La Paz, La Paz, Bolivia, South America

Getty Images/Lonely Planet Image

Museo Nacional del Arte

Top choice in La Paz

This colonial building was constructed in 1775 of pink sandstone and has been restored to its original grandeur, in mestizo (mixed) baroque and Andino baroque styles. In the center of a huge courtyard, surrounded by three stories of pillared corridors, is a lovely alabaster fountain. The various levels are dedicated to different eras, with an emphasis on religious themes.

Highlights include works by former paceño (La Paz native) Marina Núñez del Prado. Ask for a free guided tour (minimum of five people).

Next door is a gorgeous new space for rotating exhibitions of contemporary Bolivian art. Unlike the main museum, entrance to these galleries is free.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby La Paz attractions

1. Catedral Metropolitana

0.04 MILES

Although it’s a relatively recent addition to La Paz’s religious structures, the 1835 cathedral is impressive – mostly because it is built on a steep…

2. Presidential Palace

0.08 MILES

Beside the Catedral Metropolitana is the Presidential Palace, a mustard-yellow building that is the official residence of the President of Bolivia. It…

3. Museo de Etnografía y Folklore

0.11 MILES

Anthropology buffs should check out this museum, one of the city's best. The building, itself a real treasure, was constructed in 1720 and was once the…

4. Museo San Francisco


The cloisters and garden of the Museo San Francisco, adjacent to the basilica, beautifully revive the history and art of the city’s landmark. There are…

5. Iglesia de San Francisco


The hewed stone basilica of San Francisco was founded in 1548 by Fray Francisco de los Ángeles. The original structure collapsed under heavy snowfall…

6. Mamani Mamani Gallery

0.24 MILES

A gallery of art, yes, but also a collection of saleable artwork, including notecards and posters of Bolivia's most colorful and well-known modern artist,…

7. Museo de Instrumentos Musicales

0.26 MILES

A must for musicians. The brainchild of charango master Ernesto Cavour Aramayo displays all possible incarnations of the charango (a traditional Bolivian…

8. Casa de Murillo

0.27 MILES

Once the home of don Pedro Domingo Murillo, a leader in the La Paz Revolution of July 16, 1809, the Casa de Murillo displays collections of colonial art,…