The U. S. Department of State has been issuing traveler alerts since 2008, with wording that becomes stronger with each renewal. Read their November, 2012 travel alert for yourself. If you do decide to go despite the warnings, they encourage U.S. visitors to stay in the well-known tourist areas.
You can check the Department of State website for the latest information, but until things improve, we can't recommend visiting Tijuana on your own. If you want to go, the best thing to do is take a guided tour.
If you want to keep an eye on where your driver is taking you, you'll travel along Paseo de los Heroes, a wide boulevard punctuated with large statues at the major intersections.
Tijuana's Trendiest Things to DoRelax to the Max After a massage at one of Tijuana's spas, you'll be even more de-stressed when you pay the bill: prices here are about half of what they are in San Diego. Total Spa at Ave. Cuauhtemoc 10626, in Zona Rio is upstairs from the Total Fitness Center, and its masseuses excellent. To get there, take a taxi from the border to Avenida Cuahtemoc and go right. You can recognize the intersection by the large statue of the last Aztec emperor.
Dine Fine. In today's Tijuana, you'll find many fine restaurants. Classy, comfortable, Cien Años (which means "100 Years") features Mexican haute cuisine, thoroughly modern dishes made with traditional ingredients and a wine list devoted to Baja wineries. We hear that everything here is excellent, but the lobster crepes are outstanding. Cien Años is located at Calle Jose Maria Velazco #1407, Zona Rio. To walk from Total Spa, go the statue on Paseo de los Heroes, turn right and go about five blocks, then turn left on Jose Maria Velasco.
Catch Some Culture: Head back to Paseo de los Heroes and turn right to get to the Centro Cultural Tijuana (Tijuana Cultural Center). Exhibits here cover the history of the Baja from cave paintings through modern times, and there's no language barrier: all the signs are in English and Spanish.
Fine Wine: Most visitors are surprised to know there's a winery tasting room in Tijuana, but after they visit, they're glad they did. L. A. Cetto is better than many of its counterparts in California and the only Baja winery with a tasting room in town. This award-winning winery produces a broad array of white and red wines at very reasonable prices, and their tasting room ambience is as good as the wines they pour. The easiest way to get there is by taking a taxi to 2108 Cañon Johnson.
Shop Smart. Skip the hectic scene downtown. For a quieter shopping experience that seems more like a small-town market and better prices to boot, try the Arts and Crafts Market. It's two blocks from Avenida Revolucion at the intersection of Avenida Negrete and Calle Secunda (2nd Street). If you're going staight there from the winery, take a taxi to Avenida Negrete and Calle Secunda.
To walk back to the border from anywhere in downtown, head for the big arch straddling Avenida Revolucion and walk toward the smaller arch at Avenida Negrete. Continue over the bridge to the border crossing.