Tijuana’s most iconic experience is the Avenida Revolución (Revolution Avenue), a tourist mecca since the 1920s. Once known exclusively as a centre for illicit fun, “La Revo” has been cleaned up substantially – back-alley cockfights and gambling are no longer legal – but the strip is still best known for drinking, dancing, and shopping. Take a pause from the revelry to check out the Jai Alai Frontón Palacio at Calle 8 – while jai alai is no longer played there, it’s a beautiful example of neoclassical architecture.
Although the gore can make some travelers squeamish, it’s worth catching a bullfight. After all, bullfights have gone on for hundreds of years and inspired artists as diverse as Hemingway and Madonna. Most bullfights happen at the Plaza Monumental de Tijuana on alternating Sundays through the spring and summer.
This wide, European-style boulevard is notable for its gigantic glorietas (traffic circles) which house gigantic monuments to historical leaders from ancient Aztec emperor Cuauhtémoc to Abraham Lincoln (Lincoln supported the victorious Liberals during Mexico’s 19th-century civil war).
Architecture fans will enjoy checking out the ultra-modern Tijuana Cultural Center, which is easily spotted by its giant sand-colored spherical building. The complex holds an educational OMNIMAX theatre and the Museo de las Californias, which tells the history of region since prehistoric times.
Northern Baja produces some of Mexico’s finest wines, which are popular in Europe but not available in the United States. It’s worth the drive out of the city to Cava de Vinos L.A. Cetto, which has been in operation since 1928 and now offers a winery tour and tasting. The wines are delicious and surprisingly cheap. The company also makes fine tequila and olive oils.