With its location on the Mexican border, its relationship with its “sister city” of Juarez and thousands of years of human habitation, El Paso is a city rich in heritage, culture and history. It is one of the 20 most populous cities in the United States, and is frequently ranked as one of the safest big cities in America. A hidden gem itself, behind the bigger metropolitan areas of Texas, “The City with a Legend” has many treasures to discover.
- Explore other-worldly history at Concordia Cemetery. This historic graveyard – known as El Paso’s Boot Hill – dates to 1856 and is the final resting place for gunfighter John Wesley Hardin, Buffalo Soldiers, Texas Rangers, Civil War veterans, early Mormon pioneers and other civic leaders. A Texas State Historical Site, Concordia was named “Best of the West” by True West Magazine, and in 2008 was honored by Preservation Texas with the Clara Driscoll Award for Preservation. Stop by in early November for the Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) celebration, featuring ghost tours, fortune tellers and exhibits.
- For a different historical track, stop by El Paso Union Depot, the first international train station in the United States. Dating back to 1906, the building’s high steeple and red brick exterior were designed by architect Daniel Burnham, who also designed Washington, D.C.’s Union Station. The building is now home to the local bus and trolley service, and a stopping point on Amtrak’s Texas Eagle and Sunset Limited routes.
- You can enhance your locomotive experience by popping over to the Railroad & Transportation Museum of El Paso. The museum operates an exhibit adjacent to historic 1857 locomotive No.1 of the El Paso & Southwestern. Displays demonstrate how transportation enhanced the development of business and industry in the region.
- Another museum not to be missed is the El Paso Museum of Archaeology. This attraction presents 14,000 years of prehistory in the El Paso area, the greater Southwest, and northern Mexico. You’ll see dioramas and exhibits of American Indian lives and their material culture from the Paleoindian hunters of the Ice Age to their modern Indian descendants. The exhibits are periodically changed to reflect the scope of the museum’s collections and the interests of the community. Special changing exhibits are located in the auditorium where lectures, family programs, and events are held. Walk nature trails on 15 acres with more than 250 varieties of Chihuahuan Desert native plants, outdoor exhibits and an Indian Garden.
- For a family adventure, trust your animal instincts and head to the El Paso Zoo. The park looks as though it was carved right out of the city, an expansive green space that is home to exotic animal species from around the world. You can even enjoy the zoo after you leave El Paso, thanks to webcams that peek in on the meerkats and giraffes.
- Kids will also get a kick out of the Insights El Paso Science Museum, thanks to exhibits like Space and Space Exploration, Fun with Physics, Electrifying Energy and Young Scientists at Work. As an evolving resource to the community, the museum inspires curiosity for the STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) and promotes innovative, collaborative and cross-disciplinary thinking.
- One of the more unusual business combinations you might imagine takes shape in El Paso. H & H Car Wash and Coffee Shop is, as its name suggests, a car wash. But it is also home to a popular hole-in-the-wall café that serves exceptional Mexican cuisine. Travelers from around the country stop in for the huevos rancheros, chicken tacos and chile relleno burritos.
- Based on El Paso’s location along the Mexican border, it make sense that area sites pay tribute to the culture of two nations. For instance, Chamizal National Memorial is more than just an urban park to recreate or enjoy a quiet afternoon. The grounds stand for peace; the peaceful settlement of a 100-year border dispute between nations. Not one shot was fired; not one war was waged. The memorial celebrates the culture of the borderland that helped to peacefully navigate an international argument. The Chamizal issue is more than just the story of a boundary dispute in El Paso; it encompasses the larger story of the borderlands and the shared history of the United States and Mexico.
- And for an awesome adventure through the air, swing by Franklin Mountains State Park. The Wyler Aerial Tramway features an aerial cable car situated on 195.742 acres of rugged mountain and rock formations on the east side of the Franklin Mountains. From Ranger Peak, 5,632 feet above sea level, visitors can enjoy the view of 7,000 square miles encompassing three states and two nations. The tramway ride is a memorable experience offering a vista of the vastness and stark beauty of the southwest. The station at the top provides accessible ramps and paved grounds leading into an observation deck with a 360-degree view.
El Paso, “The Sun City,” offers a unique, multicultural experience for visitors – with an outlook toward the future and a fond look back over the centuries. To learn more, or to book your vacation to El Paso or any of our other dynamic destinations, please call (888) 269-0182.