Tijuana, Mexico is an amazing city with a lot to offer. If you like great food, beaches, culture, nightlife, and shopping, you’ll love it there. This post will walk you through some of the very best things to do in Tijuana!
Tijuana is a bustling border city with over 1.8 million people who call it home. It’s located in the Mexican state of Baja California, but only 20 miles from San Diego, USA and about 90,000 people cross the border every day! It’s one of the busiest border crossings in the world!
Because Tijuana is such a busy city, there are so many things to see and do! You may be wondering if Tijuana is safe to visit, as the city has a bit of a bad reputation. I’m going to cover whether Tijuana is safe to visit (spoiler: it is!) and all the awesome things to do while you’re there. It’s a great destination, worthy of being included in one of the best places to visit in Mexico, whether you’re going for a day trip, a romantic getaway, or just a relaxing vacation.
Without further ado, here are 31 fun things to do in Tijuana!
Fun things to do in Tijuana
Eat delicious tacos
I’m sorry, but if stopping off at every taco stand and restaurant is not your #1 priority, then I don’t know if we can be friends! I’m kidding, of course, but this has seriously got to be at the top of your list for things to do in Tijuana.
Tijuana has some of the best tacos because it is a border city with a lot of influences from all over Mexico and the US. You’ve got to try the carne asada (delicious slow-cooked meat), and I recommend checking out Taconazo if you are out near the coast in Playas de Tijuana, or Brasa Taquería if you are downtown.
Go out for a night on the town!
I can’t make a list like this and leave this off it – Tijuana nightlife is amazing! There are tons of awesome bars and clubs to check out. Most are located on Avenida Revolución, the main street through downtown, and you can easily find somewhere to stop in, have a few drinks, and dance the night away!
If you’re looking for a chill place to grab a drink, check out Tia Juana Tilly’s or Deck 22, which has a patio overlooking the action on Avenida Revolución. If you’re looking to go clubbing and experience the heart of Tijuana nightlife, Coko Bongo and Las Pulgas are some of the best bars in Tijuana!
Shop until you drop
A lot of people will hop across the border from San Diego to go shopping, and for good reason – things are cheap in Tijuana! Whether you’re looking for unique handmade items like pottery, blankets, or jewelry, or just looking for some cheap tequila, Tijuana has tons of great shopping. Like a lot of the tourist attractions, you’ll find most of the shopping in Tijuana concentrated along Avenida Revolución, so take a stroll and get some shopping in!
Stock up on some local food at Mercado Hidalgo
Mercado Hidalgo is a great place to go shopping for food, produce, and homemade wares. It’s a traditional market where you will likely be shopping alongside residents of Tijuana. It’s super fun to wander through, checking out all the different stalls! There is fresh fruit, vegetables, pastries, cheese, candy, bread… Everything you could need for a grocery run!
It’s typical to bargain over prices, so learning a bit of basic Spanish is useful! If you don’t know any, pointing and paying will also work! Mercado Hidalgo is located in Zona Río, about a 20-minute walk from downtown.
Try some tequila!
Tequila tasting is one of those other quintessential Mexican experiences! A lot of us have some not-so-fond memories of crazy nights with tequila, but trust me, you’ll want to give it another shot (literally) while in Tijuana!
It’s a national drink and actually can vary quite a bit in flavor and quality. You can stop into just about any establishment along Avenida Revolución and find somewhere to sample – I assure you that if you let the server know you want to try some tequila, they can help you out!
You can also pick up affordable tequila just about anywhere. Make sure you look for the “100% blue agave” label to get the good quality stuff that isn’t mixed with cheaper alcohol.
Visit the Tijuana cultural center (CECUT)
It’s not all just food and drinking here in Tijuana! There’s a rich culture to this city as well. The best place to learn all about it is at the Tijuana Cultural Center. This museum educates visitors on the history and culture of the region. It has a unique spherical design, which houses a movie theater, in addition to gardens full of interesting sculptures, an esplanade to walk along, and rotating exhibits to learn more about the area.
