With a documented history that dates back to the settlement of the Kumeyaay over 1,000 years ago, Tijuana's attractions are wonderfully diverse, ranging from ancient monuments and casinos, to the first mission church of Alta California. A mecca for the Hollywood jet-set during the early 1900's, the magnificence of that period is reflected among the layout of Tijuana, including the city's main golf course and central park. Museums highlighting the darker years of Revolution jostle for attention beside opulent art galleries, housing the works of Salvador Dali and regional greats, while basketball and soccer have revealed a very new facet of Tijuana's talent. With such eclectic cultural heritage and a booming tourism industry, Tijuana strives to deliver mind-blowing educational experiences and fun, while opening the eyes of visitors to its fascinating way of life. The only problem is, deciding where to hit first on your Tijuana adventure.
Religious Sites in Tijuana
A skyline dominated by Gothic and Renaissance spires, the city of Tijuana presents a fantastic opportunity to discover the growth of Spanish influence upon a largely un-Christianized settlement prior to the 16th Century. Discover the fascinating legacy of the first mission in Alta California, coupled with the effects of the Revolution upon Tijuana's most breathtaking buildings - including Catedral de Nuestra Señora de Guadelupe.
Old Catedral de Nuestra Señora de Guadelupe - Situated at the heart of downtown Tijuana, the Old Cathedral housed the flock of the city for over 200 years. Built on the site of the “apparition of Our Lady Of Guadelupe” in 1731, Tijuana's premier cathedral was the first church to be built in the city and exudes a beauty that not even the “nuevo” cathedral can match. San Juan Diego comes to life through exuberant oil paintings of 18th Century origin, while his image also graces the gold leaf altar in the form of a marble statue. Hung within the dome of the main nave sits Mexico's largest sacred chandelier, still as polished and exquisite as they day it was lifted. Open: Monday – Saturday, 10 am – 5 pm.
Nuevo Catedral de Nuestra Señora de Guadelupe – A vision of Cardinal Juan Jesús Posadas Ocampo in 1978, when the land was donated by the Mexican government, Nuevo Catedral stands today as a monument to the city's devout Catholic following. The modern frescoes, abstract stained glass windows and depictions of the “Virgin Apparition” are a contemporary contrast to the classical styles of the old Cathedral and well worthy of peek. Open: Monday – Saturday, 10 am – 5 pm.
Museums and Galleries in Tijuana
As tourism shapes and manipulates the city, Tijuana has become rather akin to 18th Century Paris for art culture. Students from the South flock to the bohemian art capital of Mexico keen to chase the dream and bask in the glories of predecessor creatives. Post-Millennium, the city began to embrace its cultural heritage, with the opening of cultural centers, private institutions and quaint museums opening the door to a colorful past. While in no way can Tijuana compete with the overwhelming diversity of such attractions at Guanajuato and Mexico City, the diminutive galleries are feeding a repute for artisanal excellence, slowly gathering pace in its spread across the globe.
Museum El Trompo - Museum El Trompo aims to promote the quirky and bizarre phenomenons of daily life through an endless array of interactive exhibits and controlled experiments. An on-site 3D cinema provides educational cartoon entertainment for kids too young to appreciate the multimedia exhibitions. Open: Monday – Saturday, 9: 30 am – 5 pm
Museo de Cera de Tijuana (Tijuana Wax Museum) – Locals refer to the waxwork museum as the “Hall of Hollywood” owing to the proliferation of big name stars immortalized within its halls, including John Lennon, Marilyn Monroe, Emiliano Zapata and the “Father of Independence” Miguel Hidalgo. The second of its kind in the whole of Mexico, Tijuana's wax museum implores you to discover its glory as a once celeb-studded city. Open: Daily, 9 am – 5pm.
Amigos del Artes – a nurturing space run by a small local art society, dedicated to preserving and showcasing the best of Tijuana's contemporary art and sculpture. Split into two distinctive areas known as “Expo” and “Galleria”, the museum features some fascinating old artifacts such as pottery and wooden figurines, thought to date from the 15th Century. The Galleria houses modern works by upcoming local artisans, including areas dedicated to jewelry, photography, oil and watercolor painting. Open: Monday – Saturday, 9 am – 4 pm.
