Wish to admire the beauty of a white-walled cathedral, take your kids to a fabulous interactive museum with exhibits on science and art, or enjoy water activities like kayaking and waterskiing on the Hardy River?
A charming Mexican city known for its desert landscapes, fabulous Chinese cuisine, and a wide range of cultural attractions, Mexicali is a great place to visit on your Baja California road trip.
Mexicali is located 180 km from Tijuana and directly across the border from Calexico, California, US.
To help you decide where to go and what to do, we’ve put together this ultimate guide to the best things to do in Mexicali.
Table of Contents
Visit the Catedral de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe
One of the most famous cultural attractions in Mexicali, Catedral de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe is a beautiful cathedral from the 1940s.
Culture vultures and lovers of architecture will definitely want to stop by this well-illuminated cathedral known for its double bell tower, an image of Our Lady of Guadalupe, and a crucified Christ. It is a center of worship for many locals here in Mexicali.
The best time to visit Catedral de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe is on December 12(Day of the Virgin of Guadalupe). The celebrations include everything from the singing of Las Mananitas to dances and mariachi music.
Take Your Kids to Museo Sol del Niño
If you are visiting Mexicali with children, you’ll probably want to spend the day at the fabulous Museo Sol del Niño. Opened in 1998, this interactive science, art, technology, and environmental center is all about family-friendly exhibits that allow you to learn more about the culture and history of Mexicali.
Some of the most popular interactive rooms at Museo Sol del Niño include Discover Your World (sensory activities for psychomotor development), Children’s Zone (the creation of works of art by children), and Energy and Environment (teachings on recycling, reuse, and saving).
This state-of-the-art museum also houses an IMAX theater, as well as a cafeteria.
Enjoy Water Sports on the Hardy River
There is no shortage of fun outdoor activities in Mexicali. Discovered by Sir William Hale Hardy in the 19th century, the Hardy River is an ideal destination to enjoy a wide variety of water sports.
Whether you wish to try water skiing or enjoy kayaking, there is plenty to look forward to when spending a day on the Hardy River.
If you prefer land-based activities, rent an ATV or a motorcycle and experience the Hardy River from a totally different perspective.
The area is also home to camping areas, palapas, and restaurants where travelers can enjoy local food delicacies and other refreshments.
Sample Chinese Cuisine in Mexicali
Are you in the mood for some delicious Chinese foods in Mexicali? There is no better place to try Chinese food in Mexico than here in the capital of Baja, California. The city is home to more than 300 Chinese restaurants that typically focus on unique Chinese-Mexican fusions.
Whether you wish to try tasty fried rice dishes, enjoy classic Cantonese dishes like Peking Duck, or order a portion of sauce beef strips with mango, there are so many delicious Chinese foods to choose from in Mexicali. Some of our favorite Chinese restaurants in Mexicali include Golden China, Imperial Garden, and Dragon Restaurante.
Reconnect with Nature at Canon de Guadalupe
The Guadalupe Canyon Oasis is an ideal destination for nature lovers vacationing in Mexicali. The main attraction here is the group of geothermal hot springs.
Go for a dip in the rocky pools in summer or enjoy one of the many hiking trails. You should not miss the indigenous caves with paintings on the walls.
The area is also home to a fabulous campsite where can spend a night or two. Each unit comes with a private hot tub, campfire, and BBQ area.
Go on a Shopping Spree in La Cachanilla Mall
Shopaholics visiting Mexicali will definitely want to spend a few hours at La Cachanilla, the best and the largest shopping center in the city. Located just a mile from the US border, this cool mall is home to a bunch of amazing shops and restaurants that sell a wide range of items.
From leather accessories and clothing to household items, jewelry, and cosmetics, there is something for everyone at La Cachanilla Mall. In addition to boutiques and shops, this mall also houses many nice restaurants where you can enjoy delicious food. After all the shopping, catch a movie at the on-site theater or have fun at the bowling alley.