Try your luck at Caliente Casino
If you’re feeling lucky, this casino is the place to be! It’s located in the Galerías Hipódromo, a large outdoor shopping center and movie theater (also great to check out!). You’ll likely need a taxi or uber to get here, as it’s about 3 miles from downtown Tijuana.
This casino has all your tried-and-true favorites like Texas Hold’Em, Craps, or Blackjack. They also have a racetrack that hosts greyhound races on a regular basis! It’s a pretty unique experience to check out!
Eat your heart out at Telefonica Gastro Park
Located a little bit outside of the business of downtown, The Telefoníca Gastro Park is where all the hipsters and young people – local and tourist alike! – go to grab a drink and some food. This is a food truck park, with tons of local and delicious food options and more craft beer than you could ever imagine! Prices here are a little higher than elsewhere in the city, but it’s a trendy, fun environment that you will enjoy. Just make sure to go hungry!
Stock up on Mexican Candy in Walmart
I know, I know, Walmart is not that exciting! But, how often have you been to one in another country?! I recommend going here to stock up on some Mexican candies. My favorites are Vero Mango (chili-covered mango lollipops), Pulparindo (tamarind and mango candy), and De La Rosa Marzipan candy (peanut candy). So delicious, so cheap. You can thank me later. The closest location to Downtown Tijuana is out near Playas de Tijuana on Avenida Parque Mexico.
Check out some craft beer
Drinking in Tijuana is not all wild parties and tequila shots. There is actually a very large and growing craft beer scene in Tijuana. Make sure to go check out a local brewery, get some recommendations, and try a new beer or two! I suggest either Mamut Cervecería (they have a watermelon beer!) or Norte BrewingCo. Both are located within walking distance of Avenida Revolución.
Free things to do in Tijuana
Walk along the US-Mexico border
I don’t know about you, but I think it’s so cool to be right at an international border, looking into another country. In Tijuana, there is a fence along the border, and you can actually drive along the highway right beside it!
If you’re out in Playas de Tijuana, you can see the fence extend right into the ocean. The Tijuana side of the border is busy and bustling right up to the fence, but the American side is pretty empty. It’s a unique contrast that’s cool to see right up close!
Spend the day at the beach
After some time in the busy downtown area along Avenida Revolución, you might be looking for something a bit more low-key. You absolutely must head out to Playas de Tijuana, along the coast of the city. This area has a beach town vibe with lots of cafes and restaurants along a boardwalk.
There is a whole stretch of boardwalk with beautiful murals to check out. Grab a blanket, some snacks from one of the many vendors, and enjoy a day at the beach!
Channel your inner artist at Pasaje Rodriguez
This was once a run-down alleyway, but was transformed into a fascinating collection of art galleries and shops! It’s full of art exhibitions and pop-up exhibitions. It’s definitely worth a look for some insight into the art and culture scene in Tijuana. It’s located off of 3rd Street along Avenida Revolución.
Find some quiet at the Tijuana cathedral
The main cathedral in Tijuana is called the Catedral de Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe. It’s a beautiful piece of classic Catholic architecture and totally free to go and visit. It was constructed over 100 years ago, though not fully finished until the 1970s.
The cathedral is located in downtown Tijuana, just two blocks over from Avenida Revolución. It is a fully operational cathedral, so you can also visit for Sunday mass if you want.
See the statue La Mona de Tijuana
This is a fascinating place to go visit in Tijuana! It is an 18-ton, 5-story tall statue of a nude woman. It was built by the artist Armando Garcia in his back yard after the city declined his proposal to build the statue to mark the 1989 Tijuana centennial. He actually even lived inside this statue with his wife! Now, it stands as a landmark and icon in the city.
The statue is located in the northeast region of the city, near the airport, and you can grab a taxi or uber for the quick 15-minute drive from downtown Tijuana to see it.
Walk down Avenida Revolución
I’ve already pointed out a lot of things to do in this area, but you don’t need to spend money to enjoy walking down Avenida Revolución. Since it is such a busy and bustling street, there is so much to see. You can take pictures at the Tijuana sign and iconic archway at the entrance, check out the architecture of the buildings, listen to street performers, and do some window shopping.
