VISITING THE PARK
Where is Friendship Park?
Friendship Park is located at the western end of the U.S.-Mexico border, atop a mesa ("Monument Mesa"), overlooking the iconic spot where the border wall dives into the Pacific Ocean.
Is Friendship Park in the United States or Mexico?
Both. Friendship Park ("El Parque de la Amistad" in Spanish) is what locals on both sides of the border call the binational meeting place that spans the international boundary. At the center of Friendship Park stands a stone monument that sits precisely on the international boundary, its base half in the United States and half in Mexico.
Who is in charge of Friendship Park?
On the U.S. side of Friendship Park, the binational meeting place has been located on federal property since 2006, when the federal government took the land adjacent to the border from the State of California by eminent domain. This strip of land, now enclosed between two border walls, is heavily monitored 24/7 by San Diego Border Patrol agents. On the Mexican side of Friendship Park, the land is part of "Playas de Tijuana," a "colonia" within the larger city of Tijuana.
Why do people go to Friendship Park to meet up with family and friends, instead of just crossing the border?
Thousands of people residing legally in the United States lack a status that would allow them to travel to Mexico. People with DACA, people with immigration cases pending before U.S. courts, people on parole -- if people like these have family and friends in Mexico who cannot secure a visa to visit the United States, Friendship Park becomes the only place they can be reunited in person. Friendship Park is also a preferred location for many residents of the San Diego-Tijuana region, who gather here to work in the Binational Friendship Garden of Native Plants, to worship at The Border Church, or to celebrate with friends at annual events like La Posada Sin Fronteras and the Fandango Fronterizo. Friendship Park is a landmark location of great cultural and historical significance to the entire border region.
Is it dangerous to visit the Mexican side of Friendship Park?
No. Traveling in Mexico entails certain risks, as is true of traveling anywhere, including in the United States. That said, hundreds of thousands of people cross back and forth from the United States to Mexico each day without incident. Crossing from San Diego into Tijuana is easy, safe and secure. Every taxi driver in Tijuana knows where Friendship Park is located - in the shadow of the famous Tijuana lighthouse, "El Faro en Playas de Tijuana." This is an enormously popular and enormously beautiful destination, visited by thousands of locals and tourists each weekend. Visitors to the Mexican side of Friendship Park invariably have a fabulous time. On the weekends, especially, the Mexican side of Friendship Park feels like a "perpetual fiesta."
Is it dangerous to visit the U.S. side of Friendship Park?
No. Thousands upon thousands of visitors have visited the U.S. side of Friendship Park across many years and to our knowledge there has never been a single instance of injury or harm. The members of the Friends of Friendship Park have themselves spent tens of thousands of hours at the park and not one of us has ever felt endangered in any way. To the contrary, we find it affirming and inspiring to make friends with people on both sides of the border, which is why we advocate continually for improved public access to the U.S. side of Friendship Park.
What documents are required to visit the U.S. side of Friendship Park?
When the U.S. side of Friendship Park is open for "visiting hours" (Saturdays and Sundays, 10 am - 2 pm), Border Patrol Agents don't typically ask people for documents, but they have the authority to do so. U.S. citizens, permanent residents, people with tourist, student, work visas or other status (DACA, for instance) can go to the park without risk. Because the area surrounding the park is so heavily surveilled by Border Patrol agents, people without legal residency in the United States should not travel to the U.S. side of Friendship Park, or should exercise extreme caution in doing so.
What's the difference between "Friendship Park" and "Border Field State Park?"
What locals call "Friendship Park" is the binational meeting place located precisely on the international boundary, half in Mexico and half in the United States. The much larger surrounding area in the United States is Border Field State Park, a State Park in California. Learn more about Border Field State Park here.
Who is in charge of Border Field State Park?
Border Field State Park is part of of California's expansive State Parks system, and is run by State Parks officials. The roads leading to Border Field State Park include State freeways and roads belonging to the Cities of San Diego and Imperial Beach, and the County of San Diego. Learn more about Border Field State Park here.
When is Border Field State Park open?
Border Field State Park is almost always open to the public in the United States during daylight hours. Occasionally, severe rain events may cause the State Park to be closed temporarily. Learn the current status of Border Field State Park here.
Where is the entrance to Border Field State Park?
The entrance to Border Field State Park can be found at this address: 1250 Monument Road, San Diego CA 92154. Learn more about visiting Border Field State Park and Friendship Park on the U.S. side here.
Can I drive through Border Field State Park to get to Friendship Park?
Vehicle access to Border Field State Park varies seasonally. The road running through the State Park is open to vehicles on weekends during the summer months when the road is not typically flooded, usually June through October. During the winter months, usually November through May, the State Park is open only to pedestrians, which means visitors wanting to visit Friendship Park will have to hike in and out. Learn more about visiting the park on the U.S. side here.
How long does it take to hike to Friendship Park?
There are two principal hiking routes that will take you from the entrance to Border Field State Park to Friendship Park. The round trip for each route is under 4 miles and mostly on level ground, but there is an ascent to reach Friendship Park, which is located atop a coastal mesa ("Monument Mesa"). You should plan a full half-hour each way if you plan to hike into Friendship Park. Learn more about visiting the park on the U.S. side here.
The vehicle gate at the entrance to Border Field State Park is closed - does that mean Friendship Park is closed, too?
Not necessarily. Sometimes the vehicle gate is closed only because the road running through Border Field State Park is flooded. On these occasions you can still enter the State Park on foot or bicycle or horse during daylight hours. This does not necessarily mean that Friendship Park (the binational meeting place on federal property) is closed for visiting hours, which for many years were Saturdays and Sundays, 10am - 2pm. Learn more about visiting the park on the U.S. side here.
When was Friendship Park founded?
In the immediate aftermath of the US-Mexico War. A binational commission chartered by the 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo first met at this location in 1849. The monument at the center of Friendship Park was originally established in 1851. Because it was the first such monument put in place to demarcate the new international boundary, some people call this "the birthplace of the border." People from both nations have met at this location for generations. Learn more about the history of Friendship Park here.