Colonia San Ángel

If something attracts us to colonia San Ángel, it is the picturesque charm of its cobblestone streets, its colonial architecture, and the bougainvillea flowers that parade in spring. The history of this neighboring neighborhood of Chimalistac and Altavista began with the Carmelites and the Dominicans in the 17th century when they arrived in the then village of Tenanitla. The Carmelites built the Convent of El Carmen near the Magdalena River, which has been underground in this area since 1930. Its architecture was shaped by the summery character of the area, where the wealthy built their vacation homes near the convent (yes, the city was not as large, and this area was considered a countryside space).

If colonia San Ángel is considered a magical neighborhood, it’s for good reason. Spaces like the Carrillo Gil Art Museum, whose collection includes works by Rufino Tamayo, David Alfaro Siqueiros, and Diego Rivera; the Diego Rivera Studio House Museum, a functionalist work by Juan O’Gorman, and the San Ángel Cultural Center are evidence that it is a cultural epicenter. Furthermore, around the San Jacinto Plaza, there are cafes, shops, and art galleries that make it a meeting point. Not to mention the traditional Bazaar Sábado that takes place faithfully every weekend.

We invite you to rediscover this neighborhood in the southern part of Mexico City, where painters Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, and diplomat Isidro Fabela lived.


Must-visit places at colonia San Ángel:


Cinemanía Loreto


Cinemanía Plaza Loreto (Mexico City)


Since 1994, Cinemanía Loreto has been a refuge for cinema lovers in Mexico City, a place where you can find films that aren’t advertised in any other theater. 22 years later, it has been renovated, and the change suits it very well.

Now it has four theaters equipped with digital projectors, new and much more comfortable seats, and a new decor. Each theater has its own programming and personality: the classic theater shows the most important premieres, while the unusual theater is dedicated to Mexican cinema. The unexpected theater is designed for those who want to explore experimental films, and the eclectic theater focuses on genre cinema.

The bar menu has also been reinvented with house cocktails like “Y tu mamá también” or “Cronos,” as well as baguettes and sandwiches like “Ciudad de Dios,” and it is constantly being renewed with new creations. They also offer craft beers and mezcal from an Oaxacan cooperative. As usual, you can bring your drinks into the theater.

But the remodeling doesn’t mean that Cinemanía is distancing itself from its traditions. The ticket prices remain the same for any of the five screenings held each day: $60 for general admission, $40 for students and older citizens. They also offer packages of 10 tickets for $300. Moreover, they have the concept of “permanencia voluntaria,” where viewers can enjoy a full day of unlimited cinema for just $90, from 12 pm to 9:45 pm.

The programming also remains faithful to the principle of showcasing films that are not easily found in commercial theaters. It includes retrospectives, thematic cycles, and matinees. In addition, they have introduced new dynamics such as “Carte Blanche,” where a guest Mexican director or actor programs their favorite films each month, and “Tuesdays with M for Mórbido,” dedicated to horror cinema.

Cinemanía Loreto respects and celebrates its long tradition of being a meeting point for filmmakers, actors, and writers, without losing sight of its goal to turn a trip to the movies into a special experience. It’s a great option in the southern part of the city for all passionate cinephiles, where you can find something different every day.


Colonia San Ángel: Café de las Artes


colonia San Angel

It is located within a white plaza called Villas San Jacinto, where there are craft shops and Mexican brands such as Pineda Covalín, Flora María, and Adoro México.

This café is on the corner of the building, on a terrace with a few tables (about three or four) and a very peaceful atmosphere. It feels like you’re in Paris, but with some Mexican touches that make it cozy and warm. Behind the bar, there is an impressive stained glass window with a colorful image that appears to be a hacienda, and above it, there is a crystal chandelier.

In the beverage menu, you can find infusions, teas, and a variety of coffee. Try to order an infusion called “abril en méxico” at the bar, which has a black tea base with a mix of flowers and mango. It has an aroma of red and tropical fruits, and when tasted, it is completely floral and served at the perfect temperature.

They have a food menu that is not extensive, with soup of the day, paninis, salads, and desserts. Ask about the packages that include a complete meal at quite reasonable prices. Then, you may decide to order a quelites salad and a classic panini. The salad has quintonil, hoja santa, huauzontle, and a mix of lettuces. It is also accompanied by avocado, tomatoes, and grilled panela cheese with a lemon vinaigrette. The presentation is very simple, and the flavor is original.

Next, triy a delicious classic panini. It has well-cooked and seasoned roast beef with caramelized onions, avocado, sun-dried tomatoes, and arugula, accompanied by seasoned potato wedges. It seems like a simple dish, but it is executed very well.

After a delightful meal, order a cajeta cappuccino. It is served at the perfect temperature and has a delicious caramel flavor, so much so that you don’t even need dessert.

Tip: If you want to have a delicious meal at an affordable price, they have a promotion from Monday to Thursday from 11 am to 4 pm, where you get a complimentary flavored water with the purchase of any panini or quiche.

The experience this café provides makes it a must-visit, as it perfectly complements the atmosphere of the plaza. In addition to the café, there are art galleries, exhibitions, and crafts. The place is comfortable even outdoors, perfect for taking a walk after enjoying coffee, tea, and a satisfying meal that leaves a great taste in your mouth.


