Tijuana is the largest city in Baja California and on the Baja California Peninsula and center of the Tijuana metropolitan area, part of the international San Diego–Tijuana metropolitan area. As an industrial and financial center of Mexico, Tijuana exerts a strong influence on economics, education, culture, art, and politics. As the city has become a leading center in the country, so has the surrounding metropolitan area, a major industrial and paramount metropolis in northwestern Mexico. Currently one of the fastest growing metropolitan areas in Mexico, Tijuana maintains global city status. As of 2015, the city of Tijuana had a population of 1,696,923.
On the Gold Coast of Baja California, Tijuana is the municipal seat and the cultural and commercial center of Tijuana Municipality, covering 70% of the municipality but with over 80% of its population. A dominant manufacturing center of the North American continent, the city maintains facilities of numerous multi national conglomerate companies. The early 21st century saw Tijuana become the medical-device manufacturing capital of North America. Also a growing cultural center, Tijuana has been recognized as an important new cultural mecca. The city is the most visited border city in the globe; sharing an approximate 24-kilometre-long border (15 mi) with its sister city San Diego, over fifty million people annually cross the border between these two cities. This metropolitan crossing makes the San Ysidro Port of Entry the busiest land-border crossing in the world. It is estimated that the two border crossing stations between the cities proper of San Diego and Tijuana account for 300,000 daily border crossings alone.
Tijuana is the 29th largest city in the Americas and is the westernmost city in Mexico. According to the 2010 census, the Tijuana metropolitan area was the fifth-largest in Mexico, with a population of 1,784,034, but rankings vary, the city (locality) itself was 6th largest and the municipality (administrative) 3rd largest nationally. The international metropolitan region was estimated to be just over five million in 2009 and approximately 5,105,769 in 2010, making it the third largest metropolitan area in the former Californias reigon, 19th largest metropolitan area in the Americas, and the largest bi-national conurbation that is shared between US and Mexico. Tijuana is becoming more suburbanized like San Diego; during the 2000s the drug violence had residents moving out of the congested urban core into isolated communities within the municipality and beyond, as evidenced by 2010 Census figures and growth patterns.
Tijuana traces its modern history to the arrival of Spanish explorers in the 16th century who were mapping the coast of the Californias. As the American conquest of northern Mexico ended with the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, Tijuana's new international position on the border gave rise to a new economic and political structure. The city was founded in July 11, 1889 as urban development began. Often known by its initials, T.J., and nicknamed Gateway to Mexico, the city has historically served as a tourist center dating back to the 1880s.
|POPULATION :||• City 1,696,923
• Metro 1,895,797
|FOUNDED :||July 11, 1889|
|TIME ZONE :||• Time zone PST (UTC−8)
• Summer (DST) PDT (UTC−7)
|RELIGION :||Christian 96%, Others 4%|
|AREA :||• City 637 km2 (246 sq mi)
• Metro 1,392.5 km2 (537.9 sq mi)
|ELEVATION :||20 m (65 ft)|
|COORDINATES :||32°31′30″N 117°02′0″W|
|SEX RATIO :||• Male: 48.45%
• Female: 51.55%
|AREA CODE :||664|
|POSTAL CODE :||22000-22699|
|DIALING CODE :||+ 52 664|
Tijuana is the dominant focal city of Northwestern Mexico, in Baja California, Mexico and right across the border from San Diego, California, USA.
Tijuana has a population of around 1.3 million people according to the last census and this figure expands to more than 1.7 million if its surrounding suburbs are included. The city has grown from a small border town with a salacious reputation during the Prohibition Era in the United States into a large, modern city with a sizeable middle class and ever expanding housing estates. Tijuana's proximity to the United States, along with Rosarito, has made the two adjacent cities a very popular tourist destination, especially for day-trippers from San Diego. Prominent tourist attractions include Avenida Revolucion in Zona Centro, shops and restaurants in Zona Rio, and nightlife entertainment, which is concentrated in several localities, including the commercial area around 6th and Revolucion St, as well as Tijuana's red light district.
Many foreigners travel to Tijuana to drink and dance, buy prescription drugs, purchase bootleg brand-name clothing, timepieces, and other personal accessories found globally, as well as manufactured and hand-crafted local curiosities. Locals and regular tourists avoid hassles by visiting the clubs at Plaza Fiesta or other areas of the Zona Río without the crowds, heavy marketing, and occasional tourist misbehavior or outright lawbreaking common on the Revolución strip. However, Avenida Revolución has been known for its proliferation of nightclub shows, primarily catering to casual tourists. While still an entertaining town with an enjoyable atmosphere, locals and tourists alike would agree that it has lost its "anything goes" mentality which it had once acquired, a mindset that was dangerous to tourists, locals, and the tourism industry as a whole.
