings in Mexico City—its beautiful stairs, accompanied by large glass windows, create the perfect environment to take pictures. You’ll want to grab a Wide or Superfish lens to take in the beautiful stairwells and muraled ceilings.

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2. Acropolis 

There is no doubt that abandoned buildings will always offer endless possibilities for photographs. The Acropolis is no exception. What was meant to be a shopping mall is now left as a hauntingly unfinished shell of a building. While it may seem scary at first, the mystery about what you might find there will still draw you in.

The imposing building sought to replicate the style of ancient Greek architecture. With no maintenance for 30 years, the place creates a gloomy atmosphere, great for moody photographs.

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3. Monument to the Revolution (Monumento a la Revolución)

The Monument to the Revolution is an architectural work and a museum dedicated to the commemoration of the Mexican Revolution. This monument is one of the most important historical sites of the country that still retains its original structure and one of the few monuments in the world that can be explored completely from the foundation to the lantern (the highest part of the building). Each level contains beautiful secrets, offering the perfect place to take pictures from inside or outside the enclosure.

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4. Soumaya Museum

This is a perfect example of the Mexican postmodern architecture. The facade consists of 16,000 shiny aluminum hexagons that seem to float on its surface. Walking 360º around the building, you can find the perfect angle to photograph, whether it be an interesting perspective in the reflection on the glass of the surrounding buildings, or a shot from further away to show its scale.

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Bonus tip:

One thing in architectural photographs I have noticed works well is to contrast them with natural elements that are near the structure or are part of it. The plants that are at the Soumaya Museum allow you to take beautiful macro photographs with the interesting texture of the museum in the background.

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5. Palace of Fine Arts (Palacio de Bellas Artes)

You may have seen photos of it dozens of times, but the Palace of Fine Arts is definitely a place that you should visit in CDMX. Sunrise is one of the perfect moments to photograph it since this place is usually bustling with crowds of tourists and locals alike.

Something curious about this place is that, in the day, it looks one way, and at night, it changes its marble structure, causing the place to look different. The light reflected on the palace becomes soft and warm during the day, and at night, thanks to the surrounding artificial light, it turns into a structure contrasted by vibrant colors—perfect for taking long exposure photos.

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6. Mexico City Historic Center

Mexico City Historic Center spans over a sprawling 668 blocks and an area of 9.7 square kilometers. It’s here so that you’re able to admire the architecture that summarizes the history of the pre-Hispanic, colonial, and modern times of Mexico.


In my experience, the best time to visit this place is in the morning. I love to go for a walk and take pictures in that golden hour just after sunrise. The light that the sun offers makes the architecture show off its incredible beauty. And much like the Palace of Fine Arts, the early hours offer a near empty stroll, which allows you to enjoy the space with a tranquility that’s hard to find in CDMX.

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David Muñiz is a 19-year-old Visual Arts student from Mexico City. David’s favorite art is photography, he loves shooting golden hour in the city and macro photos of bugs.



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