Castillo de Chapultepec

Polanco & Bosque de Chapultepec

A visible reminder of Mexico’s bygone aristocracy, the ‘castle’ that stands atop Chapultepec Hill was begun in 1785 but not completed until after independence, when it became the national military academy. When Emperor Maximilian and Empress Carlota arrived in 1864, they refurbished it as their residence. The east end of the castle preserves their palace, with sumptuously furnished salons opening onto an exterior deck that affords panoramic city views – the highlight for many visitors.

The castle sheltered Mexico’s presidents until 1939 when President Lázaro Cárdenas converted it into the Museo Nacional de Historia.

On the upper floor, the opulent rooms are the work of Porfirio Díaz, who in the late 19th century was the first president to use the castle as residences. In the center is a patio where a tower marks the top of Chapultepec Hill, 45m above street level.

To reach the castle, follow the road that curves up the hill behind the Monumento a los Niños Héroes. Alternatively, a trainlike vehicle (M$25 round-trip) runs up every 15 minutes when the castle is open. You are free to walk to the entrance at the top but to enter, and for the views, you need to buy a ticket. Audioguides in English are available for M$75. No entry with water bottles or food but there are lockers.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Polanco & Bosque de Chapultepec attractions

1. Museo Nacional de Historia

0.01 MILES

Historical exhibits chronicle the period from the rise of colonial Nueva España to the Mexican Revolution. On display are iconic objects such as the sword…

2. Audiorama

0.12 MILES

Audiorama is a small circular outdoor space enclosed in the greenery of Chapultepec, sometimes used for intimate classical music performances. It is…

3. Tribuna Monumental de las Águilas

0.12 MILES

This 'Fallen Eagle Monument,' known also as 'el Tribuna Monumental,' is an obelisk dedicated to fallen Mexican soldiers who joined the Allies in the…

4. 1a Sección

0.18 MILES

Most of the major attractions of Bosque de Chapultepec are in or near this eastern (and oldest) section, including the Museo Nacional de Historia,…

5. Monumento a Los Niños Héroes

0.19 MILES

The six marble columns marking Chapultepec park's eastern entrance commemorate the ‘boy heroes,’ six young cadets who perished in battle. On September 13,…

6. Jardín Botánico

0.22 MILES

Highlighting Mexico’s plant diversity, this 4-hectare complex in Chapultepec is divided into sections that reflect the country’s varied climatic zones…

7. Museo de Arte Moderno

0.23 MILES

The collection here exhibits work by noteworthy 20th-century and contemporary Mexican artists, including canvases by Dr Atl, Rivera, Siqueiros, Orozco,…