Palacio De Bellas Artes & The Ballet Folklórico

Filed Under: Travel

We loved exploring Mexico City’s historic center, and particularly enjoyed the diversity of architecture. One of the most stunning buildings was the Palacio de Bellas Artes.

Palacio de Bellas Artes exterior

Palacio de Bellas Artes exterior

Palacio de Bellas Artes exterior

Like many buildings in Mexico City, this one is also sinking.

Palacio de Bellas Artes exterior

The exterior is a blend of Neoclassical and Art Nouveau, and it seemed like something fun was always happening in the front of the building or in the adjacent park.

Palacio de Bellas Artes exterior

The interior leans more towards Art Deco. The building houses the Architecture Museum on the top floor, with murals by local artists throughout. It’s well worth spending some time here.

Palacio de Bellas Artes interior

Ballet Folklórico de México

One of the main draws to the Palacio de Bellas Artes is the Ballet Folklórico de México, which is hosted in the grand 1,000-seat theater.

Palacio de Bellas Artes theater

The theater itself is gorgeous, and feels like you’ve stepped back in time to the 1930’s.

The ceiling is crowned with an intricate Hungarian glass mosaic (it’s worth going up to the balcony just to appreciate the details here).

Palacio de Bellas Artes stained glass

Palacio de Bellas Artes stained glass

The juxtaposition of cultures in Mexico was reflected in the art of the theater. Light panels featured images of Aztec and Mayan gods, while the stage was framed by the Greek Muses.

Palacio de Bellas Artes theater

Palacio de Bellas Artes stage detail

Palacio de Bellas Artes stage detail

One of the most unique features is the stage curtain, which features a mountain landscape:

Palacio de Bellas Artes curtain

But the “curtain” isn’t fabric at all — it’s made up of stained glass panels.

Palacio de Bellas Artes curtain

The curtain is made of Tiffany glass, and is the only one of its kind.

Palacio de Bellas Artes curtain

There are millions of little glass pieces, and the entire installment weighs 24 tons!

Palacio de Bellas Artes curtain

The performance itself was incredible!

This isn’t Swan Lake ballet, but rather a combination of traditional dances and music, with some modern interpretations. My husband was particularly impressed by a number that featured dancers interacting with a lasso; my favorite was a portrayal of a traditional deer hunt.

The costumes were stunning, and the choreography was well-designed. It made for a lovely evening out, and I would consider this a “must do” on a visit to Mexico City.

Tips for the ballet

This is another situation where there are dozens of companies offering tour packages to attend the ballet, but it’s so simple on your own, and I really don’t think there’s any value in a tour.

While you can buy tickets from Ticketmaster, I don’t recommend it. For one, I would never recommend Ticketmaster. For two, the surcharges are outrageous — about 30% of the ticket price.

Tickets can be purchased at the box office, and with the adjacent Metro station it’s easy to stop in while you’re sightseeing downtown.

Ballet Folklórico box office

The box office takes cash or American Express only. There are three prices for the Ballet Folklórico:

  • $1800 MXN for Orchestra seats
  • $880 MXN for the first balcony
  • $300 MXN for the second balcony

This will go a bit better if you have some Spanish, as I’m pretty sure better seats were available than what we were offered, but I don’t know that it matters much. We purchased seats in the second balcony, which wasn’t even half full on the evening of the performance, so everyone ended up moving around anyway.

Obviously the more expensive tiers provide a better view of the stage, but we liked having the overview of the theater from the upper balcony.

Palacio de Bellas Artes theater

There also seemed to be an official/unofficial upgrade program run by the ushers. Think the Vegas $20 trick. I might try that versus paying $100 each for orchestra tickets.


You definitely want to make time for the ballet while in Mexico City. Go in the morning, go for a matinee, make an evening of it — it doesn’t matter.

The performers were incredible, the costumes were fabulous, and the theater is one-of-a-kind.

Even if you don’t think dance is your “thing” — give it a try. Tickets aren’t expensive, and if you’re miserable you can always leave halfway through (but you won’t, because it’s great).

And the venue…

Palacio de Bellas Artes at night

Have you been to the Ballet Folklórico? Any other suggestions?

  1. What’s interesting is that the exterior column work and dome on the Palacio de Bellas Artes is strikingly similar to the Palatul CEC in Bucharest. Reading up on the history of the Palacio, it looks like construction initially began 7 years after CEC Palace was completed, so perhaps the design of the CEC influenced the Palacio.

  2. I’ll never understand people who waste their lives leaving Mean Girls comments on the internet. Sad existence if that’s all you have to do with your day.

    Tiffany, as a tourist, I’m not against touristy things/events if they’re fun. And the building is certainly beautiful. Thanks for the review.

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