Avenida Revolución (“Revolution Avenue”) is the tourist center in Tijuana, Baja California, México. It is the main thoroughfare of the historic downtown of Tijuana, officially called the Zona Centro, which forms part of the Delegación Centro or Central Borough of Tijuana.
Avenida Revolución was the first road in Tijuana to be paved, near the beginning of the twentieth century. Originally called Avenida Olvera, it was from its earliest days a popular destination for American tourists who crossed the border from California.
The avenue’s most remarkable development was during the Prohibition Era of 1920-1933 when it was visited by American tourists seeking legal alcohol.
The Caesar salad was invented on Avenida Revolución during this period by Caesar Cardini, the Italian-American proprietor of the Hotel Caesar and its restaurant Caesar’s.
During this period the name of the avenue changed several times in line with political developments in Mexico. In 1920 it became Avenida A. In the late 1920s it became Avenida Álvaro Obregón and subsequently Avenida Libertad. In 1932 it received its current name.
Avenida Revolución has experienced many changes, and is known as the business card of Tijuana, “The most visited city in the world”. It was known for its famous cantinas including, “La Ballena”, the largest bar in the world when it was open.
The city was popular with American Navy sailors until the United States Navy prohibited sailors from visiting Tijuana.
The long avenue is home to several distinct attractions, from cantinas and table dance bars to numerous dance clubs and art galleries.
A popular tourist attraction is taking a picture with a zonkey, a donkey painted to look like a zebra.
Businesses include some remaining handicraft and leather shops, pharmacies catering primarily to Americans, and a branch of the Sanborn’s gift emporium and casual restaurant. American stores and fast-food restaurants like 7-Eleven and Burger King have a presence on the avenue, as they do throughout Tijuana.
The shopping arcades lost many of their customers and tenants in the years after 2001 as tourism dropped; however the Pasaje Rodríguez has been repurposed as a design/cultural destination with businesses selling coffee, books, and artisan clothing, and other products.
El Foro, the former Jai Alai Palace, is now a concert venue.
The avenue was remodeled in the mid-2010s, widening the sidewalks, adding bus rapid transit lanes, and reducing lanes for car traffic.