One often hears the term "neighborhood gem" attributed to a restaurant or a bar. But, could this term be used to describe a world-class neighborhood gem of a museum? Yes!
In Chicago’s iconic Pilsen neighborhood, recently named one of the “12 Coolest Neighborhoods in the World” by Forbes, you will find the National Museum of Mexican Art, the first Latino museum in the U.S. accredited by the American Alliance of Museums. The museum defines Mexican culture as Sin Fronteras (without borders) and it houses one of the largest collections of Mexican art, with 10,000 pieces dating from ancient times to the present day.
Southwest Airlines has served as the Official Airline of the National Museum of Mexican Art for nearly 10 years. We are proud to support this cultural icon and neighborhood gem. Our financial contributions help keep their incredible collection accessible to the public for free.
Founded by Carlos Tortolero and other educators in 1982 the Mexican Fine Arts Center Museum, as it was originally named, sought to highlight the richness and beauty of Mexican art—something that was not being represented in other museums at that time. In 2001, the museum underwent an expansion that tripled its space in Pilsen and was renamed the National Museum of Mexican Art.
The Pilsen neighborhood is widely referred to as the heart of Chicago’s Mexican community. Near the museum, you’ll discover murals and other street art, traditional and gourmet Mexican restaurants, and hip coffee shops. Plan to spend the day exploring what Pilsen has to offer. Located just southwest of downtown, it’s easily accessible by public transportation and a quick stop away from Chicago Midway Airport. Perfect for a day trip on Southwest Airlines! With up to 250 departures a day to 69 cities, Chicago (Midway) is Southwest’s busiest airport in terms of daily departures. That means there are plenty of convenient, affordable, and reliable Southwest non-stop flights to choose from to help get you to Chicago and to see this museum.
The museum proudly serves as the cultural hub of its community—hosting performances, workshops, and cultural events. Additionally, the museum offers a wide range of educational programming for students, adults, and teachers. Cap your visit to the museum with a stop in their gift shop Tienda Tzintzuntzán—Place of the Hummingbird. It’s filled with beautiful items honoring the rich Mexican culture—artwork, jewelry, textiles, books, and toys from regions throughout Mexico.
One of the National Museum of Mexican Art’s most popular events is Diá de Los Muertos Xicágo, celebrated annually in November. The museum invites the community to celebrate Día de los Muertos as they transform the Museum and surrounding outdoor area into a beautiful space to remember departed loved ones. On this special day, guests will enjoy ofrenda (altar) demonstrations, live musical performances, face painting, art activities, and Pan de Muerto (traditional Day of the Dead Bread). Families and individuals are invited to create their own ofrendas (altars) in Harrison Park, transforming the soccer field into a festive community gathering place.
Chicago is a city of world-class museums and one of the finest can be found in the heart of Chicago’s Mexican community!