Many people who travel to southern California ponder visiting Tijuana. The reason so manyAn arc welcoming tourists going to TijuanaCredit: people ponder this decision is because they don’t know what to expect. Is there anything to do there? Is discount shopping available? What is the food like? Is it safe? All these questions are answered below. Once you’re through reading, you will feel more confident in your decision on whether or not to visit Tijuana.

The first thing you should know is that over 300,000 people cross the border between San Diego and Tijuana every day. It’s not like you will be going to some deserted Mexican city where people wearing sombreros and intimidating stares will be ready to draw guns in the middle of town. This is a city with a population over 1.5 million. With its taco stands, nightclubs, bars, and busy commerce, it’s more like New York City than some tiny little Mexican town that exists in your imagination. And, yes, if it were New York City there would be hot dog carts, not taco stands.

Tijuana draws interest from people for different reasons. The most common reasons are bootlegged items that cost much less than they would in the states, pharmacies that offer cheaper medication than in the states, superb Mexican food, a legal red light district called Zona Norte, and a drinking age of only 18. The nightlife scene is also very active.

Downtown Shopping, Revolucion AvenueCredit:

As far as the crime goes, it has everything to do with the drug cartels. Since President Felipe Calderon took office, there has been an enormous crackdown on the cartels. This has led to increased violence throughout the entire country. Contrary to popular belief, when you’re in Tijuana, you’re not a target. The locals want Americans to remain safe because they drive Tijuana’s economy. On other hand, gun battles between police and drug cartels have taken place in public. Therefore, there is a level of danger. Some people get a thrill out of knowing there is the potential for danger. Others do not. The odds of becoming trapped in a gun battle between police and a drug cartel are about as likely as winning the lottery – twice. But the potential of such an event should be noted. Stay in populated areas if traveling to Tijuana at night and the odds of being caught in a dangerous situation decrease even more.

Hotel CaesarsCredit: Author

If you’re a traveler looking for a concrete answer, visit Tijuana. It’s a city with a lot of culture and energy. Visiting Tijuana is like visiting Times Square on New Year’s Eve. It’s something everyone should experience at least once.