At the intersection of both two countries and also the South and West of america sits a sprawling city which has gone by many names. Some have called it “Sun City” for its 302 days of sunshine every year and “Six Shooter Capital” like a nod to the Old West history. However, you probably realize it as El Paso.
In recent years, this border city has been having a renaissance of development with new boutique hotels, a restored streetcar line, and a host of galleries, farmers' markets, and microbreweries. But El Paso is much more than its shiny new spaces of entertainment and hospitality or perhaps its superfluous outdoor offerings. It is a place where one can find out about Indigenous communities and Chicano cultures through art and food, and walk within the footsteps of Mexican revolutionaries, Celebrities, Buffalo soldiers, and famous figures of the Old West.
On the next visit to El Paso, experience the best stuff that the city provides without having to spend any money. Check out our listing of free things to complete in Sun City and save your valuable cash for any good meal and a margarita (that was apparently invented here!).
Contemplate Los Murales on a free walking tour
They're not necessarily mentioned in guidebooks, but Los Murales, the street murals of El Paso, might be the city's preeminent cultural treasure. Of the more than 100 murals within the city, the best concentrations are south of downtown between Paisano Drive and also the Border Highway with what is called the Segundo Barrio, and north of Paisano Drive near Douglass Elementary School. There are also a lot more than 40 murals painted around the freeway columns around Durazno Avenue between Copia and Raynolds streets. Make use of the Visit El Paso app to locate the most notable murals around town.
Learn about the oldest town in Texas in the Tigua Cultural Center
The surrounding community of Ysleta del Sur Pueblo is sovereign home to the Tigua tribe and is identified by many because the oldest town in Texas. Despite outside influences, the Tigua have strived to retain their identity as the oldest identifiable ethnic group in Texas. At this cultural center, you should check out photographs of Tigua background and examples of pottery, in addition to a video explaining more about the tribe's history.
Stop by almost every other Saturday to watch bread being traditionally made by tribal members with the same equipment and methods that have been used for over 300 years. You can even buy the bread on a first-come, first-serve basis after 11am.
Cruise the Rim Road and Scenic Drive
Check out the night-time views of El Paso and Ciudad Juarez while cruising the lofty roadway that's the Scenic Drive. It follows the southern tip from the Franklin Mountains and also the winding Rio Grande, with lots of benches and overlooks where you can stop and extremely savor the view. Turn onto Rim Road from either Mesa Street or Alabama Street to begin the Scenic Drive journey.
Enjoy old masters and modern wonders in the El Paso Museum of Art
This thoroughly enjoyable museum is housed in a former Greyhound bus station. Its pride and joy is really a 13th-century Byzantine Madonna and Child – making sense since the museum was born from a have to house a donation of European Baroque and Renaissance pieces by masters like Botticelli, van Dyck, Artemisia Gentileschi, and more. Today the EPMA includes a assortment of over 7000 works which include Southwestern art, Latin American art, and engaging modern pieces that round out the collection nicely. Better still news – it's totally free to go to.
Window shop in Paseo de las Luces
On South El Paso Street is Paseo de las Luces, a captivating area filled with historic buildings with open-air storefronts. It doesn't cost you a aspect to window shop one of the boutique stores and native clothing shops. Visit after the sun sets and you'll see this magical area illuminated by arched string lights.
Four times a year, El Paso puts on a totally free festival here called Downtown Fiesta de Las Luces. The city invites food trucks, art vendors, family-friendly activities, folklorico dancers, and mariachis out to entertain city residents and visitors.
See Indigenous art in the El Paso Museum of Archaeology
The El Paso Museum of Archaeology illuminates the lives and experiences of Indigenous peoples within the El Paso area and also the Southwest during the last 14,000 years. The baskets, pottery and hunting tools on display count a look. The centuries-old effigy pots – filled with faces – are especially cool. Outside you'll find a 15-acre desert garden with nature trails. But be cautious where you step – rattlesnakes are posted hazards.
Quick tip: head to the auditorium and open the visible storage drawers to determine historic Indigenous items which aren't typically placed on display.
