My 24 hours in Tijuana made me realize how accessible it was from San Diego, so when I returned a few weeks later to race in the San Diego Dragon Boat Festival, my friends and I put TJ on the travel agenda for one of the extra days we had after we were done racing.
I learned from my previous trip that to avoid the line at the border, it was best to cross outside of rush hour. So we hopped on a trolley late morning from downtown San Diego and 45 minutes later, (at the cost of $2.50), we found ourselves getting off at the San Ysidro border crossing. Like I experienced the time before, there was no wait at the border and crossing to Mexico was a breeze.
Not being able to catch an Uber directly outside the border crossing, I tried negotiating a taxi to take us to our first destination. But when there was confusion with the driver as to where we wanted to go, coupled with the fact he quoted a large sum to get us there, I thought walking an extra few extra blocks to where an Uber driver would meet us was a safer option.
I knew my friends would love Telefonica Gastro Park and since we were hungry for lunch, it seemed like a great first stop.
Teorema/Lúdica Co-Tasting room on Av. Revolución was our next destination but it was closed when we got there so we hopped across the street to Cine Tonalá. Unfortunately, their upstairs patio was closed but we decided to stay and sat on their main floor for a drink. I knew we were going to have a lot of beer ahead of us so I thought it this would be the perfect opportunity to try a carajillo. Unfortunately, the server told me they weren’t able to make one because they didn’t have any espresso. As I eyed the menu for another choice, I spotted Container Coffee Roaster across the street and decided to take matters in my own hands.
I brought the espresso back and asked for a Licor 43 on the rocks. As I was pouring the espresso into the glass, the server noticed what I was doing and offered to shake the drink for me.
Energized from the jolt of caffeine, I noticed the Teorema/Lúdica co-tasting room had opened so we hopped across the street for a beer. The tasting room’s minimalist design reminded me of 33 Acres Brewing (one of my favorites) at home.
I’d wanted to go to the beach at the border on my last trip but there wasn’t enough time. On this adventure, it was our top priority and we timed the visit with sunset.
Our visit to the Playas de Tijuana was a sobering experience and a reminder to be grateful to be a child of immigrants but be lucky enough to hold a passport from a country that allows me to cross borders freely.
Being at the beach with big feelings worked up our appetite and we were ready for another bite to eat. We felt like we couldn’t come to Tijuana and not have tacos, and I felt like if we were going to have tacos, then Tacos “El Franc” was the place to go.
Just a few blocks away from Tacos El Franc was Plaza Fiesta and our last stop for the evening. I liked Cerveceria Insurgente‘s cool vibe and great selection last visit so it was worth a return.
Our last stop for the trip was Border Psycho. I enjoyed their beers at the Guadalupe Valley festival and knew they had a tasting room in Plaza Fiesta. Never mind the phallic tap pulls, and the least interesting looking space that we’d visited, Border Psycho makes delicious beer and I was happy to end my day in TJ with them.
Another quick Uber ride brought us back to the border, by 9:00pm. With no wait at the border, we crossed quickly and hopped on the trolley to take us back to San Diego (which was the sketchiest part of the whole day to be honest). As we rode back north though, I was happy to have had another awesome day trip in Tijuana and can’t wait to do it again.