Tijuana is one of the specific cities not only in Mexico but throughout the world. It is situated in the northwest of the country, and bears the name of the most western town in Latin America. This is an extraordinary city on the border of two states, which has its own laws and policy. People come here to entertain, to live life at ease, and to feel free. The neverending holidays do not stop even for a minute at this place. But if you dig a little deeper, Tijuana will show you modern buildings, fascinating museums, picturesque parks, and delicious food. Do not believe any rumors, come to get acquainted with this amazing city face to face.
The new history of Tijuana began in 1846, when as a result of negotiations during the Mexican-American War, Tijuana gained the international border. The city became a borderline, and in 1864 got its own council and judicial body. The date of the official foundation of the city was July 11, 1889.
According to data within 1900, only 242 citizens lived in the city. The situation rapidly changed in the 20th of the 20 century, when the gambling industry started to develop in Tijuana. The first race track and club were built in 1924, then a tourist center in 1927, and the first casino in 1928.
On October 15th, 1925, Tijuana became the administrative center of the Zaragoza municipality. However, the new name was not established, so in 1927 the Congress of the Union reverted it to Tijuana. In 1952, Baja California received the status of a free Mexican state, and beginning from May 1st, 1954, Tijuana city administration started to work for the first time.
Today, Tijuana is considered one of the fastest growing towns in Mexico. People, attracted to gambling and freedom, usually move here. The other newcomers are the citizens, who wanted to move to America, but didn’t have enough grounds, and were forced to settle in Tijuana. As a result, the city has earned a bad reputation.
Every year, current authorities are actively dealing with the bad image, and gradually turning Tijuana into an interesting and touristic center.
The best time to visit Tijuana
Focusing only on the weather, April and October are considered the best months to Tijuana for excursions. Warm and dry weather favors to pleasant walks in the daytime, and even in the evening. If you want to combine a trip to Tijuana with national holidays, you’d better come here a week before the Lent. At this time, the Mexican carnival begins — an explosion of bright colors and emotions. An equally exciting event is the Tequila Festival, which is traditionally held in Tijuana from October 9th to 13th.
You cannot go to Tijuana and not try the real Mexican tequila. You can purchase it at any store. However, if you are planning to bring tequila as a souvenir for friends and family, you’d better buy it in Duty-Free. It has the lowest prices for this alcoholic beverage.
Do not change the currency before the trip. Tijuana has enough exchange offices with a more favorable currency rate than banks have. You’d better take US dollars. You can often see the price tag with a sign of $, however it usually means Mexican peso.
Despite the efforts of the authorities, the criminal situation in Tijuana is still concerning. You can walk safely in tourist areas, especially since the central streets are usually governed by the police. However, try to avoid periphery and slums.
What should a tourist do in Tijuana
- Take a walk in the historic center Lázaro Cárdenas. It is better to hire an experienced guide, because this place has a great deal of stories. The most interesting ones are related to the famous Al Capone and a liquor contraband.
- Attend Tijuana Cultural Center. It is impossible to miss this building, cause of its bizarre futuristic shape. Inside you can find the only IMAX cinema in the city, and also numerous halls for festivals and performances. Moreover, the Cultural Center has permanent Museum of the Californias, and on the territory of the complex you can visit pre-Hispanic style garden called Jardin Caracol (the second name Snail Garden).
- View the expositions of the best city museums. For example, these include the Trompo Interactive Museum, divided into six thematic parts, and offers visitors more than 100 attractions from the world of science and technology. Not less interesting will be a visit to the Wax Museum, where you can have a look at the world stars and characters from horror films. Finally, it is worth attending the Museum of Tequila and Mariachi (traditional drink and regional Mexican music). It is a very unusual and fascinating place, where you can find a collection of musical instruments, where you will learn the story of tequila creation, and also, where you will visit a tasting room and a gift shop.
- Deep into the world of entertainment on the Avenida Revolution. This is the most visited area of the city, which occupies 8 quarters and consists of a big amount of shops, bars, and restaurants. It seems that you can find here anything, including traditional food, original souvenirs, clothes and accessories, jewelry, and much more. Avenida Revolution is a noisy street up till the morning, so it is not a good idea to rent an apartment here.
- Arrange a shopping day in Zona Río. This is a business district of Tijuana, concentrated with main business offices, shopping malls, markets, and restaurants. The main tourist attraction of Zona Río is Mercado Hidalgo. Here you can purchase fresh farm products and feel the local lifestyle.
- Take a look at Zona Norte, also known as a red light district. Perhaps, this is the most controversial district in Tijuana. Do not compare it with other civilized red light streets in Europe, for example, in Amsterdam. A huge number of policemen are on duty in Zona Norte, so you can easily call it the most secure area of the city. Bars and nightclubs, discos and adult entertainment — there are always a lot of citizens and tourists at this place.
- Buy a ticket for Corrida. Surely, this entertainment is not for everyone, but bullfighting is definitely worth attention. The arena for fighting is located on Playas de Tijuana, and it is the only one in the world, adjusting to the sea.
- Try tacos and churros. These are two traditional Mexican courses based on beans and rice. There is no need to look for special restaurants for this. All establishments make tacos identically. As for churros, you can try them right on the street. It is sold on special trays.