Tijuana, located just across the border from California to Mexico, has had a bad reputation for decades. Slowly but surely the city seems to be rising up from the shadow of drug cartels, kidnappings and murders and finding its true identity as a vibrant and dynamic city that definitely deserves a visit.
The city is close enough to Los Angeles to be a convenient day trip, and from San Diego it’s pretty much just a short walk away… But first you have to get across the border.
The border crossing from San Diego to Tijuana is the busiest border crossing in the world, and it really does get busy. Getting into Mexico is usually rather quick and easy, but getting back to the US can easily take hours. Luckily there are people selling hot churros next to the waiting line.
First impressions of Tijuana may not be much, but the city is authentic and welcoming at heart
Avenida Revolución is the main tourist area in Tijuana, the so-called main street of the old historic downtown. The street is lined with restaurants offering three-for-one margaritas and shops hawking dia de los muertos statues and ponchos. Shopping in Tijuana is especially enjoyable because most shops offer free samplings of tequila to seal the deal!
Pasaje Rodríguez, located right off Avenida Revolución, is a quaint covered alleyway covered in great graffiti art and filled with fun cafés and restaurants. It’s especially lively after dark, with frequent live music.
Street Food in Tijuana is the stuff of legends. I knew I was in for good stuff, but nothing could have prepared me for all those delicious foods and snacks. Slide off the main roads and find authentic taquerias full of tasty treats.
Plaza Santa Cecilia is one of the liveliest spots in Tijuana. Covered in the colors of Mexico (and about 300 other colors), the plaza has several great restaurants and bars. A very touristy but still a very fun place to stop for that last margarita before heading back across the border!