Welcome to Monterrey, Mexico!
Monterrey is the beating heart of Mexico’s northern state of Nuevo Leon. It’s the largest, most cosmopolitan and vibrant area in Northern Mexico, with a buzzing cultural scene, outstanding universities, and an enviable nightlife. All this, set against the jaw-dropping background of raw, jagged mountains that surround the city, make it a tempting and rewarding destination. Monterrey has a bit of a mixed reputation, known in the past more for industry and narcos than tourism, but scratch the surface and there is plenty to see and do.
Tourists know the well-known attractions, but a worldwide local knows how to experience it best. This is an insider’s guide of some of Monterrey’s finest spots.
Begin at the Heart of the City
The only place to start a trip in Monterrey is the Macroplaza, situated right in the city center. This lively square boasts the Metropolitan Cathedral with its neoclassical and baroque styles, the Museo del Palacio, and the Faro del Commercio, a slightly odd piece of modern sculpture designed by Luis Barragan.
Worldwide Local Tip: Monterrey is the birthplace of Accion Poetica street art movement, now a Latin America-wide phenomenon. Take a stroll around the center of town from the Macroplaza, and see if you can spot stanzas of poetry written in eye catching bold black against pure white backgrounds.
Dive into the Culture
Monterrey is a bit of a museum hotspot in Mexico. For those interested in cultural history, the Museo del Noreste takes you on a journey through the history of Northern Mexico, while the Museo Mexicana puts a modern spin on Mexican history that might surprise you. Finally, MARCO is a magnificent modern art gallery, constantly at the forefront of contemporary art, which hosts fascinating temporary exhibits like a Stanley Kubrick retrospective, or a behind-the-scenes look at Dreamworks Pictures.
Worldwide Local Tip: Woefully underrated, the starkly beautiful Museo del Acero Horno 3 (steel museum) combines the history of Monterrey’s steel industry with exciting interactive exhibits. It is much more fascinating and fun than a museum of steel might sound!
Eat Like a Local at the Monterrey Restaurants
As an exciting, vibrant, and cosmopolitan city, it is no surprise that Monterrey’s food scene is worth exploring. You’ll be able to find traditional regional dishes, as well as excellent Monterrey Mexican restaurants. The south west colonia of San Pedro Garza Garcia is particularly rich in smart, creative, and eclectic restaurants, with Pangea, Trust and The Goose Pub all offering various different twists on traditional regio (Monterrey) and Mexican cuisines.
Worldwide Local Tip: Cabrito (baby goat) is the most traditional of regio dishes. It’s probably best tried flame-grilled in a local’s backyard, but the next best thing is Los Cabritos, who’ve been serving up this mouthwatering delicacy in Guadalupe since 1925!
Monterrey After Dark
Monterrey boasts a trendy, hipster-style nightlife, and the best place for this is the picturesque old colonial vibe of the Barrio Antiguo. Beautiful buildings hide some of the liveliest, trendiest bars and clubs in the city. This is a great spot to go for a beer and a chat with the locals about the popular Monterrey FC--and it’s a fantastic atmosphere for a night out too!
Worldwide Local Tip: Casa Morelos is a converted mansion that hosts the best DJs Monterrey has to offer. A very cool, very alternative place to dance the night away.
Have a Wonderful Time in Monterrey, Mexico!
Monterrey is growing beyond its reputation as an economic powerhouse and business layover destination. As a worldwide local, you’ll have an edge on the traditional tourists. With an exceptional restaurant scene, exciting nightlife, and some of the best museums in Mexico, Monterrey deserves a spot on your next Mexican travel itinerary!