Mexicali is an interesting city and capital of Baja California, located right on the border with the United States.
It has greatly developed agriculture, industry, services, real estate, and in recent years, the tourism sector.
Despite not being as popular as other Mexican cities, Mexicali is quite interesting because you can enjoy the mix of modernism and the relics of history that define it.
Read on to discover some of the best things to do and see in Mexicali, Baja California.
Where is Mexicali, Baja California?
Mexicali sits northwest of Mexico, near the border with the United States between California and Arizona.
The easiest way to get there would be to fly into Mexicali’s International Airport, located about 8 miles east of the city center.
Alternatively, you can drive or take a bus from California or Arizona cities close to the border. Tijuana is about 2.5 hours by road.
What is the weather like in Mexicali?
Mexicali generally has a desert climate with scorching summers and mild winters.
The temperature can reach up to 110°F during the day in the summer and drop to around 50°F at night in the winter.
Mexicali also receives little rain throughout the year.
The best time to visit Mexicali is from November to April. Winter, from December to February, is generally a mild and sunny season, although it can sometimes rain or be a bit cold (especially in December and January).
The 14 best things to do and see in Mexicali, Baja California
1. Tour the Museo Sol del Niño
The Museo Sol del Niño is an interactive science, art, technology, and environmental center where learning about math, chemistry, physics, and nature is enjoyable.
The museum was inaugurated in 1998. It is divided into nine spaces:
- Construction Zone: children’s interaction with construction materials
- Puppet Theater: puppets oriented to human values and environmental preservation
- Window to Art: interaction with colors, shapes, and figures
- Discover your World: sensory activities for psychomotor development
- Extreme Zone: kids experience free fall in a safe way
- Children’s Zone: the creation of works of art by children
- Bubbles: the creation of giant bubbles
- Energy and Environment: teachings on recycling, reuse, and saving
- IMAX and Digital Dome: 3D projections
The museum also has six exhibition halls for Magical Science, Sustainable Houses, and Augmented Reality.
Address: Comandante Alfonso Esquer S/N, Downtown, Mexicali, Baja California.
2. Visit the State Center for the Arts
The State Center for the Arts was created in 2005 to massify artistic manifestations such as dance, theater, short films, literature, and plastic arts.
In its exhibition and conference rooms, classrooms, and workshops, academic activities are developed to disseminate artistic creation among the public of Mexicali and visitors.
Most of its events are free. Attendees are only asked to invite their friends and acquaintances.
The Centro Estatal de las Artes also has relationships with public and private institutions developing and promoting art.
Address: Calzada de los Presidentes S/N, Zona del Río Nuevo, Mexicali, Baja California.
3. Explore the Alternative Energies Theme Park
The Alternative Energies Theme Park is one of the greatest educational exponents dedicated to alternative energy sources, which favor the reduction of pollution on the planet.
The park shows the public some economical and profitable energy options to reduce the causes of global warming and the deterioration of nature.
The main alternative energy sources are the sun, winds, waterfalls, waves, and hot subway water.
In the park, you will see a solar oven for cooking, a solar heater that provides hot water at 185°F, and a solar house with an interior garden built with bioclimatic techniques.
Address: Mexicali-Tijuana highway, km 4.7, Zaragoza, Mexicali, Baja California.
4. Go shopping at La Cachanilla mall
La Cachanilla is the best shopping center in Mexicali. It has clothing, shoes, leather accessories, cosmetics, jewelry, household items, gifts, and pets.
Also, commercial premises for telephone services, health, pharmacy, and food fair.
The Plaza La Cachanilla shopping center is an oasis in the hot Mexicali Baja California desert, with a year-round program of events, among which the following stand out:
- Awareness of cancerous conditions on World Breast Cancer Awareness Day (October 19).
- Workshops on safety, personal protection, and fire prevention aimed at children
- Halloween celebration every October 31 with costume contests and candy giveaways
- Day of the Dead celebration with traditional events, candy, and food that characterize this tradition in Mexico
Address: Adolfo López Mateos Boulevard S/N, Downtown, Mexicali, Baja California.
5. Take your kids to Flyers Jump & Fun
The largest amusement park in Mexicali with facilities and entertaining activities such as open jumping, air bed, basketball, dodgeball (catch and throw plastic balls trying to hit the opponent), and aerobics.
Flyers Jum & Fun aims to be more than just a fun center by developing an innovative project in which visitors, in addition to being entertained, can exercise dynamically.
Address: 2501 Lazaro Cardenas Boulevard, Fraccionamiento Hacienda Bilbao, Mexicali, Baja California.
6. Explore Baja California’s Valley of the Giants near Mexicali
The main attraction of the Valley of the Giants is its large cactus that can grow up to 12 meters tall, which characterizes its desert vegetation 220 km south of Mexicali.
The closest town to the Valley of the Giants is San Felipe, a county seat with a coastline on the Sea of Cortez.
Address: between the Sierra de San Pedro Martir and the Sea of Cortez, 25 km from San Felipe, Baja California.
7. Cerro Prieto Geothermal Plant
The Cerro Prieto geothermal plant is frequented by students and young people interested in learning about its energy generation process.
It is another educational source for the children of Mexicali.
This geothermal plant is one of the largest on the planet regarding installed capacity.
