In this post, we will be looking at where to stay in Tijuana for tourists, the best areas to stay in Tijuana (include map and video), the best hotels in Tijuana for all budgets, and safest places.
First settled in 1889, Tijuana is the second-largest city in Mexico, located directly on the United States – Mexico Border. It is located in the extreme northwest of Mexico, in the Baja California State, on the Pacific Coast. It is just 15-miles from San Diego, which is the 8th most populous city in the entire US, it makes it one of the most active border crossings anywhere in the country.
If you are looking for the safe areas to stay in Tijuana, you should stick to the main touristy neighborhoods of Tijuana like Zona Centro, Zona Rio, and Playas de Tijuana. These areas are safe because they are heavily policed, you can eliminate the chance of encountering any violent cartel-related crime.
Where to stay in Tijuana?
The best areas to stay in Tijuana are Centro Tijuana, Playas De Tijuana, Zona Rio, Rosarito, Chula Vista. These are popular districts for tourist that offers a wide variety of attractions and amenities.
Centro, Tijuana’s downtown is the best area to stay in Tijuana because it is the most convenient location and is has a wide range of hotels for all budgets. It offers easy access to many historical attractions, restaurants, bars, and shops.
Similarly, if you like the idea of having the city center feel but would prefer the hotels and restaurants in the area to be a little higher class and more diverse in range, then Rio Tijuana may be the place for you.
Perhaps you love ocean views and want to stay by the coast during your trip, in which case there are two great options, Playas De Tijuana and Rosarito. The beachfront neighborhood of Playas De Tijuana is the nicest part and one of the safest areas of Tijuana, while Rosarito are is ideal for anyone seeking vibrant nightlife and stunning beaches.
You even have a couple of great options if you would rather stay on the American side of the border, such as Chula Vista and San Diego. Chula Vista is the closer of the two to Tijuana, so is better suited for those who want to stay as close as possible. However, San Diego has significantly more to offer so, if you aren’t worried about a 15-mile drive, this could be the perfect option.
|💖 Best Area for firs-timers:||Centro Tijuana|
|💎 Best luxury hotel:||QUARTZ HOTEL & SPA|
|🏨 Best mid-range hotel:||Hotel Ticuán|
|💰 Best budget hotel:||Hotel Caesars|
Overviews of best areas to stay in Tijuana for tourists
Here is an overview of recommended areas in Tijuana for first-time visitors:
|Best areas in Tijuana||Why should you stay in this area?|
|Centro Tijuana||Centro Tijuana is the city’s historic downtown area and offers a more authentic Mexican experience. It’s a bustling area with markets, shops, street vendors, and cultural attractions like the Tijuana Cultural Center (CECUT).|
|Playas De Tijuana||Playas de Tijuana is located along the coast and offers beautiful ocean views. It’s a popular area for beachgoers and surfers.|
|Zona Rio||Zona Rio is the city’s business and financial district. It’s home to many upscale hotels, restaurants, and shopping centers. If you prefer a more modern and comfortable stay, Zona Rio is a good choice.|
|Rosarito||Rosarito is a coastal town located about 20-30 minutes south of Tijuana. It’s known for its beachfront resorts, lively nightlife, and water sports activities. Rosarito offers a more relaxed and resort-style atmosphere.|
|Chula Vista||Chula Vista is located just across the border in California, USA, and is easily accessible from Tijuana. It’s a suburban area with various hotel options, shopping centers, and family-friendly attractions.|
Map of best areas and neighborhoods in Tijuana for visitors:
5 Best Areas to stay in Tijuana are:
1. Centro Tijuana
Centro is the downtown area of the city, located on land that was originally a ranch owned by Don Santiago Arguella until the mid-1800’s. In modern times it has become the historical district of the city, as well as its hub of tourist and economic income.
The Avenida Revolucion (known as La Revu by locals) runs through the heart of the district. The first paved road in the city, it became a popular destination for tourists as far back as the prohibition area, when Americans would cross the border seeking to legally purchase alcohol.
