Tijuana is one of those cities where the difference between the Unites States and it can be striking, where left is right and up seems to be down. It certainly has its charms, but the further you head into the city the less welcoming it becomes.
Tijuana is a bustling city filled to the brim with people; you will never be alone once you step across the border. It certainly makes for a lively time, and many of the locals are happy to converse with you and show you a good time.
I think the most striking fact about the city was that it was actually the more rundown- looking sections of the city that were the safest. Drugs are a common problem in Tijuana and because of the trade here, local dealers own the ritziest neighborhoods.
The food here is hard to beat, and I would say Mision 19 might be one of the best restaurants I’ve ever had the pleasure of eating. The food is gourmet and pricey, but worth it. I had the duck breast with a glass of Mexican wine. If you only try one restaurant in TJ, make it this one.
The nightlife here is high energy and good fun. The central hub seems to be located around Avenida Revolucion. You’ll find yourself surrounded by younger kids from the United States since the drinking age is only 18, which, as you can imagine, can make things a little crazy. Senor Frogs seemed to be a favorite of the locals and tourists alike.
Overall, my experience in Tijuana was interesting and fun, if not familiar. It’s proximity to the border means a lot of American influence can be found throughout the stores and restaurants, though TJ does have donkeys all over the place, which we certainly don’t. Some of their owners can be a little testy if you try to pet them; I found that out the hard way.
It’s a nice city, but don’t go expecting to be immersed in true Mexican culture. Many of the people here traverse the border day after day and it shows.
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