The Antiguo Palacio del Ayuntamiento is the main seat of the Mexico City government. It's home to a small museum and several galleries which are open to the public. The Cabildos Hall and the Francisco Gamoneda Documentation Center are also inside the building. The first City Council meeting was held here on May 10, 1532.
- The legislative and administrative government of Mexico City was known as the Ayuntamiento from 1519 until 1928.
- The sister Mexico City Government Building, to the immediate east on the south side of the Zócalo, dates from 1948.
- The Museo de los Cabildos is inside an can be visited by the general public. It's meeting room that was redecorated in the Art Nouveau style in 1893. It includes seating for 119, but that rather understates the room's importance. The ceiling and soffits feature oil paintings by Francisco Parra completed at the end of the 19th century. The outer walls holds portraits of some of the City's most famous residents, among them Fray Servando Teresa de Mier.
- The museum also includes two Salones de Virreyes. Two galleries host the portraits of the 62 viceroys of New Spain beginning with Antonio de Mendoza y Pacheco.
- Visitors can also see the Ágora Gallery on the second floor. Run by the Mexico City Secretary of Culture, it's a museum to the struggles of Mexico City residents to realize and exercise their rights.
The building was begun under the orders of Hernán Cortés in 1522. An early version opened between 1527 and 1532. The earliest building undoubtedly used stones from the earlier Mexica temples. Built like a fortress, it served a function in protecting inhabitants from those forbidden to settle in the area. Only the foundations and a few walls of the original City Hall building remain.
In 1714, the City Hall was rebuilt in the Peninsular Baroque style, with arches and ornaments. That remodeling left it with much of its present appearance.
For the Centenary of the Independence in 1910
, a further restoration gave the outside appearance the look we see today. That followed nearly 20 years of renovations to the building. A fourth floor was added only in 1934. That coincided with planning for the twin Government of Mexico City Building
next door. Construction began in 1941, and both buildings reopened in 1948. The Supreme Court building
, on the southeast corner of the Zócalo, was built between 1935 and 1941. That largely completed the southern edge of the Zocalo.
The Palacio del Ayuntamiento remains a particular focus of pride for the City. It's the sight of frequent press conferences and some official events which will occasionally limit public access.
Those attending the front door will direct visitors to either of the public areas of the building upon request.