The best museums in Monterrey!
November 1, 2019
by Nathalia Garza ?
Monterrey is one of the most important cities in Mexico, next to Guadalajara and of course, Mexico City. If you’ve read some travel guides to my country, you’ll know that we are (thankfully) full of amazing museums. Monterrey is widely known for its modernity and progress, and also as a center for conventions, conferences and summits. But we’ve got our hands full of museums as well! I’ll proudly present to you some of the best places of cultural recreation in the north.
Upon arrival, the first thing that will pop into view is our beautiful mountains. In fact, Monterrey is also called the City of Mountains, and that’s because we are surrounded by them! Fun fact: our glorious mountains (yes, I do love them and the beautiful landscapes they gift us) protect us from hurricanes and tropical storms; once they touch land, they are broken down by the mountains. The famous Cerro de la Silla, a saddle-shaped peak, has become a city trademark and can be seen from almost anywhere in the city… and in most of your souvenirs!
And it is right here, in the middle of these wonderful views, that some of our most famous museums can be found. I’ll guide you through some of them but first, let me introduce you to the beautiful city of Monterrey.
A Mexican industrial hub
Monterrey is one of the main industrial hubs of Mexico, and our highlights include telecommunications, automotive, aerospace, TI, and engineering so, if you’re looking for a suitable place for your business, you might have found a winner! Since it has tons of modern industrial parks and cutting-edge infrastructure to organize events, I can assure you that you will enjoy your stay.
So, what can I see in Monterrey?
Monterrey combines contrasting natural and urban landscapes; history and antique traditions converge in antique buildings, cultural and entertainment spaces, as well as modern financial and industrial hubs. You’ll find great ecological parks, breathtaking waterfalls, museums, theme parks… even a planetarium! Visitors are pleasantly surprised by the clash between Mexican charm and modernity, as well as the regio cordiality (inhabitants of Monterrey). If you seek a city rich in culture and tradition, may I take you to some of the best museums in-city?
The best museums in Monterrey!
You might (or might not) know that Monterrey is actually a cultural nest, although most people think that there’s nothing to be seen when they come over for business matters. However, I would like to introduce you to my top (favorite) five, so buckle up!
5. Museo de Arte Contemporáneo MARCO (Museum of Contemporary Art)
This museum is distinguished by its architectural beauty, a true masterpiece created by internationally recognized Mexican architect Ricardo Legorreta. As a space dedicated to the promotion of international contemporary art that emphasizes the dissemination of Latin American visual arts, MARCO usually exhibits top-notch well, exhibits, by world famous artists. You can’t miss it: there’s a beautiful exhibit in the door called La Paloma (The Dove), a four-tons pigeon sculpted by Juan Soriano. Whether you’re looking for a library, an exhibition, or a place to relax, you’re in for a treat.
4. Museo de la Fauna y Ciencias Naturales (Museum of Wildlife and Natural Sciences)
This has to be one of my favorite museums in the whole world. I used to go there every month with my family, so I know it by heart. In this unique space in Monterrey, you can admire the widest collection of dissected animals in Northern Mexico, carefully mounted on landscapes that simulate their real habitat. The museum offers more than 1,400 meters of exhibition and more than 140 pieces of animals. Visitors to this museum have the opportunity to take a trip around the world to know the fauna of various places such as the Sahara and Kalahari deserts, the jungles of Brazil, India and the bamboo jungle in Africa, the valleys and forests of Canada, among others. Isn’t it cool? I’m all green power but I do believe that these museums can help us to better understand these magnificent creatures and how to take care of them and their ecosystem.
The only 18th-century baroque building that is still standing in Monterrey -in the whole state of Nuevo Leon- is home to the first regional museum of the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) in northern Mexico. It opened its doors on September 20, 1956, and three years ago (in 2016) we celebrated 60 years of narrating our past and starting the tradition of museum sites in the City of Mountains. It stands out for its large dimensions, as well as for the strength and height of its walls. The size of its main facade in baroque style. The building is constructed of sillar stone, a characteristic material of the region, and is one of the few samples of the viceregal architecture that are still preserved in the northeastern region of the country. Inside, you’ll find lots of pieces that tell the story of Nuevo Leon from right from the Spanish conquest to the early twentieth-century.
2. Museo de Historia Mexicana (Museum of Mexican History)
Located near the site of the Monterrey Foundation and opened on November 30, 1994, the Museum of Mexican History is the most important historical exhibition in northern Mexico. It consists of more than 1,200 pieces, distributed in an area of 15,000 square meters, which illustrate different aspects of life in Mexico from pre-Hispanic times to the twentieth century, including from small pieces of daily use of the ancient inhabitants to a real locomotive. The permanent exhibition has interactive consultation modules integrated to the tour, as a complement to a learning and entertainment experience. This museum offers a complete panorama of the history of our country, in a unique and original way. Enjoy a virtual journey through history through the 4 periods that have marked the development of our society: Old Mexico, Viceroyalty, 19th century and Modern Mexico. If you’re a history geek like me, you’ll absolutely LOVE this museum.
1. Centro Cultural Alfa (Alfa Cultural Hub)
Alfa is a set of museum, astronomical observatory and IMAX room. Inaugurated on October 11, 1978, it houses the fourth room installed with the IMAX system in the world. Its main activity is the promotion of culture through various artistic and scientific manifestations. It has several exhibition halls, cafeteria, gift shop and a movie projection room equipped with Omnimax system, as well as large areas for children and young people to interact. The complex has five well-defined areas: an outdoor aviary, a pavilion of the universe with a stained glass window designed by Rufino Tamayo, a science garden, an astronomical observatory and a museum with IMAX Dome room with capacity for 379 people. I can tell you that it is one of my favorite places in the city, and once you step into this hub, I guarantee it will become yours too!
So, what do you think? Are you in for an adventure? I hope that during your next visit to Monterrey, you make some space to visit one (or all) of these options. I assure you: you’ll have a blast!