Over the years this has led to a collection of hotels, cantinas, dance bars, shops, art galleries, casinos, concert venues, and a number of other tourist attractions springing up to accommodate the influx of visitors.
You can even take the unique opportunity to have a photo with a zonkey, which is a donkey painted to look like a zebra.
At the beginning of the Avenida Revolucion within a short stroll from the Mexican and US border, you will find 60 meters (196 feet) high Monumental Arch (also known as Millennium Arch or Monumental Clock) that welcome visitors.
Other interesting churches are the colonial and neo-classical architecture of Catedral de Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe (Metropolitan Cathedral of Our Lady of Guadalupe); the 1960s in the Romanesque style of San Francisco De Asis Temple.
If you are interested in Tijuana’s history, you must visit the Museo de Historia de Tijuana, the Wax Museum which exhibits about 100 wax copies of celebrities; the Museo del Coleccionista (Collector’s Museum); the A La Raza Monument (Scissor); and the Museo de la Lucha Libre (Wrestling Museum).
Buildings such as city hall, Jai Alai Palace, and the Tijuana Cultural Centre (CECUT) provide opportunities to enjoy the area’s architecture and learn more about the region.
The Centro Cultural Tijuana complex is located in Zona Río, home to IMAX Dome, the Museum of the Californias, a theatre hall, El Cubo (The Cube), the Cineteca Tijuana, and the Aquarium (Acuario).
If you are looking for some green space to relax, head to Parque Teniente Guerrero (Teniente Guerrero’s Park) where you can find the Benito Juarez monument, a fountain, ponds, and performances.
If you want to do some shopping, head to the Plaza Rio, the largest shopping mall in the state until recently. Other shopping centers are Plaza Pavillion, Galerias Hipódromo, Plaza Agua Caliente, and Paseo Chapultepec.
There are also many local markets where you can buy authentic Mexican souvenirs and gifts such as the Crafts Market of Mercado de Artesanías, Mercado El Popo, and Mercado Hidalgo.
Did you know that Tijuana is the birthplace of the famous Caesar Salad? It was invented in Caesar’s Restaurants Bar, at the Caesar Hotel by Caesar Cardini, owner of the hotel.
Grab a meal and try some tequila! Make sure to look for 100% blue agave label to get good quality tequila.
Other famous places for dining and drinking are El Torito and the traditional barm Dandy del Sur Cantina on Sexta Calle.
Outside of the main avenue, other parts of the district that attract large numbers of visitors include the city’s main business region and its red-light district, making it a location that will appeal to an incredibly wide range of visitors, seeking a number of different things. You will find more bars and clubs around Calle 6 (Sixth Street).
You should stay in Centro if you want to stay in the heart of the city with good nightlife, shopping, and well-connected transport; you want a safe area; you want a great range of shopping, dining and entertainment options; you are traveling on business; you plan to visit the red-light district; you want a great range of hotels to choose from; you want to visit a casino or get a picture with a zonkey.
BEST PLACES TO STAY IN TIJUANA CENTRO:
Hotel Ticuán This 4-star hotel is located just off Revolution Avenue in central Tijuana, short drive from the US border, city’s main financial district, Xolos Stadium, andTijuana International Airport.
Hotel Caesars This budget hotel is right in the middle of the tourist area, close enough to the party places to safely walk but far enough away that you don’t hear the noise.
Hotel Quinta is set in the Centro district of Tijuana, within walking distance from El Popo Market, Tijuana Cultural Center, Old Jai Alai Palace Forum, Caliente Stadium.
See more: Best areas to Stay in Mexico City
2. Playas De Tijuana
Playas De Tijuana literally translates to “The Beaches Of Tijuana” and is the westernmost district in the city, stretching from the American border, down the coast to the Rosarito Beach Municipality.
Offering beautiful views across the ocean, it is an ideal destination for anyone who wants to stay in a hotel by the sea while they explore the city.
The district is a popular recreational destination, especially among younger visitors. The stunning oceanfront location not only makes it popular with those looking to relax on the sand while soaking up the sun, but it is equally favored by those interested in performing a number of different kinds of water sports. Surfing, kayaking, and bodyboarding are just some of the options available at different times of the year.
