El PasoTexasUnited StatesMexicoJuarezChihuahuaJuarezLas CrucesNew MexicoThe Borderland
El Paso is geographically divided into several parts with the Franklin Mountains and Fort Bliss cutting the city into distinct sections. Each area has its own style and culture.
The West Side of town, between the Franklin mountains and Mexico and New Mexico includes El Paso's most affluent neighborhoods along the side of the mountain. Border Hospital and the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) are both located here. The UTEP area ("Kern Place") is emerging as an entertainment disctrict with restaurants and nightclubs.
Downtown is located in the Southern part of El Paso, just below the tip of the Franklin Mountains. The streets of Downtown are often difficult to navigate for first time visitors, especially with the current construction. Parking (there are many cheap areas to park your car for the day) is probably the best bet. Walking through Downtown, there are many little shops reminiscent of Mexico and many small cafes. Many of the buildings are historic and very beautiful. The Downtown area boasts a beautiful plaza in the center of the city. An art museum, theater and a Children's science museum are all located here. Extensive renovations are taking place in the Downtown area.
The North East of El Paso is home to Fort Bliss Military Base. Fort Bliss is located near the airport and is also adjacent to Biggs Airfield. Fort Bliss is one of the largest US Military bases in the world. Tours can be arranged, or if you know a service member, have them give you a tour. Fort Bliss has very obviously influenced the area. Outside of base are many military surplus stores.
The East Side part of El Paso is the fastest growing area. It is closest to the Mission Trails area and Hueco Tanks State Historic Site.
El Paso is a diverse community featuring many different kinds of people. The largest language spoken at home is English, followed by Spanish. Many older El Pasoans speak Spanish regularly in public and it is helpful, although usually not necessary, to understand the language.
El Paso was formerly known as El Paso del Norte (The Pass of the North) and was named by Spanish travelers in 1581. The area wasn't colonized by Europeans until 1598 when Don Juan de Oñate led an expedition into the territory. In 1848, El Paso formally became part of the United States and a military post was erected there which eventually became Fort Bliss. The city was actually incorporated in 1873. El Paso Public Library was the first Public Library in Texas.
El Paso is part of the Chihuahuan Desert. It receives on average about 8.5 inches of rainfall a year. The sky is usually clear and cloud-free. Summer temperatures can reach 100 or more degrees Fahrenheit. Winter rarely sees snow and temperatures drop to around 40 or 50 degrees Fahrenheit. During periods of rain, flash flooding can occur.
- El Paso International Airport This is a small airport that lacks 24 hour dining facilities.
- From Mexico, take one of the International bridges. Expect long traffic jams during rush hour.
- From the Guadalupe Mountains National Park, take 62/180 West towards El Paso.
- I-10 is the largest Intersate going through El Paso. Coming from East Texas, I-10 will take travelers through El Paso all the way to the Downtown area. It can also be used to reach El Paso from Las Cruces, New Mexico.
Greyhound and a few other companies have routes going in and out of El Paso. The station is located Downtown.
Amtrak has a few times that it comes in and out of El Paso. The Depot is located Downtown.
This may be the easiest way to see what El Paso has to offer. Since many sites of interest are quite far apart from one another, renting a car may afford visitors the most flexibility. Cars can be easily rented at the Airport or on Fort Bliss.
Must be called for pickup in most areas.
Taxis in the area:
- Yellow Cab Company: 915-533-3433
- Checker Cab Company: 915-532-2626
- Sun City Cab Company: 915-544-2211
- Border Cab Company: 915-533-4282
- United IND. Cab Company: 915-590-8294
Sun Metro: The city's bus system. Although Sun Metro has had it share of problems in the past, they are striving to undo previous mistakes. Buses (like El Paso in general) can become very hot in the summer, and higher temperatures may lead to breakdowns and service interruptions.
Smaller "trolley" style buses are a generally reliable (if sometimes crowded) means of traveling downtown, and the area from UTEP to the international bridges is perhaps part of the city best served by public transportation. Route and Schedule Information Fares are usually $1.00 on standard bus routes, $0.25 on trolleys, with a variety of student, senior, and other discounts.
Private bus companies may or may not operate from downtown El Paso into the center of Juárez, due to frequent changes in policy within both the United States and Mexico. Inquire with Sun Metro for whether such a service is in operation.
Once a traveler has reached certain destinations, walking will suffice. Much of what can be seen in the Downtown and UTEP area is easily accessed by pedestrians, for example.
- The valley of the Rio Grande
- The historic Mission Trail
- Wyler Aerial Tramway
There are many ways to enjoy the Franklin Mountains. Ranger guided tours are available by reservation.
