Tijuana is many things: a sprawling city approaching two million in population, a vibrant and prosperous business center with many foreign-owned factories, the main entry to the entire Baja California peninsula, and much more.
Only 18 miles from San Diego, Tijuana is a shopper's paradise. It's in a duty-free zone, so you can buy not only Mexican arts and crafts but also imported goods from around the world. Mostly, visitors go for the day, shopping, having a meal, perhaps playing golf as well. It's not a place for historic buildings or much in the way of museums, but sporting events to watch include jai alai, bullfights, and horse racing. For children, Tijuana Wax Museum and Mundo Divertido (Fun World) are popular. Tijuana used to be known mainly for activities distinctly not for children, but while that aspect of life still exists, it is now just a part of the wide spectrum of what Tijuana is.
The shopping is centered on a street called Revolution Avenue. There are 10 or 12 blocks offering every product imaginable. Credit cards and dollars are widely accepted.
For a more total immersion, stay overnight - there are some nice Tijuana hotels. Just a few miles south is Rosarito Beach, with resorts, condos, and hotels.
Travel to Tijuana
One of the most enjoyable ways to travel to Tijuana is to catch the inexpensive Tijuana Trolley at the San Diego Train Station. It runs frequently and takes you right to the border. Or you can drive to the border and leave your car in one of several large parking lots, for a few dollars a day. From there you can walk or take a shuttle bus to Revolution Avenue, about a 20 minute walk. Once you cross the border, there are also taxis available too.
You can drive into Tijuana, and may want to if you are planning some large purchases like furniture. One downside to this is that there can be longer lines for leaving Mexico in vehicles than if you are walking. Also, check on your car insurance before entering Mexico.
Tijuana has an international airport, with several flights a day going to other parts of Mexico. The main airlines using the airport are Aerocalifornia, Mexicana, and AeroMexico.
All in all, it's easy to get to Tijuana.
Rosana Hart has traveled to Mexico many times. Her website, www.mexico-with-heart.com , contains the full text of a book she wrote about traveling in Mexico, as well as information and travel tips on a variety of Mexican cities popular with tourists.