top of page

Fun Things to do in El Paso

Texas

Search activities

 

city guide

El Paso is a city in and the county seat of El Paso County in the far southwestern part of the U.S. state of Texas. The 2020 population of the city from the U.S. Census Bureau was 678,815, making it the 23rd-largest city in the United States, the sixth-largest city in Texas, and the second-largest city in the Southwestern United States behind Phoenix, Arizona. The city is also the second-largest majority-Hispanic city in the United States, with 81% of its population being Hispanic.[8] Its metropolitan statistical area covers all of El Paso and Hudspeth counties in Texas, and had a population of 868,859 in 2020.

About

Best time to go

The best times to visit El Paso are from March to May and between September and November. Temperatures during these spring and fall months are temperate, with highs ranging from the upper 60s to the upper 80s. These conditions are perfect for exploring all of the area's parks.

Weather

Fun city facts and activities

    This formerly sleepy border town has gone from being known as just a U.S.-Mexican crossing point to a must-see destination in its own right. El Paso is effortlessly cool, with its singular cultural heritage (a mix of Mexican, Texan, American and distinctly El Pasoan influences), incredible restaurants, showstopping natural scenery and dusty, charming Old West vibes. El Pasos big-city neighbor across the border, Ciudad Juarez, has long been plagued by violence and drug gangs, but thankfully, crime has gone down in Juarez in recent years. In fact, El Paso owes much of its booming arts and culture scene to the connective threads that inextricably tie both cities together. Travelers headed toor passing throughEl Paso who take the time to get to know the city and its intoxicating blend of cultures will be richly, and undeniably, rewarded, and any spot on this list is a great place to start.
City facts

Neighborhoods to explore

    Castner Heights
    Mountain View
    Park Foothills
    Silver Springs Village
    Via Hermosa
    Cielo Vista
    Mesa Hills
Neighborhoods

Restaurants
Food Specialties

    Once considered nothing more than a border stop, El Paso is now a vacation-worthy destination in its own right and while its perks are plentiful, the best restaurants in El Paso continue to steal the show. The small city straddles the edges of Texas, New Mexico, and Mexico, a trifecta for of flavor you cant miss in its staple dishes, but El Pasos culinary finesse also finds influences from all over the world. Youll taste flavors that recall the likes of Spain, Italy, Lebanon, and a whole lot more, which really just means one thing: eating is one of the best things to do in El Paso, so make sure you arrive with an empty stomach.
Restaurants
Events

El Paso Offbeat activities

Free or cheap things to do

1. Visit the El Paso Museum of Archaeology: Explore the fascinating world of ancient cultures with a visit to this amazing museum. From artifacts to interactive displays, you'll learn about the history of the region and the people that inhabited it.

2. Take a Hike in Franklin Mountains State Park: With more than 24,000 acres, this protected park is an oasis in the desert. Take a hike and explore the natural beauty of the desert and mountains, or take a drive and explore the scenic views.

3. Explore the Historic Mission Trail: Follow the footsteps of the ancient Spanish explorers along the El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro, or the Royal Road of the Interior Land. This trail is more than 400 years old and is dotted with missions, churches, and ruins.

4. Stargaze at the Spence Observatory: Take a break from the city and spend an evening stargazing at the Spence Observatory. This observatory

Offbeat activites
Kid friendly

Fun things to do in with kids

Free or cheap things to do

1. Open year-round and featuring more than 100 miles of hiking and biking trails, Franklin Mountains State Park's claim to fame is that it's the largest urban state park in the nation that lies entirely within a city's limits. If you are interested in a guided route, consider booking through GoBetty Tours, and if you want even more time in the park, book a campsite and stay a few days.

2. The El Paso Zoo is 35 acres devoted to three major areas of animal habitation: Africa, Asia and the Americas. In addition to checking out their collection of more than 220 species, you can ride the African Star Train, play in the Hunt Family Desert Spring, climb around in the Foster Tree House Playground, take a spin on the Hunt Family Endangered Species Carousel or see a show at Wildlife Amphitheater.