The Tom Mays Unit known locally as McKelligon Canyon is easily reached by taking US Highway 54 and exiting onto Fred Wilson Road. Take Fred Wison past Dyer Rd, heading towards the mountains. Merge onto Alabama, drive past William Beaumont Army Medical Center. At the top of the road, turn towards the mountains onto McKelligon Canyon Road. The road is small. This road eventually leads visitors on a winding tour of the canyon. It is truly beautiful, with many plants and colorful hills. There are picnic facilities, a park store and steep trails into the wilderness. It is very quiet and peaceful, a desert oasis in the middle of the city. Many runners and bikers enjoy the challenge of the winding, rolling roads in the canyon. Pets are allowed on leash and there are also mountain biking trails.
- Address 1331 McKelligon Canyon Road El Paso TX 79930 (915) 566-6441
- Map of trails at McKelligon Canyon 
Taking the Transmountain Road (Loop 375) through the Franklin Mountains at night is a wonderful experience. The entire city of El Paso and the city of Juarez are both lit up like a galaxy of stars. There are many places to pull off and watch the artificial stars.
During the day, take Transmountain Road and stop at any of the hiking areas. These places have donation boxes for hikers who are supposed to provide $3 for the use of the trails. These trails are very steep and surrounded by native cacti, yucca and agave. Travelers may also see hummingbirds, large spiders and lizards. If the trails seem too chancy for you, pull over at the small picnic and viewing areas located throughout the Eastern half of the road. The view is amazing and you can see far off into Mexico and New Mexico.
Be aware that Transmountain road can be closed due to inclement weather.
Museum of Archeology at Wilderness Park
On the East Side of the Franklin Mountains is the Museum of Archeology at Wilderness Park . Exhibits include artifacts and reconstructions of life in the past. The museum also has numerous trails covering fifteen acres of land behind the museum that afford visitors terrific views of the Franklin Mountains and over 250 native plant species.
- Hours Tuesday-Saturday, 9 am to 5 pm. Closed Sunday and Monday
- Admission Free
Fort Bliss Army Base
One of the largest US Military Bases in the world, Fort Bliss is primarily the home to Air Defense Artillery. Soldiers from Germany and Japan come to Fort Bliss for training in the PATRIOT missile system. Getting on Base is difficult, but can be done by coming through one of two main gates and obtaining a day pass. Based on threat levels, this may or may not be possible. Travelers who know soldiers personally can come easily onto base with a soldier to guide them. The Air Defense Artillery Museum is located here, in addition to the NCO Museum. Fort Bliss also owns large tracts of land that are home to herds of oryx antelope.
The University of Texas at El Paso  was founded in 1914. It's located on the West Side of El Paso and is easily accessible from I-10. UTEP, pronounced you-tep, boasts a beautiful campus nestled into rocky hills with amazing xeriscaped gardens.
El Pasoans are enthusiastic about their Miners, especially Miner Football coached by the one and only Mike Price. UTEP has a beautiful stadium, the Sun Bowl, that looks as though it was cut right out of the mountain. Every late December the Sun Bowl is played, where two 3rd, 4th, or 5th place teams from either the Pac-10, Big Ten, or Big 12 meet. This is the longest running televised bowl game in the country.
UTEP is a school rich with basketball tradition. This is due to Don Haskins  who changed the way college basketball was played forever in 1966. He led his all-black lineup against the all-white Kentucky team featuring Pat Riley and won the National Champsionship.Prior to Don Haskins, black players were marginalized in college basketball. Don Haskins has the basketball arena named after him, the Don Haskins Center, that hosts Miner Basketball and concerts.
- More information about UTEP athletics 
Centennial Museum and Chihuahuan Desert Gardens
The Centennial Museum  has both temporary and permanent exhibits. The temporary exhibits feature life, culture and the natural environment of the Borderlands. In many cases, the galleries are made up of contributions of fellow El Pasoans. The permanent exhibits are a natural and social history of the Chihuahuan Desert. The Chihuahuan Desert Gardens, next to the museum, boasts over 600 native plant species. At the end of every April, there is a fun event sponsored by the gardens, known as FloraFest. During FloraFest, native plants such as agave, yucca, cacti and other hard to find desert plants can be purchased. For anyone interested in horticulture, especially xeriscaping, this is a must see.
- Museum Hours 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday (Museum is also sometimes closed during Miner Football Home Games on Saturdays)
- Garden Hours Daily, from dawn to dusk.
The Department of Theatre, Dance, and Film produces quality plays throughout the year. Check the website for more information 
- Dinner Theatre Presenting food and theatre (mainly musicals). Check their website for show availability, times and ticket prices 
Rodeos can be seen in El Paso around the months of January and February. Rodeo is a unique cowboy 'sport' where individuals compete in a number of events the most famous of which is bull riding.
