Cactus in Mexico

How to Plan Mexico Day Trips From San Diego

The Excitement of Tijuana and Beyond

You have a Mexico adventure in mind—you just need a little guidance to pull it off. Located in an ideal takeoff point for Mexico day trips from San Diego, The Dana is happy to provide some of our tried and true tips for an unforgettable Baja California adventure.

What to Bring and How to Get There

It’s essential that you head out prepared. While the journey itself is straightforward (border crossing through San Ysidro), you’ll need your passport or other acceptable identification on hand. You can arrange for transportation in a number of ways—we strongly recommend taking a charter bus via Five Star Tours & Charter Bus Company, conveniently based in downtown San Diego. Additionally, you can take the San Diego Trolley, sometimes known as the Tijuana Trolley, which takes you directly to the border crossing. For more information on the San Diego ‒ Tijuana border crossing, refer to the San Diego Tourism Authority.

What to Do, See, and Buy

Once you’re through, you’ll be surrounded by color, excitement, and possibility. Tijuana is a landmark locale for art, culture, sports, and history. Venture along Avandia Revolucion and Mercado Hidalgo, both of which offer full days’ worth of enrichment in themselves. You’ll discover vendors selling magnificent local handcrafts, watch traditional performances of ballet folklórico, and if the timing is right, catch a festival. For avid museumgoers, the Tijuana Cultural Center (CECUT) is a renowned place to learn about Mexico’s contemporary art movements. You can also take a guided tour with Turista Libre, run by an American expatriate, which offers unique excursions to Lucha Libre matches, breweries, or local art studios.

What to Eat

Baja California is legendary for many reasons, including its iconic cuisine. From the peninsula’s best pan-fired lobster (langostas) served up sizzling at Puerto Nuevo II, to Hussong’s Cantina of Ensenada, established in 1892, the region’s culinary legacy will astonish you. It’s nearly impossible to get anything less than stellar food, and margaritas and mezcal can be found at every turn. Our Tijuana restaurant recommendations include the excellent Mision 19 of Zona Rio; Caesar’s, a 1927 establishment famous for the invention of the Caesar salad; and Casa Plascencia, offering a tantalizing menu of Mediterranean-influenced dishes.

In addition, don’t forget to make a pit stop for traditional “TJ-style” street tacos. Tocas el Franc, located in Playa Tijuana, is a popular spot located just minutes from the border. Pro tip: Try the adobada tacos, “con todo”—you’ll thank us later!

Should you choose to venture farther, the cities and towns of Baja California include the resort town of Rosarito, Ensenada, famed for the Mercado Negro fish market, and the Valle De Guadalupe, known as the Napa Valley of Mexico. Get in touch with us for any and all questions about planning Baja California day trips, and we’ll gladly point you in the right direction.