Tijuana, Mexico isn’t one of the top tourist destinations in the world. It’s true. But lots of people go there for dental tourism and medical tourism nonetheless and while they’re there, they might as well see some stuff, right? Though there aren’t any pyramids or Sistine Chapels to see in the city, there are a few fun activities that you can do to pass the time if you’re traveling to Tijuana for business, a day-trip, or some kind of medical treatment. Below are the top 6 activities that our family found to do while we were in Tijuana for 2 weeks. Tijuana travel may not bring to mind the same sort of adventure or excitement as Chichen Itza or Teotihuacán, but there are still some pretty things to see and do just across the border from San Diego, for people who are interested in a run-of-the-mill tourist experience. On the other hand, if you’d like to see some more “unique” tourist attractions in the city, check out this article.
The Tijuana Cultural Center is called “La Bola” by locals because of the building looks like a big ball. Lydian and I went to CECUT one evening while John was meeting with a client at the mall next door. We didn’t get to see the Museo de las Californias, which is located in the same building with the art museum. The Museo features different historical time-periods in the Baja Peninsula. Lydi and I were only able to see the art gallery because it was later in the evening when we visited. Apparently, there are botanical gardens, and an aquarium too. The night we were there the outdoor area was filled with families who had come to see a performance based around the Chinese New Year (which was, incidentally, when we visited).
The Plaza Saint Cecilia is a colorful area that’s been dedicated to the patron saint of music (Saint Cecilia). As such, you can expect to see plenty of live music and dance going on there. Mariachi bands and the Mexican hat dance are common fare at the Plaza. This is the site where Tijuana was founded in 1889 and it’s the oldest street in Tijuana. It’s only a few minutes away from the Tijuana Cultural Center by car or a 30 minute hike, if you’re up for the walk.
The Mercado el Popo is right next door to the Plaza Saint Cecilia so if you go to one, you should definitely go to both. The Mercado is like a big bazaar filled with all kinds of things. It’s a great place to really get a feel for the Mexican culture, even if you’re only doing a day-trip to Tijuana.
Pasaje Rodriguez is also within the vicinity of the Plaza Saint Cecilia and the Mercado el Popo. It’s an area that’s filled with art, music, and creativity. Again, it would be easy to do a day-trip from San Diego to Tijuana and take in some spectacular cultural experiences by visiting these first 4 destinations. Pasaje Rodriguez is located at Calle 3ra. Y 4ta. between Ave. Revolucion and Calle Constitucion.
The Playas de Tijuana are the Pacific beaches on the western side of the city. Our vacation rental was located right along the beach so we were able to walk in the sand every day and watch the ocean waves from our window, which was nice, but if you’re not staying right along the ocean, you can still enjoy the playas. There’s a malecón or wooden boardwalk that’s open to the public along the beaches. And don’t forget to see the colorful fence that separates Mexico from the United States at the northern-most point of the city. It extends 300 feet into the ocean.
The Mini-City is an educational play-place for kids. Lydian, at age 16, is too old to get into the Mini-City, so we didn’t make this destination at priority, but if you have young kids with you, the Mini-City is a must-see.