The best things to do in Monterrey showcase this remarkable city’s history, unique culture, and stunning natural surroundings. Nestled among striking hills and mountains in the foothills of the Sierra Madre Oriental, Monterrey is the 2nd-largest city in Mexico and something of an economic powerhouse. It's also considered one of the countries safest cities.

    There is a very distinct division between the manmade and natural attractions in Monterrey. The historical and cultural points of interest are in the center of the city, while mountains, waterfalls, viewpoints, and caves form a ring around it. Check out our list of places you shouldn't miss on your visit to the capital of Nuevo León.

    What are the best things to do in Monterrey?

    1

    Macroplaza

    The heart of Monterrey

    • History
    • Photo

    Macroplaza is the main city square of Monterrey, but it’s so much more than just a large open area. Admittedly, it is a very large open area. Also called La Gran Plaza, it spans over 400,000 square meters, making it one of the largest plazas in the world. The square is also surrounded by many of Monterrey’s must-see buildings and attractions.

    At the southern end of Macroplaza, by the Rio Santa Catarina, is the Museum of Contemporary Art of Monterrey, with the spectacular Catedral Metropolitana de Nuestra Señora de Monterrey next door. Toward the northern end, you’ll find the Museo del Noreste, the Mexican History Museum, and the elaborate Government Palace of Nuevo León right at the head of the plaza, looking down its length toward the more modern Palacio Municipal de Monterrey. Within the plaza itself, you’ll find several monuments and statues, as well as the dramatic Fountain of Neptune.

    Location: Centro, 64000 Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico

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    2

    Ecological Park Chipinque

    Enjoy stunning views in one of the most diverse ecosystems in Mexico

    • Adventure
    • Photo

    Parque Ecológico Chipinque (Ecological Park Chipinique) is a national park on the southern outskirts of Monterrey. It’s part of the larger Cumbres de Monterrey National Park, containing more than 60 km of hiking and biking trails leading you through dense forest and to rugged peaks. The routes vary in difficulty and duration, ranging from about 1 to 6 hours.

    The highlight of the park is the 2,260-metre Copete de las Aguilas. Aptly named Eagle’s Peak (though that’s a rough translation), it’s a challenge to reach, but the view across Monterrey is spectacular. Within the park itself, you might spot a wide variety of rare animal species, as well as impressive waterfalls and rock formations.

    Location: Carretera a Chipinque Km. 2.5, Valle de San Angel, 66290 San Pedro Garza García, N.L., Mexico

    Open: Daily from 6 am to 7 pm

    Phone: +52 81 8303 0000

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    3

    Fundidora Park

    A green space packed with attractions

    • Couples
    • Families
    • Adventure
    • History
    • Photo

    Parque Fundidora (Fundidora Park) is a public park close to the center of Monterrey that's almost more amenities than it is a park. So much more than a relaxing green space, the park contains the family-friendly Museo del Acero Horno³, several concert halls and event spaces, the Parque Plaza Sésamo Monterrey amusement park and the Muscera museum. The park contains several reminders of the city's industrial heritage, which adds a unique look to the place.

    Connected to Fundidora Park is Paseo Santa Lucía, another striking and noteworthy park, this time with an artificial river running through it down to the Mexican History Museum. You can take a boat trip right to the museum or enjoy a pleasant walk alongside the water among more museums, a market, another amusement park, and a couple of viewpoints.

    Location: Avenida Fundidora y, Adolfo Prieto S/N, Obrera, 64010 Monterrey, N.L., Mexico

    Open: Daily from 6 am to 10 pm

    Phone: +52 81 8126 8500

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    4

    Barrio Antiguo

    Check out the colorful Old Town of Monterrey

    Barrio Antiguo is Monterrey’s Old Town. Located just east of Macroplaza, you’ll find cobblestone streets lined with brightly colored buildings, 18th- and 19th-century mansions and a wide range of cafes, bars, and restaurants here. Once the sun goes down, this is one of the city’s main nightlife hubs.

    On Sundays, Barrio Antiguo hosts an antique market around the corner of Calle de Morelos and Francisco Javier Mina. Another shopping highlight is the Mercado Barrio Antiguo, a modern mall designed like a historical market, which suits the neighbourhood’s bohemian vibe.

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    5

    Museum of Contemporary Art of Monterrey

    One of Mexico’s best showcases of local modern art

    • Budget
    • Photo

    The Museo de Arte Contemporáneo (MARCO) is considered one of the best modern art museums in Mexico. It contains almost a dozen galleries with exhibitions that rotate and change regularly. While the focus is on homegrown talent, there are some works by renowned international artists, too.

    The entrance to the museum is guarded by a giant bronze statue of a dove, also known as La Paloma by Juan Soriano. You’ll find the museum itself on the south-eastern corner of Macroplaza. Admission is free.

