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Tijuana Mexico - Day Trip to Tijuana
Read about Tijuana, Mexico. Did you know Tijuana is the world's most-visited border city? Many visitors find Tijuana intimidating, but if you read our guides, you'll be prepared for Tijuana. Learn how to cross the border to Tijuana and come back, find out how to get around Tijuana. Get a preview of Tijuana on a photo walking tour and learn the best places to shop in Tijuana. And if you take our luxury tour of Tijuana, you won't be able to stop telling your friends about it. if Be Prepared for Tijuana
Tijuana Photo Walking Tour
A vibrant world of mariachis and margaritas, fiestas and folkloric dance lies just 30 minutes south of downtown San Diego.
Mexico's most popular visitor destination, Baja, is the longest peninsula in the world. It's 1,000 miles of uncrowded beaches, striking mountain ranges, diverse desert, historic cities and laid-back resorts.
The tranquil beach resort of Rosarito, the famous lobster village of Puerto Nuevo and the friendly "Love Boat" port city of Ensenada all are within an hour's drive of the border. And the scenic drive from Tijuana to Ensenada is breathtaking.
Best of all for San Diegans or San Diego visitors, Baja's Gold Coast cities are close enough to enjoy in a single day.
Crossing the Border
More than 26 million tourists cross this busy border each year to wine, dine, wager, sun-worship and soak up the local culture. Many of them are determined to snag their share of the bargains to be found along Tijuana's ultra-commercial Avenida Revolucion.
Others looking for a peaceful and romantic weekend take the drive south along the coast. Best of all for San Diego visitors, Baja's Gold Coast cities are close enough to enjoy in a single day. And getting there is relatively hassle-free, but if you're traveling by car, be prepared for a wait as you return to the United States.
It's no wonder that Tijuana has become the world's most visited border city. What was once, by reputation, just beer, beads and burrito territory is now better known as a destination for upscale shopping bargains. Folk art, for example, is a real steal.
It's also a place for adventure, gourmet dining, disco crawling and all-night dancing. Tijuana today can be one of the most exciting cities on earth if you know where to look.
Elvis has been sighted again. This time at the Tijuana Wax Museum with Marilyn Monroe, Christopher Columbus, Jack the Ripper, Pancho Villa, Laurel and Hardy, Dracula and the last of the Aztec emperors. Don't miss the gory, but authentic, Aztec human-sacrifice diorama. Adults will find it horrifying, and kids will love the fact that someone's heart is getting ripped out. Allow 45 minutes to see the entire museum. Open daily from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Admission for adults is less than $2; kids 5 and younger are free. On First Street, between Avenidas Revolucion and Madero. Call 011-52-664-688-2478.
When you want to wine down, drop by the L.A. Cetto Winery. Of Baja California's nine wineries, Cetto is the only one with a facility in Tijuana. Cetto's top-selling red is Cabernet Sauvignon at $7, but its Nebbiolo also is a favorite, and a steal, at $9. The Chardonnay is another excellent choice at $7. Wine tastings and tours of the vast Cetto cellars are offered hourly, and there is a spacious boutique for buying some of Mexico's fine wines and wine accessories. A tour with four wines will run you $2. Deluxe wine and cheese tours are offered to groups of 10 or more, and free shuttle-bus service from the border to the winery is available on request for groups of 20 or more. Open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. At Canon Johnson No. 2108, just off Avenida Constitucion and 10th Street in downtown Tijuana. Call 011-52-664-685-3031.
Greyhound racing, with betting, has been a tradition in Tijuana for decades. You can see the dogs run daily at no charge at the historic Caliente race track. Races begin nightly at 7:45 p.m., with additional matinees at 2 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. Hipodromo Caliente Race Track, Blvd. Agua Caliente and Tapachula Ave. in downtown Tijuana. Call 011-52-664-681-7300.
Prices can change in Mexico from one day to the next due to fluctuation in the peso. Also, event starting times and merchant business hours can change without notice. Always call ahead.
