When, as a candidate, Mexican President Lopez Obrador announced that he would transform the presidential residence into a museum open to the public, many thought that he was either joking or exaggerating. Today, Los Pinos is the hottest new tourist attraction in Mexico City.
Here’s a little bit of history about the place and some information about what to expect during your visit.
Brief history of Los Pinos
Back in 1853, a wealthy businessman named Jose Manuel de Pablo Martinez del Rio bought a great extension of land at one corner of the Chapultepec Forest. The property, in which he built a British-influenced mansion, came to be known as La Hormiga ranch. It passed through several owners until it was expropriated by the government in 1920, when it was intended as a residence for a member of the President’s staff.
In 1935, newly elected President Lazaro Cardenas decided that he didn’t want to live in the Chapultepec Castle, the gorgeous palace where Mexican presidents traditionally lived. Instead, he would turn the castle into a museum open to the public and move into La Hormiga ranch, which he renamed as Los Pinos, a more suitable name for a presidential residence.
From then on, every Mexican president except Adolfo Lopez Mateos lived in Los Pinos during their terms. As Lopez Obrador announced that he would opt out of the luxurious residence, turning it instead into an open, cultural space, history seemed to repeat itself.
Inside Los Pinos: fun facts and what to expect
Starting the very first day of the new administration, the former presidential residence is now open Tuesdays through Sundays, from 10 am to 5 pm to anyone who wishes to visit, with no entrance fee. Everything has been kept just as the latest president and his team left it, but not every building is accessible.
The main two buildings, however, are. The first one is Casa Miguel Aleman, the place that served as a home for most of the presidents and their families. As you enter, you might be stunned by its high ceilings, perfectly polished white floors, marble finishings, paintings and humongous chandeliers. At the basement, you will find a small movie theater and a security bunker.
The other building open to the public is Casa Lazaro Cardenas, which served as an office for the President of Mexico and their staff. You can now peek into the rooms in which tough decisions were taken all the time and where the presidents welcomed several world leaders. Also open for exploration are the Camino a la Democracia, a walk with busts of every former president, and the beautiful gardens surrounding the property.
With over 600,000 square feet of construction, the whole thing is about 14 times larger than the White House. Some peculiar spaces to be found around the premises are a polo field, a fronton and tennis courts, a barber shop and even a bowling alley!
Now that it’s open for everyone, you can’t miss the chance of exploring Los Pinos, the presidential residence that became a cultural center. If you stay at City Express Suites Anzures, we will take you all the way to this magnificent, brand new attraction at the heart of the city for free!