    Location: Juan Zuazua, Padre Raymundo Jardón y, Centro, 64000 Monterrey, N.L., Mexico

    Open: Tuesday–Sunday from 10 am to 6 pm (closed on Mondays)

    Phone: +52 81 8262 4500

    Map

    photo by JavierDo (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified

    6

    Cerro de la Silla

    Take a hike up a national monument

    • Budget
    • Adventure
    • Photo

    Cerro de la Silla is an iconic mountain overlooking Monterrey from the southeast. At 1,820 meters, it's not the tallest peak around, but its distinctive saddle shape (when viewed from the west) and proximity to the city have earned it the designation of a national monument in 1991.

    Cerro de la Silla technically consists of 4 peaks covering a total area of 60.5 sq km. These are Pico Antena, Pico Norte (the highest), Pico Sur and Pico la Virgen (the lowest, at just 1,750 meters). Several hiking trails lead to the peaks, with fantastic viewpoints along the way. Of course, there’s no view quite like that from the top of Pico Norte.

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    7

    Mexican History Museum

    One of the most significant history museums in northern Mexico

    • Families
    • History

    Museo de Historia Mexicana (Mexican History Museum) gives you a fascinating insight into national history through more than 1,200 artifacts. It covers everything from the present day back to pre-Hispanic times. Those artifacts range from small, everyday items up to locomotives, so you can be sure that it provides a comprehensive picture of the country’s past.

    The galleries have an interactive search module built into the tour, bringing the permanent exhibits to life. There are also spaces for temporary exhibitions, as well as a library, video library and an auditorium. The neighboring Museo del Noreste compliments the Mexican History Museum by focussing on just local history, providing a comprehensive double-bill.

    Location: Dr José Ma. Coss 445, Centro, 64000 Monterrey, N.L., Mexico

    Open: Tuesday and Sunday from 10 am to 8 pm, Wednesday–Saturday from 10 am to 6 pm (closed on Mondays)

    Phone: +52 81 2033 9898

    Map
    8

    Bosque Mágico Coca Cola

    An amusement park with thrilling rides

    • Families
    • Adventure
    • Group

    Bosque Mágico Coca Cola is an amusement park just east of the center of Monterrey. Its highlights include the 100-km/hr Zombie Ride roller coaster, the 40-metre-tall spinning Sky Flyer, and the swinging Boomerang. There are some slightly calmer rides for younger children, too, along with an array of typical fairground attractions like bumper automobiles, a haunted house, and a log flume.

    The more unusual highlight of Bosque Mágico is the feature that gives it its name (bosque means “forest”). The park has plenty of trees, including some artificial ones that have faces carved on them.

    Location: Av Eloy Cavazos s/n, La Pastora, 67140 Guadalupe, N.L., Mexico

    Open: Hours vary by season

    Phone: +52 81 1870 8000

    Map

    photo by Martin Lewison (CC BY-SA 2.0) modified

    9

    Cerro del Obispado

    Watch the sunset under Mexico’s biggest monumental flag

    • Couples
    • History
    • Photo

    Cerro del Obispado is an attraction-packed hilltop just west of Monterrey’s city centre. It consists of the Mirador del Obispado viewpoint, Concha Acústica Obispado amphitheater, the Palacio del Obispado – an 18th-century bishop’s palace that now houses a museum. You won’t struggle to find the hill – the giant flagpole flying the Mexican colors is a dead giveaway.

    It's worth noting that it takes about 10-15 minutes to climb the hill from the palace, but the effort is certainly worth it. You can enjoy panoramic views across the city that are especially striking at sunset. Special ceremonies take place at Cerro del Obispado throughout the year, including Flag Day (24 February) and Independence Day (16 September).

    Location: Calle Aramberri 1, Centro, 64000 Monterrey, N.L., Mexico

    Phone: +52 81 8130 6565

    Map

    photo by Brendablue77 (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified

    10

    Garcia Caves

    Stunning underground caverns near Monterrey

    • Adventure
    • Photo

    Grutas De García (Garcia Caves) is a series of underground caverns located 20 km northwest of Monterrey. Estimated to be over 60 million years old, they were discovered in 1843. The caves are massive, so you don’t have to worry about claustrophobia.

    The cave entrance is a little way up the El Fraile mountain and you can either hike or take a aerial cableway up and down. Inside, the caverns are set up for easy exploration. They’re also delightfully illuminated, giving the limestone formations an even more mysterious look than they already had.

    Location: Carretera a Villa de García S/N, 66030 García, N.L., Mexico

    Open: Tuesday–Sunday from 9 am to 5 pm (closed on Mondays)

    Phone: +52 81 8396 1128

    Map
    Ben Reeves | Compulsive Traveler

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