Monday, March 17, 2008

A tourists'-eye view of Monterrey

We've lived here for nearly 6 months. It was about time we got out and saw the best it has to offer people when they're not busy working. See the pretty photos here.

We got started in the Macroplaza, which is pretty easy to do because it's huge. Here is the Palacio de Gobierno, the State Capitol building. Apparently important stuff goes on in here. I just like it because it's one of few really elaborate older buildings in the city. (1860s I think)

Then we wandered around the Macroplaza a bit more, and tried to get a shot of us with the Cerro de la Silla in the background, a shot we've been needing for a long time. This is the mountain that best represents Monterrey, due to its unique saddle-like shape.

We walked over to the Plaza Morelos, which is a gigantic pedestrian thoroughfare lined with shops. The shopping choices themselves aren't that spectacular, but the concept is pretty fun. Plenty of street vendors selling wrestling masks and Playboy bunny outfits, too.

We spent awhile in the Museum of Mexican History. It's a nice walk through the history of the republic, from the pre-Columbian Aztec cities, through the conquest, colonial ages, revolution, industrialization, and the modern age. Honestly, I think the Mexican Fine Arts museum in Chicago does a more fascinating treatment, but this one was definitely more detailed and informative. Gave us both a refresher on Mexican history, since it's been years since we properly studied it.

Next, we took a walk down the famed Paseo Santa Lucía, a modern engineering marvel. Last fall, the city completed this completely man-made river that stretches for two miles, with walkways, bridges and elaborate fountains lining the whole thing. In one section, restaurants have their outdoor seating right along the "river" as well. For 40 pesos a person, you can also ride a touristic boat for the full length. We enjoyed authentic homemade Jalisco-style ice cream, and were entertained by all the characters to be found along the riverwalk (not much different from Naperville's riverwalk in that sense).

Monterrey definitely has sights to see and entertainment to enjoy. It also has the benefit of having a very centralized downtown: the Macroplaza connects all of the major government and cultural buildings into one giant civic center. I guess this compensates for the total lack of proper public transportation here. We both agreed that with a good Metro system reaching all sectors of the city, Monterrey could become a truly world-class city. Hopefully someday...


laurafern11 said...

Fun to see your city. That man-made river is really strange and interesting. On one hand it reminds me of having a water park running through the city, on the other hand it could be very beautiful.

Bridget said...

wow, I'm going to add Monterrey to my list of "must see" while in Mexico. I've never been to the Mexican Fine Arts here in Chicago (and it's around the corner from my job). I'll grab the free pass from the library and check it during lunch :)

Anonymous said...

there is not much to see in Mty. I live there for a year, it's just a blah city. I also lived in Chitown for a few years, that's a city. If you want to see a beaufitul side of Mex. you need to go down south(Merida, San Cristobal, Oaxaca), that's the real Mex, or at least central Mex like Zacatecas,Qro, SanMiguel,Morelia, etc.. Mty is still struggling, trying to find its identity, they think very "highly" of themselves as a very modern city, a US-like city, but they are just an ok city, a mid-size US city with a Mexican attitude, well you are in Mex anyway, for instance, go the corner of Padre Mier and Zaragoza, and try to croos the street as the cars also try to turn right on Zaragoza, they'll run you over they don't care if you also have the right of way, now Amy if you situate yourself at the corner of Broadway and Clark is a different story trying to cross that intersection. anyway if you want to waste a few days in mty rather than having the time or your life in Mex.... then visit Mty. oh btw, they couln't come up with a better concept other than that Sta Lucia paseo, why did you have to copy San Antonio's River walk concept?

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