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And other Baja California cities.
NOTE: This is an archive article. For an updated and expanded Tijuana article click DailyXtraTravel
No need to drive from San Diego, American can park on their side, then walk across the border for a wild and all-night Mexican party. Once on the other side taxis are easy to find, and inexpensive for getting around town, but agree the price upfront and travel with companions when possible. The lower drinking age, and a greater tolerance south of the border for pleasures of the flesh, long ago made Tijuana a magnet for those from the north. Young military men in particular, but other Americans of all ages and orientations have been coming in droves, especially since the days of Prohibition in the US.
But if all the sex and partying here remind you of Amsterdam, it's not true for drugs, even soft ones like Marijuana. Though prevalent, they're just as illegal in Mexico as up north. Attracting official attention can do more than ruin an evening, so follow the example of local friends you can trust.
For maps, bar lists, border crossing info and general updates see web-blogs BajaAdvisor.com,
BajaGay.com, and BajaGay41
Bars & clubs Tijuana
Extasis / Fusion
(Calle Larroque 213) an easy few minutes walk from the border gate, Wednesdays, and Fridays through Sundays, with dancing, naked strippers, and sexual dark rooms, is the club most visited by, and best known to Americans. They combined recently with the club next door to add drag shows to the mix in a larger complex.
A new dance club All Access
(Francisco Javier Mina 1616), full of youthful energy, has opened with stripper and drag shows, and some women's nights, some distance from other bars, near the IMAX dome of the Cecut Cultural Center, off Paseo de Los Heroes.
Going south from the border past Friendship Arch on Avenida Revolucion, four gay bars sit at the plaza on the south west side of Santiago Arguello.
El Ranchero (Plaza Santa Cecilia 769, on Arguello off Revolucion) is on two levels, popular with a good mix of both locals and Americans, where those of many ages and varied means hook up. It's "where languages and cultural differences are forgotten" as they say.
(Plaza Santa Cecilia 751, on Arguella off Revolucion), next door, is a similar but smaller, edgier bar, drag-friendly, with shows.
DF (Plaza Santa Cecilia 1910) bar with older locals and young hustler machos.
At Hawaii (Plaza Santa Cecilia 768, Arguello near El Ranchero) male stripper shows are their specialty, and they have drag shows too. Dance all night and come by anytime -they're open 24 hours, 365 days a year. There's never a cover here and they have private rooms too.
Three gay bars on Revolucion north of Benito Juarez (also called Segunda, or 2nd), have less of a male sex focus, and include women, couples and straight friends among their patrons.
The most popular of these Camaleon aka Colibri (Calle 2/Calle Segundo, enter from Revolucion), is roomy, relaxed and friendly with shows. Others nearby are Closet popular with women, and Club 41.
At Zky Blue (Ave Francisco Madero 735) dance club, a block to the east, they have a varied mix of older and younger guys, but their popular dark room was closed at last report.
Directly across the street, Bobi's (Avenida Madero 518) attracts a mostly bear, masculine crowd, with 2-for-1 beers on Wednesdays.
Four more bars of interest, further down Revolucion, around 6th and 7th Streets, include Mike's (Revolucion 1220) one of the oldest gay bars in Tijuana, is gay from 10pm now, with strip and drag shows from midnight and dancing afterwards for a mixed straight women and gay men crowd.
The City (Avenida Revolucion at Calle 6ta) promises non-stop dancing and shows, go-go dancers, dark room, sex shop and a whole new concept for Tijuana after their March 2010 reopening. Check their websites for updates.
For some inexpensive, but reputable hotel options in the area of Tijuana's gay nightlife, click here.
A half dozen bathhouses dot the local landscrape, none entirely gay, and a lot less fancy than most such facilities in the US or Canada. Men who miss the old days of cruising "straight" guys might rise to the challenge. Follow your instincts, be discreet enough to avoid embarrassing anyone, and many are the pleasures to experience among Mexican men, when women aren't around.
Americans might feel most at home at Banos Vica (Blvd Gustavo Dï¿½az Ordaz 1535) to the south of the center near Mercado de Todos, clean but not too spiffy, with a piping hot steamroom. Sunday afternoons are especially busy. But then again, more people around can make the guys more cautious, so any day could be lucky. Opening times differ from what's typical up north, from 7am to 9pm.
The annual Tijuana Pride festivities typically take place third Saturdays of June, with a parade beginning on Second Street near Avenida de los Ninos at 5pm, ending at Plaza Santa Cecilia. Check local media closer to the event to confirm June 19, 2010. Lots of events follow in the bars.
To the east, bordering Calexico California, Mexicali has a long and interesting history of many immigrants. By far the most dynamic center for some miles on either side of the border, the city has several gay night clubs.
The largest of these, Disco Mirage (Avenida Lerdo 430) open Wednesday through Sunday in the central zone, has karaoke, weekend dancing and go-go dancers, plus Saturday and Sunday night drag shows.
Also at the center are Sugar's Place (Altamariano 480), a drag show venue; and
Pride Antro (Lopez Mateos 1655) dance club.
A branch store of the nation-wide chain Erotika Sex Shop (Blvd. Lazaro Cardenas 1731, #54F) in the Villafontana Commercial Center, has adult entertainment and accesories, both straight and gay.
More "baja" in Baja,
Disco Bar Iguanas is another gay club, with men/women mix, karaoke on Thursdays and strip and drag shows and dancing on weekends.
The Sublime Club (First Street at Alvarado, 3rd floor) is a gay video lounge showing everything from the Oscar Awards to boxing matches and soccer games, as well as music videos. They also have guys' fashion shows among their many ongoing events.
Poker Face Sports Bar (Blvd Costero 263) is open every night until 3am with drag shows and male strippers.