121 Things to Do in Tijuana

Photo from http://www.tijuanaonline.org

Located across the San Ysidro border just minutes from San Diego, Tijuana is home to world renowned restaurants, exciting cultural exhibits, shopping, nightlife and more. Like any other city in Mexico, the residents work hard to make a living, (maybe harder than any other city) and yet are saturated with less than favorable media attention.

Before moving to LA, I lived in San Diego for about 10 years but also spent nearly every summer in San Diego growing up.  I crossed the border regularly in my 20’s, either taking the trolley to the border and walking across or driving to the border parking lots and taking the bright red, hard-to-miss Mexicoach. I drove across more than half the time as well, usually because I was heading further than Tijuana. Although it has been a few years since my last visit (due to a hectic LA schedule), going to eat at some of the restaurants were the standout experiences for me. One of those restaurants I remember well was La Casa de Mole.  Their chilaquiles were (and I’m sure still are) some of the best around. (Read some reviews here).

With a recovering economy, a greater sense of safety pushing revitalization of all kinds of eateries, San Diego Union-Tribune’s Border Reporter, Sandra Dibble has offered readers favorable introductions on the culinary buzz in Tijuana.

I asked a friend of mine, who lives in Tijuana and commutes to San Diego weekdays for his job, what he enjoys most about Tijuana. Here are a few of his favorite things:

“Tijuana has an amazingly vibrant arts scene.  One of my favorite annual events is Opera en la Calle.  The local Opera company has a 2-day street festival with a beautiful stage that goes all day long with all kinds of music and selected scenes from famous operas.  It’s amazing.  I always think, “this would never happen in San Diego.”  A FREE outdoor festival celebrating OPERA!  And the place is packed with people of all ages, rich and poor alike, young and old, families.  It just makes me happy to be here.  Or the annual book festival.  Imagine the streets of the Gaslamp District closed down for three or four days to celebrate books and authors.  Free to attend.  That is what happens every year on Avenida Revolucion.  Or something as simple as going to the movies – tickets are $3-4 and most are in English anyway, subtitled in Spanish, I love it, helps me to continue to learn Spanish.  Better yet, try the VIP Theatres where for about $7 you can choose which seat you want from an electronic map of the theatre.  And these seats are huge overstuffed leather seats that fully recline.  Push the button next to your seat and a waiter arrives to take your order.  Popcorn and Nachos of course, but you can also order sandwiches, crepes, sushi, a cocktail, glass of wine or dessert.  When they arrive with the order a small glass table swings in front of you and small table lamps lights.  It makes movie going a whole different experience. And the dining – the food scene has really taken off in Tijuana.”

Last year, Tijuana celebrated its 121st birthday and the Tijuana Committee of Tourism and Conventions developed a list of 121 things to do in the city.

Tijuana, Baja California

Tijuana, Baja California (photo by Discover Baja California)

Turista Libre posted the entire list in English, and here are some of the highlights: (I admit that I wouldn’t necessarily do them all; I’m not a bullfighting fan nor would I pose with a donkey) BUT I thought this list was really fascinating:

  1. See a movie on the IMAX screen at CECUT
  2. Try a local custom: a coconut with chile and lime at the beach.
  3. Eat a spicy shrimp taco at El Mazateño taqueria.
  4. See an exhibit at El Cubo, the new public art gallery
  5. Visit the wax museum, one of only two in Mexico
  6. Check out the best Mexico makes in embroidery and guayabera shirts at Hand Art on Avenida Revolucion
  7. Eat a molcajete at Los Remedios
  8. Enjoy a concert at El Foro/Palacio Jai Alai
  9. Take a yoga class and then have lunch near the ocean at Yogurt Place, a restaurant and yoga studio in Playas
  10. Be a kid again at El Trompo Interactive Museum
  11. Eat at Tacos el Gordo, a famous local taqueria with locations in San Diego, too
  12. Eat a torta at Tortas Washmobile, one of the city’s oldest food stands.
  13. Taste a slice at Pastel de Crepas de Tijuana, in Rincon San Roman, founded by one of the
most famous chefs in Tijuana
  14. See a Xoloiztquintles soccer game at Caliente Stadium
  15. Eat beet carpaccio and blue cheese at La Querencia restaurant, home of Baja-Mediterranean cuisine
  16. Savor Baja California wines at L.A. Cetto wine bodega and tasting room

You can see all the entire list in English of the 121 Things to Do in Tijuana.

