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With its vibrant arts scene and a flourishing commercial zone specializing in upscale food trucks, microbreweries, and coffee roasters, Tijuana is demonstrating its ability to reinvent itself. A hop, skip, and a jump from Los Angeles and even closer to San Diego, Tijuana offers some of Mexico's best street tacos, a culinary park, and institutions like the Tijuana Cultural Center. Gone are the days when tourists flocked to Tijuana for Caesar salad and mezcal—although such opportunities remain, the world's most visited border city is eager to demonstrate that there's more here than immediately meets the eye.
Comprising the fifth-largest metropolitan area in Mexico, Tijuana's neighborhoods are as sprawling as they are diverse. In the heart of the city, travelers flock to the Zona Centro to visit enclaves like Avenida Revolución. Along the coast, Playa de Tijuana provides a chance to soak up a bit of sun.
A couple of miles from the Mexico–United States border, Tijuana's original downtown still bumps with activity. Along Avenida Revolución, upscale eateries and dive bars beckon. Nearby, travelers can find everything from tangy fish tacos to boutique hotels providing swanky accommodations steps from the city’s after-hours scene.
A blossoming commercial enclave, Zona Río is the newest addition to Tijuana's downtown scene. Cultural attractions like the Museo de las Californias and El Cubo contemporary art museum abound, while high-rise hotels compete for space in the skyline. At Río Plaza, retail enthusiasts take advantage of the convenient shopping mall experience.
Tijuana's westernmost borough attracts travelers of all ages with sun, sand, and surf. Accommodations are available on the beach, as well as outdoor outfitters who specialize in snorkeling, bodyboarding, and kayaking equipment for rent.
There are a plethora of things to see in Northern Mexico's second-largest city. Begin by crossing destinations of your sightseeing bucket list with stops at the Palacio Municipal Antiguo, Tijuana's former city hall. Then, head to the Tijuana Cultural Center, which uses interactive displays to document the social and cultural history of the region. In recent years, some have likened Tijuana's vibrant art scene to Berlin, Germany. Make that assessment for yourself with visits to galleries like La Caja, a traditional contemporary art space, and Cine Tonalá, an art-house movie theater.
Identified as a new cultural mecca, Tijuana provides endless things to do. Peer into Tijuana's future with visits to sites like the Telefonia Food Park and Pasaje Rodríguez, a graffiti-lined alley dotted with bohemian cafes, bars, and bookstores. In addition to these delights, trendy breweries and coffee shops line the lanes in the Zona Centro—simply follow your nose to your purveyor of choice. Or, venture further afield and take in a soccer match at the Estadio Caliente. Plan ahead and arrange to see Liga MX—Tijuana's top soccer team—play. Or, consider treating yourself to a tour of Vinos L.A. Cetto, which specializes in wines made from grapes grown on the Baja Peninsula. Finally, those traveling with little ones can cool off at Mundo Divertido—an amusement park and waterpark with more than 20 rides and live family events on the weekends.