It is based on geothermal energy produced by the subway activity of the Cerro Prieto volcano, a natural structure with a cone and three volcanic domes with a maximum height of 220 meters above sea level, 30 km from Mexicali.
The volcanic system was formed during the Pleistocene 80 thousand years ago due to the San Andres fault.
Address: Mexicali Valley, Mexicali, Baja California.
8. Visit the Cathedral of Our Lady of Guadalupe
The iconic Mexican virgin, Our Lady of Guadalupe, has a temple in Mexicali consecrated in 1918 and granted the title of “cathedral” in 1966.
It is a beautiful, colorful, simple, and well-illuminated church with a sober entrance, a double bell tower, and a clock in a large rose window format.
The cathedral is the ideal place for prayer and reflection, with the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe and a crucified Christ inside.
The day of the Virgin of Guadalupe (December 12) is celebrated with great joy in Mexicali.
Celebrations begin with the singing of Las Mañanitas shortly before midnight on the 11th and continue on the 12th with mariachi music, dances, and other cultural and festive manifestations.
Address: 192 Morelos Street, Mexicali, Baja California.
9. Try your luck at the Mexicali Arenia Casino
Bet to win at the Arenia Casino or attend sporting events.
Pay and collect with bets on world soccer, baseball, field hockey, and professional college basketball.
Seven, its distinguished restaurant, serves juicy steaks, salads, soups, fish, seafood, and breakfast and lunch buffets.
Address: Justo Sierra and Panamá, Cuauhtémoc Sur 21200, Mexicali, Baja California.
10. Tour the UABC Cultural Research Institute and Museum
This institution, attached to the Autonomous University of Baja California, has a museum with several rooms, some with permanent exhibits and others temporary.
- Desert, Migration, and Borders: promotes knowledge of the natural and cultural history of the State of Baja California, with technological resources applied to museography
- Paleontology: offers an interpretative tour of Baja California’s remote past through fossils. It shows the geological changes and the development of life with an emphasis on regional species
- Prehistory and Archeology: illustrates the prehistoric phase of the Baja California peninsula after the last glaciation 10,000 years ago, until the Yuman culture was formed, the common ethnic trunk of the five indigenous peoples of the peninsula
- History and Anthropology: covers the sociocultural development of Baja California from the emergence of the Cucapa, Kiliwa, Kumiai, Cochimi, and Pai-Pai peoples, to the contemporary period, including the viceregal era and later immigration
Address: L and Reforma Streets, Colonia Nueva, Mexicali, Baja California.
11. Take a stroll through Vicente Guerrero Park
One of the city’s oldest and largest public spaces and among the parks in Mexicali, the most appropriate place for an outdoor barbecue.
Vicente Guerrero Park has extensive green areas, children’s playgrounds, and benches, ideal for reading or surfing the Internet.
Its spaces are also used for jogging and occasionally for musical events and children’s workshops.
Address: Adolfo López Mateos Boulevard and Comandante Alfonso Esquer, Mexicali, Baja California.
12. Experience the Guadalupe Canyon
This Magnificent natural space is 92 km southwest of Mexicali and 50 km from the international border with California, USA, with thermal waters in charming rustic pools.
Its warm waters are rich in sulfur, suitable for treating skin conditions such as psoriasis and dermatitis.
This desert paradise offers beautiful sunrises and spectacular sunsets with starry nights.
Nature lovers can enjoy photographic safaris while admiring the most representative wild fauna and flora species.
Address: km 28 Federal Highway No. 2 Mexicali – Tijuana, Baja California.
13. Enjoy the excellent beaches of Baja California near Mexicali
One of the best beach resorts near Mexicali is Rosarito, on the Pacific coast 190 km west of the city, a trip you can make in less than 3 hours.
On this beach, you can surf and practice other sea sports. The nightclubs and bars near the sandy beaches are entertainment centers at night.
Near Rosarito is Puerto Nuevo, a fishing community where Mexico’s most famous crustacean-based recipe originated: Puerto Nuevo-style lobster.
Every year they serve more than 100,000 visitors; eating lobster here is a culinary ritual in the town.
14. Go to San Felipe Beach
San Felipe is a beach town located south of Mexicali’s municipality (a bit closer than Rosarito but on the Sea of Cortez side).
It is the most popular beach area, bathing on the shores of the Sea of Cortez.
Its beaches are beautiful and ideal for enjoying, resting, and practicing water activities such as diving or fishing.
Going to a restaurant and tasting some of its fresh fish and seafood dishes is a must!
Why are there a lot of Chinese in Mexicali?
La Chinesca is Mexicali’s Chinatown, home to about 5,000 Chinese.
A lot of Chinese came to the coasts of Baja California in the late 19th century, intending to cross to the United States. However, many didn’t make it, so they stayed in Mexico.
The Mexicali Chinese community was established when they started working in the irrigation projects of the Mexicali valley and the cotton plantations.
Is Mexicali safe?
As with any other city, safety can vary depending on the time and location (no different from certain dangerous neighborhoods in L.A.).
In recent years, Mexico, including Mexicali, has faced significant security challenges due to organized crime and drug trafficking.
Nevertheless, many tourists and expatriates visit Mexicali every year without incident, and the city has a thriving tourist industry.
Like any major town, it is always a good idea to be cautious and aware of your surroundings, especially at night and in less populated areas.
It is also recommended to check the latest travel advisories from your government before traveling to Mexico.