The city of Monterrey is in the Mexican state of Nuevo Leon, not far from the state of Coahuila and is one of the largest cities in Mexico. Monterrey has the third-largest state economy, producing iron, steel, textiles, chemicals, plastic and agricultural products. Thanks to its booming economy, this vibrant city is full of art, culture and there are plenty of exciting things to do in Monterrey.
The climate in Monterrey is semi-arid with mild winters that do not often drop below freezing and the hottest months are usually June to August. These mild temperatures allow for year-round tourism. Visitors that come to this region can experience the culture and cuisine. Monterrey’s traditional foods include cabrito, a young goat cooked over hot coals, weekend carne asada and sweets made with goat’s milk such as Glorias and Obleas. These 20 things to do in Monterrey should keep you busy.
- 20 Things To Do In Monterrey
- Cumbres de Monterrey National Park
- Monterrey City
- 8- Walk Along Paseo de Santa Lucia
- 9- Spend The Day At Parque Fundidora
- 10- Brush Up On History At Museo de Historia Mexicana
- 11- Learn Something New At Museo del Acero Horno
- 12- Discover Colonial Architecture In Macroplaza
- 13- Admire Art At The Museum of Contemporary Art
- 14- Discover History At Museo del Obispado
- 15- Explore Barrio Antiguo
- 16- Visit Catedral Metropolitana de Nuestra Señora de Monterrey
- Near Monterrey
20 Things To Do In Monterrey
Cumbres de Monterrey National Park
1- Have An Adventure In Cumbres de Monterrey
Cumbres de Monterrey National Park is in the Sierra de Madre Oriental mountains in Nuevo Leon and Coahuila, near the city of Monterrey.
This park offers various adventures for outdoor enthusiasts of all skill levels and age groups.
Several hiking trails, ranging from easy to highly challenging, can be found throughout the park.
These hikes offer spectacular views and scenery.
One of the waterfalls, Cascada El Cielo, is an easy hike through La Estanzuela Canyon to the El Cielo (Heaven) waterfall.
In addition to hiking, other parts of this national park have even more to offer visitors, including several cave complexes, waterfalls and tall peaks reaching more than 7,000 ft (2,100 m).
This park attracts adventurers and extreme sports enthusiasts from all over the world.
Many certified tour operators in this region provide the necessary climbing gear and guide visitors to the different outdoor attractions safely.
2- Explore Las Grutas de Garcia
Las Grutas de Garcia, or the Garcia Caves, are located approximately 50 minutes from Monterrey.
Once visitors reach Garcia Cave Park, two ways to access these caves exist.
The first and least strenuous way to get there is to take the cable car up the mountain, but unfortunately, the cable car does not always operate.
The other is to hike up the side of the mountain.
These caves are famous for the many beautiful galleries and rock formations that you can see on the cave tour.
In addition to the stalactites and stalagmites, you’ll also see aquatic fossils in the caves.
Several tour operators offer private and shared tours to visit these spectacular caves.
3- Go Climbing At La Huasteca Canyon
La Huasteca Canyon is a popular climbing area located in the Cumbres de Monterrey National Park, only 20 minutes from the centre of Monterrey.
It draws many visitors every weekend and provides an excellent place for beginner, intermediate, and experienced climbers to practice their skills.
Local guides offer tours throughout the park, and it’s worth hiring one on your first visit.
The Nido de Los Aguiluchos or Eagle’s Nest trail in Huasteca Park is suitable for reasonably fit climbers.
It requires hiking, followed by rappelling into a daylight cave and a couple of additional descents by rappelling.
4- Rappel Into The Matacanes Canyon
Matacanes Canyon is south of Monterrey in the Cumbres de Monterrey National Park.
The water flowing through this canyon has carved out natural pools where visitors can swim.
There are mysterious underground rivers in grottoes that adventurers can rappel into and an 80-ft tall waterfall that you can rappel down on a unique canyoneering adventure.
In addition, there are several natural slides and small cliff jumps available for more adventurous visitors.
5- Hike Cerro de la Silla
The iconic and easily recognisable Cerro de la Silla or Saddle Hill is obvious from all over the city of Monterrey.
Luckily for visitors, it is close to the city in Cumbres de Monterrey National Park.
This mountain offers a highly challenging hike with a spectacular view of the city from the top, making the hike well worth the effort.
Carry a few pesos to purchase oranges from one of the locals on the trail.
