Local government has been meeting in this space since 1532. Though most of the original building was lost in a fire at the end of the 17th century, the seat of Mexico City’s government can still be found in the Antiguo Palacio del Ayuntamiento. Inside, the Salón de Cabildos, or city hall, retains a unique 19th-century style.
The city council of Mexico City traditionally met in this hall. At the height of their power, viceroys of New Spain ruled from California, Utah, and Texas to Nicaragua and Guatemala; and from the Philippines in Asia to Cuba. In the Salón you’ll find a gallery of portraits that includes all 62 Spanish viceroys along with other figures from Mexican history. A painting by Miguel Covarrubias shows the capital’s Zócalo, or central square (which can also be seen from the window).
The jewel of the room is the ceiling, painted by Felix Parra in 1893. It features some of the most influential characters in Mexico City’s history, including the controversial Hernán Cortés and Francisco Primo de Verdad y Ramos, a proponent of Mexican independence.
From 1928 to 2018 the Salón de Cabildos was closed off to the general public and only used for special ceremonies, such as bestowing keys to the city. A plaque at the entrance of the hall commemorates when Mexico lent the room to the government-in-exile of the Second Spanish Republic from 1945 to 1947.
Know Before You Go
The museum is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Entrance is free and there are guided tours available.