Things I’d rather do in Mexico than in the US as someone who lives on the border

This article is part of the Narcity Media series. The opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Narcity Media.

Living near the US-Mexico border has always made it easy to experience two different cultures and cities on a daily basis.

Driving, or even walking, from El Paso, TX, to Ciudad Juarez, MX, to get an appointment, to get some groceries, or even to have coffee in a different country is definitely a very popular fun activity when you live in the border region.

Some things and services can be much cheaper than the Mexican side, and the quality can be much better.

Here are six best things to do in Mexico on the American side, based on my experience as a border city resident.

Eating in Mexican restaurants

La Feria Restaurant in Ciudad Juarez, MX.Fernanda Leon | seminar

This is my favourite!

Border cities in the United States usually have a variety of Mexican restaurants due to their proximity to Mexico. However, nothing can beat the experience of getting Mexican food in its original place.

The restaurant’s culture, ambiance, and modernity in Mexico feel very different. You’ll never find yellow sweet tortillas at a taco place, and enchiladas will have the most authentic taste compared to Tex-Mex cuisine in Texas.

Also, those who love spicy food can rest assured that they will find all the salsa they want.

In Ciudad Juarez, plenty of food trucks and stalls sell Mexican street food. These are the things I do when I crave barbacoa, biriya, or taritas tacos.

The burritos in this town are also on another level! There is a theory that a street vendor in Ciudad Juarez invented this dish in the 1940s.

Visit local shops and boutiques

Nude clothing and more store in Ciudad Juarez, MX.Nude clothing and more store in Ciudad Juarez, MX.Fernanda Leon | seminar

Finding local entrepreneurs, designers, and artists is much easier on the Mexican side of the El Paso Mexican border.

I am a big fan of shopping locally and always have a good experience when it comes to finding unique products in Juarez stores.

These are also my favorite places when I’m looking for a birthday or Christmas present because a lot of stores sell very specific items. Finding handmade jewelry or coffee mugs, hair products made with natural ingredients, or hand-painted purses and denim jackets always makes me feel like I’ve found a treasure trove of gold.

Shop Mexican Grocery Brands

Friskes, a Mexican dessert.Fernanda Leon | seminar

Although there are some prohibited products that you cannot take back to the US, buying groceries in Mexico can be much cheaper and a completely different experience when it comes to brands.

Ciudad Juarez supermarkets carry a variety of brands that you cannot easily find in the United States. If you’re a Mexican food lover like me, these stores offer plenty of canned produce, snacks, coffee, and many other Mexican-specific items.

Mexican sweets such as oblais, marzipan, glorias, and all kinds of candies can be found on the register.

Doctor visits

Medicines were purchased after a doctor's visit in Ciudad Juarez, MX.Medicines were purchased after a doctor’s visit in Ciudad Juarez, MX.Fernanda Leon | seminar

I’m the kind of person who likes to visit the doctor as soon as I feel that something is not right with my body. Being able to see the experts in Ciudad Juarez made my life so cold!

First of all, if you want to visit a medical professional from the Mexican side, you don’t necessarily have to see your primary doctor first, as is the case in the United States.

Also, booking an appointment with a doctor is likely to be smooth and easy. You will find yourself in the specialist’s office within hours or a few days.

Financially speaking, doctor visits are much cheaper in Mexico than in the United States. While you pay hundreds of dollars to see a specialist on the American side, doctors in Juarez charge the equivalent of about $30 to $50 for a consultation. It works the same with dentists.

Go to the gym and do fitness classes

Selfie after class in Ciudad Juarez, MX.Selfie after class in Ciudad Juarez, MX.Fernanda Leon | seminar

Although I love going to the fitness classes and the gym on either side of the border, the fixtures look even more distinct in Ciudad Juarez as they are usually run by local owners.

On the Texas side, you will see a lot of places that you can also find in different cities across the country. Ciudad Juarez also has large chain venues, but it is common to find academies and gyms with a special atmosphere and decor.

For example, I went to Bar Academy which is very insta-friendly and rosy!

Visiting cafes

A coffee drink in the shape of a bear at a café in Ciudad Juarez, MX.A coffee drink in the shape of a bear at a café in Ciudad Juarez, MX.Fernanda Leon | seminar

That’s the tie between El Paso and Ciudad Juarez, but I didn’t want to leave the opportunity to highlight the great – and very different – coffee you can find in Mexico.

If you’re craving “café de olla”, it’s easier to find in Juarez because this is a Mexican recipe that combines spices and coffee.

Cafés also vary greatly in terms of decor. While the areas of El Paso tend to be quite simple – which I find very fascinating – the places in Ciudad Juarez are different from each other.

From the Parisian café to the pink spot, Juarez has it all, and coffee is much cheaper there.

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