The El Paso Diablos is a minor league team that plays at Cohen Stadium. Cohen Stadium was recently voted the best stadium in minor league baseball. The Diablos are affiliated with the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Be sure to visit Juarez, Mexico during your trip. Juarez can be accessed by foot, car or tour bus. By foot is often the easiest method with the least amount of waiting. The main tourist strip of shops in Juarez are close to the downtown bridge and easily accessed by foot. Make sure you have your passport with you for re-entry.
This is a working dairy famous for its Asadero cheese. It boasts a very unusual petting zoo including camels, goats, zebras and parrots. Visitors can fish for catfish at the small pond inside the petting zoo, which is filled up about weekly. It is accessed near the International bridge, off of Socorro Rd.
- Hours Petting zoo is open from 6 am to 6 pm, daily.
- Address 11951 Glorietta Rd, San Elizario TX 79849
Walking and Driving Tours
A number of walking tours of various parts of El Paso are available. A great resource for these tours is located at the City of El Paso Tourism site.
Chamizal National Memorial
Chamizal National Memorial is a large park in the Southern part of El Paso, near the US/Mexico border. It hosts many events throughout the season, including concerts and dance performances. More information and event schedules can be found at the Chamizal National Memorial website.
Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino
Located just over the state line in New Mexico. The casino is open every day, including holidays and has over 700 slot machines. It is easy to reach by taking I-10 West, away from Downtown. The Casino also hosts live shows and music. The Casino was established to counter the decline in horseracing and 25% of the earnings of the casino go to taxes for New Mexico. Most visitors report good experiences at the casino, with the exception of a few very competitive individuals.
- Casino Hours Sunday through Thursday 9:30am to 12:30am and Friday and Saturday 9:30am to 2:00am
- Racetrack Hours Check the schedule 
- Address 1200 Futurity Dr. Sunland Park, NM 88063 (505)874-5200
- El Paso Saddleblanket, 6926 Gateway East, . Fine Southwest rugs, furniture, jewelry and folk art.
The following foods are popular in El Paso, but not necessarily recommended for everyone!
- Menudo Travelers will see signs referring to Menudo everywhere. It is a type of soup made with hominy , chile and tripe. It is a Mexican specialty.
- Burritos A border favorite. Try going to Burritos "El Padrino" in Juarez or to "Rafas Burritos" in El Paso. Burritos are a humble but delicious food and should not be expensive. Do not try them in an upscale restaurant. True burritos are done with home made flour tortilla and your choice of filling. Try "chile con queso", chile relleno, barbacoa (meat) or "deshebrada con chile colorado" (shredded meat with red chile) for the local traditional El Paso/Juarez flavor. Green chile fillings are great too. All other flavors are more likely not from the region.
- Gut Trucks These are large white vans that sometimes sell ice cream, but usually always sell burritos and gorditas. They are often best described as restaurants on wheels. They can be found parked anywhere there is construction work, or in parking lots of large Do-It-Yourself stores. Do not pass them by! The food is very inexpensive and is absolutely terrific. They are usually only seen around lunch time. You'll know the food is good if you see a line or group of people waiting for food.
- The State Line Located close to the Sunland Racetrack and Casino on the far West side, the State Line is a terrific Barbecue joint. The service is quick and the food is great. Sorry, vegetarians, this restaurant is a carnivore's delight. You can eat on a budget here, but you don't have to. 1222 Sunland Park Drive, El Paso, TX 79922 (915) 581-3371.
- Smokey's Pit Stop and Saloon There are 3 locations of these barbecue joints slash bars on the East and Northeast part of El Paso. The inside of the Pit Stops aren't much to look at, but the food is great. Again, vegetarians forget about it. All of the food is starch and meat, with the exception of cole slaw. There are 2 locations with a third in construction on Zaragosa Rd. 1346 Lee Trevino (915) 593-6332 and 9100 Viscount (915) 592-3141
- Chico's Tacos There are 5 different stores in El Paso serving these unique rolled tacos. These tacos are unlike either the "Taco Bell" tacos many Americans are familiar with, or those served in an authentic Mexican taquería. Resembling flautas more than tacos, a single order of tacos will not cost you more than $2.00 and provide you with three tacos. A "double" or "triple" order will fill up those who are more hungry. The tacos are served with a red sauce and piled high with cheese. They don't look appetizing, but the consensus is you either love them or hate them. Chico's Tacos also serves delicious hamburgers, El Paso-style hot dogs (sliced franks served on a hamburger bun with chili), grilled cheese sandwiches, and burritos. Chico's is a treasured El Paso tradition. 1235 McRae Blvd 915-592-8484, 3401 Dyer St. 915-565-5555, 11381 Montwood Dr. 915-849-8777 are 3 of the 5 stores. Open late, cheap and always quick service.
