The majority of Tijuana  visitors come to shop in the free-trade zone (up to US$400). You’ll find a long list of goods for sale, from arts and crafts souvenirs and hand-embroidered dresses to name-brand apparel and discount prescription drugs.
You can pay with U.S. dollars anywhere in the city; some stores will also accept credit cards. Most of the stores along Avenida Revolución have someone who speaks English on staff.
Avenida Revolución between Calle 2 and Calle 9 has a concentration of upscale boutiques selling leather goods, Talavera pottery, silver jewelry, and more.
Tolan (Revolución 1111 at Calle 7, tel. 664/688-3637) carries a nice selection of glassware, pottery, and other high-end arts and crafts. For a wider selection of pottery at lower prices than the boutiques, head to the Mercado de Artesanías (Ocampo and Calle 2, no tel.). Across from the Tijuana Cultural Center at Paseo de los Héroes and Avenida Independencia, Mercado Hidalgo is a more traditional farmers market with fresh produce and other foods as well as artesanía.
Plaza Río Tijuana (Paseo de los Héroes btw Via Poniente/Cuauhtémoc, www.plazariotijuana.com.mx ), in the Zona Río, is a modern shopping mall with more than 100 businesses. The main department stores here include Comercial Mexicana, Dax, Solo Un Precio, and Dorian’s. You can buy everything from a pair of glasses to jewelry and fine art. The Metropoli Alternative Shop is a collection of several boutiques located at Calle 6 and Revolución, where you can find clothing by local designers, vintage apparel, skateboards, and sombreros.
A number of tile and furniture stores line Boulevard Agua Caliente between Avenida Revolución and the Caliente complex. You can buy high-quality pieces made of wood or wrought iron at much lower prices than you’d pay in the United States or Canada. Just be sure to check the latest U.S. Customs regulations before filling up your car.
La Caja Galería (Callejon de las Moras 118 B, tel. 664/686-3056, www.lacajagaleria.com ) represents contemporary Mexican artists, many of them from Tijuana itself.
San Diego residents frequent Sanborns department store (Revolución 1102 at Calle 8, tel. 664/688-1433, www.sanborns.com.mx ) for English-language books, arts and crafts, medications, and liquor.
Tijuanenses buy their shoes, liquor, medications, and other day-to-day items on Avenida Constitución, one block west of Avenida Revolución. Prices are accordingly lower. For last-minute souvenirs or to pass the time at the border, browse the kitschy crafts in the indoor/outdoor Plaza Viva Tijuana (Frontera and Av. de la Amistad), just before the border gate).
On the first Friday evening of the month, artists open studios along Pasaje Rodriguez Arte y Diseño (PRAD) (Av. Revolución 721 btw Calles 3–4, pradtj.webs.com) to celebrate local art and culture.