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Things to Do in Tijuana

Tijuana, Mexico, is located on the northern Baja California Peninsula, just south of the United States border. Its close proximity to southern California makes it a popular day trip with visitors from San Diego, who come to enjoy the city’s restaurants, bars, and nightlife scene.

The Basics
Walking and coach day trips to Tijuana cover such interests as craft beer, wine, and food and depart from San Diego, Anaheim, and Los Angeles. Some tours combine time in Tijuana with a tour of San Diego sites. Many visitors enjoy Tijuana’s shopping, especially along Avenida Revolución, which offers cheap souvenirs, leather goods, jewelry, and Mexican handicrafts. Bargaining is expected.

Things to Know Before You Go
  • US dollars are widely accepted in Tijuana; carry small bills for bargaining.
  • Spanish is the dominant language, but English is spoken in the touristy spots and by most taxi drivers.
  • US citizens are required to show a passport, passport card, Trusted Traveler Program card, or Enhanced Driver's License to enter the US.
  • Safety in Tijuana has come into question due to crime, according to the US Department of State. Although tourists are rarely targeted, travelers considering a visit should refer to their government’s travel advisories for the latest information.

How to Get There
To avoid parking headaches, opt to ride the San Diego Trolley, which takes you directly to the border crossing, or book one of the many convenient bus tours that run daily. The drive from San Diego to Tijuana takes a little over 30 minutes. If you’re coming from Los Angeles, you’ll need to add a couple hours to your travel time, but it is still close enough to serve as a popular day trip.

When to Get There
The best time to cross the border, when you’ll encounter the least crowds and hassle, is on a weekday afternoon or early Sunday morning. The longest waits happen on weekday mornings and weekend afternoons.

Avenida Revolución
The main thoroughfare in Tijuana’s historic downtown is lined with plenty of cantinas, souvenir shops, bars, restaurants, and nightclubs. Also here are touristy attractions such as Tijuana “zebras”—donkeys painted to look like zebras—which serve as a popular photo opp for visitors. The street has also seen some upscale development lately with the addition of a boutique hotel and more.
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