- Avila's Mexican Food A historic family owned restaurant, often wins citywide food and service awards. Owned and operated by four generations of the Avila family, often occupied with fiercely loyal patrons. The enchiladas and tacos are highly recommended, but the Chile con Queso is the signature dish of the restaurant. The average total meal costs about $10, with lunch specials for $5.25. 915-584-3621, 6232 N. Mesa Dr.
- Cattleman's Steakhouse  A steakhouse in the middle of the desert in the city of Fabens, East of El Paso. Go for dinner to enjoy a fine steak with a gorgeous sunset view. An outdoor balcony is available to bring your cocktail while your food is being prepared. They do not serve food or drinks in the balcony area. "The Cowboy" is their 2-pound T-bone steak--a must for the first time.
- Cafe Central  Cafe Central is the perfect place to go to enjoy fine dining with a Southwestern flair. Originally opened in Juarez in 1918, Cafe Central moved to El Paso after Prohibition ended. This fancy restaurant is led by Chef Armando Pomales and his team. Service here is nearly perfect, but it is the food that will have you seeing stars. A true "fancy restaurant" for those looking for a place to take a date, celebrate an anniversary, eat an amazing lunch, or hold a business lunch/dinner.
- Forti's Mexican Elder Restaurant, 321 Chelsea, 915-772-0066. A mid-price restaurant and piano bar located just barely above the border. The price is comparable to that of a lot of mediocre Mexican restaurants elsewhere, but this food blows theirs out of the water. The fajitas are perfectly seasoned and the carnitas are amazing. Fresh homemade tortillas complete the meal. Be sure not to binge on the chips and salsa as the meals are large.
The legal drinking age in Texas, like all of the United States, is 21. However across the border in Mexico, the drinking age is set at 18.
Tequila is a drink made of the native agave plant. There are many varieties at different prices. Tequila can be purchased almost anyplace that sells liquor in El Paso.
Cincinnati Street has a strip of bars adjacent to the UTEP campus. Expect cheap drink specials and minimal selection of food (if any.) Watch out while crossing the streets in the area.
- El Paso International Hostel / Gardner Hotel, 311 East Franklin Avenue, +1 915 532-3661, . Beds start at $20 per night.
- Holiday Inn El Paso Airport, 6655 Gateway West, . each of our guest rooms was designed with two things in mind: efficiency and comfort! High-speed Internet access, two phone lines with dataport and voicemail, workstation desks, and coffee makers are some of the little touches that make the difference between any hotel and a great hotel.
- AmeriSuites El Paso/Airport, 6030 Gateway Blvd. East, Tel: (915) 771-0022, , . Located on Interstate 10 with easy access to downtown El Paso and the International Bridges to Juarez, Mexico.
- Hawthorn Inn & Suites El Paso, 6789 Boeing Drive, Tel: (915) 778-6789, . Hotel features spacious suites, full or efficiency kitchens, exercise facilities, video cassette players and on-site guest laundry and valet service.
- Microtel Inn & Suites El Paso - East, 12211 Gateway West, Tel: (915) 858-1600, .
- Microtel Inn & Suites - El Paso Airport, 2001 Airway Blvd., Tel: (915) 772-3650, .
- Microtel Inn & Suites El Paso West / Anthony, 6185 South Desert Blvd., Tel: (915) 584-2026, , .
- Holiday Inn El Paso Airport, 6655 Gateway West, ☎ 915-778-6411, . Easy access to downtown; Juarez, Mexico; Cielo Vista Mall, Bassett Place Mall, Fort Bliss, Biggs Army Airbase, the Convention Center, El Paso Community College, University of Texas at El Paso.
While El Paso has lowered much of its crime rate statistics, these rates are still on par with most major cities in the United States.
Most of El Paso is safe from violent crime, and El Paso has a very low murder rate for a large American city. El Paso is generally very quiet and peaceful during the daytime, take normal precautions at night. Areas to avoid at night may include near the international bridges - though curfews on both sides of the border have cut down on the number of aggressive, intoxicated juveniles at night. To a lesser degree, the area around Cincinnati Street and UTEP may be somewhat problematic late at night, more due to the presence of intoxicated people than anything else. Drunk driving is a problem at night. Some areas of south, central, east, and northeast El Paso have gang activity, but generally only young people who may look like members of rival gangs are directly targeted by this violence. The area around Dyer street, near Fort Bliss is notorious for seedy bars and prostitution at night.