The most popular attraction in the area is the Plaza Monumental De Tijuana or the “Bullring By The Sea” as it is more commonly known. A stadium capable of holding more than 21,600 people, its primary function since it was opened in 1960 has been bullfighting.
However, it is also regularly used to hold a wide variety of other forms of entertainment, including boxing matches, concerts, festivals, and cultural and sporting events.
The other main destinations that draw visitors to the district are the Universidad Iberoamericana and the arts & culture house. The latter is a complex that houses schools for numerous different artistic ventures as well as another small bullring that regularly hosts rodeos. This makes it ideal for anyone wanting to expand their horizons or take in a show.
Playas De Tijuana is a great place to wand along the Malecó and grab seafood, fish tacos, ceviche, and camarones cucaracha.
You should stay here if you are looking for a beautiful oceanfront location; you want a safe neighborhood; you are attending an event at the Plaza Monumental De Tijuana; you want to study at the arts and culture house; you want to attend a rodeo; you are, or are visiting, a student at the Universidad Iberoamericana.
BEST PLACES TO STAY IN TIJUANA IN PLAYAS DE TIJUANA:
Amazingly Romantic Vacation for Your Honeymoon In the Playas de Tijuana district of Tijuana, close to Plaza Monumental Tijuana, this holiday home has a garden, free WiFi, and a washing machine. With garden views, this accommodation features a patio.
B&B Oui Madame is located in Playas de Tijuana, just 200 m from the beach. This cozy B&B offers a shared kitchen, free parking, and bright rooms with free WiFi. The hotel is located in a peaceful neighborhood, just 1.5 km from the US border and 8 km from central Tijuana.
3. Zona Rio
Zona Rio along with Zona Centro and Playas de Tijuana is one of the safest area to stay in Tijuana. Rio Tijuana literally translates into “Tijuana River” and the river zone in the city is Tijuana’s main modern business district, located just a mile from the US border. This is the location where you will find the headquarters for most of the region’s commercial, financial and health-related businesses.
However, it isn’t a location that is purely centered around business, as it is also where you will find the majority of the city’s larger hotels and upscale restaurants.
The Boulevard Sanchez Taboada is the main gastronomical corridor in the area, featuring restaurants offering an incredible range of cuisines from around the world.
You also have two of the largest, most important roads in the city located here, Paseo De Los Heroes and Boulevard Agua Caliente. These feature an abundance of businesses, shopping malls, hotels, bars, restaurants, monuments, sculptures, tourist attractions, and even a hippodrome, racetrack, and sports arena, as well as hosting a number of important street festivals throughout the years.
Rio Tijuana is where you can find the big Plaza Rio Shopping Mall and its Food Garden. Nearby the mall lies the Plaza Fiesta, a great place to sample local Baja craft brews. The farmer’s market Mercado Hidalgo is an excellent place to try Cenadurias (Mexican cafes), local fresh fruits, and vegetables.
This makes Rio Tijuana a perfect choice, whether you want an exciting, fast-paced, activity-filled vacation, one where you relax and spend your time taking in the sights and enjoying the area’s luxuries, or even if you simply want a pleasant place to stay while you are traveling on business.
You should stay here if you are traveling on business; you want to stay in a safe area; you want to enjoy beautiful river views; you want a great range of upmarket hotels and restaurants.
BEST PLACES TO STAY IN RIO TIJUANA:
Real Inn Tijuana by Camino Real Hotels is centrally located in Tijuana, 5 minutes drive from the US Border and 100 m from the city’s river, it features a gym and 2 restaurants.
ibis Tijuana is conveniently located in the Rio Tijuana district of Tijuana, ibis Tijuana is set 10 km from Plaza Monumental Tijuana, 1.8 km from El Hidalgo Market and less than 1 km from Tijuana Cultural Center
Hotel Real del Rio is centrally located in Tijuana’s financial district, 5 minutes drive from the San Ysidro US border. You can walk to Plaza Comercial Rio Square in less than 10 minutes from the hotel.
