Mexicali is the capital of the state of Baja California, Mexico. It’s located approximately 130 miles east of San Diego, California and is a US/Mexico border town with its sister city, Calexico, California.
Mexicali was founded in 1903. It has progressed in leaps and bounds since then, and by all accounts, it will continue to do so. This prosperous iconic city in the desert gets thousands of visitors each year made up of both business people and tourists. Mexicali is chosen time and time again by this mix of visitors because Mexicali appears to have it all, or at least something for everyone. Known locally as “The beautiful city that captured the sun,” Mexicali has many appealing aspects that visitors, tourists and business people alike, will find very worthwhile. Its varied cultural, historical, and entertaining attractions provide visitors with an always memorable, often educational, experience.
The Cathedral de la Virgen de Guadalupe - Mexicali's major religious landmark. The cathedral has been transformed into a neoclassical building, which now serves as the city's Casa de la Cultura (Culture Center), and is the host of traveling art exhibitions.
Cervecería Mexicali – a former brewery, opened by a German master brewer in 1923, created this libation for locals for fifty years. The building is now vacant, but it is well preserved despite damage from a 1986 fire.
Teatro del Estado – the state theater, a modern building that seats 1100, is equipped with avant-garde acoustical technology. The theater is host to a broad range of theatrical and musical performances throughout the year.
Museo Regional de la Universidad Autónoma – features permanent displays covering a myriad of subjects, which include geology, paleontology, human evolution, colonial history, and photography. It’s also host to many “traveling exhibitions”; some are indigenous themes like one they had on Mexico’s mainland textiles.
The Colorado River Land Company – An important building in Mexicali’s history. Early in the 20th century, the Colorado River Land Company was an American enterprise that designed and built an extensive irrigation system in the Valley of Mexicali, attracting the first Chinese immigrants to the area, promising them work. This former headquarters of the Colorado River Land Company is now used for offices, but its attractive patio fountain and restored balcony murals are worth seeing.
Plaza de Toros Calafia – In the last 100 years, Mexicali has had five bullrings, but the most intriguing and beautiful is the Calafia. The Calafia bullring was established on November 16th, 1975, by famous matadors Manolo Martinez, Eloy Cavazos and Mariano Ramos. Charging of the bulls (Corridas de toros) events take place once a month from October to May in the Plaza de Toros Calafia’s Bullring.
La Rumorosa – take a drive up the mountain to the town of La Rumorosa, a beautiful place to relax in, which offers recreational parks with camping areas and friendly locals. Views from the peak of the Sierra Madre are magnificent. This area is a favorite among mountain bikers and hikers looking for Vallecitos, the archeological site that has the well-known ancient rock painting "El Diablito" (Little Devil).
La Chinesca - Many inhabitants of Mexicali are of Asian descent. A lot of Chinese immigrants initially came to Mexicali to work for the Colorado River Land Company. Much of their cultural influence can be seen throughout the city in its architecture, customs, and food. The Chinese demographic is firmly entrenched in Mexicali, enough to have their own neighborhood where most of their family businesses are located.
Shopping – it’s a great way to get out of Mexicali’s exhorbitant heat. The modern malls in Mexicali are an adventure in themselves, exciting vibrant places, they are fully air-conditioned, well designed, and carry unique products not found anywhere else in the world. Inside the malls, visitors can catch the latest movies at the theaters, go bowling, or stop for refreshments. There’s something for everyone at the mall. The main malls include Plaza La Cachanilla, Plaza Catavina, Plaza Mundo Divertido, and Plaza San Pedro.
Mexicali is also host to a professional golf course, public swimming pools, professional wrestling, car shows, concerts and festivals. Popular ongoing festivals include the Baja Prog, which features four days of alternative rock concerts, and the Festival del Sol (Sun Fest) held each May.
Crossing the Border Station At Mexicali-Calexico
Mexicali visitors from the U.S. cross by foot or car from Calexico in the United States every day. Mexicali's proximity to the United States has made the city a popular tourist destination with Americans from Arizona, California, and Nevada. Mexico's drinking age of 18 (vs. 21 in the United States) makes it a common weekend destination for high-school and college aged Southern Californians. Many shops and stalls selling Mexican crafts and souvenirs are located within walking distance from the border.
Mexicali is linked to other Mexican cities by the Mexicali International Airport. A modernized bus system also serves the area.