Colonia San Ángel: Museo de Arte Carrillo Gil


Museo de Arte Carrillo Gil (MACG) | 101 Museos


Every good Mexican knows, or at least should know, the work of the so-called “three greats” of 20th-century painting and muralism. Diego Rivera, José Clemente Orozco, and David Alfaro Siqueiros are the cornerstone of the development of pictorial art in our country, and their famous murals have been reminders of our history and symbols of our patriotism for decades.

But not everything in the history of these masters consists of monumental paintings or famous invaluable pieces. Among their vast body of work are small gems that very few people have had the pleasure of seeing. Lithographs, pencil drawings, metal engravings, and small watercolors are also a significant part of Mexico’s cultural history of the last century. Don Álvar Carrillo Gil and his wife, Doña Carmen, knew this when they began collecting little-known Mexican art.

It is impressive to enter a small three-story building with excellent modern architecture and come across Mexican signatures that rival those of colossal masters in the world’s best museums. The MACG collection consists of 1,775 pieces, of which 1,417 belonged to the Carrillo Gil family until their donation to the federal government in 1974. Many other artists join the ones mentioned above and contribute with other works that depict the day-to-day life of Mexican society over the last 200 years.

To top it off, the museum offers various temporary exhibitions of emerging artists with the purpose of disseminating new ways of seeing contemporary Mexico. Undoubtedly, the MACG is an invaluable little gem, well preserved in the heart of the southern part of Mexico City.


Colonia San Ángel: Museo de El Carmen


Museo de El Carmen – Mexico City, Mexico - Atlas Obscura


Located in the former town of San Ángel, the museum has been privileged by its geographical location and the folk traditions that have shaped its particular character. However, it is its historical and architectural richness that earned it a place in the National Zone of Historical Monuments in 1984, with the former Colegio de San Ángelo Mártir, now the headquarters of the Museum of El Carmen, being the most important venue among the cluster of more than 80 in the region.

This venue is a historical landmark that you must visit, not only for its sacred art, including paintings, sculptures, engravings, and temporary exhibitions, but also for its architecture. The museum’s most valuable treasure is the building itself, a sober construction with harmonious proportions and a profound serenity that daily defies the onslaught of urbanization.

It was built by the Discalced Carmelites (one of the most respected religious groups in New Spain) in 1616, with the purpose of training their priests. The design and construction were entrusted to Friar Andrés de San Miguel, who was responsible for the construction of numerous buildings for the order.

The entrance to the museum is located next to the Church of El Carmen, which is still under the custody of the Carmelites. Upon entering, you arrive at the lower cloister. As a sign of austerity, convents of this order only had open corridors on the upper floor. The first room displays introductory information and a timeline. To the east of the cloister is the access to the sacristy, a dazzling room located next to the church, which was used for storing sacred vestments and accessories for the Mass. Notable here are the finely carved chests, drawers, and cupboards, as well as the magnificent paintings by Cristóbal de Villalpando.

An essential part of the sacristy was the lavatory room, adorned with Spanish tile and mural painting. From here, you can go up to the cells on the first floor or descend to the famous crypts of El Carmen, where the friars who lived in the college were buried. There, you will also find the famous mummies in glass coffins.

On the upper floor, you will find the cells or dormitories of the friars, most of which have been adapted as rooms displaying paintings and sculptures of sacred art. These pieces are part of the Carmelites’ heritage. You can also appreciate the domestic chapel with an authentic Novohispanic Baroque retablo, carved by the artist Francisco Martínez in the first half of the 18th century.

The museum also houses 50 miniature wax human figures by artist Carmen Antúnez, which, in addition to their realism, constitute a valuable ethnological record of ritual dances and traditional costumes of some towns in our country.

At the back of the museum, there is a garden that evokes the Carmelites’ orchard, complementing the landscape with an aqueduct. It is an attractive place not only for its location and the artworks it houses but also because it offers free cultural activities for the whole family.


Casa Estudio de Diego Rivera y Frida Kahlo


Casa Estudio de Diego Rivera y Frida Kahlo


The most important thing in this house, apart from its modern language and constructive proposal, is its purpose of use.

The different areas need to be examined: the painter’s bedroom or study are nothing compared to the tall and enormous workshop. It is also worth mentioning the bridge that physically and emotionally connects two masters of art in Mexico. This is a good example of how the architect interpreted Diego and Frida’s needs, merged them with his own concerns, and displayed the result in a functional building.

Although it is only a pair of residences, it has been the subject of study and provocations, such as when engineer Raúl Castro Padilla claimed that it was painted with “pulquería” (tavern) colors. It is worth exploring the nearby house, which was planned to be the O’Gorman family’s home (recently rebuilt and inaugurated a couple of months ago). The connection between the two works is evident, but the one on the corner of Altavista reaches a higher level.


Colonia San Ángel: Happening Store


If we venture a bit away from the industrialized areas that Roma, Condesa, Polanco, or the Historic Center have become, we can find many other charming corners of our city. One of these places, located in the southern part of Mexico City, is the neighborhood of San Ángel, where the streets have that rustic and picturesque touch reminiscent of the city’s old neighborhoods.

Designers Cynthia Yee and Bárbara Betanzos are the masterminds behind this new concept in the south of the city, aiming to support national talent with a selection of the most representative designers from the emerging Mexican scene. The offerings range from clothing, footwear, accessories, and furniture designers, and there is a second floor dedicated as a gallery space, where we can enjoy collective exhibitions of photographs, illustrations, or paintings.