Dining: Do lunch street-side or sit-down
Smoking is permitted in most Mexican restaurants. Reservations are usually not necessary in border-area and Baja establishments. Here are a few favorites:
Cien Anos ("100 Years") is famous for its sizzling spice combos, authentic preparations and unusual pre-Columbian ingredients. Be prepared for a daring menu, which includes chili rellenos stuffed with shrimp in lobster sauce, garlicky ant eggs, buttery cactus worms and delicate squash blossom soup. Sound too exotic? Not to worry. Cien Anos' menu has less adventurous items as well, even for conservative Aunt Minnie. Entrees range from $6 to $8. Appetizers, soups and salads are $5 to $8. Portions are generous. Cien Anos is one of few Tijuana restaurants where reservations are a must. Cien Anos is located in Zona Rio, just off Avenida Paseo de los Heroes, at Calle Jose Maria Velazco No. 1407, across from Mundo Divertido's parking lot. Phone: 011-52-664-634-3039. Hours: Monday through Thursday, noon to 11 p.m.; Fri-Sat., noon to midnight; Sunday, noon to 8 p.m. Free valet parking. Credit cards accepted.
La Costa is a classy, quiet escape for weary visitors in the heart of the city's shopping district. The menu boasts eight kinds of lobster, 20-plus shrimp dishes, crab, scallops, escargot, mussels, oysters, octopus, squid and even abalone, when available. Hot hors d'oeuvres are complimentary, and La Costa's special Mexican after-dinner drinks are on the house. Full dinners range from $9 to $16. La Costa is located on Seventh Street, just off Avenida Revolucion. Phone: 011-52-664-685-8494. Hours: Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. to midnight. Supervised free parking. Credit cards accepted.
Hacienda de la Tia Juana , which opened in 2004, is an excellent option for walkers, either on their way to Avenida Revolucion or on their way back home. This charming courtyard restaurant with its umbrella tables and central fountain is the closest thing in Tijuana to Old World Mexico and the only truly quiet dining spot where you can listen to romantic Mexican music without the din of discos. The menu has something to please everyone, from tortilla soup, chiles rellenos, combination plates, Caesar salads and shrimp tacos to authentic dishes like mole poblano and Tampiquena beef. Prices are reasonable, and the ambiance is lovely. This is the perfect place to people watch while having a margarita after a hard day of shopping since it's right on the pedestrian walkway with no noisy auto or bus traffic. Prices range from $3.25 to $12.75, with most items in the $5 range. Hacienda de la Tia Juana is located on First Street, right next to the Wax Museum and just a few steps east of Avenida Revolucion and the new Tijuana Arch. Phone: 011-52-664-624-9147. Hours: weekdays and Sunday, 10-8 pm; Friday & Saturday, 10 a.m. to 10 pm. VISA and Mastercard accepted. If driving, you can park a block away, behind the Gigante store on Avenida Revolucion.
La Cantina de Remedios (formerly The Guadalajara Grill -- same management) is the ideal place to take Aunt Minnie, the kids or anyone else who wants an upbeat "Mexican experience" close to the border. This colorful, multi-level restaurant looks like a Mexican village, with balconies, street lamps and the bold, bright decor of central Mexico. Waiters are friendly and hip, and you'll be comfortable here in jeans, shorts or other casual attire, both day and evening. The menu is predominantly appetizer-based, allowing for lots of sampling. For an entree, try the fajitas, chicken mole, tortilla soup or tequila shrimp. Entrees are $7 to $10. La Cantina de Remedios is located in Zona Rio, on Avenida Paseo de los Heroes, at the Abraham Lincoln statue. Phone: 011-52-664-634-3065. Hours: Daily, noon to midnight. Free parking. Credit cards accepted.
If you absolutely must munch a street taco while you shop, the large taco stand next to the parking lot at the corner of Third Street and Revolucion is your best bet.
Other light-snack options along the Avenue include these four quick-service restaurants with inexpensive taco platters and good Mexican combination snack plates. Try La Placita, next to Sara's, between Third and Fourth; La Especial, in the underground maze on the east side at Fourth Street; Tilly's, at Seventh Street and Revolucion; or Sanborn's, at the corner of Eighth and Revolucion. Sanborn's famous Swiss enchiladas will cost you about $6 and chicken fajitas $7. Hors d'ouevres for three, which includes three sodas or coffees, is $5.50. Breakfast is $4, with coffee, tea, juice or fruit.