Theft and crimes against property are a more serious concern. Auto theft is an ongoing problem. While auto theft rates are not unusually high, the proximity of the border and "chop shops" in Mexico make recovery far less likely. Always lock your car door, even for a short trip into a convenience store. Especially if you have a valuable or popular model automobile, you should have effective anti-theft devices.
Crime and safety in Ciudad Juárez is a much different issue.
Heat in the Summer During the summer months when temperatures nearly always stay around 90 degrees to 100 or more degrees Farenheit, the biggest dangers facing visitors are dehydration and heat stroke. El Paso is in a desert and it is important for all visitors to remember to drink enough water at all times. Too many people fail to take the heat seriously. The dry heat can actually feel less 'hot' than it really is to many people. Learn to recognize the signs of danger for dehydration and heat stroke. Heat stroke is very serious. Take care of yourself in the heat. And remember a cowboy word of wisdom: If you're thirsty, you're already dehydrated. For more information, consult the article for this region.
Sun Not just for the heat, but the sun can be dangerous because of UV rays which are much stronger at El Paso's altitude than at sea level. Wear a hat, sunglasses and sunscreen. It is not uncommon to see pedestrians in El Paso walking with an umbrella to shield them from the sun.
Rain During the rainy season (usually late June to early October) be aware that flash flooding can occur during and after rainfall. Areas closer to the Rio Grande are much more susceptible to flooding and standing water. Poor drainage and the dry desert soil ensure that even moderate rainfall can result in street flooding, especially in underpasses. Visitors who are in El Paso during the rare times of rain should remember to never drive into a flooded street. In addition, since El Pasoans are not used to driving in the rain, accidents are more likely to occur.
Snow and ice While El Paso winters are generally mild, cold weather can occur. In general, winter is a dry season in El Paso; however, when snow and icy conditions exist, take extreme caution, as El Pasoans are not used to driving in these conditions.
Wind and dust El Paso's windy season is generally from January through April. During this time, high winds and blowing dust can make breathing difficult, especially for asthma sufferers. Blowing dust and sand can also reduce visibility on roads, especially in rural areas surrounding El Paso. Area highways may close during high winds.
Mosquitoes Along with rain comes mosquitoes. Yes, El Paso is a desert, but many residents own pools and water gardens. These can be a breeding ground for mosquitoes. The Rio Grande area also has mosquito problems. The West Nile Virus has been recorded in El Paso. The best advice is to remember to wear a good insect repellent if you will be outdoors in the evening. The area around Hueco Tanks can be very bad, mosquito-wise. Some local weather websites will tell visitors the projected mosquito danger.
911 will connect travelers with assistance.
Hospitals with 24 Hour Emergency Rooms Please remember that in the United States health care is private and going to an emergency room can be very expensive if the traveler does not have health insurance.
- Providence Memorial Hospital 2001 N Oregon St, El Paso, TX (915) 577-6551
Sick Pet: 24 Hour Veterinary Care Veterinary Hospitals that run emergency rooms are also extremely expensive. This is the sort of place you might take your pet if they are seriously injured and cannot wait for medical care.
- Animal Emergency Center 2101 Texas Ave, El Paso, TX (915) 545-1148 (relocated.... where is it now?)
- Guadalupe Mountains National Park is about 100 miles to the east, with Carlsbad Caverns National Park another 30 miles beyond.
- Hueco Tanks State Historic Site, just east of town. Tall granite outcrops which created natural cisterns used by native tribes for drinking water.
- Ciudad Juarez, the fifth largest city in Mexico, is just south across the river.
- Presidio Chapel of San Elizario, in San Elizario, a few miles south on Hwy. 20, 915-851-1682. Built in 1877 to replace the original constructed in the 1770's.
- Socorro Mission, 328 S. Nevarez Rd. (I-10 at Moon Rd. and FM 258, south of town), 915-859-7718. Mon-Fri 8am to 4pm. Originally constructed in 1682 and subsequently destroyed by fire. The present structure was built in 1840, incorporating decorative beams salvaged from the original structure.
- Ysleta Mission, 131 S. Zaragosa Rd. (near the US 800 junction, south of town), 915 859 9848. Constructed in 1744.
- White Sands National Monument is northwest on US-54.
This page was last edited at 22:35, on 12 January 2009 by Anonymous user(s) of Wikitravel. Based on work by Peter Fitzgerald, Valtteri Päivinen and Jerry, Wikitravel user(s) Texugo and Shaund, Anonymous user(s) of Wikitravel and others.