The New Tijuana: Not Your Parents' Tacky Tourist Day Trip Anymore

On a recent tour of Tijuana for young land use professionals, San Diego architect Marin Gertler found a city that used the drought of U.S. tourism in the last decade to redefine and refine its urban core.

1 minute read

September 22, 2017, 10:00 AM PDT

By wadams92101


Avenida Revolucion

Denis Kabanov / Shutterstock

The combination of cartel violence and the U.S. recession were a one-two punch to the downtown Tijuana retail and restaurant economy. Long dependent on day tripper tourists and young American revelers, Tijuana was known primarily for its hawkers selling everything from tacky curios, to margaritas and beer, to more illicit goods and services—not to mention the tourists, many tacky themselves, who ambled or drunkenly stumbled down its streets.

The well publicized cartel violence, including some gun battles in Tijuana itself, deterred tourism. The recession, internet shopping, and long border waits all likely played a role too. Many Tijuana businesses, dependent on tourism, closed down, and the city's main tourist street, Avenida Revolucion, became a "ghost town of empty commercial spaces and former bars." However, this weaning from tourism (of the lowest variety) may have had a silver lining. On a recent tour put on by the Urban Land Institute San Diego/Tijuana Young Leader Partnership Forum, San Diego Gensler architect Marin Gertler found a revitalizing Tijuana urban core, not so dependent on tourism and catering more to young creatives—both local and from across the border. He writes about three stops on the tour that particularly inspired him. Find out more at the source article. 

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