From its official inception
in 1898, Tijuana gleefully offered what the increasingly conservative
San Diego, the American city just fifteen miles to the north, shied
away from. As San Diego in 1917 banned cabaret dancing, nightclubs
immediately boomed in Tijuana. And just as U.S. Prohibition was
made law in 1920, Tijuana opened a magnificent casino and plentiful
bars and nightclubs. Then, the city became the playground of choice
for the Hollywood smart set.
Tijuana did slump economically
once prohibition ended. After World War II, duty free Tijuana became
a center of inexpensive shopping and liquor sales. Entertainments
were geared toward satisfying San Diego's huge naval base. With
the promise of an economic windfall, the Tijuana population exploded
by the 1970's, well beyond the city's means to support itself. Tijuana
of the 1990's, therefore, has to be considered something of a miracle.
The government built Cultural Center, family-oriented Mexitlan theme
park and luxurious resorts and hotels now complement the much improved
Caliente Racetrack and Jai Alai Palace. Most surprising, Tijuana's
restaurants are now considered the best on the Baja Peninsula for
regional and Mexican cuisine.
As for shopping, Tijuana
is now duty-free heaven instead of hell. The first Mexican city
to embrace the mall concept, Tijuana today boasts 12 malls offering
countless craft shops and familiar name stores. Shopping along Avenida
Revolucion includes pleasant breaks at the numerous cafes and restaurants.
And for the ultimate Mexican shopping experience, Tijuana boasts
three colorful and always enticing Mexican Markets.