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Border Report: Día de los Muertos

Where to go and what to eat across the border for Día de los Muertos


Photo by Dave Chinn

Thanks to Tijuana’s growing migrant population, the city’s Día de los Muertos festivities have always made for a vibrant, authentic, and easily accessible way to see what it means to celebrate loved ones who are beyond the grave.

For the November 2 celebration, get supplies at Mercado Miguel Hidalgo in Zona Río, the city’s oldest open-air market, where shops are stocked with calaveras (sugar skulls) and colorful strands of papel picado (decorative paper). The market is home to goods from each of Mexico’s 31 states—like pan de muerto, seasonal sweet bread fresh out of the oven—as well as Tijuana’s largest Day of the Dead altar, in the middle of the parking lot. Fill up on regional delicacies like blue corn quesadillas stuffed with huitlacoche and chapulines (corn fungus and seasoned crickets), and homemade mezcal at La Oaxaqueña, a deli specializing in cuisine from Mexico’s second-southernmost state.

Then, make a stop at any of Tijuana’s dozens of cemeteries, such as Panteón Puerta Blanca—the city’s oldest, dating back to the 1920s—in Colonia Castillo. Families continue to cover graves with the usual cempasúchil (marigolds), candles, photos, and other folkloric décor, and many keep vigil long past sunset. Finish up with a bite at La Casa del Mole in Zona Río or El Taller Baja Med in Colonia Aviación, home of the town’s one and only mole pizza, topped with your choice of chicken or arrachera (Mexico’s famous marinated skirt steak).

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