Visiting Tijuana: The Vibrant Life Across The Fence

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For many Americans, visiting Tijuana is not the most popular of recreational activities, especially in light of the media’s coverage of cartel-related violence in Mexico. Negative media coverage has convinced people that kidnapping is an almost mandatory consequence of visiting one of the bars on La Revolucion, the main party corridor in Tijuana. However, it wasn’t so long ago that those looking for a good, and relatively cheap, time would head south of the border to take advantage of the bars and clubs and that pastime seems to be enjoying a revival as of late.

It appears that Tijuana has been regaining its steam recently. People testing their bravery are giving the border town a try.  This is not to suggest that Tijuana is a safe-harbor for party seekers, but if you maintain a clear head and an awareness of surroundings you’ll find that this Mexican city has a lot to offer.

In order to have a safe night out in Tijuana, one must maintain some common sense: do not walk through a dark alley and if in doubt, do not avail yourself to a situation that does not feel right. As with traveling to any foreign location, alertness and courtesy of local practices and rules should not be forgotten.

That being said, once you’ve dared to cross “la linea,” it is pretty easy to have a good time. There are numerous bars and clubs around La Revolucion. Those places are mostly – as one can take a wild guess – focused on tourists.

For those interested in a more authentic time, a little detour onto Sixth Street is worthwhile. There, you’ll find several smaller bars and clubs that mainly cater to locals. “El Cine” is a recommended spot, and it is close to Revolution, so you can easily hop between neighborhoods. Right across the street is another club called “La Feretteria,” and the constant crowd there is testament to its popularity. Those places generally do not ask for a cover fee and a beer here costs around $2.00.

It is always worth to stop for a snack, or even to have dinner, in one of the places located on La Revolucion. Even though it can be a tourist hotspot, the bars and restaurants here are still relatively inexpensive and serve good food. The most prominent place to mention is the “Hotel Cesar,” where they serve a great Caesar salad. They prepare the salad table-side and it is well worth the $8. Another spot in this neighborhood worth mentioning is “Maria Candelaria,” which boasts great food and friendly service.

After dinner, make sure to explore the nightlife here. The Tijuana party scene has a lot to offer, with a wide range of music and events that cater to all tastes.

El Alebrije is a popular spot and its proximity to the border attracts locals as well as those traveling from up north. The prices are affordable and people are always having a good time. A table reservation is possible and requires the purchase of at least three bottles, but this is usually a great deal considering most people come to Tijuana with a group of friends.  A tab for this service will generally cost your group around $120 (which, by the way, is much cheaper than bottle service in downtown San Diego).

Those who like a more upscale feel will find “Classico” more suitable to their tastes. The place is off of Aguacaliente and a little further away from the border.  Expect a cab ride from la linea to take 10 to 15 minutes. Classico is located in the Grand Hotel and generally has great music and, despite its higher-class feel, is moderately priced.

Overall, there are multitudes of things to discover about Tijuana, whether you’re looking for upscale restaurants or underground parties.  Whoever feels like learning more should gather their senses, a few friends, and an adventurous spirit and cross la linea to find out what Tijuana is all about.

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