Tijuana Centro Cultural Center (CECUT) – situated beside the historic Paseo de los Heroes of El Centro, CECUT gets attention for all the right reasons. Amid the colonial buildings and Porfirian facades, this huge spherical dome is out of place and almost brash in situ, yet plays host to some of the city's most important relics – including the fossilized dinosaur remains found near Rosario. The IMAX Dome will force you to leave all recently impressed memories behind, as it transports you back to an era when the Meso-American's inhabited the Baja California Peninsula and Tijuana was little more than an adobe settlement. Celebrations of art and culture through traditional theater and dance are brought to life by the workshop students of CECUT – many of whom are more than happy to offer a little demonstration or lesson post show! Open: Daily, 9 am – 7 pm.
Monuments and Landmarks in Tijuana
Famed for its vivacity as the culture capital of Northern Mexico, nearly every avenue of Tijuana boasts a feature landmark or statue memorial honoring its greatest sons. Often , the plazas themselves are the attraction, loved for their bohemian air and shady groves amid the hubbub of a flourishing border city.
Agua Caliente Tower – standing amid a manicured park of outstanding efflorescent beauty, the Agua Caliente Tower marks the former driveway up to the Agua Caliente Casino - once an infamous haunt for the Hollywood A-List. The casino may be no more, however the replica tower stands as a modern landmark, reminiscent of the glorious years prior to the banning of gambling in 1948 (since overturned).
Paseo de los Héroes - Located upon a tranquil promenade just off the Avenida Revolucion, the Paseo de los Héroes commemorates the infamous leaders of the Americas in statuesque glory, including the Aztec Emperor “Cuauhtémoc”, alongside Abraham Lincoln and Fray Miguel Hidalgo.
Plaza Santa Cecilia – Dubbed Arguello Square by the locals, the archaic plaza was the first to have been developed at the heart of Tijuana city and remains a tranquil space, bordered by authentic Mexican restaurants and private galleries.
Caesar's Hotel – Opened in 1930 by the eccentric Cesar Cardini, Caesar's Hotel has traditionally served the city of Tijuana for over 75 years. Famed for its exquisite, authentic cuisine and exceptional hospitality, the hotel is better known as the birthplace of the iconic “Caesar Salad” in 1933. Open: Daily, 8 am – 7 pm.
Shopping in Tijuana
Avenida Revolucion – Nearly 200 years since its creation, the Avenida Revolucion continues to beat as the throbbing heart of Tijuana's retail district. Lined by mini mercados, multi-ethnic restaurants and exuberant hotels, it has often been said the Avenida Revolucion is the only true cultural attraction of Tijuana. Whether or not that may be true is subject to personal taste, however the Avenida opens up a wealth of shopping opportunities if you're seeking locally hand-crafted souvenirs, clothing or themed pinatas that run the gamut of cartoon characters!
The Tijuana bull fights are held every other Sunday between May and October in the El Toreo arena (sometimes held in the arena by the ocean). Tickets start at $12.00 USD for the cheap seats and go to over $40.00 USD for a view closer to the action. You can usually find information about dates and times from the Tijuana Tourist Office as you enter Tijuana or by calling the arena at: 86-15-10. Blvd. Agua Caliente between Ave Cuauhtemoc & Ave Diego Rivera
Rosarito Mexico & Rosarito Beach
Rosarito is now a municipality with plenty of hotels, nice restaurants, and shopping near the beach. You can find plenty of things to do such as golfing, horseback rides, fishing, swimming, and working on your tan. The beach is about 20 minutes south of Tijuana. If you are planning to take the bus, click here for more information.
Other Things To Do In Tijuana
Jai Alai Sports - If you go anywhere near 7th on Revolucion Blvd., this is the one place you can't miss. Tijuana Jai Alai schedules can be found in the building with the sign that says "Jai Alai Games - Race & Sports Books" on the corner of 8th & Revolucion. Jai Alai Frontón Palacio - built in the French Renaissance style popular during the Post-Revolution era, Jai Alai Frontón Palacio was once the focal point for Mexico's oldest national championship. An ancient game infusing elements of hockey, basketball and tennis, Jai Alai was a prominent draw for sports enthusiasts until soccer replaced its allure. Today the Palacio remains open for cultural exhibitions, bazaars and boxing matches.
Cultural Center Omnimax Theater - See the Tijuana Map page for the location of Paseo de los Heroes. This is where you will find the Tijuana Cultural Center. The omnimax theater is the first (and most recognizable) thing you will see to identify the cultural center. Stop by the Museo de Los Californias to pick up a brochure with the current movies, dates, and times. Paseo de Los Heroes y Mina s/n Phone: 687-96-00
Tourist Office & Tijuana Information
If you want more detailed information about any of the Tijuana attractions listed here (as well as some which are not listed here) be sure to stop by the tourist office and pick up some brochures, maps, and other helpful information. Located at Revolucion & 1st.