Tijuana is filled with lots of fun things to do! When I lived in San Diego I made little day trips and even weekend trips to Tijuana all the time. If you plan on visiting Tijuana but aren’t sure what to do, I know this post helps you.
Tijuana is located in Mexico close to the San Diego border. Most people only know about Tijuana from the crime and drug scene that dominated the news a few years back. However the good news is Tijuana has cleaned herself up and a new Tijuana is emerging.
I was pleasantly surprised to see that Tijuana is revamping itself with an exciting and super popular craft brew scene as well as making headlines with their innovative baja med cuisines (see #3 on the list).
I’ve put together a list of the top things to do in Tijuana. It includes a nice combination of a little bit everything: traditional Tijuana (mariachi bands and zebra-striped donkeys), with the new hipster scene that’s emerging!
About the Tijuana Zones
As an FYI, it’s good to know the zones within Tijuana:
- Zona Centro – Features the downtown Tijuana and the famous Avenida Revolución that’s popular among day-trippers
- Zona Rio – More upscale shopping and dining
- Zona Norte – The red light district, especially Calle Coahuila
18 (Amazing!) Things to do in Tijuana
1. Explore Avenida Revolución
Avenida Revolución is the heart of downtown Tijuana, and is where you’re gonna want to start.
Avenida Revolución is Tijuana’s main street with numerical cross streets, 1 through 11.
The northern limit is 2nd street (towards Zona Norte – the red light district), and southern limit is 8th street.
The base from where Avenida Revolución takes off is the giant arch, which has become the symbol of downtown Tijuana.
2. Discover the Hipster Side Streets
Off of Avenida Revolución you’ll see a few side streets where Tijuana’s hipster scene hangs out.
These are particularly fun to explore and I’m hoping for more of this in Tijuana’s future.
- Pasaje Rodriguez – Here you’ll find pop up clothing shops, cafés, and even record stores.
- Pasaje Revolución – Similar to Pasaje Rodriguez, this is also an indoor alley off the Avenida Revolución with a sign pointing you where to go. It kinda looks like a small indoor mall with shops on the top floor and some cafés and breweries on the bottom.
- Colectivo 9 – I really enjoyed this spot! Down a little indoor alley you’ll find some little shops along the alley, and at the end you’ll find a bunch of craft food stalls. Yum!
Read more: Discover Tijuana’s Underground Hipster Scene
3. Try the Baja Med Cuisine
Baja Med cuisine is hot right now! With an emphasis on seafood and fresh local ingredients, this fusion consists of a blend between Mexican cuisine, Mediterranean influences such as fine wines, olive oil, herbs and spices and Asian influences. Dive into some grilled octopus, gourmet tostadas, and sashimi, yum!
Wondering which restaurants to try out? Don’t worry I’ve got you!
4. Check Out the Festivals
Tijuana hosts many festivals all year round! From food, beer, wine, tequila, music, and art…whatever your interest is, you’re bound to find a festival for it!
Stay updated with everything that’s going on by checking out Tijuana’s events calendar.
5. Eat dinner at Verde y Crema
Verde y Crema has a very welcoming atmosphere with a relaxed, open air feel and rustic design. The menu is constantly changing depending on fresh ingredients for the season, but some stand out options are the roasted beet taco, Korean tacos with carne asada, summer squash, paired with some of the best Mexican craft beers.
6. Visit La Playa
“La Playa” translates to “the beach” in English, and is where the Tijuana’s beaches are located. Hence the name.
They are a popular spot to hang out, and there are many watersport activities available such as surfing, body boarding, and kayaking.
7. Order Hot Chocolate at Casa Cacao
A café dedicated to chocolate? I have died and gone to cacao heaven.
Casa Cacao is a cozy little shop that draws you in with its compelling Mexican-chic décor and enticing aromas.
The hot chocolate is excellent, but if you’re feeling peckish, they serve food as well. The owners are very friendly, and you can feel their passion as they explain to you the history of the cacao plant.
Stay tuned – they’re expanding right next door into a larger space for their restaurant. I can’t wait to go back and dine in!
8. Visit Plaza Fiesta or “La Plaza”
Without a doubt, Plaza Fiesta is the mecca of craft brew in Tijuana. Here you’ll find some popular bars like El Tigre and El Depa, and the Insurgentes and Legion tasting room.
Plaza Fiesta is known for its lively night scene, so you’ll want to be here on a Friday or Saturday night to truly enjoy the brew culture.
9. Order a Caesar Salad at Caesar’s Restaurant
If you’re visiting Tijuana, you have to try the world famous Caesar’s Restaurant. This is where the caesar salad was invented! The restaurant is gorgeous with nice upscale décor, white table cloths, and a roaring 20’s atmosphere.
