Tijuana has been a popular destination for day trips since the 1920s, during which the city rapidly expanded. You are going to love this border town, its vibrant nightlife, busy streets, and unique history.
Tijuana is the largest urban area in northwestern Mexico with its 1.2 million inhabitants. You will find plenty to do between the popular nightlife spots, the restaurants, and the thriving Avenida Revolución, where you will see bars and hotels built during the Prohibition area.
Let Tijuana surprise you! This is an ideal destination if you want to discover Mexico. Make sure you try the local craft beer, see a bullfight, and visit some of the popular clubs during your stay.
Whether you like pubs, bars, or dance clubs, you will find several nightlife spots in the La Sexta area and in the downtown area. Head to the Agua Caliente neighborhood for the casino and racetrack if you want to try your luck at betting.
Tijuana Beach is the perfect place to unwind and enjoy the great weather. The beach is just five miles away from the downtown area and you will find many restaurants and cafes on the shoreline.
Traveling to Mexico is the perfect occasion to see a bullfight. You will find a bullfight arena in the Playas de Tijuana area where bullfights are scheduled on most Sundays during the summertime.
The Tijuana Cultural Center is the perfect place to learn about Mexican culture and history. Check out the art exhibits and watch a few educational movies. You can also learn about the rapid extension of Tijuana during the 1920s at the Museo de Historia de Tijuana.
Taste local craft beers and learn how they are made at the Cervecería Tijuana. You will also find that most local bars and pubs have a good selection of craft beers.
The CECUT attracts over 1 million visitors per year, and with good reason. The building, an iconic sphere, is home to the Museum of the Californias, a botanical garden, an aquarium, and endless space for local events. The center satisfies the interests of any tourist. Unique spaces include the "Moon Forum," an open-air amphitheater for shows beneath the stars, and the funky, international gallery The Cube.
This lively avenue cuts straight through the center of Tijuana, beckoning to tourists from far and wide both to ogle and participate in the fanfare. This is the ultimate place to eat, with delicious smells wafting from every street car and shop, not to mention the endless cafés, bars, casinos and karaoke businesses. The most important photo opportunity of your visit is with the zebra-painted donkeys lining the promenade.
The point where Tijuana touches the sea is one of the most popular meeting spots in town. Its beaches are perfect for fishing and surfing the Pacific, and kayak boats can be rented for nautical adventures further afield. The Paseo Ensenada runs parallel to the beach and offers shopping and leisure when breaks are needed from the sun and sand, leading the way to Plaza Coronado, a huge and popular mall complex.
The largest green space in Tijuana hosts the best of the city's recreational activities. Take advantage of the wide open spaces and spend some time in the sun, before cooling off in the public pool or going for a more natural dip in the lake. There are playgrounds galore for children young and old, and a diverse botanical garden for visitors of all ages to explore. Families come together in the wide open BBQ spaces in a beautiful exhibition of Tijuana's social life.
The glitz and glamor of the stereotypical American shopping mall were brought across the border to Tijuana in 1981, with the development of Plaza Rio. Of course, the enormous complex was given a Mexican twist - all the fun and fashion are concentrated together and delightfully accessible beneath open, sunny skies! Whether you are shopping or catching a movie at the cinema, it is sure to be a well-curated experience.
Tijuana has a mild climate that is similar to California. There might be some precipitation and a few storms between November and March. Do not plan your trip during Spring Break or the summer if you would like to avoid crowds.
The Tijuana International Airport (TIJ) is only six miles away from the downtown area. You can take a taxi from the airport to the downtown area for Mex$250 or take the Plaza Río bus line or the Centro bus line for Mex$8.
You can drive from San Diego to Tijuana if you take I-5 or I-805. You can enter Tijuana at the San Ysidro point of entry or at the Otay Mesa crossing, which should be a lot faster since the San Ysidro point of entry is one of the busiest borders in the world. Note that you will need to purchase Mexican insurance if you want to drive your own car in Tijuana. You can also park at the border and continue on foot.
You can easily get back and forth across the border to San Diego by riding the buses that leave from the Central de Autobuses de Tijuana. Greyhound, Mexicoach, and South Bay Expressway offer this service and the trip should not cost more than Mex$120.
You can easily travel between San Diego and the San Ysidro point of entry by riding the Blue Line Trolley that leaves from the America Plaza in downtown San Diego. Once you are in Tijuana, you will be able to take a Tufesa bus for Mex$300 to Mexicali where you will be connected to the Ferrocarril Mexicano system.
Look for a hotel in the downtown area for a more comfortable experience. The Hyatt Place Tijuana, Hotel Lucerna Tijuana, and the Grand Hotel Tijuana are comfortable, lovely choices. If you want to stay in Agua Caliente, a good option is the Tijuana Marriott Hotel.
Zona Centro - most of the landmarks and businesses are located in this area. Visit historical buildings such as the Catedral de Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe, and learn about Mexican culture at the Tijuana Cultural Center. Avenida Revolución is the busiest street, filled with restaurants, clubs, and bars.
Playas - you will find a few popular beaches west of Tijuana where locals go on weekends. The Playas area is great if you want to see some local bands play at the many cafes and restaurants along the shoreline. Rosarito and Ensenada are more popular tourist beaches and are located a little further south.
La Mesa - this area is located between the downtown area and the beaches. Take a stroll through Morelos Park and the Plaza Mundo Divertido and shop at the Americas Premium Outlets if you need some new clothes or visit the Mercado Hildalgo if you want to experience an authentic Mexican food market or buy some unique crafts.
City buses and minibuses known as 'calafias' will take you from the border to the Centro area and from Centro to the beach. Fare should cost Mex$5.50.
You will find a lot of taxis waiting in the downtown area and near popular landmarks. You can take a cab from the border to the downtown area for Mex$100. Agree on the price in advance for yellow cabs since these do not have a meter. If you take a Taxi Libre with orange stripes, you will pay a base price of Mex$20 and another Mex$20 per mile.
You can drive your own vehicle across the border and drive it in Tijuana but be prepared to deal with unruly drivers. You can also rent a car for Mex$200 to Mex$400 and will have to pay around Mex$510 a day for insurance. You will find Budget, Max, Rent a Car, and Thrifty at the airport.
Head to the Mercado de Artesanías if you want to shop for souvenirs and crafts. The best place to buy clothes and accessories is at the Plaza Radio, where you will find a movie theater and many brand stores.
You can get groceries from Walmart, Costco, Sam's Club, or Calimax. A gallon of milk will cost you Mex$60, a pound of cheese will cost you Mex$40, and expect to pay Mex$7 for a pound of rice.
You cannot visit Tijuana without trying traditional Mexican fare such as tacos and tamales. Restaurante Caesar's, Tacos El Franc, and Maíz are the best places for Mexican fare and have mid-range prices, which means you should pay Mex$100 for a meal. If you want a fine-dining experience, head to Misión 19 or to Villa Saverios. A meal in an upscale restaurant should cost Mex$300 to Mex$400. Make sure you try the Casa Cacao if you want to have a cup of coffee with some traditional Mexican desserts. Street food vendors can be found a few blocks away from main tourist areas and at the border crossings, and you can get a meal for Mex$30 or Mex$40. Alongside tamales and tacos try cocos con camaron (a coconut bowl with shrimps) and Tostilocos (a bag of Tostitos filled with toppings).