Rosarito is technically its own municipality, lying outside the city limits of Tijuana. However, it is nonetheless an extremely popular destination with tourists. Located right on the Mexican coast, it features a range of stunning ocean and beachfront hotels, perfect for people looking to enjoy a relaxing trip with stunning views out across the water.
A wide selection of fabulous beaches can be found in the area, including famous options like Rosarito, Medio Camino, and Baja Malibu. These are not just ideal for people looking for a relaxing day in the sand, as they are also known for their strong surf, making them an equally perfect choice for anyone who enjoys water sports.
For the more adventurous visitors, you even have the Rosarito Underwater Park just offshore. An artificial reef featuring the remains of a former navy ship, Uribe 121, it is a fabulous place for any fans of snorkeling or scuba diving to get out and explore the wildlife and history that’s hidden beneath the waves.
Back on dry land, Rosarito is also notorious for its thriving nightlife scene. A wide range of bars, restaurants, and clubs can be found throughout the area, all known for their electric atmosphere.
This makes Rosarito an ideal choice for anyone looking to drink their nights away into the early hours of the morning and party around the clock.
You should stay here if You are a fan of beautiful beaches; You want a hotel with an ocean view; You are a fan of water sports; Nightlife is a priority during your trip; You want to explore the Rosarito Underwater Park.
BEST PLACES TO STAY IN ROSARITO:
Vista Hermosa Resort and Spa is located a 10-minute drive south of Rosarito, Bobby’s by the Sea offers an outdoor pool, a spa, and a gym. Each self-catering villa features a balcony with pool or ocean views. The private bathrooms come with a shower and hairdryer, while the fully equipped kitchens include a microwave and an oven.
Las Rocas Resort & Spa is located 20 minutes south of Tijuana on the shores of Rosarito Beach, this resort features 2 restaurants and bars, an infinity pool, and a holistic spa. It offers rooms with views of the beach and the Pacific Ocean, with cable TV, and a hairdryer.
5. Chula Vista
Rather than being a district in Tijuana, our next destination of Chula Vista is actually its own city, located 7.5 miles north, on the American side of the border. This makes it an ideal choice for anyone who wants to visit Tijuana but, for whatever reason, would rather stay in the United States.
Filled with dining, shopping and entertainment opportunities, Chula Vista provides all the convenience you would expect from an American city. Surrounded by attractions such as the Chula Vista Nature Centre, Otay Valley Regional Park, North Island Credit Union Amphitheater, OnStage Playhouse, Aquatica San Diego, and the U.S. Olympic Training Centre, you will have options available to keep you entertained for days, whenever you don’t plan on traveling across the border that is.
In addition, the city also contains a large number of golf courses, marinas, and yacht clubs. Whether you want to spend a day out on the links or sailing the waves on either a private or public boat ride, there are ample options available that allow you to relax however you see fit.
You should stay here if you would prefer to stay on the American side of the border; you are planning to play golf; you want to rent a boat or need a place to dock your own; you want to visit one of the numerous attractions the city is famous for.
Check out my virtual tour about the best places to stay in Tijuana:
Similar with many parts of Mexico, especially along the border with America, crime is a very real problem in the city of Tijuana. The birthplace of one of the country’s most notorious cartels, criminal enterprises including drugs and arms trafficking remain a major issue, to the point that in 2019 the city had the highest per capita murder rate in the world.
While it’s certainly worth keeping in mind and making sensible decisions while you’re in town, if you keep to the heavily populated tourist areas and don’t go wandering off with any strangers, you will almost certainly be able to have any enjoyable vacation without any unwanted interruptions.
Overall, Zona Centro is the best area to stay in Tijuana because it has central location and it has a wide range of tourist amenities such as hotels, restaurants, bars, and shops. If you stay here, you will be located in the heart of city, with plenty of things to do and see within walking distance apart.
Hopefully you will all be much clearer now on exactly where to stay in Tijuana. That means all that’s left is for you to go and start getting things booked, so you can experience it all for yourself as soon as possible.