10. Explore Mercado Hidalgo
Mercado Hidalgo is an energetic and colorful market I stumbled upon on accident while looking for Plaza Fiesta (#8). Located in Zona Rio, this local market is a great place to buy fresh fruit and vegetable, as well as many other items. What’s great is you can purchase as much as you’d like because you can actually bring your items back to the U.S. with you!
11. Experience Tijuana’s Bar Scene
Tijuana’s nightlife is famous, however please please please be careful and cautious. If you’re wanting to enjoy the nightlife, 6th street (or la sexta) is the bar scene and where you’ll want to be.
12. Check Out the Cultural Center
Located in Zona Rio you’ll find Tijuana’s impressive Cultural Center. It is the second largest cultural museum in Mexico and features an aquarium, art exhibits, an IMAX theatre, and a large esplanade, which acts as a venue for performances, festivals and expos.
13. Eat at the Food Trucks in Telefonica Gastro Park
Eating in Telefonica Gastro Park is my favorite thing to do in Tijuana! The park is located off Avenida Ocampo and trust me when I say, this place is food truck paradise.
I definitely recommend coming here with an appetite and vegging out under one of the umbrella covered picnic tables to sip wine and enjoy the ambiance.
14. Explore Plaza Santa Cecilia
Plaza Santa Cecilia is a colorful and fun plaza representing the Tijuana of old with mariachi bands and restaurants galore. This is where you’ll want to be for those goblet sized margaritas and fun and lively entertainment!
15. Take a Stroll Down Mercado El Popo
Mercado el Popo is a traditional market located in downtown Tijuana. As soon as you walk in you’ll be immediately enticed by the stacks of fresh cheeses and sweets! You can buy anything here from spices and herbs to kitchenware and candles.
16. Visit the Tijuana Cathedral
The Tijuana Cathedral is a lovely Catholic Church located in downtown Tijuana. It is also Tijuana’s oldest church. Its full name is Our Lady of Guadalupe Cathedral (Catedral de Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe). The most notable piece of the church is the clock bell towers.
17. Go Shopping
Along the streets of Tijuana you can easily find shops featuring Mexican folk art, traditional clothing, leather goods, cheap jewelry and souvenirs.
If you want a more traditional shopping mall experience, head over to the Zona Rio neighborhood. Here you’ll find two large malls that also have a variety of stores and restaurants to browse through.
18. Eat at the Food Garden
This charming food court is where the best of Tijuana’s street food vendors have gathered! Try fun blends of healthy and tasty creations such as cucumber lime mint agua frescas, a veggie guacamole burger, and a variety of different flavored chilaquiles.
Guided Day Trips to Tijuana – Tijuana Tours
If you are wanting to explore Tijuana but feel more comfortable taking a guided tour from San Diego – don’t worry, I’ve got your covered.
Here are 3 Tijuana tours that I highly recommend and I think you’ll love!
- Tijuana City and Shopping Trip – This tour offers a 5-hour day trip from San Diego to Tijuana. It includes seeing some of Tijuana’s top sights such as the Old Bullring and Tijuana’s fancy new Culture Center. You’ll enjoy some Tijuana shopping and sightseeing and the tour also includes a comfy air-conditioned bus for transportation.
- Tijuana Food Tasting Day Tour – Tijuana offers some of the best Baja Mediterranean food available! The food scene is becoming more and more popular and I have even made special day trips to Tijuana just to sample the new cuisine. This tour offers in-the-know guides who whisk you around the city to sample some of the best food available.
- Tijuana Craft Brew & Taco Tour – Word is getting out that Tijuana’s budding craft brew scene is starting to make headlines. The Tijuana Craft Brew and Taco provides transportation to Tijuana, and is lead by a local guide. They provide a comprehensive tour of the city, plus show you the best spots in Tijuana for the up and coming craft beer movement. And of course, let’s not forget the tacos!
- Tijuana City and Shopping Trip from San Diego
- Price: $65.00
- Tijuana Food Tasting: Tijuana Day Tour from San Diego
- Price: $110.00
- Crawling Craft Brew Tijuana: Tijuana Day Tour from San Diego
- Price: $125.00
Are you getting excited for your visit to Tijuana? I hope this list of things to do in Tijuana helps you plan your trip. :)
Going to Mexico? Check out these popular posts:
- Everything You Need to Know for Visiting Tijuana
- No More San Ysidro Border Wait Time: Introducing PedWest!
- 16 (delicious!) Mexican Street Foods You NEED to Try
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These are my favorite things to do in Tijuana! Love to know your thoughts below!
Tiffany created Lavender Vines as a place to share her love for Jesus and adventures from around the world. She has a slight obsession with salted caramel lattes, Japanese kimonos, and an ongoing love affair with NYC and Paris.