3. If a steak dinner and a bit of adventure sound appealing to you, look no further than Cattlemans Steakhouse at Indian Cliff Ranch. This restaurant (and accompanying fully-functioning ranch!) also has a movie set from Universal Studios' Resurrection, as well as a small private zoo, a lake, a playground and a maze.

4. The El Paso Museum of Art downtown is home to collections of European, American, Mexican, Modern and Contemporary Art. The only one of its kind in a 250-mile radius, it also displays various traveling collections of a wide range of artistic genres. Did we mention admission is free?

5. In the days of yore, people used to visit Hueco Tanks State Historic Site to collect the water pooling in the natural rock basins, or huecos. Today, you can book tours of these once-sacred formations by calling a week in advance. You can also go on self-guided tours, but be advised to plan ahead, as they only issue 70 permits each day for access to the North Mountain area. (You are able to request these permits to visit up to 90 days in advance.) In addition to hiking the rocks, you can also view some of the areas pictographs and petroglyphs, which were created by three different cultures and are over 1,500 years old.

6. Youll find the El Paso Museum of Archaeology at the base of the Franklin Mountains. Inside this small museum dedicated to 14,000 years of the prehistory of the El Paso, greater Southwest and Northern Mexico regions, you can look through ancient pottery and displays of early life in the desert. Dont miss taking a walk around the nature trails behind the museum, which are often lined with wildflowers in the spring.

7. If you happen to be in El Paso from March 1 to November 30, make sure to put a visit to the El Paso Municipal Rose Garden on your list. This four-acre garden is maintained in partnership with Texas A&M to care for the 1,500 rose bushes of more than 430 different rose varieties that grow there.

8. The Chamizal National Memorial is a park and cultural center that pays tribute to the history of U.S./Mexico relations on the border (that all started with the signing Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1849 to establish the Rio Grande as the border between our two countries). You can learn about this history and more on your visit to this free memorial.

9. After you've visited the Chamizal National Memorial and still want to learn more about border relations, look to the National Border Patrol Museum. This museum focuses on the various roles Border Patrol agents have played from the 1920s through the 2000s, with memorabilia, oral histories and various galleries on uniforms and vehicles used to patrol the border.

10. The El Paso Mission Trail is named for a nine-mile stretch across the El Paso area, where three historic churches that date back to the 17th and 18th centuriesSan Elizario, Socorro, and Ysleta Missionwere founded. Of these three, Ysleta Mission is the one that falls inside El Paso city limits. It was established in 1682 and has the claim to fame of being recognized as the oldest continuously-operated parish in the state of Texas. All of the churches are still in operation, but you are welcome to visit.

Anchor 1
Best Parks

City data and FAQ 

What is El Paso known for?

El Paso is known for its 300+ days a year of sunshine and for its proximity to Juarez, Mexico. Our citys population is diverse due in part because of Ft. Bliss and its many different people who come from different states and countries. El Paso is also known to have some of the best Mexican food. Not surprising, as the majority of our population is Hispanic and we all know someone with an abuelita who has passed on their best family recipes. Some people who come here dont like the fact that its a desert town, and summer heat can be brutal if youre not used to it. And, most who have lived in El Paso who love a fine steak know about Cattlemans at Fabens. Food Channel even did a thing on the restaurant. _
Rebecca Salcedo-Orndorf Lives in El Paso, TX

Home of Fort Bliss; the pass of the north through the rocky mountains; The best Mexican food in the country. Home of John Wesley Harden; Don Haskins, Texas Western College (Now UTEP), 1966 NCAA basketball champions, with first ever African American starting line-up.
Patrick Holland Lives in El Paso, TX (1972 Present)

Home of the Mexican Border and Mexican foods. Fort Bliss the Army bases. 302 days of sun every year. Being that El Paso is mostly all desert. Delicious Tex-Mex Cuisines. Lots of old historical places to check out in the Downtown areas of El Paso. Lots of night clubs make you feel like youre in Tijuana.
Michael Kelley

Search activities

 
bottom of page