Tijuana is also known as the birthplace of the "Tijuana Special," which is a classic Tex-Mex dish consisting of enchiladas, rice and refried beans. This dish was popularized by Tippy's, an American Tex-Mex restaurant.
Tijuana is by far the largest urban metropolis of Northwestern Mexico, and is also its westernmost city. Tijuana and its US neighbor San Diego form the largest metropolitan area on the US-Mexican Border with a combined population of 5 million people. The two cities enjoy substantial social, economic, and cultural interactions.
Tijuana's environment is shaped by the agreeable climate of the Pacific Ocean and is adjacent to one of the the wealthiest and most populated sections of the United States with which Mexico shares a border. It has a sizeable middle class and is home to numerous manufacturers taking advantage of NAFTA. Despite (or perhaps because of) declines in tourism due to violence associated with the drug trade during 2008-2011, the social, cultural, and musical culture of the city have continued to develop, allowing the city to attract artists from all over North and Central America. Tijuana is home to every class, from the working class to the wealthy, from junkies to businessmen. Tijuana is particularly notable for the influence of fashion and trends introduced by Chicanos of the United States, including the development of a localized Spanglish. Tijuana is a major transit point for illegal immigration into the United States, as well as a common destination for any illegal Mexican immigrants deported from the West Coast of the United States. As such, some areas are swollen with poor people with no roots in the city, who inhabit illegal, albeit tolerated, shanty towns. In sharp contrast to these shanty towns lie housing estates for the upwardly mobile, from maquiladora families, university students, to high class businessmen, reflecting Tijuana's status as one of the wealthiest cities in Mexico.
Tijuana has a growing cosmopolitan character, although lacking the scale and diversity seen in Mexico City. The city is home to many people who have migrated from within Mexico, along with native Mexican Indians, Asian residents (predominantly Chinese diaspora families, and Korean and Japanese factory managers), as well as many US citizens (predominantly Mexican-Americans including "cholos" and ex-cholos, with a sprinkle of retired American folk, though Rosarito is attracting more retirees in the past decade, cheaper life seekers, and Americans escaping law enforcement) and South Americans from Argentina and Uruguay, among others.
Frequent English-speaking visitors to Tijuana use the term "gringo-friendly" for a shop, bar, or restaurant in which a non-Spanish speaking customer will be at ease. A place is gringo-friendly if the staff is accustomed to dealing with American tourists, if they speak English and have English-language menus. Places that are not gringo-friendly may require use of Spanish, and patience. Just because a place is not gringo-friendly does not imply that the people there will not be friendly or that tourists will not be welcome.
While the Mexican peso is the legal currency, US dollars are widely used and accepted, even by locals. Tijuana observes daylight saving time (DST) the same way as the USA does. Money changers on the US side may offer better rates when buying pesos and worse rates when selling pesos.
The land where the city of Tijuana would be built was originally inhabited by the Kumeyaay, a tribe of Yuman-speaking hunter-gatherers. Europeans arrived in 1542, when the explorer Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo toured the coastline of the area, which was later mapped in 1602 by Sebastián Vizcaíno. In 1769,Juan Crespí documented more detailed information about the area that would be called the Valley of Tijuana. Junípero Serra founded the first mission of Alta California in nearby San Diego.
More settlement of the area took place near the end of the mission era when José María de Echeandía, governor of the Baja California and Alta California, awarded a large land grant to Santiago Argüello in 1829. This large cattle ranch, Rancho Tía Juana ("Aunt Jane Ranch"), covered 100 km2 (40 sq mi).
In 1848, as a result of the Mexican–American War with the United States, Mexico lost all of Alta California. The majority of the 1,000 Hispanic families living in Alta California stayed there, though some moved south to remain inside Mexico.
Because of this Tijuana gained a different purpose on the international border. The area had been populated by ranchers, but Tijuana developed a new social economic structure. These were farming and livestock grazing, plus as a transit area for prospectors.
Urban settlement began in 1889, when descendants of Santiago Argüello and Augustín Olvera entered an agreement to begin developing the city of Tijuana. The date of the agreement, July 11, 1889, is recognized as the founding of the city.
