On July 11, 1889 the city of Tijuana was founded in the Baja California region of Mexico, just south of San Diego when an agreement was signed between descendants of Santiago Argüello and Augustín Olvera to begin the development of the city. The agreement was signed 41 years after the end of the Mexican-American War. Since this isn’t meant to be a history lesson, I’ll leave it up you to check out Wikipedia for more about the city’s origin.
Tomorrow, Tijuana is turning 131 years old, and it exists as a part of the San Diego–Tijuana transborder urban agglomeration. It is a city full of vibrancy and life. The culture is rich and the people are friendly and welcoming to all people, as it has become a popular migration hub for its employment opportunities (as a major manufacturing center) and other obvious reasons. The beaches are beautiful, and access to Southern California adds to its own inherent charm. If you’ve found my page and aren’t the best English reader, check out the article at Zeta Tijuana by Carlos Sánchez for his beautiful description of the city he loves. To read the same article, translated to English, click here.
To summarize Carlos Sánchez, Tijuana is set apart from other Mexican cities because of its location and diversity of attractions and opportunities. The city is bursting with culture at every corner with live music and mariachi bands, street vendors selling the flavors that they cherish (all in their own way) from tacos to fruit and vegetables to delicious drinks and smoothies, and the occasional fire dancer in the middle of an intersection (always remember to donate a couple pesos). As I mentioned before, the people are warm and welcoming and willing to talk and get to know you. The metropolitan area is huge and always growing, and the masses of people are known to be joyful and polite. In addition, the city is home to many long term opportunities in industry (science, technology and manufacturing) with chances to participate in or watch sporting events. You’ll even find some pleasant oddities mixed in with the rest of the city’s offerings, such as the Burro Cebra or Zonkey (a black and white striped donkey). Even if you don’t love Mexican food, the city has plenty of other options, many of which can not be found anywhere else. Try sushi with banana.
Apart from its own attractions and dynamic night life, Tijuana is central to many other worthwhile diversions. The town of Tecate can be found less than an hour to the east and offers many enjoyable experiences including dining, spas, resorts, and hiking. Along the Pacific Coast, to the south of Tijuana are the coastal towns of Rosarito, Puerto Neuvo, and Ensenada. A two hour road trip from Tijuana to Ensenada offers the chance to see many incredible sights along Mexican Federal Highway 1D. But this article isn’t about the things around Tijuana. Not when the city itself holds so much of its own charm.
A simple trip to Tijuana’s lively El Centro (downtown) is a reward in itself. To walk along Avenida Revolución alone gives you the chance to see the unique culture. Restaurants and hotels sit along both sides of the street. You’ll pass young couples in love and smiling vendors trying to make their honest living. One of the best places to eat and relax over a cup of coffee is Praga Cafe. The environment is warm and friendly, quiet, and can be very romantic. The region around Tijuana also has a rich selection of wineries to visit for the refined adventurer. Pictured below is La Ruta Del Vino, a restaurant that serves wine from the vine the vineyards around Ensenada.
Of course, Tijuana also has its wild and sensual night life. There are a multitude of bars and clubs, many of which offer good clean fun. You can go salsa dancing, drink with a few friends, and then go back out to dance until the sun comes up. Unlike cities in California where bars and clubs close at 1 or 2am, Tijuana’s clubs don’t quit until around six in the morning, keeping the party alive as long as you can stay on your feet. Other adult-only options are available as well, but sometimes singing karaoke, laughing and dancing with your friends is all you need.
To sum it all up, Tijuana is a growing young city with wide eyes and childlike excitement driving its development. Even if you can’t visit, take the time to research the city and the surrounding area. Its culture and life bleeds into and shapes the experience in San Diego and much of Southern California and it is well worth the visit, whether physically or virtually. Happy Birthday Tijuana! May there be many more to come.