Visit Centro Estatal de las Artes
Established back in 2005, Centro Estatal de las Artes (State Center for the Arts) is a must-visit place for all you culture vultures staying in Mexicali. This convergent arts center houses the largest exhibition gallery in Mexicali and organizes everything from workshops to academic conferences.
With artistic manifestations like short films, literature, dance, and theater, it is actually the best place to learn about the art and culture in Mexicali. There is a nice cafeteria on-site where you can enjoy refreshing drinks or sample the local Mexican cuisine.
Sandboarding on Algodones Dunes
Extreme sports enthusiasts will instantly fall in love with the dunes of Cuervitos in Los Algodones. This large area of dunes is located just a 40-minute drive from Mexicali. You can either take the bus or drive to the dunes. If you thinking about driving a car in Mexicali, we definitely recommend checking out this cool guide: “Mexican Car Insurance: Everything You Need To Know”.
Algodones Dunes stretch from South California to the outskirts of Mexicali. It is a place where you can try sandboarding and other extreme sports. The international Baja Sandboard championship is held here annually, every March.
Not a fan of extreme sports? The good news is there is a peaceful side of the dunes where travelers can enjoy leisure activities like horseriding and going for a walk in the desert.
Visit Flyers Jump & Fun with Your Kids
No visit to Mexicali with the little ones is complete without stopping by Flyers Jump & Fun in Mexicali.
The largest amusement park in Mexicali, Flyers Jump & Fun houses a wide range of facilities and offers plenty of family-friendly activities for both adults and kids to enjoy.
Visitors can play basketball and dodgeball, try open jumping, and even do aerobics here.
Try Your Luck at Arenia Casino
If you are feeling lucky or wish to catch a live screening of sporting events, pay a visit to the Arenia Casino in Mexicali. From slot machines and bingo to roulette and poker tables, the casino has everything you might think of.
In addition to cards and slots at the court Lady Luck, Arenia Casino also offers bets on various sports like soccer, basketball, baseball, and field hockey. Guests can also enjoy a delicious meal and listen to live music performances.
See Beautiful Murals by Local Mexicali Artists
Stop by the Art Passage to see dozens of amazing murals by local artists from Mexicali. With giant walls covered with art, this public space is dedicated to the promotion of these talented Mexicali artists.
There are about 15 urban art murals to see here. It is also a popular place among both amateur and professional photographers who visit this place to snap some cool pics of the murals. Art Passage hosts a few events ranging from plastic art exhibitions to festivals throughout the year.
Go for a Walk through Vicente Guerrero Park
Last on our list is the beautiful Vicente Guerrero Park in Mexicali. One of the oldest and largest green spaces in the city, this park is a popular sport with tourists and locals alike.
It has extensive green areas with benches, as well as BBQ areas and children’s playgrounds. Vicente Guerrero Park occasionally hosts music events and kid’s workshops.
Best Things to Do in Mexicali FAQ
How to get to Mexicali?
Mexicali is located near the border with the United States, which makes it easily accessible by car or bus from border cities in both California and Arizona. The city also has an International Airport that is located about 8 miles from the center.
When is the best time to visit Mexicali?
You can visit Mexicali throughout the year. The weather is pleasant here and the city receives little rain, even in winter. In summer, the temperature can reach up to 110°F. The temperature in winter can drop to around 50°F at night. We recommend visiting Mexicali from November to April.
What are the most popular things to do in Mexicali with kids?
If you are traveling with the little ones, you will be delighted to hear there are tons of fun things to do in Mexicali with children. Some of the most popular spots to visit with children in Mexicali include Museo Sol del NinoCentro Estatal de las Artes and Plaza la Cachanilla.
Easily reachable from the US, Mexicali is a great place to visit in Baja, California. The city is packed with cultural attractions and is home to some of the best Chinese restaurants in all of Mexico. Venture outside the city gates to find unique landscapes where you can enjoy a variety of cool outdoor activities.