Mild winters, blooming and pleasant springs and falls, and smoldering summers - no matter when you travel, your "where" should be Monterrey. Colonial buildings, incredible local cuisine, and the backdrop of the Sierra Madre mountains are just half the story.
Ever heard of an all-in-one plaza, housing the city's restaurants, shopping locations, hotels, and historical buildings? The locals call it "Macroplaza" and it's the largest attraction in this North Mexican city.
If you eat your way through Monterrey, you might well have eaten your way through the entire country. Hangouts like La Felix - Cantina De Ciudad delight your palate with empanadas, fresh ceviche, and carnitas.
The rooftop pool and bar at Hotel Habita is a popular spot for mingling, with its scenic infinity pools and mezcal-infused margaritas.
The Parque Grutas de García on El Fraile Mountain is a spectacular site (and sight!) for visitors. Take a 5-minute cable car ride up the mountain into a dozen limestone chamber caves with intricate formations.
Try the Santa Lucía Riverwalk, Sierra Madre mountains, and the Parque Fundidora for a more urban nature experience.
At 400,000 square feet, the Macroplaza, also known as La Gran Plaza, has truly earned its reputation. This vast square houses several smaller buildings, plazas, cathedrals, a majestic bronze fountain named Fuente de Neptuno, several gardens such as Jardin Hundido - which is likened to New York City's Central Park, Monterrey City Hall, and the famous Lighthouse of Commerce. Holding the title of seventh-largest plaza in the world, it would take days to see everything this magnificent platza has to offer.
Known as "MARCO", this centrally located museum captures the heart and soul of artistic and historic Monterrey. Its permanent collection focuses on historic and contemporary Latin American artists and their works. In the past, the museum has also focused on global artists in their rotating exhibits. Notable artists featured include Isamu Noguchi, Jan Hendrix, and Ernesto Neto. The museum's own design aesthetic is quite contemporary and abstract and this is evident from the moment you walk in: an abstract bronze sculpture adorns the entrance which is a 4 ton dove, rising to an astounding 18 feet high.
You might be forgiven for mistaking the beautiful Metropolitan Cathedral of Our Lady of Monterrey for a castle in its own right - its grand towers and sprawling archways, along with its gilded gates certainly give off the vibe of utter royalty. And, in a way, that's what the Cathedral of Our Lady of Monterrey truly is: a home to the royalty, the main church in the city, and the seat of the highest Archdiocese of Monterrey. The Cathedral combines an imaginative mix of Neoclassical, Baroque, and Gothic influences in service of its portrayal of religious design. The interiors are even more stunning, though quite a bit more sombre than its celebratory exterior decorated with intricate carvings.
As you might have realized by now, nothing in Monterrey is "micro". It's all about being "Gran" - La Gran Plaza, the Metropolitan Cathedral, and this - Fundidora Park. Like the Gran Plaza, it's area encompasses several smaller attractions. There are dozens of walkways, a Grand Prix raceway, the Monterrey Arena - used for concerts and public events, The Old Steel Mill, which is a sight when lit up at night, and even a Sesame Street theme park.
If you've somehow seen all there is to see at La Gran Plaza, you're in luck. The fun doesn't stop there - hop right beside it to the Barrio Antiguo, the preserved historical quarter of the city of Monterrey. Here, Spanish Colonial buildings rub elbows with newly constructed hotels, bars, and discos. Of particular interest to travelers will be the eclectic Cultural Alleyway, which sets up shop on Mina Street every Sunday.
During summer in Monterrey, from May to September, the temperatures rise to over 100. It's best to go when the weather is milder, during the spring, March to May or the fall, from October to November. At this point, temperatures are a comfortable 65-80.
Air travelers will land at General Mariano Escobedo International Airport (MTY). The airport is located about 15 miles away from downtown; take a taxi for about Mex$25.
Getting in to the city using a car is just as easy as using the bus. Monterrey is located 124 miles from the US border. Use the I-35 and then use Mexico's Federal Highway 85.
To get in by bus, from the southern states of the US or other Mexican cities, use services like Adame, Turimex Internacional, and Estrella Blanca. From Alamo to Monterrey, for example, a one-way fare is Mex$1,120.
Those who don't mind spending a little extra will enjoy accommodations at NH Collection Monterrey. Modest but comfortable furnishings await at Hotel Fundador. Budget travelers will find Ikali Hostel to be the right spot.
Mitras Centro - Mitras Centro is a beautiful neighborhood that is well connected and right in the core of Monterrey. It includes residential areas and the Autonomous University of Nuevo Leon.
Barrio Antiguo - one of the main hubs of Monterrey is this "barrio" or neighborhood. It features great restaurants, hotels, and the well-preserved historic quarter.
Nuevo Repueblo - right beside this mainly residential neighborhood is Río Santa Catarina and the Technological Institute of Monterrey.
Public transportation includes inner-city buses, inter-city buses servicing Guadalupe and San Bernabé, and the subway system. A one-way adult fare costs Mex$12 and you can purchase a monthly pass for Mex$400.
If you're hailing a taxi locally, expect to pay about Mex$50. Fares start at a flat rate of Mex$10, with $9 per mile after that.
Rent a car in Monterrey through companies like Alamo, Dollar Rent A Car, and Thrifty, with daily fares starting at Mex$94.
You could say Monterrey was made for shopping! There is a perfect mix of high-end luxury labels, mid-range finds, and lots of tourist-focused souvenir stalls. If you love the latter, check out the Zona Rosa. If you prefer a good mall, head to Galerias Monterrey or Plaza Fiesta San Agustín.
A quart of milk costs Mex$17 and a dozen eggs costs Mex$29.
In Monterrey, spicy fare is the norm. So prep your palate for some incredible spicy, smoky, and tangy enchiladas, pulled pork, and fried goat cheese, among other delicacies, at FONDA San Francisco, where meals cost between Mex$85-150.