Weekend in Monterrey, Mexico: Tacos, Treats and Fun

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Visiting Monterrey, Mexico for a weekend sounds extravagant, but not if you’re in town for a wedding anyway. Aside from the ceremony, we spent the entire time enjoying lots of tacos, treats and fun there.

We flew into Monterrey before the wedding and our friends met us at the airport. Despite their wedding plans, they insisted. After we settled in they showed us around their home town and we had a whole lot of fun! (Oh, and tacos and treats, too, of course.)

A weekend of tacos, treats and fun

Our Monterrey hotel

We stayed at the luxury hotel that was hosting the reception, Quinta Real. It has such a royal feel and so much Mexican charm that there was no doubt we were in Mexico.

Quinta Real hotel in Monterrey

View up the driveway to Quinta Real

Lobby area in Quinta Real, Monterrey
Lobby area in Quinta Real, Monterrey

Taco time

David and Adriana’s first destination was their favorite local taco stand. Not in any big restaurant, mind you, but they drove down a small back alley to a hole-in-the-wall taco shop that makes them outside while customers eat inside. I can honestly say these tacos were the best ever. They came loaded with simple fillings and fantastic sauces to enhance the flavors.

Authentic tacos in Monterrey Mexico

Taco assembly outside.
Here’s the taco assembly station. Outside.
Eating tacos inside
Where we ate. Inside.

Treat time!

Next stop was for the treats. Mexico is not only famous for its tacos, enchiladas and burritos. Their baked goods and doughnuts are also delectable delights that should not be missed. Yes Luke, I had a few! The most notable difference is the pastries in the United States are far sweeter than our southern neighbor’s offerings. They reminded us more of those we had at BreadTalk in Bali than at your local Dunkin’ Donuts shop in Florida.

Treats at a local Mexican bakery.
Treats at a local Mexican bakery.
Mexican bakeries can be found on most every street in Monterrey.
Mexican bakeries can be found on almost every street in Monterrey.

Seeing the town of Monterrey

Finally with all the “hard work” of eating out of the way it was time to have some fun. Fun, you ask? Yes! For us the fun is in getting to know the town and to see how the people live. Monterrey is the third largest town in Mexico, after Mexico City and Guadalajara. It is the capital of the state of Nuevo Leon, located in the northeast section of Mexico, just south of the Texas border. It’s close enough that many residents will travel to the United States for some shopping.

Street in Monterrey, Mexico
Street in Monterrey, Mexico

Saddleback Mountain

A large mountain named Saddleback Mountain (or in Spanish Cerro de la Silla), part of the Sierra Madre chain, can be seen from just about everywhere in the city. Many other mountains surround Monterrey but Saddleback Mountain is the main landmark for the folks who live here.

Saddleback Mountain, Monterrey, Mexico

Saddleback Mountain in the backdrop along the downtown river-walk area.
Saddleback Mountain is the backdrop, even along the downtown riverwalk.

Close up of Saddleback Mountain


Monterrey has regular malls like we do of course, but we preferred to spend some time in the more unique open market downtown. It was filled with crafts, colors and characters. We spent a good deal of time winding our way through the shops and watching the tradesmen create their wares. Nana said she could watch glassblowers at work for hours.

Open market in Monterrey, Mexico

Hand painted guitars.
Hand painted guitars.

Glass maker at work.

His beautiful craftsmanship for sale.
His beautiful glass craftsmanship for sale.

Seeing Monterrey from the water

There was so much to do and see that we quickly realized that one weekend is not enough time to take in all that Monterrey has to offer. Still, considering we were only in Monterrey for one weekend, we did a lot.

Macroplaza, down in the city center, offers a riverboat tour of the downtown area. We took advantage of that.

River walk area in the downtown part of Monterrey, Mexico
Monterrey’s downtown riverwalk area
Young Mexican girl wanted her photo made while riding a river boat tour.
This young Mexican girl posed for a photo while we were taking our river boat tour.
River boat tour in downtown Monterrey.
River boat tour in downtown Monterrey.

