By Meghan Fitzpatrick
Photo of La Rumorosa by Angel Zaragosa
Mexicali is the capital of the state of Baja California and the northernmost city in Latin America. Its proximity to the United States has made the city a tourist destination with Americans from Arizona, California and Nevada, and it also serves as a portal for visitors who are heading further south to San Felipe or even over to mainland, Mexico. So what are the top things to do when you visit this bustling metropolis?
1) Mexicali is famous for its abundance of Chinese restaurants, which resulted from the migration of large numbers of Chinese workers to the area in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. Mexicali’s Chinatown, or “La Chinesca,” is home to more than 100 Chinese eateries! If you’re craving egg rolls or some orange chicken, then look no further.
2) Teatro del Estado is consistently ranked by both visitors and residents in Mexicali as one of the must-see things in Mexicali. The teatro, or theatre, has a 1,100 person capacity and hosts numerous productions, both theatrical and musical, throughout the year in Mexicali. The theatre also has a very popular café, Café Literario, that holds a regular film night, frequented by locals.
3) It is no secret that Mexicans love their beer(s), and that is especially true in Mexicali. The city is home to both Cerveza Cucapá, and to the famed Cerveceria Mexicali which was founded in Mexicali in the 1920’s by a German chemist who wanted to create a beer that would put the city in the international spotlight. Miguel Gonzalez and Heraclio Ochoa were the official founders of the brewery, which was the first-ever brewery in Baja, California. Today Cerveceria Mexicali is the proud producer of what is proudly called “Great Mexican beer.” Their motto? “Complete Beers: No Lime Required.”
4) Casa de la Cultura is a beautiful and historical landmark in the city of Mexicali. Formerly, this landmark was the Catedral de la Virgen de Guadalupe, a significant religious point of interest in Mexicali. Today the structure is simply referred to as Casa de la Cultura and is the host to regular art exhibitions in the city. This beautiful neoclassical structure is a must-see if you are visiting Mexicali.
5) Sports in Mexicali are very popular all year round. Mexicali boasts their own baseball team, “Aguilas Pacific Mexican League,” (aguila means eagle in English) and they have their own stadium with a 19,000 person capacity. The stadium hosted the Caribbean baseball series in 2009. Mexicali also has its own basketball team, The Soles de Mexicali. In the fall, head to Plaza de Toros Calafia (toro meaning bull) to see some traditional Mexican bull fighting. The nearby mountains, Cucapá and El Mayor, as well as the Mexicali Valley and Rio Hardy Valley all offer great hunting grounds for those so inclined. This area is especially noted for its dense population of pheasant – a favorite for hunters. Finally, if you are slightly more low-key and golfing is more suited to your taste, Mexicali is the home to the full 18-hole Club Campestre golf course.
So, now you’re in the know…why not go? For more information on activities in Mexicali, check out the Baja.com Mexicali activities directory.
Baja.com is a comprehensive online source of first-hand travel information for the Baja California Peninsula, supported by a full-service tour operator staffed by Baja locals (our “Baja Travel Savants”). We offer Baja travelers expert advice about local restaurants, hotels and vacation rentals, as well as guides, maps and articles about events, sports and activities. We provide bilingual customer support, information and sales seven days a week, 365 days a year.