Tijuana saw its future in tourism from the beginning. From the late 19th century to the first few decades of the 20th century, the city attracted large numbers of Californians coming for trade and entertainment. The California land boom of the 1880s led to the first big wave of tourists, who were called "excursionists" and came looking for echoes of the famous novel "Ramona" by Helen Hunt Jackson.
In 1911, during the Mexican Revolution, revolutionaries claiming loyalty to Ricardo Flores Magón took over the city for shortly over a month. Federal troops then arrived. Assisted by the "defensores de Tijuana", they routed the revolutionaries, who fled north and were promptly arrested by the United States Army.
The Panama-California Exposition of 1915 brought many visitors to the nearby California city of San Diego. Tijuana attracted these tourists with a Feria Típica Mexicana - Typical Mexican Fair. This included curio shops, regional food, thermal baths, horse racing and boxing.
The first professional race track opened in January 1916, just south of the border gate. It was almost immediately destroyed by the great "Hatfield rainmaker" flood of 1916. Rebuilt in the general area, it ran horse races until the new Agua Caliente track opened in 1929, several miles south and across the river on higher ground.
Legal drinking and gambling attracted U.S nationals in the 1920s during Prohibition. The Avenida Revolución area became the city's tourist center, with casinos and the Hotel Caesar's, birthplace of the Caesar salad.
In 1925, the city attempted to shed its negative image of hedonism and lawlessness created by American mob empresarios by renaming itself Zaragosa, but its name soon reverted to Tijuana.
In 1928, the Agua Caliente Touristic Complex was opened, including hotel, spa, dog-track, private airport, golf course and gambling casino. A year later, the new Agua Caliente Racetrack joined the complex. During the eight years it operated, the Agua Caliente hotel, casino and spa achieved a near mythical status, with Hollywood stars and gangsters flying in and playing. Rita Hayworth was discovered there. Musical nightclub productions were broadcast over the radio. A singer known as "la Faraona" got shot in a love-triangle and gave birth to the myth of a beautiful lady ghost. Remnants of the Agua Caliente casino can be seen in the outdoor swimming pool and the "minarete" (actually a former incinerator chimney) nearby the southern end of Avenida Sanchez Taboada, on the grounds of what is now the Lazaro Cardenas educational complex.
In 1935, President Cárdenas decreed an end to gambling and casinos in Baja California, and the Agua Caliente complex faltered, then closed. In 1939, it was reopened as a junior high school (now, Preparatoria Lázaro Cárdenas). The buildings themselves were torn down in the 1970s and replaced by modern scholastic architecture.
With increased tourism and a large number of Mexican citizens relocating to Tijuana, the city's population grew from 21,971 to 65,364 between 1940 and 1950.
With the decline of nightlife and tourism in the 1950s, the city restructured its tourist industry, by promoting a more family-oriented scene. Tijuana developed a greater variety of attractions and activities to offer its visitors.
In 1994, PRI presidential candidate Luis Donaldo Colosio was assassinated in Tijuana while making an appearance in the plaza of Lomas Taurinas, a neighborhood nestled in a valley near Centro. The shooter was caught and imprisoned, but doubts remain about who the mastermind might have been.
Tijuana is the western-most city in Mexico, and consequently in Latin America, and the 2nd largest city of northern Mexico. Located approximately 210 kilometres (130 mi) west of the state-capital, Mexicali, the city is bordered to the north by the cities of Imperial Beach, and the San Diego neighborhoods of San Ysidro and Otay Mesa, California. To the southwest of the city is Rosarito Beach, while to the south is unincorporated territory of Tijuana Municipality. The city is nestled among hills, canyons, and gullies. The central part of the city lies in a valley through which flows the channeled Tijuana River.
Housing development in the Tijuana Hills has led to eradication of many seasonal mountain streams. This lack of natural drainage makes places within the city vulnerable to landslides during the rainy season. The varied terrain of Tijuana gives the city elevation extremes that range from 0 metres (0 ft) to 790 metres (2,590 ft).
Tijuana is noted for its rough terrain, which includes many canyons, steep hills, and mesas. Among noted canyons in Tijuana are Canyon K and Canyon Johnson. Large Tijuana hills include Red Hill (Cerro Colorado) and Hill of the Bees (Cerro de las Abejas) in the eastern part of the city.