Be your own tour guide on a self-guided walking tour
GPS My City is an awesome resource to download a self-guided walking tour that will take you through some of the different neighborhoods in Tijuana. It’s a great way to learn more about the city and find some places you might not normally go to!
Get some exercise and try the Cerro Coronel hike
Technically this hike is in Rosarito, but it’s absolutely stunning and worth the trip! It is a more challenging hike, with over 1000 feet elevation gain. However, this just means the view from the top is even better! The hike is about 1.5 miles each way, and from the top, you will have stunning, sweeping views of the coastline.
Romantic things to do in Tijuana
Grab some dessert and watch the sunset in Playas de Tijuana
I already mentioned Playas de Tijuana as a must-see on your visit. Another reason to go? The amazing sunsets. It’s such a romantic place to spend an evening.
My recommendation to make it even better is to pick up some desserts from BEAVEN , a local bakery, to enjoy while you’re there. I love the cheesecake con cajeta with dulce de leche or the classic tres leches cake.
Enjoy dinner at the birthplace of Caesar salad
There are a lot of nice restaurants to check out for a romantic dinner, but one of my top choices is Caesar’s. It’s an upscale restaurant located right on Avenida Revolución and has a great menu…. But you absolutely must get the Caesar salad – it was, after all, invented here over 60 years ago!
Go horseback riding along the beach from Rosarito
Connected to Tijuana by a long stretch of beach is Rosarito. This is the perfect place to try a horseback ride along the fabulous coastline. There are a number of tour operators that will guide you on a horseback adventure, and one good choice is Pretty Horses Rescue, a non-profit that supports the rescue and rehabilitation of neglected horses in the area. They offer a few riding options including an ocean view and a romantic dinner sunset ride.
Take a wine tour
Just south of Tijuana is Valle de Guadalupe, an expansive wine region. You can definitely go at it on your own and pick a winery to visit, or join a tour that leaves from Tijuana and let someone else do the work! This is a great option for a romantic day, visiting and trying out some new wines while taking in the gorgeous scenery around the area.
Try glamping under the stars
If you’re looking for a romantic place to stay, check out Campera Hotel[AW12] . It’s a unique glamping experience set in the wine region of the Valle de Guadaloupe. You will stay in a dome tent, right in a vineyard, where you can look up and see the starry night sky! It’s a spectacular location with all the amenities – namely wine and fine food! – that you need.
Relax at a spa
When you’re looking to relax with your loved one and create a little romance, why not check out one of the many spa resorts in Tijuana? Because Tijuana prices are lower than what tourists are used to at home, you can really go all out and book something luxurious!
There are a number of hotels that also have spas, such as the highly-rated Quartz Hotel & Spa, or smaller local options around town.
Tijuana is located along the Pacific Ocean, so there is no shortage of water activities to try. If you’re looking for a romantic activity, why not join a boat tour or cruise, or even rent a boat yourself? There are a number of companies that offer tours, so you can look out for one while in town.
Tijuana Day trips
This harbor city is located about 70 miles south of Tijuana. It’s a popular tourist destination and one of the largest cruise ports along the Pacific coast. It has a laid-back beach-town vibe, and you’ll love strolling around the waterfront area watching the boats come and go. You will have to try some fish tacos: battered, topped with cabbage, lime, and pico de gallo – there’s nothing better!
Head to San Diego
Many people will start their trip to Tijuana in San Diego, and it’s worth a visit in its own right! A day trip to San Diego means you can check out the gorgeous waterfront marina, the expansive Balboa Park, or the trendy Gaslamp district.
Check out Valle de Guadalupe
Wine, wine, and more wine. Valle de Guadalupe is a gorgeous wine region within two hours from Tijuana. You will have no shortage of vineyards and wineries to stop at as you travel through the scenic countryside. Some wineries have been in operation since 1597 in this region and there are over 150 in the area!