Some other resources to help you learn more about what to do in Tijuana and beyond:

Discover Baja California – Tijuana (English)

See Tijuana (Spanish)

Tijuana City Tour (English)

Tijuana Online (Spanish)

This video below is in Spanish as well, but it will give you a good idea of some of the activities you can enjoy on a visit to Tijuana.

Also, if you have any suggestions or recommendations, please feel free to comment below (but keep it positive por favor).

Mexico Today (Marca País – Imagen de México), is a joint public and private sector initiative designed to help promote Mexico as a global business partner and an unrivaled tourist destination. This program is designed to shine a light on the Mexico that its people experience every day. Disclosure: I am being compensated for my work in creating content as an Ambassador for the México Today Program. All stories, opinions and passion for all things México shared here are completely my own. Visit Mexico Today on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

4 comments for “121 Things to Do in Tijuana

  1. Ian Vallejo
    2013-03-07 at 10:07 am

    Think twice before going into Tijuana. I am a Mexican-American who fell in love with someone from south of the border, thus I moved to Tijuana. I am an entrepreneur and I make very good money, so last week I bought myself a luxury vehicle from a US dealership. The car came without license plates and tinted windows. Today I was driving along the border on the Mexican side looking for a parking lot so I could leave my car there and run over to the US side to run some errands. Low and behold a motorcycle cop comes up behind me and proceeds to pull me over. He pulls me over and says he has to cite me for not having plates on my car and for having tinted windows. I explained that the car was recently purchased and the plates were coming but that the car fully and legally registered and provided evidence of it. About the tint,I bought the car that way. So he proceed to ask “how we were going to resolve this”, which is code for a bribe. I told him that I would not pay a bribe so he said he would have to have my car towed. I told him OK tow it than. So later the tow truck show up and I go up to the tow truck driver who appeared to be a friend of the cop, and I said to the tow truck driver, who was very far away from the cop, “you should not take my car cause this son of a b$%^, is got a bandetta against me because I won’t pay him a bribe. So the truck driver blows up and starts screaming: how can you disrespect a public authority like that! and he caused a scene to call the attention of the cop over to where we were and he told the cop what I said and the cop said “you are under arrest for disrespecting a cop and he handcuffed me and they took me to see a judge to greeted the cop with hugs and kisses when we arrived. I pleaded my case to the judge who called the tow truck driver and the cop and the tow truck driver lied their butts off to the judge and at that moment I was taken to jail, which was nothing more than a cramped public restroom without toilets packed like a sardine with drug addicts and thugs. I wasn’t more than 10 minutes there that the thugs ganged up on me and took my wallet, my money, my credit cards, and my $500 cell phone. So the lead thug made arrangements there with a cop to have another thug that hangs out in the hallway of the jail to go sell my cell phone and bring back the money so that the incarcerated thug could pay his way out of the jail. Sure enough it all must have went as planned for the thug and corrupt cops, cause the thugs got out of jail scott free. Surely the judge must have known what was going on cause the judge is right there in a little dark room right next to the jailhouse and how could this thug have avoided all the documentation and had someone from outside come and pay the fines that I had to go through to get out. No instead he got whisked out through the back door.

    Let me give some very helpful advice to all of you that will save you a lot of money, headaches and landing in jail on trumped up charges: DO NOT VISIT MEXICO UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES. IT IS NOT A SAFE PLACE AT ALL. AND IF YOU DON’T BELIEVE ME AND YOU STILL DECIDE TO COME, THAN DON’T WORRY SO MUCH ABOUT THUGS, DRUG LORDS OR THIEFS, WORRY ABOUT COPS, THEY ARE AS CORRUPT AS THE DAY IS LONG.

  2. B
    2012-05-01 at 3:15 pm

    The links are broken :(

    • Susie Albin-Najera
      2012-05-01 at 9:02 pm

      Thanks Bridget – Looks like their site is down, so I replaced it. You can see the list now.

  3. Zoe
    2011-11-28 at 8:34 am

    This is just what I need and want, having moved to a nearby community a few months ago and have loved reading about the renaissance of Tijuana and all she has to offer. I will start going down the list and see how many we can do. Thanks.

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