Located southeast of Mexico City is the city of Puebla. Known for its history, architecture and traditional art forms such as pottery, it comes as no surprise that the city is brimming with art galleries – so we’ve rounded up the ones which most deserve a spot on your itinerary.
This ancient Porfirian-era mansion – once the home of 1940s actress María Arroyo – has been transformed by the hands of dozens of artists. Interior decorators, fine artists, painters, woodworkers and even a poet have made tiny corners of the house their own, imbuing the space with a wildly eclectic look and surprises around every corner. Some took a traditional approach – including antiques and Puebla talavera pottery – while others opted for sleek modernity. Now the house at 917 Reforma is an ambling and grandiose art gallery, displaying the work of local geniuses.
Puebla City’s Barrio de Artista is not only beautiful for the art displayed here, but for the space itself. Also known as Plazuela del Torno, the Artists Quarter is a leafy, cobblestone plaza where painters, dancers, sculptors and other craftsmen set up to engage with the public for a truly one-of-a-kind experience. More often than not you’ll come across drawing or painting classes being held al fresco, or an artist hard at work on a piece in front of their individual studio – which, of course, means there are opportunities to purchase the art direct from the artists.
Part of the Municipal Institute for Art and Culture, the Municipal Palace Art Gallery hosts artists from across several disciplines to exhibit in their space. Among the works of art, the gallery also hosts book signings, theater performances, conferences, talks and an array of other community events. The exhibits tend to focus on contemporary art – though that doesn’t rule out the work of a retrospective artist whose work aligns with a clear political, social or cultural message for society today.
Casa del Puente (roughly translated as bridge house) is an art gallery in Cholula. The space is welcoming and easy, where art and the art of conversation exist side by side. The gallery promotes local artists and a revolving collection of pieces from various disciplines. It also hosts talks, conferences workshops for aspiring artists, theatrical and music performances and concert afternoons. There is a painting gallery, a gift and crafts shop and a library, along with a cafeteria – meaning that it is totally possible to spend a whole day here.
Designed by Japanese architect Toyo Itō, the International Museum of the Baroque is dedicated to baroque art. The contemporary white building has been described as a metropolis of art as it promotes knowledge of historical, scientific and cultural events that have had repercussions on art. Educating guests on culture, art and daily life through music, theater, fashion, literature and architecture, the museum is as intriguing as it is aesthetically pleasing. It also has a focus on showcasing the relevance of baroque art in today’s society.
Founded and run by Nora Adame and Alejandro Osorio, the Mercado Negro Art Gallery is a promoter of contemporary art in Cholula, just outside the state capital. The gallery hosts revolving exhibitions of international artists that make up its vast and eclectic portfolio, a list which currently includes Alberto Ibáñez Cerda, Alejandro Osorio, Omar Árcega, Dulce Pinzón, César López y López and Fabián Ugalde. The gallery also works in collaboration with several artists, meaning it’s able to access what others can’t, along with having insider insight to pass onto guests.
This museum and gallery is part of the Talavera Celia, one of the city’s many professional talavera pottery workshops. A visit here is the perfect way to gain a fuller understanding of this important regional craft and its history. The museum displays decorative arts, as well as both traditional and avant-garde sculpture, along with everyday talavera household items. Celia’s has been distinguished with a Dominion of Origin recognition and all the work it displays has been certified as created with traditional talavera techniques.
Considered an odd location to showcase art, the San Pedro Art Museum opened in 1999 in what was a hospital in the 16th century. The museum features both permanent and rotating exhibitions: there are a variety of galleries displaying both national and international contemporary artworks of varying themes on a temporary basis, and a permanent exhibit on the history of the hospital, the pharmacy and the reconstitution of the building.
Roughly translated, the name means “the chapel of art,” and in 2009 the Mary Street Jenkins Foundation awarded part of the building to the Universidad de las Américas Puebla. The building itself is of an eclectic French style, with green iron and glass from France, and was assembled in Puebla. Since then the Capilla del Arte has become a privileged location, and the Universidad de las Américas Puebla has created an aesthetic space in which audiences can experience and learn about the art showcased here.
Situated in Downtown Puebla, the Museo Casa del Mendrugo is a speciality art museum located in a house. The museum was the first archaeological site discovered in Puebla that proves pre-Hispanic population along with the production of majolica or talavera (pottery) in Pubela. In 2010, the excavations of the house made significant contributions to the evolution of the city, so restoration of the site began. Since then the house has become a museum that showcases the history and art of the site to locals and tourists.
In 2017 the Museo Regional de Puebla opened in a former psychiatric hospital that belonged to a religious order. Covering the history of the area, the geography and volcanoes with touchscreen displays offering several language choices, the museum provides a lot of educational knowledge. Among the displays is local artwork, best appreciated when you understand what was happening in that era and the history behind it. To break up the visit, there is a restaurant that serves local cuisine at affordable prices.
A cross between a home and a museum, Museo Jose Luis Bello y Gonzales allows you to see how the wealthy of Puebla once lived. There are many architecturally beautiful buildings in the city and this is one of them. Entry is just 40 pesos ($1.83), and includes a tour from a local guide who tells you the history of the family who donated their home and collections. Guides take you from room to room showcasing the family’s various collections, with European and Chinese art at the forefront. Little details in the decor and even the doors are masterpieces, showing just how heavily influenced the family was by art.
A vibrant, colorful and very Mexican art museum, the Museo de Artes Populares is now home to new displays of pottery, textiles, art and traditional costumes – hosting work from different artisans in Puebla and truly showcasing Mexican culture, beliefs and lifestyle. There are a variety of arts and crafts workshops, but the highlight is (surprisingly) the kitchen, where it is rumored that mole poblano (a traditional marinade) was invented by the nuns. An architectural feat in its time, with authentic tiled ceilings, a visit here is worthwhile and only 25 pesos ($1.14) to enter.
Located in the centre of Puebla City, the Museo Amparo is considered one of the most important museums in Mexico. In 1991 it was sponsored by the Amparo Foundation, which was founded by Manuel Espinoza Yglesias in honor of his wife. It has both national and international exhibitions, some temporary and some permanent, and there is a focus on pre-Hispanic, viceregal, modern and contemporary art – in order to inspire and work with other cultural institutions in Mexico and around the world. There is a program of activities on offer, including academic, artistic, educational and recreational.
Additional reporting by Vanessa Gainford
Destinations Unlocked:Let our travel expert Stefano help you find your perfect Culture trip
Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.