Some of the other things we did in Monterrey

Flight of Mexican beer.
Flight of Mexican beer.
Cabrito restaurant for the reception dinner. Monterrey is famous for its baby goat restaurants.
We went to El Rey del Cabrito restaurant for the reception dinner. Monterrey is famous for its baby goat restaurants.
Church in the city center.
Church in the city center.
Beautiful Monterrey, Mexico
Beautiful Monterrey, Mexico
Puente de la Unidad or sometimes called Puente Atirantado bridge.
A pretty Monterrey bridge called Puente de la Unidad (or sometimes called Puente Atirantado).

Even though we were only in Monterrey for a weekend we saw a lot and I got a whole lot of photos. You can see more of this pretty city in my photo gallery of Monterrey.

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Written by Dan

Professional photographer specializing in street, food and travel shots.

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14 thoughts on “Weekend in Monterrey, Mexico: Tacos, Treats and Fun”

  1. Looking for some fun group activity to do with my work team in Monterrey–what can we do, where should we go for teambuilding and comradery?

    • Hi Timony,

      Thanks for your question. According to our Monterrey friends, Monterrey is extremely hot this time of year, over 40°C (104°F), so anything you’d like to do with your team would have to be inside with A/C. That is, unless they all like adventure and would like to have a dip in the cold water of the Sierra Madre. In that case, our friends recommend Matacanes, but it is a place for adventurous people. You hire a guide and they take you through the path of this river going down the mountain. You swim, rappel, walk and take big jumps of 10-12 meters high.

      If you’re not as adventurous, you could rent a wood cabin in Santiago, a small town 30 minutes from Monterrey, and walk through the mountains, rent ATVs or ride horses.

      You can also go for the weekend to Parras, Coahuila to visit the vineyard Casa Madero, where you can stay overnight and come back the next day.

      Also, Get Your Guide has a handful of tours that might be to your liking.

      About restaurants: There are plenty, depending on the budget or the experience you’d like to have. Monterrey meat is very good and there are many places with delicious meat. The most traditional dish n Monterrey is “cabrito, baby goat, but it’s not for everybody, it’s not that special. Some malls to dine in a terrace are Main Entrance (that’s the real name) and Avanta Gardens (like that, in English). There are many good restaurants there if you like to feel the “fresh” 30 degrees of the evening ?
      The restaurants with fusion food are among the best of Latin América, but they are pricier. Their favorite: Pangea, Another one is Koli, but they haven’t been yet.

      For drinks, there’s the beer garden from the Cervecería Cuauhtémoc-Heineken.

      If she comes up with any other ideas, I’ll add them to this list.

      Hope you all have a wonderful time.

  2. I live in Monterrey and I organize walks to the top to the saddle Mountain (cerro de la silla), Anyone can walk without using any special equipment. The only requirement is having a good shape and don´t have heart problems because the time walk is four hours approximately. My email: [email protected].

  3. Love the photo of the chicken trying to escape. Too funny. I had no idea Monterey was the third biggest city in Mexico. I’ve heard of it just over the border but didn’t realise it was so big.

  4. Guys, I really like this post. Reminds me of all the good reasons I love Mexico so much. As a matter of fact, we visited for a day about a month ago (had an activity in San Diego and went early to stay the day in Rosarito). I have to say we ate beyond well. I have never been to Monterrey but will like to visit.

    • In our opinion Ruth, Mexican food ties with Italian for deliciousness. That alone is reason enough to agree that Mexico is a great destination. How did you like Rosarito?

  5. Lovely post! I’ve never been to Monterrey, but I’m sure I’d enjoy it. I enjoyed seeing the mountains and the glassblowers, reminds me of home. oh, and I’m also so hungry for tacos now.

    • We’re so glad you enjoyed the post, Karen. Tacos? Abso-TUTELY! We’ve actually never had any that tasted as good as those did. David and Dan had a lot of fun eating some green chili peppers that looked like peas but went far beyond hot. We wives just watched. Do you enjoy spicy food?

  6. Wow, Linda! This is so beautiful! I’ve never been in Monterey, Mexico but your post and great pictures make it look very appealing. I’m going to look into it, after all it’s not even far from me.

    • Writing this post made us recall how much we enjoyed the city, Anda. You really shouldn’t miss it, especially since it’s so close to you.

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