6- See Monarch Butterflies In Parque Ecologico Chipinque
Parque Ecologico Chipinque is a park within the Cumbres de Monterrey National Park located on the outskirts of Monterrey.
This ecological park is highly protected and regulated.
Visitors must follow strict rules about the conservation and preservation activities conducted in this area.
Chipinque is unique because it is a feeding and resting area for migrating Monarch butterflies.
Besides seeing butterflies, Chipinque Ecological Park offers numerous outdoor activities such as mountain biking, trekking and hiking.
A night hike offers a beautiful view of the city lights below.
7- Look For Coatis In Parque Natural La Estanzuela
The Parque Natural La Estanzuela is a natural area located in the Cumbres de Monterrey National Park just outside the city of Monterrey.
Visitors can hike a trail that can be difficult in some places but has a spectacular view of mountains and valleys from various overlooks.
Hikers often run into coatis along this trail, a small mammal with a bushy tail.
Once visitors reach the river along this trail, there are many ‘ojos de agua’ or deep pools carved out of the rock where people can swim in the cold water.
As hikers continue to follow the river, there are more pools for swimming and even some rocks above the pools where people can jump into the water.
The waterfalls, pools and mountain scenery make this an excellent place to visit.
For more adventures in Mexico, read:
- 20 Famous Landmarks in Mexico
- 20 Best Beaches in Mexico
- 20 Ways To Spend Christmas in Mexico
- 10 Things To Do In Baja California
- The Wonder of Chichen Itza
- When Is The Best Time To Visit Mexico?
- A Guide To Las Grutas De Tolantongo
- A Guide To Valle De Bravo
- 20 Best Cenotes In Mexico
- 20 Interesting Mexican Traditions
- 20 Mayan Ruins In Mexico
- 20 Things To Do In Monterrey Mexico
- 20 Things To Do In La Paz
- 20 Things To Do In Tijuana
- 20 Things To Do In Merida
- 20 Things To Do In Ensenada
- 20 Tulum Day Trips
- Where To Stay In Tulum
- 20 National Parks In Mexico
- 20 Day Trips From Mexico City
8- Walk Along Paseo de Santa Lucia
Paseo de Santa Lucia or the Santa Lucia Riverwalk borders the largest man-made river in Mexico.
Walking the boardwalk is one of the top things to do in Monterrey for families and attracts visitors from all over who consider this construction one of the 13 wonders of Mexico.
The boardwalk runs from Fundidora Park to the Museum of Mexican History.
Guided boat tours that point out places of interest provide a relaxing way to experience the artificial river.
9- Spend The Day At Parque Fundidora
Parque Fundidora or Fundidora Park is a large park within the city, with many activities for all ages.
It’s popular with families as there are many playgrounds throughout the park.
Many people use the park for walking and running.
In addition, several sports stations with exercise equipment and sports fields are scattered around the park.
Sculptures, murals and unique fountains are dotted around the park, highlighting its cultural and artistic qualities.
There are several museums, such as the Kite’s Children’s Museum, Sweet Museum, the Baseball Hall of Fame and the Mexican History Museum, within the park also.
If you couldn’t be bothered to pack a picnic, the restaurants and snack stalls within the park make this an easy place to spend a day with family.
10- Brush Up On History At Museo de Historia Mexicana
The Museo de Historia Mexicana or Mexican History Museum is the most significant history museum within the northern region of Mexico.
The museum is adjacent to the Macroplaza at one end of the Santa Lucia Riverwalk.
The museum houses an extensive collection of artifacts spanning pre-Hispanic Mexico through 20th Century Mexico.
Original art and life-size figures are found throughout the exhibits and a real locomotive.
This museum offers interactive modules that allow visitors to engage with the museum’s collection by combining active learning with entertainment.
11- Learn Something New At Museo del Acero Horno
Museo del Acero Horno in Parque Fundidora is a science museum that offers scientific demonstrations where visitors can volunteer to interact several times a day.
Workshops are often available throughout the different galleries where children can learn about science in a dynamic, active way.
In addition, a 360° globe map of Earth allows visitors to experience and visualise various things affecting the climate, such as ocean temperatures and ocean currents.
This museum offers a few hours of interactive science fun for families.
12- Discover Colonial Architecture In Macroplaza
More commonly known as the Macroplaza, the Gran Plaza is also known as the ‘pride of Monterrey.’
Visitors to Monterrey would be remiss not to visit the beautiful gardens in this magnificent plaza as it’s one of the main public spaces in the city.
