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The city of Monterrey, to the north of Mexico is one surrounded by magnificent mountains all around. Monterrey resides in the state of Nuevo Leon which is close to the United States border making it a choice for many Americans. Whether you are travelling to Monterrey or on a longer expat stay, there are many options of things to do mostly surrounding the nature theme.

If visiting any of these places, please ensure that you do not litter. Also, there is a great risk of forest fires due to the high temperatures in Monterrey which causes many acres of land to burn down every year so please be cautious.

1. Parque Ecológico Chipinque

This is a favourite of mine in Monterrey. Simply referred to by the locals as Chipinque, this park is home to countless animal species including black bears, coati, and birds, among many others. As this park is high above the city, there is a stunning view of everything below.

Many people go here for hiking, there is the whole route which is about 2km on the hard route, or 5km on the easy route. I’ve done the difficult route simple because it was shorter but it was pretty difficult, and I’m not that out of shape. Many do not do the entire way but rather choose a smaller section to hike before returning.

Related: What to do After Arriving Abroad?

Many people also like to ride their bicycles here. The steep incline looks like it would be a difficult ride which I have never tried because my legs probably won’t work after a few minutes. But I have seen lots of people riding here. The way down looks much more interesting to me as they voosh past.

If you just want to relax, you can simply drive to the main park area and sit on the benches provided.

Cost: $70 pesos / USD3.50 per person
Distance from city: 11 km
Website: https://www.chipinque.org.mx/ 

2. Parque Fundidora

Parque Fundidora is an expansive park with many different attractions within it and lots of things to do. A day doesn’t feel like enough to do everything, and it is a lot of walking which I underestimated. You can also rent bikes here to get around a lot quicker.

There is also a mini tour bus to take your around the park.  You can go to Paseo Santa Lucia, Ice Skating, Museo del Acero Horno, Lago Aceracion or one of the many parks on site. You can find all the attractions at the link for the park below.   

Cost: Free except parking
Distance from city: 4 km
Website: https://www.parquefundidora.org/

3. Paseo de Santa Lucia

This is a man-made river in Monterrey runs through the Parque Fundidora. It is beautiful for a leisurely afternoon walk. There are some spots with restaurants with the exquisite view of the river. It was very busy when I visited but definitely a spot I would want to go back to for a meal.

You can also take a 40-minute boat tour of the river which is just about wide enough for two boats to fit. It may be worth checking the line that is boarding the boat to get a gauge of how long you will have to wait.

Cost: (boat ride)$70 pesos / US$3.50
Distance from city: 4 km
Website: https://www.parquefundidora.org/explora/recreacion/200/paseo-santa-lucia

4. Ice Skating

I didn’t expect to see an ice-skating rink in Monterrey due to how hot it is but to my surprise, there it was. The schedule seems to change quite often and has certain starting time so you’ll have to be sure to check before you go. Each session is 1-hour and 15-minutes. The cost below includes the skates and access to the rink.

Cost: $140 pesos / US$7
Distance from city: 4 km
Website: https://pistadehielofundidora.wordpress.com/patinaje-recreativo/informacion-general/

5. Museo del Acero Horno3 

This is the remanence of an old steel plant from the city of Monterrey and now serves as one of the things to do. There are several areas within the Horno3 including the museum, science demonstrations, workshops, interactive mining experience, among others.

Cost: $150 pesos / US$7
Distance from city: 4 km
Website: https://www.horno3.org/

6. Bioparque Estrella 

There are 2 safari options in Monterrey, one to the north, Xenpal, and one to the south, Bioparque Estrella. They seem to have pretty similar animals. Although some some of the attractions were closed due to covid restrictions when I last visited.

There are many zebras, goats, ostriches, reindeer, donkeys, and many others that are free to roam the safari area. You can buy carrots to feed them as well a boxes of animal feed, each $30 pesos / US$1.50. I bought 2 of each which was enough.

Related: Conquer Feeling Homesick Abroad

However, be careful when feeding the giraffes! One was pretty aggressive and actually got my finger! Fortunately, there was no cut or anything so no scars to remind me. There were also other attractions at Bioparque Estrella including Dinosaurs, Artic, mini zoo, other animals, and lakes.

Cost: $290 pesos / US$14
Distance from city: 80 km
Website: https://bioparquemonterrey.mx/ (this link is for Mexico City just to get an idea, there is none for Monterrey)

7. Xenpal

At Xenpal, aside from the safari similar to the above the other activities included zipline, mini zoo, and pony or camel rides.

Cost: $110 pesos / US$5.50
Distance from city: 39 km
Website: https://www.xenpal.com.mx/

8. Las Grutas de Garcia

These caves are one of the many in Monterrey, however, these are special due to the stalagmites and stalactites which are salt formations. To access the caves, you can take a cable car to the entrance which is 260ft high.

This makes for a beautiful view going up to the caves. Within the cave, there is an area called El Teatro which serves as one of the most famous formations in both size and the many different shapes. There are also 16 stages, 100ft above certain areas which allow for an amazing view of the full gallery.  