Go to Tecate
One of the Mexican Pueblos Magicos, and the only one inf Baja California, this border town is located about 30 miles east of Tijuana, a 45-minute drive away. Tecate is a popular location for wellness retreats, so if you’re into yoga, spirituality, or spas, you’ll love it here! There are also lots of outdoor activities in this region such as hiking and rappelling.
Eat your way through Puerto Nuevo
There is one good reason to make a day trip to Puerto Nuevo: lobster. You can buy a lobster meal just about anywhere and enjoy it alongside beans and tortillas. Puerto Nuevo is located about 45 miles south of Tijuana along the coast.
Have an adventure at Los Arenales Primo Tapia
If you are looking for a bit of adventure and adrenaline, head down to Los Arenales Primo Tapia, just a bit further south of Puerto Nuevo. This area has miles of sand dunes, perfect for speeding around on a motorbike, quad, or sandboard! You can either join a tour or rent something yourself and go for a spin!
Is Tijuana dangerous?
Because of the news and reputation of this city, a lot of tourists wonder if Tijuana is safe to visit. Generally, Tijuana is safe to visit, but like any large city, you need to be smart and safe when traveling. Use your common sense while traveling by avoiding anything drug-related, staying aware of pickpockets, and partying safely by.
Playas de Tijuana is very clean and safe, and is less crowded than the downtown areas, making it easier to stay alert and aware of your surroundings. Downtown Tijuana is also safe, but you need to use more caution, as you would in any large city. The red-light district of Zona Norte has more crime but isn’t typically where tourists go anyways, and you’re unlikely to wander in that direction.
Overall, Tijuana is not a dangerous city and should be considered like any large urban destination – you need to be smart and use common sense, but otherwise it’s perfectly safe to go to!
How to get to Tijuana
Are you convinced yet to head to Tijuana? There are so many fun things to do in Tijuana and I hope you go visit! There are a number of ways to get to this city from other parts of Mexico, though most international tourists will be coming from San Diego, just across the border in the US.
How to get to Tijuana from San Diego
Most people visiting Tijuana for the day or weekend travel from San Diego. You have the option to walk, drive, or take the bus across the border. The bus service is offered by Greyhound and the trip can be between $13-$25. It leaves from the San Diego Bus Station and arrives in Tijuana Central Bus Station (1-hour trip).
It can take a very long time to cross by car, with the line ups being extremely long. This is recommended only if you need to have your car with you in Tijuana. Otherwise, walking across is probably the best option!
Walking across the border in Tijuana
The easiest option for tourists is to take the US San Diego Blue Line trolley from to the border at the San Ysidro stop. You can get on the trolley at various stops in San Diego and the cost is just $2.50. Once at San Ysidro (45-minute trip), you can follow the crowds and well-marked signs to the border to walk across at the PedEast crossing.
The other pedestrian crossings are PedWest, Otay Mesa, and Cross Border Express. To get to any of these locations, you can drive and park at the border, or take a taxi or rideshare and be dropped off.
Walking across the border is easy and smooth, with clear signage along the way to get you where you need to go!
Flying to Tijuana
There are no direct flights between San Diego and Tijuana, so it doesn’t make sense to fly. However, flying in from other cities to Tijuana is possible and relatively easy. The Cross Border Xpress pedestrian bridge connects the Tijuana International Airport with a service terminal on the other side. So, if you fly into Tijuana, you can cross the border right at the airport back into the US.
The Tijuana airport is large – the 11th biggest in Latin America – and therefore welcomes flights from all over. It is conveniently located just 6 miles away from downtown Tijuana, so a short taxi or shuttle ride will get you right where you want to be!
I hope I have convinced you by now that Tijuana is definitely worth a visit with all the amazing activities you can do and amazing places to visit in the city and surroundings.
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About the author
Alyssa is a freelance writer with her Bachelor of Arts in International Studies degree. Alyssa is passionate about travel and has been to over 20 countries – and counting! Living in Vancouver, Canada, she loves to take advantage of the mountains and ocean by getting outdoors as much as possible. When she’s not writing, Alyssa is probably walking by the river, caring for her many houseplants, or grabbing a coffee with a friend. You can keep up with her on her personal blog.