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Go All Out in El Paso, Texas

Located at the very edge where Texas blends into New Mexico and Mexico, El Paso surprises visitors. It's one of the hubs in the region and its downtown is booming. Great hotels, stellar theater, fascinating history, some surprising free things to do, and one of the tastiest ball parks you'll ever visit. Yes, we did say "tasty."

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Take Me Out to the Ballgame

One of the best things to do in El Paso is to catch a game in Southwest University Park Ballpark. Home of the El Paso Chihuahuas of the Triple-A Pacific Coast League the stadium is part of the Quality of Life initiative that quite literally imploded the old city hall to build this new field in downtown El Paso. And it is pure fun. The stadium offers a variety of seating options and all have a great view of the field.

Grab a margarita (or a beer if you prefer) and some of the delicious uniquely El Paso favorite ball park foods. They have their own flavorful take on hot dogs, and the nachos are served in a huge dog bowl -- pulled pork, steak--a fun tribute to the town's team. Try the Fruitas Locas--fruit infused water, and their sliced pineapple with chamoy sauce -- sweet, salty, savory, yummy.

Sit back, eat, and enjoy the game.

This Fun is Free

Border Patrol Museum

The only museum in the United States honoring and explaining the work of the U S Border Patrol is tucked into the edge of Franklin Mountains State Park in El Paso, Texas. You could easily drive right by this informative labor-of-love created and staffed by volunteer retired Border Patrol agents. But inside visitors discover wide-ranging exhibits including everything from equipment and vehicles used today, to uniforms of the past. Other displays focus on those attempting to illegally cross the border and their often unusual vehicles.

There is no admission charge to the Border Patrol Museum but donations are gratefully accepted. A small gift shop on the premises.

Touch the History of El Paso

At the El Paso Museum of History, use a 3D touchscreen to explore the city of El Paso. The Touch City Digital History Wall is the only one in the United States (the other smaller wall is in Copenhagen). Affectionately known as DIGIE, the huge 35 feet display (made of 5 panels each five feet high) is the largest in the world, and accesses the growing database of images, maps, and videos exploring El Paso's past and present. Admission to the museum is free.
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Wyler Aerial Tramway

The tram was built in 1959 as a form of transportation to the mountain top site of the KTSM radio transmitter tower. Public enthusiasm soon lead to opening of the El Paso Aerial Tramway as a fun ride, until liability insurance costs forced its closure. But the tram stayed in use for servicing the towers and in 2001 Texas Parks and Wildlife Department opened the renovated tram opened once again. Visitors can ride the Wyler Aerial Tramway on Fridays through Sundays. The rest of the week it fulfills its original mission to enable service of the radio towers. Call to check hours and wind conditions: (915) 566-6622. There is no cost to ride the tram.

It's a short but impressive ride, and yields an panoramic view of New Mexico, Mexico, and Texas.

Fort Bliss

El Paso is also home to Fort Bliss, established in 1848, the second largest military installation in the United States. Its Old Ironsides Museum highlights the fort's military heritage and its role in the Mexican Revolution.

Lucchese Boots

Started in San Antonio, Texas in 1883 to make boots for the calvary, Lucchese footwear soon developed a reputation for excellence. That prominence continues today with its hand made, hand tooled, and hand painted boots produced only in El Paso. If you're considering designing your dream boots, call and ask them to set up a tour. They'll be happy to oblige. Or, head to their outlet stores in El Paso which offers a great selection of boots at slashed prices even as low as $300.
Fun Facts: Luchese made three pairs of boots for LBJ. The first when Lyndon Baines Johnson was a senator from Texas, a second pair when he became Vice President, and the third pair when he become President of the United States.

Dallas Cowboy cheerleaders have Lucchese boots.

It can take a year to make a pair of custom boots

Magoffin House

Built by pioneer Joseph Magoffin in 1875, the Magoffin House has been continuously occupied by members of the prominent family until the death of Octavia Magoffin Glasgow in 1986.

The story of this prominent El Paso family starts in the 1820s when patriarch James Wiley Magoffin left Kentucky seeking adventure and opportunity. He purchased parcels of land along the Rio Grande creating the settlement of Magoffinsville which eventually became part of today's El Paso.

Definitely take a guided tour of the house to learn what life was like living in that historic era, as well as tidbits about the house and the family. Different parts of the home portray different time periods--their decor reflects styles popular at those times.

Thoughtful touches through create a sense of the family's life. Original recipes are available on cards arranged in the dining room. A bedroom closet displays a Victorian outfit complete with boots. Period games played by children are found in the parlor. Photographs of the family decorate walls and tables throughout the house.

El Paso Zoo

Definitely explore the zoo, and take in a performance by the trained birds. Clever patter and endearing avian actors entertain but also provide a message about the importance of conservation of our resources, including the rich diversity of living creatures who share our planet.

Performance Spaces

Every visit to El Paso should include one of the live performances that take place in the Downtown El Paso theaters. The Abraham Chavez Theater's intriguing architecture features a three-story high glass windowed entry placed in a building shaped like a sombrero and offers headliner concerts. Catch a Broadway in El Paso play at the elegant Spanish Colonial Revival 1930s Plaza Theatre.
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If you Go

Hotel Indigo

El Paso's downtown is booming, but one outstanding place to stay is the Hotel Indigo. The lower levels are a very conveniently located parking garage with the hotel lobby, outdoor pool, lounge, and inviting bar starting on the 5th floor. There's an excellent restaurant on the ground floor but it's great to sit on the couches and chairs arranged outside while enjoying the light menu and cocktails at their lounge. The restaurant's name, Circa 1963, is derived from the history of the building--it was once building was once the 1960s-era Downtowner Motor Inn. But there's little of the 60s left today is sleek, inviting sophistication. You'll enjoy their well-decorated comfortable rooms with plenty of outlets and even a USB charger in the wall.

Where to Eat

You can't go wrong dining in Circa 1963 in the Hotel Indigo (also known as The Downtowner). The food is freshly, locally sourced when possible, and delicious. But if you want to head to the desert, try Cattleman's Steak house. The ribs and the beef brisket were tender and perfectly smoked. The yummy fruity and creamy drinks seem more like dessert than an alcoholic adult beverage, but apple pie fans take note... the apple pie a la mode was excellent.

For more information on visiting El Paso go to Visit El Paso

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Neala McCarten

Updated: July 21, 2017

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