Colorful dancers at Festi Arte in Tijuana.
Colorful dancers at Festi Arte in Tijuana.

Did you know that the Mexican border is only 20 minutes south of San Diego? You can apply for a SENTRI pass to expedite the drive across the border, otherwise you can expect long wait times to make the crossing. But there is also a pedestrian crossing that makes it super quick and easy to walk across the border. I recently joined Immersion Living Tijuana for a walking tour of Tijuana that I heard about through Creative Mornings. We explored the creative side of Tijuana, checking out its budding art scene, cool street art, and delicious food offerings. When it comes to art and culture, creativity knows no boundaries.

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Vamos a las Playas! Tijuana has a cute and colorful boardwalk dotted with street art and yummy restaurants. Unfortunately I wouldn’t recommend a swim because sewage water from the Tijuana River lets out here. It’s important that we learn more about our water system and how to protect our health from contaminated water. Despite the water issues, las Playas are still worth a visit. The shops and restaurants are colorful and charming, and you can visit Friendship Park where international family members can picnic with each other on opposite sides of the border fence. You can also see the "world's longest mural", a massive project coordinated by Mexican artist Enrique Chui that aims to cover the entire border fence in artwork that celebrates unity and peace.

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The Telefonica Gastro Park was one of my favorite stops on the tour. This open air food-court has something for everybody. They offer a wide range of food from authentic Mexican classics to sushi, ramen, and more. I recommend La Taqueria Vegiee for surprisingly delicious vegan tacos.

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World class cinema in the heart of Tijuana? Heck yeah! Cine Tonala was one of the stops on Immersion Living’s creativity tour, and I definitely want to go back to check out some of the movies. For the past 2 years, Cine Tonala has offered a curated selection of classic and modern films. They have a rooftop restaurant and bar overlooking Tijuana’s main street Revolucion where you can grab a drink before or after your movie. Each month they have a special cocktail pairing to celebrate the theme of the month.

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Other highlights of the trip included a special tour of Nativo Coffee Community, a hipster coffee shop, co-working space and artist's center. They have plans to open a brewery next door very soon! I also recommend strolling down Revolucion road, the main drag in downtown Tijuana with plenty of shops and restaurants.

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Tijuana gets a bad rap sometimes as being a place that is considered dirty and dangerous. While there is a darker side to this town, I felt very safe walking around with our group. Tijuana is a community filled with many wonderful people, artists, and creative spirits. It's important to highlight the positive, and celebrate all the beauty and culture to explore just a few miles south of the border!

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