Cost: $80 pesos / US$4 per person
Distance from city: 44 km
Website: https://nuevoleon.travel/en/experiencias/grutas-de-garcia-2/

9. Parque La Huasteca

Another popular spot is Parque La Huasteca where many go to hike, rappel, fly kites, zipline, and bike. This mountain formation is made of limestone which gives it a gorgeous white tone with hardly any greenery. The first time I saw it, I was absolutely amazed. However, unless you are planning to do one of those activities, there is not much else do to other than watch the beauty of the mountains.

Cost: Free
Distance from city: 17 km
Website: https://www.horno3.org/

10. Macroplaza

Macroplaza or La Gran Plaza is located in the centre of Monterrey. The “macro” as it is called, is the largest in Mexico and the fifth largest in the entire world. It expands for 400,000 square metres with several gardens and monuments. On weekends, many vendors flock to macro to sell their goods, making it a popular spot for weekend shopping.

Cost: Free
Distance from city: 0 km
Website: https://nuevoleon.travel/la-macroplaza-el-orgullo-de-monterrey/

11. Mirador Asta Bandera

When you’re in Monterrey, at some point you will look around and see the massive 100 metres high Mexican flag! This flag resides on top of a small hill and is surrounded by many smaller Mexican flags. You pay $20 pesos to enter and park.

Related: Things to do Before Moving Abroad

After parking, there is a small walk. Then once at the top of the hill where the flags are, you walk a little uphill to them. This is also another viewpoint of the city where you can see all sides. There are signs at each of the cardinal points which show the name of the mountain in that side, along with a brief explanation.

Cost: $20 pesos for parking / US$1
Distance from city: 6 km
Website: https://nuevoleon.travel/en/experiencias/mirador-asta-bandera-2/

12. Palacio (Museo) del Obispado

Within the same compound of the Mirador, is the Palacio del Obispado. The palace is filled with so much history of the city of Monterrey. The palace was built in 1787 and 1788 for Rafael José Verger who lived there until his death in 1790.

Cost: Free on Sundays
Distance from city: 6 km
Website: https://www.elobispado.inah.gob.mx/inicio.html

13. Cerro de la Silla

Cerro de la Silla is named after a saddle due to the strong resemblance. It is one of the most popular hikes in Monterrey. The mountain has 4 main peaks, the highest being North Peak at a height of 5970ft.

To get to the top of the mountain, you will follow a hiking trail, and depending on which route can be from 5km to 10 km long. It is considered to be tough as it can take about 3 hours to reach to the top where you can see a stunning view of the city. Along the trail you can also see lots of birds and wild flowers.

Cost: Free
Distance from city: 14 km

14. Barrio Antiguo

This is the old city of Monterrey which is filled with so much history and buildings even dating back to the 17th century. There are some streets with the typical colourful houses which are beautiful to be surrounded by. Barrio Antiguo is a common spot for nightlife with many bars and restaurants around.  

Cost: Free
Distance from city: 0 km  

15. Sightseeing bus

This bus has different routes around the city that you can take depending on which areas you would like to visit. This would be an easy way to get around and not have to plan too much on your own.

Distance from city: 0 km
Website: http://turisticbus.com/

If you are interested to see what else Monterrey and Nuevo Leon has to offer. You can download the Android app Pasaporte Nuevo Leon Extraordinario or for Apple. Remember that it is usually very hot in Monterrey, Mexico so be sure to stay hydrated and protect your skin as well. What is your favourite thing to do?

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13 thoughts on “15 Best Things To Do and See In Monterrey, Mexico

  1. Camel rides in Mexico??? Who knew!?! I’ve spent a lot of time petsitting in Mexico and I’m always so impressed with the parks and plazas wherever I go. Up till now Monterrey has only been a layover city. After reading your post I’m going to make sure it’s a stopover. Thanks!

  2. Monterrey and the mountains surrounding the city are stunning! It always amazes me how many different eco-sytems every country and even city has! I would love to feed the Giraffs and go zip lining as well 🙂

  3. I have been to Mexico several times but never to Monterrey. Looks like a wonderful place to visit. I would definitely add Parque La Huasteca to my itinerary. Rappelling or hiking there looks amazing!

  4. Monterrey definitely looks like an interesting place to visit. I’m planning a trip to Mexico in the near future so your post is very useful.

  5. This looks like a really interesting part of Mexico to visit. I would definitely love to check out the palace-museum and learn more about Monterrey’s history.

  6. It looks like there are so many great things to do in Monterrey! I’d love to go hiking at Parque La Huasteca, it looks incredible! Thanks for the great guide!

  7. When I think of Mexico, I think of beach. And I love the beach, but it’s so cool seeing other things to do to experience the country.

  8. This is an awesome list! So detailed. I’ve been to Mexico many times but never here and I love how you’ve included price and links where appropriate. Thanks for taking the time to write this !

  9. This is such an awesome list! I love that you included pricing, that’s so helpful. Now I want to go to Mexico like, right now!

  10. We have not been to this area of Mexico. I was surprised to learn about all of the opportunities for hiking in the mountains. I’d love to check it out one day!

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