This square encompasses 300,000 square metres, making it the fourth-largest square in the world.
The Macroplaza contains colonial buildings and monuments, and you can access almost all of the city’s tourist attractions by walking through the square.
Festivals and fairs are held in the square throughout the year, drawing crowds from all over the world.
The square’s Neptune Fountain is a famous landmark in Monterrey.
13- Admire Art At The Museum of Contemporary Art
Next to Macroplaza, the Museum of Contemporary Art or MARCO displays an impressive collection of Mexican and Latin American artworks.
The museum also curates collections of art created by both regional and international artists.
This museum is worth visiting as it’s one of the cultural centres in Latin America.
14- Discover History At Museo del Obispado
The Museo del Obispado, more commonly known as Museo Regional de Nuevo Leon, is one of the oldest buildings in northeast Mexico and an icon of Monterrey.
Built in the 1700s, it played important roles throughout Mexico’s history before becoming a museum in 1956.
The museum contains some pre-Hispanic artifacts, but it primarily houses historical objects from the 18th and 19th centuries, such as weapons, documents, art, coins, tools and furniture.
These exhibited artifacts are spread throughout several rooms focusing on the different historical periods of Mexican history.
15- Explore Barrio Antiguo
Barrio Antiguo is the historical quarter next to the Catedral Metropolitana de Nuestra Señora de Monterrey.
The streets in the heart of the city are cobblestoned and lined with mansions built in the 18th and 19th centuries.
Some mansions are open to the public, while others house art galleries, offices, libraries, and several other businesses.
Mysterious legends surround these mansions and the streets themselves may be haunted.
Food, art, and culture are on display throughout this quarter and visitors to Monterrey should not miss an opportunity to walk these streets.
16- Visit Catedral Metropolitana de Nuestra Señora de Monterrey
Construction on this cathedral started in 1663 but is wasn’t completed until 1899.
This cathedral is the main Catholic church in Monterrey, and despite the building not being completed, it has been in use since 1777.
In the 1940s, a painter named Ángel Zárraga painted the mural in the cathedral’s apse.
Catedral Metropolitana de Nuestra Señora de Monterrey is next to the Macroplaza and Barrio Antiguo.
17- See The Animals At Bioparque Estrella
Bioparque Estrella is a drive-thru safari located approximately 90 minutes south of Monterrey.
During the week, visitors must use their own vehicle to drive through the safari park, but a Masai truck will transport guests through the park on the weekends.
Visitors can interact with and get up close to many of the animals from the comfort of their vehicle.
Animals on the safari include zebras, camels, giraffes, water buffalo, bison, white-tailed deer, watusi, emus, alpacas, antelope, ostrich and llamas.
Hippos, pythons, iguanas are among the animals found in the exhibits.
The park offers transportation from downtown Monterrey to the park and back on weekends.
18- See The Dunes In Cuatro Ciénegas
Cuatro Ciénegas is a Pueblo Magico or Magic Town in Coahuila, less than four hours’ drive from Monterrey.
This small town is in the desert beside an incredible oasis.
This oasis is in a protected area that contains many plant and animal species not found anywhere else in the world.
This unique natural area attracts visitors from all over the world to visit the dunes and wetlands.
The white sand dunes in the Cuatro Ciénegas Reserve are the largest in Mexico and the third-largest in the Western Hemisphere.
19- Explore Parras de la Fuente
Parras de la Fuente, also known as simply Parras, is a Pueblo Magico or Magic Town in the state of Coahuila, about three hours from Monterrey.
Parras is a wine-growing region in Mexico and where the first winery in the Americas, the Hacienda de San Lorenzo, was constructed in 1597.
The Chapel of Santo Madero is a landmark built on top of the Cerro del Sombrerillo, a large hill overlooking the town.
For a place to relax, the Light Pond is a nice spa.
One-day tours to Parras de la Fuente from Monterrey are available for visitors who wish to experience this beautiful town.
20- Termas de San Joaquin
A 1.5-hour drive northwest of Monterrey will find you in the thermal oasis of Termas de San Joaquin, which is a Roman-style thermal spa.
Spend the day relaxing in the hot springs and feel the magic of the spring’s healing powers.
There are bathrooms, dressing rooms, restaurants, souvenir shops and a hotel.
In addition to the thermal waters, an astronomical evening event is held in the hotel’s observatory in the evenings on weekends.