Nogales (Arizona)

Mexican-American border separating Nogales, Arizona from Nogales, Sonora

Nogales is a city divided by the US-México border, which runs through the middle of town on what was International Street. This portion of the city is in South Central Arizona; see Nogales (Mexico) for the portion in Sonora.


The origin of the name Nogales is Spanish and derives from the word walnut, since walnut trees used to grow here. International Street, which separates Arizona and México, was once a wide main street much like any other. This changed on August 27, 1918 when American authorities opened fire on a Mexican civilian attempting to return to Sonora, igniting an international gun battle (the Battle of Ambos Nogales) which raged for days and ended with the construction of the first permanent border fence right down the centre of the village.

The city is now one of the most important border crossings between Mexico and the USA by all measures.

Get in

Take Interstate 19 (I-19) south until the valley becomes narrow. Here you will find the narrowest point, where Nogales is located.

Get around

The historic core of downtown Nogales is most easily seen on foot, particularly if you want to cross the border. To go further afield, you'll need a car.


Santa Cruz County Courthouse
Pimeria Alta Historical Museum
Historic shopfronts on Morley Avenue



For souvenirs most visitors like to walk across the border and explore Nogales, Sonora.


Grocery stores


Finitos is a very famous local drink of the shaved ice type. It is not the same shaved ice that one typically finds at a ballgame; this one is extremely unique. It is definitely a city favorite and known by all who live in and around Nogales for its high quality. In addition, it comes in a large range of flavors to meet any personal preference. Don't hesitate to try this local treat.







Stay safe

America's appetite for various contraband street drugs has ensured a steady stream of US dollars and US weapons southward to dangerous organised gangs on the Mexican side at all major crossings, in return for drugs which transit Mexico on their way north.

This has created dangers for travellers continuing westward into Mexico from the Nogales area; see the current travel warning issued by the US State Department. If you intend to cross at Nogales, it may be best to stay on the main toll road (México 15), travel by day and avoid display of jewels or valuables in order to keep a low profile.

Go next

Routes through Nogales

Tucson Tumacácori N.H.P.  N  S  → becomes Nogales, MEX
END  W  E  Patagonia Tombstone

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Wednesday, March 11, 2015. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.