The city is located near the terminus of the Tijuana River and within the Tijuana River Basin. The Tijuana River is an intermittent river, 195 km (121 mi) long, on the Pacific coast of northern Baja California in Mexico and Southern California in the United States. It drains an arid area along the California–Baja California border, flowing through Mexico for most of its course and then crossing the border for the last 8 km (5 mi) of its course where it forms an estuary that empties into the ocean. The river's lower reaches harbor the last undeveloped coastal wetlands in San Diego County, and some of the last in Southern California, amidst a highly urbanized environment at the southern city limits of Imperial Beach.
As Downtown Tijuana was built at the bottom of the river valley, the district is subject to seasonal flooding created by drain-off from the Tijuana Hills. During this time, east-bound portions of the Via Rapida (east-west highway) may be blocked off by the Tijuana Police due to hazardous conditions.
Tijuana is a large manufacturing center, and in addition to tourism, it serves as a cornerstone of the city economy. In the past decade alone, Tijuana became the medical device manufacture capital of the North American continent, surpassing previous leader Minneapolis - Saint Paul.
The city's proximity to Southern California and its large, skilled, diverse, and relatively inexpensive workforce, makes it an attractive city for foreign companies looking to establish extensive industrial parks composed of assembly plants that are called maquiladoras, even more so than other cities in the US-Mexican border zone, taking advantage of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) to export products. At its peak, in 2001 Tijuana had roughly 820 of these 'maquiladoras' (today the number is closer to 550). Foreign and domestic companies employ thousands of employees in these plants, usually in assembly-related labor. Such jobs are not demanding but typically offer above average (although not high paying) salaries for Mexico, with most maqiladoras jobs beginning at Mex$100 per day (about $7.94 in US dollars), significantly above the Mexican minimum wage of Mex$57.46 (about 4.56 US dollars). Companies that have set up maquiladoras in Tijuana include Lanix, Hyundai, Sony, Vortec, BMW, Vizio, Toyota, Dell,Samsung, Kodak, Matsushita/Panasonic, Bimbo, GE, Nabisco, Ford, Microsoft,Cemex, Zonda, Philips, Pioneer, Airbus, Plantronics, Siemens Mexico, Jaguar, Pall Medical, Tara, Sanyo and Volkswagen. Many of the maquiladoras are located in the Otay Mesa and Florido sections of Tijuana.
In addition, there are also some high-tech firms and telemarketing companies making their way into the city, drawing people with technical trade and college degrees to Tijuana. One example is Telvista, a Texas-based telemarketing company which maintains three call centers along Blvd. Agua Caliente. This makes Tijuana a popular city for migrant workers as well as college graduates from other parts of Mexico as well as other countries to the south.
Tijuana also relies on tourism for a major part of its revenue. About 300,000 visitors cross by foot or car from the San Ysidro point of entry in the United States every day. To lessen the strain on the border crossing, the Otay Mesa Crossing has been boosted to support more traffic and 6-lane highway 905 built in 2012, as well as rapid bus transit coming in the future. The city's tourist centers include the shopping district surrounding Tijuana's Cultural Center (CECUT), the nightlife hot spots around La Sexta, Old Downtown Tijuana, Avenida Revolucion, and the city's best known vices, in the form of its legal Red Light District and gambling (Agua Caliente). Restaurants and taco stands, pharmacies, bars and dance clubs are part of the draw for the city's tourists. Many shops and stalls selling Mexican crafts and souvenirs are also located within walking distance of the border. Mexico's drinking age of 18 (vs. 21 in the United States) makes it a common weekend destination for many high school and college aged Southern Californians who tend to stay within the Avenida Revolución. Tijuana is also home to several pharmacies marketed toward visitors from the United States. These pharmacies sell some pharmaceutical drugs without prescriptions, and at much lower costs than pharmacies in the US. Many medications still require a Mexican doctor's prescription though several accessible doctor offices are located near the border as well. In addition, Tijuana's "red-light" district (Zona Norte) adds significant revenue to its economy. Tijuana is also home to many businesses selling products and services at a much cheaper rate than in the United States. Businesses such as auto detailing, medical services, dentistry and plastic surgery are heavily marketed and located near the city's border with the US.
Economic development has its central business district at Zona Río, which together, with the corridor along Blvd. Agua Caliente (the extension of Avenida Revolución), contains the majority of the higher-end office space in the city. Binational economic development along the US-Mexico border is key to the development of Tijuana going forward. Multiple regional (San Diego-US/Tijuana-MX) think-tanks exist on both sides of the border that promote such regional collaboration and innovation.