La Ciudadela

Vacation Travel Guide
La Ciudadela showing markets

After the unlikely change from a tobacco factory to a prison, this building has evolved to a library surrounded by arts, dance and handicrafts.

Now the city’s primary library, La Ciudadela has served a variety of roles over its 200 years of Mexican history. Come to this former tobacco factory to visit the library or stroll around the neighboring streets to purchase souvenirs or see local art and handicrafts.

Architect José Antonio González and engineer Miguel Constanzo built the Real Fábrica de Tabacos (Tobacco Factory) in 1807, but local residents quickly called it La Ciudadela for its citadel-like shape. Note the unadorned façades of this simple one-floor structure.

Soon after the Mexican War of Independence began in 1810, the building became a military headquarters and prison. The leader of the revolution, the Roman Catholic priest Jose María Morelos y Pavón, was held captive here before his execution. A century later, many people were executed in the building during the country’s Decena Trágica (Ten Tragic Days) ending Francisco I. Madero’s democratic government. Reflect upon this violent past as you visit the quiet library of the present.

The Biblioteca de México and the Centro de la Imagen now occupy the 200-year-old building. Do some reading or research at the library or attend a photography exhibition at the Image Center.

Outside the building find the Plaza Morelos, a square with trees, a monument to Morelos and two bronze fountains. On weekends take advantage of free dance lessons in this spot that has become known as Plaza del Danzón (Cuban Dance Square). Walk just beyond the square to the Mercado de Artesanias La Ciudadela, where you can purchase colorful souvenirs and local handicrafts from more than 300 vendors representing more than 20 Mexican states.

Find La Ciudadela in Mexico City’s historical center near Alameda Central. Take the metro and stop at Balderas. The library is open daily except holidays and the image center is open Tuesdays through Sundays. While you are in the area, visit the Palace of Fine Arts or attend a Sunday concert in Alameda Central.

Top Hotels Close to La Ciudadela

Sevilla Palace Hotel
Sevilla Palace Hotel
3 out of 5
Avenida Paseo de La Reforma 105, Mexico City, CDMX
The price is NT$1,503 per night from Oct 26 to Oct 26
Located in Reforma, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Paseo de la Reforma, Monument to the Revolution, and Reforma 222. La Ciudadela and Teatro Metropólitan ...
4.2/5 Excellent! (958 reviews)
"Sooooo old !!! You need to renew it SO OLD and a Little bit dirty"

Reviewed on 2021/10/22

Sevilla Palace Hotel
Fiesta Americana - Reforma
Fiesta Americana - Reforma
4 out of 5
Paseo De La Reforma 80, Col. Juarez, Mexico City, CDMX
The price is NT$2,087 per night from Nov 23 to Nov 23
Located in Reforma, this eco-friendly hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Reforma 222, The Angel of Independence Monument, and Palacio de Bellas Artes. Zocalo and ...
4.4/5 Excellent! (1,955 reviews)
"Staff very friendly and helpful big Thanks to Samantha García for listening to our complaints at Grand Fiesta in Cabo"

Reviewed on 2021/10/21

Fiesta Americana - Reforma
Barceló México Reforma
Barceló México Reforma
4.5 out of 5
Paseo de la Reforma, 1, Colonia Tabacalera, Mexico City, CDMX
The price is NT$2,452 per night from Nov 21 to Nov 21
Located in Reforma, this luxury hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Teatro Metropólitan and Palacio de Bellas Artes. Reforma 222 and U.S. Embassy are also within ...
4.5/5 Wonderful! (1,888 reviews)
"Good Location ,good breakfast, we had a comfortable stay, nice pool area,our tv in our room didn’t work they brought another one right away,we had a nice week there."

Reviewed on 2021/10/24

Barceló México Reforma
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

Popular places to visit in La Ciudadela

La Ciudadela


Best Lodging Options Near La Ciudadela

ibis México Alameda
ibis México Alameda
3 out of 5
Balderas No 49, Colonia Centro, Cuauhtemoc, Mexico City, CDMX
The price is NT$1,143 per night from Oct 27 to Oct 27
ibis México Alameda
Fiesta Americana - Reforma
Fiesta Americana - Reforma
4 out of 5
Paseo De La Reforma 80, Col. Juarez, Mexico City, CDMX
The price is NT$2,087 per night from Nov 23 to Nov 23
Fiesta Americana - Reforma
Barceló México Reforma
Barceló México Reforma
4.5 out of 5
Paseo de la Reforma, 1, Colonia Tabacalera, Mexico City, CDMX
The price is NT$2,452 per night from Nov 21 to Nov 21
Barceló México Reforma
Sevilla Palace Hotel
Sevilla Palace Hotel
3 out of 5
Avenida Paseo de La Reforma 105, Mexico City, CDMX
The price is NT$1,503 per night from Oct 26 to Oct 26
Sevilla Palace Hotel
Hilton Mexico City Reforma
Hilton Mexico City Reforma
4.5 out of 5
Avenida Juarez 70 Colonia Centro, Mexico City
The price is NT$2,675 per night from Nov 12 to Nov 12
Hilton Mexico City Reforma
Zocalo Central Mexico City
Zocalo Central Mexico City
4 out of 5
Cinco de Mayo 61, Centro Historico, Mexico City, CDMX
The price is NT$3,316 per night from Nov 17 to Nov 17
Zocalo Central Mexico City
Hotel El Ejecutivo by Reforma Avenue
Hotel El Ejecutivo by Reforma Avenue
3.5 out of 5
Viena 8 Col Juarez, Mexico City, CDMX
The price is NT$1,388 per night from Nov 23 to Nov 23
Hotel El Ejecutivo by Reforma Avenue
Emporio Reforma
Emporio Reforma
3.5 out of 5
Avenida Paseo De La Reforma 124, Atenas 77 Col, Mexico City, CDMX
The price is NT$1,909 per night from Oct 26 to Oct 26
Emporio Reforma
Fiesta Inn Centro Historico
Fiesta Inn Centro Historico
3.5 out of 5
Av. Juarez 76, Col. Centro, Mexico City, CDMX
The price is NT$1,814 per night from Nov 13 to Nov 13
Fiesta Inn Centro Historico
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.