"San Ysidro, California, U.S.A?" San Ysidro by lmkluque

San Ysidro Travel Guide: 27 reviews and 54 photos

An Important Community in San Diego!

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Welcome to my San Ysidro page,

There are moments while driving around San Ysidro I wonder if I'm still in the U.S.A. or have crossed into Mexico. The condition of many of the streets--especially residential--are more like those in Mexico than in the U.S.A. Much of the business community have more of a Mexican flavor than the rest of San Diego. Most signs are in both languages, even the sign on the San Diego Public Library is in Spanish! I guess, because of the location, history and population of San Ysidro that it still seems more a part of Mexico than the U.S.A.

In the 1700's Father Junipero Serra passed through a sloping valley, "Smugglers Gulch," on his journey to establish the twenty-one Missions of California, and set up camp on the north side of the river, in what is now known as San Ysidro.

This area became known as Little Lander's Colony in 1909 when William Smythe established a colony here. The colony was later renamed San Ysidro after the patron saint of the farmers (plowers,)

In July of 1957, the City of San Diego annexed San Ysidro, making it a new community of the city and with the completion of the freeways I-5 and I-805 San Ysidro became the world's largest port of entry. It is known as the Gateway to the Americas. A grand sounding name for an impovrished community.

However, great effort is being made by the San Ysidro Chamber of Commerce to remove the "third world" image of this community while holding on to the Mexican historical aspects and it is doing a fine job.

I Hope You Enjoy Your Visit,

The Heart of the San Ysidro Community

The heart of the community is found here between the one-way streets of West Park and East Park. The island between these streets hold the Library, Senior's Center, a play ground with tennis/volleyball courts, a public park with barbaque grills for anyone to use and an active Community Center.

Driving through the residential area is like going back in time when streets were safe and neighbors knew one another. Of course, it's still quite a shock to have to stop the car to let an escaped rooster and his hen cross the street!

I've heard many negative comments about San Ysidro over the years and at times it does feel more like being in Mexico than in the USA but, I like it for the family oriented spot that it is, and you might too.

The Future of San Ysidro!

Since high school--many many moons ago I've been going to San Ysidro, to visit friends, shop, eat, exchange dollars for pesos, to pass through on the way to Tijuana and I even worked in San Ysidro for a short time. All that to say, I've seen many changes. The best and most exciting change is Las Americas! More than an outlet mall offering name brand products at a reduced price, it will possibly be a new entrance into Tijuana, Mexico. Combining a tourist's desire to shop and tour at the same time! If this project is successful we will see many more changes to San Ysidro and I hope that heart of the community isn't lost with progress.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:New Plans in the works.
  • Cons:Not yet ready.
  • In a nutshell:Worth at least a stop on the way to Tijuana.
  • Last visit to San Ysidro: Jun 2013
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (23)

Comments (9)

  • Nemorino's Profile Photo
    Sep 4, 2013 at 7:17 AM

    Linda, I'm glad to see you have been adding lots of new tips and updates since I last looked at this page. Good work!

  • GentleSpirit's Profile Photo
    Dec 17, 2012 at 6:42 PM

    Good practical information. One thing i didn't see, how long does it usually take to actually cross the border? Bien hecho Linda:)

    • lmkluque's Profile Photo
      Dec 18, 2012 at 5:58 AM

      Going into Mexico by car takes about ten or fifteen minutes, walking is quicker. It's the return that takes the time. Can be more than 2 hours either by car or walking across. Our Custom officers are diligent in their duties.

  • Nemorino's Profile Photo
    Dec 17, 2012 at 8:00 AM

    It’s nice that you started this page with a photo of the public library.

  • Yaqui's Profile Photo
    Oct 3, 2007 at 8:33 AM

    Lovely community, I've been thru here! Keep up the great work Linda, you keep adding southern Ca area and I am tackling the mid southern areas. We'll make sure every one knows about CA...LOL! Nice page and thanks for sharing.

  • matcrazy1's Profile Photo
    Oct 25, 2006 at 9:04 AM

    A lot of very useful tips, Linda. Haha, I only parked my car there before walking to Tijuana. Well, a carton of cigarettes for $22 in US duty free shop cost $15 across the border, Mexican Marlboro -:-)

  • BluBluBlu's Profile Photo
    Aug 25, 2005 at 8:35 AM

    Very practical tips Linda! Happy travels, Blu

  • acemj's Profile Photo
    Jul 2, 2005 at 8:29 AM

    Lots of good practical info on this page, Linda. I didn't know about the new outlet mall. Looks cool.

  • b1bob's Profile Photo
    May 24, 2005 at 11:02 AM

    There are Starbucks everywhere! There will soon be one in Mechanicsville. Nice overview on San Ysidro. I don't believe I made it there when I was last in the area.

  • globetrott's Profile Photo
    May 21, 2005 at 9:39 AM

    an interesting page & great pics, Linda ! Nice to see that IHOP still exists, as I still remember their pancakes...

lmkluque Visits Here Frequently!


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