Prices can change in Mexico from one day to the next due to fluctuation in the peso. Also, event starting times and merchant business hours can change without notice. Always call before going to a specific shop or restaurant.
Nightlife: after dark, the city lights up
The quality and cost of drinks varies dramatically between the string of discos on Avenida Revolucion and the more upscale clubs around town. On the Avenue, constant "booze wars" are the norm, with aggressive street hawkers offering "two for one" specials, "two for a dollar" beers, "three for a dollar" beers and other enticements to get you inside. If you're looking for something stronger than a Corona, you'll pay considerably less if you ask for Mexican liquor. Imports like Jack Daniels or Scotch are very expensive in Mexico because of the import taxes. On the Avenue, expect to find cheap liquor in your mixed drinks and not a lot of it. At other area clubs, the quality of the drinks is more in line with U.S. club standards.
When club-hopping on Avenida Revolucion, most revelers walk, since the discos are all so close. The street is well-lighted, and there are usually young crowds on the move well past midnight. Cabs are always available to take you back to the border. Safety is generally not a problem at night in the main tourist areas, but stay off the side streets. Use the same nighttime precautions you would use in the downtown area of any city with a million-plus population.
There's no one spot that's tops on Avenida Revolucion to drink or dance the night away. Between Second and Eighth streets, music blasts from Tequila Sunrise and People's to Iguanas Ranas and Hard Rock Cafe. Before the sun rises, if you can still crawl, you can try them all: Tijuana Tilly's, FX, Vive, Safari, Escape, Margaritas Village, El Torito Pub, the Caves and various others that open each month.
Tijuana's more discerning nightlife set, most of whom wouldn't be caught dead on Avenida Revolucion, gather at Plaza Fiesta for music, dancing, late-night dining and hobnobbing. The big, hacienda-like, square-block plaza -- busy every night and packed on weekends -- is a veritable rabbit warren of side-by-side clubs and open-air venues competing in music formats from rock to Afro-Cubano and Latin rhythms. (Favorites include Aah! Jijo, Monte Picacho, long-time favorite Sotano Suizo and the gigantic Mi Barra.) Plaza Fiesta is in the very heart of Tijuana's Zona Rio, diagonally across from the Cultural Center at the corner of Avenida Paseo del los Heroes and Independencia, right at the twin-spires monument. The plaza has its own parking lot.
Drop by Rodeo Santa Fe at midnight and you'll find a live, indoor rodeo. There's also all-night Norteno dancing with disco lights, a pulsating sea of white vaquero hats and wait staff that administers spontaneous tequila poppers right on the dance floor at this enormous, three-level club. The club is open Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Monday from 9 p.m. to 4 a.m. Admission is $8. Rodeo Santa Fe is in the Pueblo Amigo Shopping Center on Avenida Paseo Tijuana in the Zona Rio. Call 011-52-664-682-4967 through 69.
Senor Frog's is a long-time favorite for tourists and locals alike looking to enjoy a night out. Entertainment is varied and the place is always hopping. Special events include Tuesday's "Taquiza" (includes Mexican food buffet, tequila, beer for $14.50); Fridays feature live radio broadcasts from 9 p.m. to midnight. Sunday afternoons turn into "Frogslandia," with live entertainment, clowns, face painting and pinatas to attract families. Open Sunday through Thursday, noon to 2 a.m.; Friday and Saturday, noon to 4 a.m. The club is located in the Pueblo Amigo shopping mall in Zona Rio. Call 011-52-664-682-4958.
Ska, the nightclub formerly located on Blvd. Paseo de los Heroes at the Lincoln statue in the Zona Rio, has closed.
Prices can change in Mexico from one day to the next due to fluctuation in the peso. Also, event starting times and merchant business hours can change without notice. Always call before leaving to your destination.