Despite being Mexico’s most industrialized city – the richest and most westernized – Monterrey is one of the city’s most attractive metropolises. Located in the Santa Catarina Valley, dominated by the 1,740 m high Cerro de la Silla (Saddle Mountain) and 2,380 m high Cerro de la Mitra (Mitra Mountain), it is the capital of the state of Nuevo. Leon. Despite being an ultra-modern city, Monterrey retains an old Spanish vibe in its narrow alleyways, flat-roofed houses, and picturesque patios. Its importance as a cultural hub, first settled in the 16th century, is evident in its many fine museums and galleries, with numerous public squares and parks used to host various events and festivals.
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1 Macro Plaza in Monterrey
It was built in the 1980s, this 99-acre plaza features numerous old plazas and historic sites, as well as pretty gardens that invite visitors to linger. Perhaps the best-known landmark – and the easiest to spot – is 70 meters high. The Lighthouse of Commerce (Faro del Comercio) is a particularly impressive large rectangular structure with dazzling green lasers pouring out from all over the city at night. Other Macroplaza highlights include the sandstone Government Palace (Palacio de Gobierno) with a colonial courtyard and frescoed main apartments and artefacts, as well as guns used to execute Emperor Maximilian and generals in 1867. It includes the Esplanada de los Héroes of Heroes , the huge Fountain of Neptune (Fuente de la Vida), and a memorial to the city’s founder, Diego de Montemayor.
2 Marco: Museum of Contemporary Art-Monterrey
Opened in 1991, the Museum of Contemporary Art (Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Monterrey, or MARCO) Gran Plaza is a must for anyone curious about Mexican art. In addition to numerous excellent temporary exhibitions, MARCO has extensive permanent preservation of modern art across the country. Highlights of the museum’s 11 galleries include works by international artists, as well as numerous fine paintings, sculptures and installations by renowned Latin American artists. The building itself is a piece of art with highlights including a sculpture garden and an enchanting courtyard with a reflective mirror fountain. It is also of interest to art lovers. Pinacoteca de Nuevo León , a museum dedicated to the art of Nuevo León since the 19th century.
3 Another thing to do Monterolitan Cathedral in Monterrey
Monterrey’s most important Catholic building, the Cathedral of Our Lady of Monterrey (Metropolitana de Nuestra Señora de Monterrey), is well worth a walking tour of the city’s city center. Work on the building began in the mid-18th century, but took about 150 years. It was finally declared completed circa 1890. Although not recognized as a cathedral until 1994, this impressive structure has long been the seat of a local archdiocese. In addition to its fine façade with twin towers and ornate décor, the interior is admirable, with many examples of 19th-century colonial work, the result of a variety of influences over the decades. There are many murals, including famous murals from Mexico. Artist Angel Zárraga.
4 Editor’s Choice Fundidora Park and Santa Lucia Riverwalk
One of Monterrey’s most enjoyable walks is the beautiful Paseo Santa Lucía Riverside Promenade, a man-made river that stretches almost three kilometers across the city connecting Macroplaza and Fundidora Park. Along the way, you’ll find numerous interesting sculptures (such as real Canadian Inu Souks, stone landmarks or cairns), fountains, and other architecture as the riverbank flows through the pleasant park along the riverbank. A fun way to experience the River Walk is to stroll to Fundidora Park to explore the sights before returning by boat to Macroplaza. Fundidora highlights include playgrounds, an ice rink, and a variety of fun attractions for kids, including Sesame Street Park, a theme park based on the famous TV show. It is also home to the CONARTE Arts Center.
5 Steel Museum
One of Mexico’s largest museums, the Museum of Steel (Museo del Acero) is a must-see in Monterrey. Built from a former steel mill, the alluring attraction around Fundidora Park celebrates the city’s long tradition as a steel-making hub. Built around a massive 70-meter-high furnace of an old factory, the museum has numerous exhibits covering steel production as well as related products and industries. Also worth a visit for those who want to know more about the city’s history.
The Metropolitan Museum (Museo Metropolitano de Monterrey), and the Museo de Monterrey have a huge collection of contemporary art by Latin American artists. Another museum dedicated to the city’s industrial past is the Glass Museum , which opened in 1992 and focuses on the area’s glass-making history.
6 Mexican History Museum
The Museum of Ancient History of Mexico (Museo de Historia Mexicana) boasts an excellent collection of Pre-Columbian artifacts. Built in 1994, this high-tech museum is a place where you can see Mexico’s rich history, from when first people settled down thousands of years ago and during the present colonial era with a vast collection and many interactive exhibits. It is an exhibition that covers the cultural, economic and political history of the country, depicted through the use of art and models, spread through four large halls. The museum has a fun man-made river for boating, as well as on-site restaurants and shops. Hot Tip: Book the service of an English-speaking guide or purchase an English-speaking guide upon arrival.
7 Obispado and local museums
Perched on a hilltop called Cerro del Obispado was the former Bishop’s Palace (Obispado). Dating from the end of the 18th century, this splendid palace served at different times as a fortress and a hospital, and in 1913 broke away from the infamous bandit and revolutionary hero Francisco “Pancho” Villa. Nowadays, this museum houses the Museo Regional de Nuevo León, which has several interesting exhibits on the cultural and economic development of the state university. Of particular interest are the Churrigueresque façade and a chapel with numerous remains related to the Mexican War of Independence. Cerro del Obispado is also a great place to take in the beautiful views of the city. Mira d’Or del Obi Spado . It’s also fun for families traveling with kids because of the carousel and pleasant walking trails.
8 Garcia Caves and Horsetail Falls
A short drive northeast of Monterrey is the small town of García, home to the Grutas de García, one of Mexico’s largest cave systems. Reached by a fun cable car that offers stunning views of the surrounding countryside, this fascinating network of caves follows partly along the 1,080-meter-tall El Fraile Mountain, which is part of the Cumbres de Monterrey National Park, making a fascinating excursion from the bustling metropolis.
There are two routes leading to a brightly lit cave formed 50 million years ago, giving you plenty of stunning photos of the amazing rock formations. A chamber of particular interest is the Light Chamber (El salón de la luz), named after the almost translucent ceiling of the cave. Also worth visiting is the beautiful Horsetail Falls (Cola de Caballo), about 40 kilometers southwest of the city. Named after the foreground pattern created by the water as it falls into the pool below, the waterfall is accessible via walkways and rope bridges.
9 Alpha Planetarium
A fun attraction suitable for all ages is the stunning Alfa Planetarium (Planetario Alfa). Set in a perfectly cylindrical building that rises from the trees around it like a giant thimble, this ultra-modern attraction is as much a science hub as an observatory. One of Latin America’s leading facilities, the Planetarium includes highlights such as evening quirky workshops, an observatory offering interactive technology and practical science exhibits, and an aviary with bird species from across Latin America. There is also a state-of-the-art Imax theatre, which offers a variety of science and nature related films.
10 La Purishima Church
One of Monterrey’s most modern buildings is the Iglesia La Purísima. It is located at the intersection of Gran Plaza Avda Padre Mier and C Serafin Peña. Widely regarded as one of the best examples of Mexico’s modern castle-heaven architecture, this unique Catholic church is built by Enrique de la Mora y Palomar, with its large walled WWII-era aircraft hangar and No different. After marveling at the intriguing façade and various sculptures and monuments, it allows you to take a peek inside the décor while at the same time giving the opportunity to admire the curving structures.
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