Tijuana Travel Guide
The proximity of the border with the United States gives Tijuana a special temperament. Its streets also display a multifaceted and vibrant culture. Its own charm has been enriched by various characteristics of other regions of Mexico and also of Southern California.
The eclectic style of Tijuana surprises visitors, with its walls converted into urban art exhibitions. Its old commercial passages have been taken over by independent visual artists and turned into explosions of color.
The city has a wide variety of places where the nightlife is lively, as well as an endless number of restaurants, bars and pubs. On Revolution Avenue, for example, you can see many bars and hotels built during the era of the U.S. Prohibition.
- Top 5 reasons to visit Tijuana
- What to do in Tijuana
- When to visit Tijuana
- How to get to Tijuana
- Where to stay in Tijuana
- How to get around Tijuana
- Cost of living in Tijuana
- Where to eat in Tijuana
Top 5 reasons to visit Tijuana
The world’s busiest border
An estimated 50,000 Tijuana residents cross the border each day to work in the United States, passing the San Ysidro border crossing point on their way to San Diego. In addition, countless visitors arrive from California to enjoy the legendary atmosphere of this unique corner of Mexico.
Only 5 miles from the city center is Tijuana Beach, a perfect place to relax and enjoy the good weather on the beach. In addition, there are numerous restaurants and cafes that contribute to the usual animation of the town.
In Tijuana, you can taste the famous local beers and you can also learn how they are brewed by visiting the Tijuana Brewery. Of course, the city’s bars and pubs offer a wide selection of craft beers.
Independent Art and Culture
In Tijuana, art and culture are appreciated in every corner, since the entire city is a work that expresses the creativity of street art, out of the box and bold. The Pasaje Rodriguez, for example, is an old abandoned market that has been converted into an exceptional urban art exhibition.
The Tijuana Cultural Center
The Tijuana Cultural Center surprises with its avant-garde style. In the complex you can find the Museum of the Californias, the exhibition space El Cubo, an aquarium, a botanical garden and a bookstore, among other important spaces.
What to do in Tijuana
Exploring the city
Let your feet carry you along the iconic Revolution Avenue, known as La Revu, and enjoy the cuisine of food trucks such as the Telefónica Gastro Park, as well as the art and traditions of the city. It’s a pleasure to stop and drink a craft beer or a coffee in the beautiful cafes of the place.
Watch a movie in a very peculiar place
Located in the Tijuana Cultural Center, this cinema and planetarium is distinguished by its spherical shape and is known as “Cine Bola” or simply “La Bola”. There you can see movies in OMNIMAX format. The price of general admission is Mex$ 52, although there are discounts for children and holders of the Sé Turista BC (Baja California) card.
Enjoy the parks and music
Parque Teniente Guerrero and Parque Morelos offer idyllic oases of peace in the city. In the old Plaza Santa Cecilia you can take pictures with the donkey zebra, symbol and cultural heritage of Baja California, and enjoy the music, color and joy of the place.
Discover the nightlife of Tijuana
The nights come to life in a number of places, such as the Agua Caliente Casino, the famous Swiss Basement, a place very popular with Tijuana residents and tourists, and Sixth Street, very fashionable among the youngest. If you feel like going out dancing, you can go to Las Pulgas Disco Club or to El Foro concerts.
Take an excursion to Tecate
Located 50 kilometers from Tijuana, the mere mention of the city of Tecate evokes a fresh and frothy beer. It’s a picturesque city recognized as a magical town with a peaceful atmosphere, where sophisticated wellness centers operate.
When to visit Tijuana
Tijuana has a very pleasant climate, similar to California. Between November and March there are some rains and storms, and in spring and summer the presence of tourism is very noticeable.
It is worth noting that the International Migrant Film Festival is held every December, and that in the second half of September, Tijuana hosts the dazzling Tijuana Interzona Festival, dedicated to independent culture.
