Friday, June 14, 2024

The insider’s guide to investing in real estate in Monterrey

I take great pride in my upbringing in Monterrey, Nuevo León. Renowned for its perennial sunshine and industrial prowess, Monterrey’s majestic mountain backdrop holds a wealth of cultural and natural treasures. As one of Mexico’s primary urban centers, the city proudly preserves its colonial heritage alongside its surviving biodiversity. There is a fervent soccer culture, with locals passionately supporting Tigres and Rayados, two of Mexico’s most successful teams. Monterrey also embraces culinary traditions like carnes asadas (barbecues) for special occasions and maintains strong cultural ties with the neighboring United States. All of these factors make Monterrey real estate some of the most attractive in the country. 

On the cultural side, Monterrey has also fostered some of Mexico’s most iconic musical talents. Rock legends like Ely Guerra, El Gran Silencio, and Inspector hail from the city. The music scene is also no stranger to internationally acclaimed artists like Gloria Trevi and Celso Piña.

The Monterrey skyline is growing almost as fast as the local economy. (Samuel García/Facebook)

I would love to share the insights that I believe encapsulate Monterrey’s essence. So without any further delay, here is a regia’s insider’s guide to her vibrant home city. 

The historic center 

Monterrey’s historic center is undoubtedly my favorite spot in town. It is a focal point of cultural significance where visitors can easily spend a couple of days immersed in its captivating corridors. A recommended starting point is Barrio Antiguo, known for its meticulous preservation of colonial architecture.

For an unforgettable culinary experience, Trece Lunas on Calle Abasolo stands out for its slow-cooked delicacies, rustic ambiance, and generous portions. Hear me out—I have had the best chilaquiles of my life at Trece Lunas. You have got to check them out. Once you’ve tried those, I recommend a stroll down Morelos Street, where you can visit well-stocked record stores (believe me, you’ll find true gems here), antique boutiques, bars with live music, and great restaurants like Me Muero de Hambre.

If you’re looking for a quick coffee and pastry, I would definitely go for Café Pressente, Black Café, or Coffee Berry Borer on Diego de Montemayor Street. All three of them offer rich and delicious options for coffee enthusiasts, as well as a unique pastry selection you cannot miss.

Monterrey’s Barrio Antiguo offers a glimpse of history amid a modern metropolis. (El Barrio Antiguo de Monterrey/Facebook)

Art and nature in the historic center

If you’re into the art scene, a great place to visit is the Contemporary Art Museum (Museo MARCO). The museum itself is an architectural marvel designed by the esteemed Luis Barragán. There has not been a single visit to Monterrey that I have not visited MARCO, one of the city’s longest-standing attractions. This institution hosts captivating exhibitions featuring artists including Diego Rivera, Leonora Carrington, and Pablo Picasso, complemented by panoramic views of Monterrey’s most iconic natural landmark, el Cerro de la Silla (named for its resemblance to a horse saddle).

Equally important is the Museum of Mexican History, which houses the most important historical exhibition in northern Mexico. If you want a peek into everyday life in pre-Hispanic and colonial Mexico, this is the place to be. If you’re a remote worker like me, you’ll find a beautiful and quiet work environment at the Citizen Culture Lab (LABNL). This space is housed in a century-old art deco building, offering naturally lit workspace options and a comfortable library with an expansive range of topics.

For outdoor enthusiasts, Parque Fundidora is a fantastic opportunity to have fun on its expansive grounds, once the site of a steel factory pivotal to the city’s industrial growth. My personal favorite activity is renting a bike to explore the park’s picturesque trails. Also take time to admire the factory’s standing towers, and enjoy unique views of the city.

Nightlife

To culminate the Historic Center experience, indulging in a bout of bar hopping along the Corredor del Arte in Barrio Antiguo, with a final stop at Café Iguana, promises an evening steeped in Monterrey’s musical heritage. If you visit this bar, you’ll soon discover that coffee isn’t sold here, despite its name. It does, however, have a 30-year history of hosting musicians from all over the world. Many of the city’s most successful artists began their careers in this legendary cultural center.

Parque Fundidora, the sprawling central park that provides relaxation for Monterrey’s millions of inhabitants. (Cande Westh/Unsplash)

For a lighter dining experience, La Divina offers delectable regio-style steak at reasonable prices, while Botanero Moritas presents a plethora of culinary options to suit all kinds of palates. I promise you can’t go wrong with either one of these options.

If you’re interested in a real estate opportunity near the Historic Center, I suggest the newer apartment buildings on Avenida Constitution. The Puntacero building is a great option for a beautiful view of the cerro, and prices in the area range from US $160,000 up to US $530,000.

San Pedro Garza García 

While Monterrey is technically a single municipality, its Metropolitan Area comprises 13 municipalities. These include the affluent enclave of San Pedro Garza García, renowned as the wealthiest town in Latin America.

Nestled beneath the imposing Sierra Madre Oriental mountains, San Pedro is home to Chipinque National Park, a sanctuary for diverse flora and fauna. You can go up any of its enchanting hiking or cycling trails for a different view of the city. If you’ve got kids with you, there’s a fun section with games, slides, and picnic tables for them to enjoy.

Latin America’s most prosperous town is the perfect place for a new home in Mexico. (San Pedro Garza García/Facebook)

Shopping and history in the area

If you’re in town on a Sunday, you can always check out the famed San Pedro de Pinta, a space organized by local authorities along Calzada del Valle and Calzada San Pedro, the town’s biggest avenues. This is a great place to check out some boutiques and shops. Those inclined to activity can walk the dog, ride bikes, or go shopping for local crafts. 

Now, San Pedro’s newest attraction (set to open on May 18th of this year) is the La Milarca Museum. Curated by former mayor Mauricio Fernández, La Milarca is expected to showcase artifacts ranging from conquistador Hernán Cortes’s sword to fossils significant to the region’s history. 

If you’re interested in looking for real estate on this luxurious side of town, you should talk to your real estate agent. Traffic patterns around the options you’re considering can have a significant impact on your schedule. Apartment prices go from $250,000 USD to $5,500,000 USD. The average value per square meter in San Pedro is around US $4,071.

When it’s time to unwind and check out San Pedro’s nightlife, you can find Centrito Valle on Río Mississippi Street, a buzzing neighborhood with bars and clubs for all kinds of music tastes. If you’re into the rock scene like me, I strongly recommend Major Tom on Río Orinoco, parallel to Río Mississippi.

This is just one taste of Monterrey, a city whose reputation as an industrial powerhouse belies its rich cultural tapestry. I hope exploring these spots in town makes you love the city as much as I do. 

Ceci Valdés is a lawyer who grew up in Monterrey and has lived in Mexico City since 2013. She is passionate about the Mexican culinary and music scene, taking great pride in her country’s cultural contributions to the world.

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