Editor’s note: ¡Viva Tijuana! is a multi-story series about the life and culture of San Diego’s modern neighbor to the south. More stories from the series can be found in links below.
Used to be, you would go to a Tijuana Xolos soccer game and drink cheap beer, then wear it home. The club has since launched a campaign discouraging the tradition of hurling your cup (and whatever happened to be in it) skyward anytime the Xolos score. But a trip across the border to Estadio Caliente, which thousands of San Diegans religiously make during the soccer season, is no less fun-soaked.
The Basics — Most home games are Friday nights. You can drive directly to Estadio Caliente, about five miles from the San Ysidro border, but that means battling Tijuana’s traffic and crazy drivers. The other option is to park on the U.S. side, walk across and take a taxi (ranging from $6 for locals to $15 for gringos).
Tickets — They start at about $15 but vary depending on the opponent. If you want to go first-class, sit in a luxury suite or get a table at the high-end restaurant overlooking the field. If you don’t want to stand and sing the entire game, stay out of the La Masakr3 (“the massacre”) fan club behind one goal.
When to go — The 18-team Liga MX, Mexico’s top division of pro soccer, is split into two 17-game seasons, plus playoffs. The Apertura season runs from July through November; the Clausura season from January through May.
What to wear — A Xolos jersey is preferable, but anything red and black will fit in. Raincoats no longer necessary.
Boulevard Agua Caliente, 12027
Hipódromo, 22000, Tijuana, B.C.
What to eat — Outside the stadium, make new friends and mooch off their parking lot tailgate party (you won’t be disappointed). Inside, don’t miss the carne asada taco stand.
What to drink — Beer is typically served as doubles, two bottles poured into a giant cup. It costs half what a single beer does at a Padres game.
What’s with the funny-looking dogs? Xolos is short for Xoloitzcuintles, a Mexican hairless dog steeped in mythological history. You’ll see them paraded around during halftime.
After the game — If the blackjack tables in the in-stadium sports bar don’t satisfy your gambling itch, the Caliente casino and dog track is right next door. Races usually start right after games, but with greyhounds, not Xoloitzcuintles.
For more info, visit xolos.com.mx, the club’s bilingual website.