How to get to Tijuana
The General Abelardo L. Rodriguez International Airport is located about 10 kilometers from the city center, where it is possible to get there by bus for Mex$ 8. Another option is to take a taxi, whose fare is about Mex$ 250.
From San Diego, Tijuana can be reached via I-5 or I-805. It is possible to enter through the San Ysidro entry point or through the Otay Mesa intersection, where the passage is usually somewhat faster. Federal highways 1, 2 and 3 connect Tijuana with other points in Baja California.
It is possible to get there by bus from San Diego to the Tijuana bus station. Greyhound, Mexicoach and South Bay Expressway offer this service, and the ticket costs about Mex$ 120.
To the San Ysidro entry point you can travel on the Blue Line, which departs from the America Plaza station in downtown San Diego.
Where to stay in Tijuana
Settling in the center allows you to move around comfortably and get to know the main attractions of Tijuana. Hyatt Place Tijuana, for example, is a 3-star establishment with rates of around Mex$ 2447 per night.
Those who wish to enjoy a 5-star service can choose to reserve a room at the Lucerna Tijuana Hotel paying approximately Mex$ 3585 per night. The Hotel Velario, located in Colonia Madero, offers a comfortable and economical alternative. Its rates per night are about Mex$ 600.
Popular neighborhoods in Tijuana
Central Zone. This is where the main monuments and shops of the city are concentrated. These include the cathedral of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the Tijuana Cultural Center and Revolution Avenue.
Zona Otay. The University of Tijuana is located in this zone and therefore boasts a dynamic and youthful atmosphere. It is full of nightlife centers, restaurants, shopping malls, movie theaters and other entertainment options at affordable prices.
La Mesa. This area extends between the centre and the beaches. Here you can find Morelos Park, Plaza Mundo Divertido amusement park, Las Américas Premium Outlets shopping center and Hidalgo Market.
How to get around Tijuana
City buses and minibuses known as “calafias” provide transportation between border areas or beaches and downtown Tijuana. The ticket costs about Mex$ 5.50. The main line of buses is formed by the so-called “Azul y Blanco”.
The trip between the border and downtown usually costs Mex$ 100. When taking a yellow taxi you must agree on the price of the trip, as they do not have meters. In general, the cost of the flag descent is Mex$ 23, and then increases by Mex$ 13 per kilometer driven.
Renting a car is a good idea to move freely around Tijuana and get to other nearby cities easily, as well as the beaches. Car rental rates start at Mex$ 440, in companies like Mex Rent A Car, ACE Rent A Car and Thrifty.
Cost of living in Tijuana
At the city’s Handicrafts Market, near the Wax Museum, you can buy attractive souvenirs and beautiful handicrafts. The best place to buy clothes and accessories is the Plaza Río Tijuana shopping center, where there is also a movie theater and several stores of well-known brands. In Mercado Hidalgo, besides beautiful handicrafts you can taste authentic Mexican food.
Supermarkets and groceries
In Tijuana, supermarket chains such as Walmart, Costco, Sam’s Club or Calimax provide services. As a guide, you can consider the prices of a liter of milk at Mex$ 17, a kilo of cheese at Mex$ 105.45 and a loaf of fresh bread at Mex$ 33.20.
Where to eat in Tijuana
Traditional Mexican dishes, including tacos and tamales, are almost a must at Caesar’s Restaurant, Tacos El Franc and Maíz Restaurante. Their prices are around Mex$ 100 per person. If you prefer a more refined atmosphere, come to Mission 19 or Villa Saverios, where a meal can cost between Mex$ 300 and Mex$ 400. When it comes to desserts and coffee, Casa Cacao offers delicious options.
If you feel like trying tasty food in an informal style, visit the food trucks that are located in the most touristy areas and on the borders. There you can eat for Mex$ 30 or 40. In addition to tamales and tacos, try the coconuts with shrimp and the tostilocos, which you can buy from the eloteros in their carts.