With nearly a million people, El Paso, on Texas West Coast, is a metropolitan area with incredible scenery and culture. Bordered by Chihuahua, Mexico, and the Franklin Mountains, El Paso is a place for shopping, historic attractions, entertainment, and excellent eats.
Based on my previous travels to this fantastic area, and in partnership with Hotels.com, here are five awesome things to do in El Paso, Texas.
As travel today remains uncertain, please keep your safety and the safety of others in mind at all times. If you are comfortable with traveling, please travel responsibly and within regulation, as any travel is at your own risk.
If you do decide to travel at this time, here are our recommendations:
- Wear a face mask.
- Bring hand sanitizer and wash hands on a regular basis.Check official websites before your trip for the latest updates and status of local businesses.
- Book a hotel with free cancellation, just in case.
The Franklin Mountains
The Franklin Mountains are part of El Paso’s majestic scenery, offering an outdoor playground for hikers, bikers, rock climbers, and nature lovers. The best way to see the Franklin Mountains State Park is to take the Wyler Aerial Tram, operated by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. The views from the top (Ranger Peak) at 5,632-feet above sea level are incredible and afford a peek into nearby Mexico, as well. I’m a mountain girl, so the jagged rock formations and cacti gardens make my heart happy.
Please note: The Wyler Aerial Tram is currently closed due to COVID.
El Paso Arts and Culture
El Paso is a big player in the arts and culture arena. You will find many of the city’s top venues in the Las Plazas District, the “nucleus of art and recreation in Downtown El Paso.” One of my favorite things to do in El Paso was seeing the touring production of Phantom of the Opera at the beautiful and historical Plaza Theatre, an El Paso landmark.
The El Paso Convention and Performing Arts Center offers various shows, musicals, concerts, comic con, and expos in a lovely space. Art lovers will appreciate the European, Latin American, Modern & Contemporary offerings at the El Paso Museum of Art, with free admission, though currently closed due to COVID.
I’m a fan of movies (often with party favors!) at the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, featuring award-winning cuisine and craft beer directly at your seat. Then, sit back and relax with a delicious glass of Tuscan wine from Zin Valle Vineyards. My top pick is the Gewürztraminer, sort of like Moscato, though the Red Zinfandel is a close runner-up.
Baseball is a way of life in El Paso, with the Chihuahuas, a Minor League Baseball team affiliate of the San Diego Padres, strutting their stuff at the Southwest University Park. El Paso is incredibly proud and supportive of their baseball team, so tickets are limited. The games are enjoyable, plus you can have delicious ballpark eats and drinks at Sun Kings Saloon in the Big Dog House open-air pavilion. Enjoy the 360-degree views and photo-ops from this fabulous venue.
Lodging in El Paso
Need a place to stay while visiting El Paso, Texas? You’ll find a great selection of lodging in El Paso for all price ranges, needs, and wants. From standard chain hotels and tiny house Airbnb rentals to luxury digs, you can take your pick.
My favorite spot for top-notch accommodations is the chic Hotel Indigo El Paso Downtown, with a fifth-floor rooftop bar and swimming pool, delicious restaurant, fitness center, and incredibly stylish rooms with mountain views. There is even a heavenly scent piped in the hotel that smells so good. You can often book a hotel room here for around $100—what a deal!
For those looking for a hotel near the airport, my recommendation is the Fairfield Inn & Suites El Paso Airport, offering free breakfast, Wi-Fi, parking, and bike rentals. To indulge in a luxury El Paso stay, the Hotel Paso Del Norte, in the Marriott Autograph Collection, has the iconic stained glass domed ceiling by Louis C. Tiffany, which is a must-see.
Those Famous Boots
Lucchese Boots is a high-end custom-made company that makes unparalleled western wear boots. Quality goods come with a pretty steep price tag, but rest assured, your Lucchese Boots will last for years and make a fashion statement while also being comfortable and long-lasting.
Choose from a wide variety of skins and hides for your boots, such as ostrich, alligator, python, and caiman. I scored a pair of turquoise boots that I get compliments on every time I walk out the door. Famous Lucchese boot wearers include several US Presidents, the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders, John Wayne, Reese Witherspoon, and Bing Crosby.
El Paso Zoo
Both children and adults will love the El Paso Zoo, a walkable animal habitat with a myriad of 220 animal species such as Amur leopard, giraffe, kudu, meerkats, and Grant’s zebra. My favorite animal exhibit is the tamarin monkeys, so furry and adorable. See the zoo from the comfort of the African Star Train seat or try your hand at feeding giraffes in this unforgettable encounter. Other notable features of the zoo include a splash pad, Foster Tree House Playground, and the Hunt Endangered Species Carousel.
Food and Drink
You’ll find a slew of excellent eateries and places to grab a craft cocktail, glass of wine, or perfectly mixed margarita during your El Paso visit. For gourmet sandwiches and fries (or the heavenly Cauliflower Wings), check out The Hoppy Monk. L&J Cafe is one of the locals’ favorites for Southwestern grub—from tacos and enchiladas to fajitas.
Tabla offers exceptional Spanish fare and tapas. The Duck Three Ways and Mushroom Tart are the items that call out to me, while the peppered turkey breast with potato salad at the County Line Bar-B-Q hit the spot. Sit in the courtyard—it is stunning! County Line also has a vegan and vegetarian menu, plus amazing alcoholic beverage choices.
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