Macro Plaza, or Gran Plaza, is definitely the centerpiece attraction in Monterrey. The Faro de Comercio, or Tower of Commerce, dominates the landscape of the Macro Plaza, and is the highest monument in México. Most nights a beam of red laser light circles the city from atop the tower, making for some interesting effects when it scans the nearby mountains. The tower is a great starting point for a leisurely stroll through the heart of Monterrey.
The plaza is long (6 blocks) and narrow (1block) and is almost as big in total area as the Zocalo in México City. The plaza is really a series of smaller plazas joined together to form a pedestrian plaza with fountains, parks, benches, shade trees, the city theatre and bandstands.
In close proximity to the plaza are, numerous museums, the city’s beautiful cathedral, Paseo Santa Lucia and Barrio Antiguo. You could easily spend a couple of full days enjoying the contents of the city’s museums. Paseo Santa Lucia, adjacent to the Museum of Mexican History, is a pleasant diversion from the bustling city, with a walkway along a canal; sidewalk cafes and you may be lucky enough catch some entertainment, be it planned or impromptu. The Paseo is an especially pleasant spot to visit in the evenings when the quiet atmosphere and unique lighting make for a very pleasant experience.
The state tourism office is located nearby at at 5 de Mayo 525 Ote., in the Elizando Páez Building, they have a good variety of maps and brochures, describing the city’s many attractions. All booklets and maps are dispensed free of charge by a friendly bilingual staff.
A unique way to see the Macro Plaza, Barrio Antiguo and the downtown area, which is also known as Zona Rosa, is to hire a horse drawn carriage. These unique carriages and can be hired in several locations downtown, ask about these tours at your hotel. Trolley tours are also an easy way to get acquainted with the heart of Monterrey.
The replicas of old fashion trolleys operate every half hour or so and you can catch the trolley in front of the Howard Johnson Hotel or in front of the MARCO museum. Allow at least a few hours for exploring Macro Plaza, Barrio Antiguo and the city center.
Things to See and Do Around the City Center
• Macro Plaza Cathedral
• Tower of Commerce MARCO Museum
• Barrio Antiguo City Theatre
• Museum of Mexican History Paseo Santa Lucia
• Fountain of Life Metropolitan Museum