Cosmopolitan Monterrey is Mexico’s third-largest city, second-largest industrial center and número uno in per-capita income. This economic powerhouse has a strong entrepreneurial ethos, humming cultural scene, vibrant universities and eclectic cuisine.
With sprawling suburbs of gargantuan air-conditioned malls and manicured housing estates, this is also one of Mexico’s most Americanized cities. Boasting world-class museums and a jagged mountain backdrop that offers terrific outdoor adventure sports, the city's attractions are diverse and myriad.
All of this makes Monterrey fiercely independent and very different to any other Mexican metropolis you’ll encounter. Sadly, its appeal has recently been compromised by some of Mexico’s worst drug violence, much of which was played in the city center in 2011. But by early-2014 the troubles appeared to have eased and cultural life was beginning to return to the heart of the city, with boutiques and bars re-opening in the Barrio Antiguo.
If you stay in the center, this historic core is very accessible. Most of Monterrey's main cultural attractions are clustered close by (except the extraordinary Parque Fundidora) and you'll have the Barrio Antiguo on your doorstep. Away from the center, prosperous areas like San Pedro Garza García are dominated by thundering highways so there’s little joy exploring them on foot.