I´m Nash, mum to 2 year old Mimis and expecting baby #2 in a couple of months. We are currently living in Monterrey, Mexico. Both my husband and I were born and raised in Mexico, but life took us to Miami as newlyweds and then to Chicago, where our baby girl was born. We recently moved back to Mexico and, even though Monterrey is not my hometown, I have grown to love this city a lot!
We have been living here with our daughter for about 7 months now, and we are in love with this city. Monterrey is the 3rd largest city in Mexico, and we feel it is an excellent place to raise our daughter for several reasons: the people here are very friendly, our family lives here, it has amazing schools and universities, the culture, and a wide variety of fun things to do as a family. The only thing that we dislike so far is the longer commute time–even greater than what we were used to in Chicago–since it’s such a large city. You have to utilize a car to commute, since the public transportation is not reliable and the metro does not reach all corners of town. We live in a great location, however, and are lucky to have all the attractions within 20-30 minutes of us.
Monterrey has a lot of activities you can do, particularly if you like the outdoors, and the weather here is fantastic; it’s sunny almost every day, so there are many parks, trails and mountains to hike and explore. We are not the most outdoorsy people, but we do enjoy going to Fundidora Park from time to time. We enjoy trying out different restaurants and cafes all over town, taking our daughter to the museums (which are very baby-friendly), making carne asadas (Mexican style BBQ) with our friends and doing a little bit of shopping.
8:00 AM – MORNING WAKE-UP / BREAKFAST
Our daughter wakes up at the same time each day, 8:00 AM, so we all get ready and are out and about by 9:00 AM. We don’t really like to cook on the weekends, especially if we have a busy morning ahead, so we grab a quick bite at one of our favorite cafes. “Papan” is a small cafe and offers some cuisine from my hometown in Veracruz. They are very baby-friendly and give our daughter a little blackboard and colored chalks to draw on while we wait for our food. I feel that the people in Mexico are more comfortable with children and babies. The waiters usually chit chat with our baby and tend to pay a lot of attention to the little ones; most places will go out of their way to accomodate your needs when eating out with a baby.
10:00 AM – VISIT MARCO MUSEUM
By 10:00 AM we are on our way to the museum, and we like to arrive early (it opens at 10) so Mimis can walk around a bit as the museum gets very busy during the weekend. Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Monterrey (MARCO) is one of the leading museums of contemporary art in Mexico. MARCO is very baby-friendly, so we take our light stroller (Uppababy Glux) with us but let her roam free if it’s not very crowded. The museum is very accessible–the hallways are wide enough to accommodate several strollers at once. They have on-site parking (basement of the museum) and you just take one elevator ride to get inside the museum. They also have fun stuff going on for older kids (3 years old and up) where they do arts and crafts, usually for free, so we can´t wait to enroll our daughter when she is old enough. Since the museum is right at the town centre of Monterrey with the Cathedral and other museums practically next door, you can pass the afternoon hopping from one museum to the next. MARCO is definitely our favorite though, and will always have a very special place in our hearts because we got married right there.
11:00 AM – LUNCH AT THE MUSEUM
We love staying at the museum for lunch! They have an amazing restaurant that’s a bit fancy. Instead of serving regular sandwiches and cafeteria food, MARCO has some of the best chefs in the city and offers a buffet based on Mexican food with a modern twist. You can see the menu of the week online and reservations are almost always a must. I remember once, when we were just visiting Monterrey, we went for a meal to the restaurant… my daughter had just started trying solid food and I had forgotten to bring something from home, so when we asked the waiter where we could get some baby food, he insisted the chefs could make her veggie soup. The item wasn’t on the menu, and the soup was so tasty that she ate almost all of it. They really go above and beyond to make sure you have a wonderful experience.
1:00 PM – AFTERNOON WALK / SHOPPING
In the afternoon, we like to go out shopping or stroll around some of the amazing plazas here in the city. Our favorites are Esfera, which is really close to our home, or Fashion Drive, which is a bit farther but has more shops and cafes. Esfera is an outdoor mall, where all the shops have shades but you can still feel the weather outside, so we enjoy it a lot and don’t get the feeling of being indoors. It has many things to do with a baby or young child; Mimis favorite thing is to ride on the train. She usually naps from 3:00-5:00pm, so she has her nap in the stroller while we look around the shops, and when she wakes up we get ice cream or go on a train ride. My husband and I usually relax a bit in the afternoon, sitting down at a cafe while our little one naps, chatting a bit and just enjoying our time together. Most of the establishments here have great facilities, so we have no problem parking the stroller next to our table and going in and out of the shops.
7:00 PM – DINNER
We really like to enjoy dinner together as a family, and since Mimis naps till almost 5:00 in the afternoon, she is not usually sleeps again and ready for bed until about 9:00-10:00 pm. We take advantage of the evening hours and have a nice meal together. One of our favorite restaurants nearby (5 min drive), called La Morettina, is in the same commercial mall where Papan is. La Morettina serves Italian and French food, but it also has a great selection of mexican dishes. Perhaps more importantly is the fact that La Morettina is an incredibly baby-friendly restaurant. On weekends you will find an artist doing face painting on the children (Mimis always asks for a bunny) and a ‘make your own pizza’ activity for older kids, where they gift the children with chef hats, aprons and their pizza creations. We like to order the Rib Eye Chicharron, which is like a deep fried Rib Eye bites, garnished with avocados, cherry tomatoes and panela cheese. We also order a pizza or pasta and a salad, and a crepe to share for dessert (of course!). After that, we walk around the plaza for a bit and we get home by 9:00PM.