Mexicali is the capital of Baja California. On the U.S.-Mexican border, Mexicali is across from the city of Calexico, California. This city, established in 1903, offers attractions and plenty of things to do. From its traditional cuisine to its cultural venues, Mexicali attracts thousands of visitors annually.
Mexicali has a population of 689,775 people as of 2018. So, behind Tijuana it is the second-largest city in Baja North. The city has a reputation for its educated people. As a result, it also maintains the highest standards of living in the country. Mexicali has attracted many international companies like Coca-Cola and Nestle.
The Valley of Mexicali is very fertile. So, agriculture continues as a strong industry for the city. The valley also has a generous water supply. Because of this, one of the largest irrigation hubs in the whole country. Mexicali has an arid and hot climate. Therefore, during the summer temperatures may be hotter than anywhere else in Mexico. Its surrounding landscape is famed for off-roading, hiking, mountain climbing, and camping.
Mexicali shares its history with the rest of the Baja Peninsula and this corner of northwestern Mexico. Hunter and gatherer peoples made their way to the region thousands of years ago. Over time, some indigenous groups began to practice small-scale agriculture. Because of its remote location, the area remained isolated even after the arrival of the Spanish in the mid-1500s. The Jesuits found success by the end of the eighteenth century. The Spanish largely ignored this rugged corridor of these northern lands until the early nineteenth century. At this point, settlers began to discover the fertile agricultural areas of the Mexicali Valley. Farmers started to arrive in droves, and the city of Mexicali incorporated in 1903.
Technical product manufacturing in Mexicali has given it the nickname: ” silicon border.” As a result, many business travelers visit annually. Aside from business, visitors come to shop for crafts, silver, and even pharmaceuticals which are far less expensive than in the U.S. The city has some excellent restaurants and hotels.
Things to See and Do in Mexicali
- Chinatown: The Chinatown (La Chinesca) is one of the strongest centers of Chinese culture in Mexico. The Chinese here come from Hong Kong and Guangdong. A wide range of Chinese shops and cuisine are available in this part of Mexicali.
- Sierra Juarez: The mountains of the region are a popular draw for outdoor-people. Visitors climb, rappel, camp, hike and even go cave-exploring.
- Catedral de Guadalupe: As the oldest cathedral in Mexicali, this attraction is a must-see site. Find it on the Bulevar Morelos.
- Calzada Lopez Mateos: The city’s main avenue. This street attracts many shoppers and diners to downtown.
- Plaza de Toros Calafia: This bullring is one of the most popular in northern Mexico. It draws an international audience to witness its events.
- Off-Roading: Like elsewhere in Baja California, off-roading is a favorite pastime. Visitors can ride off-road just about anywhere!
- Teatro del Estado: As one of the city’s main cultural spots. This theater features dramatic and musical performances throughout the year.
- Museo Regional de la Universidad Autonoma: Collections and landscape exhibits. Also, find renowned artifacts from the various historical eras of northern Mexico.
- Eating in Mexicali: The capital city is famous for its fine restaurants.