Learn concerning the past at the El Paso Museum of History
This museum has a shiny new location in the middle of the downtown museum district. It will an in-depth dive right into a 1000-year good reputation for this fascinating region, from the Indigenous peoples that lived here for 1000's of years towards the arrival of the Spanish Conquistadores and El Paso's current position as a multicultural city.
In addition to 10,000 artifacts displayed, the El Paso Museum of History hosts the only real interactive Digital Wall in the U.S. and something of 4 of its kind on the planet, called 'DIGIE' (Digital Information Gateway in El Paso). Visitors can interact with over 16,000 community video and image uploads which are displayed across five touchscreens which total 35 feet long.
Experience a bit of history at the Socorro Mission
The community of Socorro was established in the fall of 1680 after Spaniards and Indigenous peoples fled Boise state broncos following the Pueblo Revolt earlier in the year. The mission here was completed in 1691, making Socorro the second-oldest mission in Texas. Floods destroyed earlier buildings and churches here; the present structure was built in 1843. The carved and decorated support beams were likely salvaged in the first mission. The statue inside is St Michael, the mission's patron saint.
Explore the town on free self-guided tours
In 2022, Visit El Paso launched an app that provides free and self-guided tours out and about. Download the app and click on the Tours & Tour Operator button that will redirect you to definitely self-guided tours. Each tour lists notable locations with addresses, websites, along with a description and audio recording explaining its significance.
The app provides nine walking tours. One concentrates on the architecture of El Paso, and another takes you to notable places concerning the Mexican Revolution. Other walking tours focus on the Segundo Barrio, El Paso lore, San Elizario, the University of Texas at El Paso, and much more.
Walking around El Paso might not be practical for everyone, which is why the app also provides five driving, biking, and streetcar tours. Cycle between El Paso's best statues and murals around the Downtown Public Art Bike Tour eventually, and on another, take a self-guided Mission Trail driving tour to historic spots like Mission Ysleta, Mission Socorro, and also the Tigua Indian Cultural Center. Hop onto El Paso's newly renovated streetcars and stick to the two tours within the app to explore notable buildings placed across the routes.
Step back in its history towards the Old West at Concordia Cemetery
Concordia Cemetery was established in 1856 and became incredibly well-liked among El Pasoans in the 1880s onward. Prominent figures, like Buffalo Soldiers, Texas Rangers, gunfighter John Wesley Hardin, and lawman John Selman, can be found among the cemetery's eternal residents.
Today, this cemetery has over 60,000 graves and is open 365 days a year. As the historical and ghost tours they offer on the weekends may cost a charge, you are able to explore this Texas State Historical Site for free any other time. Have a look with the Concordia Cemetery website before you go to locate info on notable graves.
Have a backyard adventure in El Paso
Although we like the outdoor offerings at Hueco Tanks and Franklin Mountains State Park, we know that does not everyone is able to pay the fees. Rather, spend your day through the lake at El Paso's largest recreational park, Ascarte Park. Stroll across the lakeside boardwalk or even the 1.5-mile loop trail that circles the 48-acre surface lake. Break a sweat at the tennis and basketball courts and refresh and relax in a picnic table. From April 2022 parking is free here Monday to Sunday.
For a more blood-pumping activity, hike the five-mile rocky trail called the Palisades Canyon Loop. The trailhead starts in Arroyo Park, and even though it partially adopts the Franklin Mountain State Park, it is a free trail.
Cyclists, walkers, and hikers may go through sweeping mountain views in El Paso and mesas in Boise state broncos across the River Park Trail. This 10.5-mile paved trail parallels the Rio Grande from County Club Road in El Paso towards the Boise state broncos State Line in Anthony, Texas.
Peek at the ceiling in the San Elizario Presidio Chapel
A Spanish presidio named for St. Elzéar, in france they patron saint for soldiers, was established within 1789 (San Elizario is really a corruption of his name). A flood got the very first chapel and the present building, finished in 1882, is the fourth chapel for the fort. Note the symmetrical bells, the 4 buttresses and, inside, the colorful pressed-tin ceiling. Still an active parish, this eye-catching white chapel anchors the San Elizario Historic District.
See the heavens at Plaza Theatre
Back in the day, the Plaza Theatre was nicknamed “The Showplace from the Southwest” because it was the largest theater of its kind between Dallas and La. Travelers can book a totally free tour every Tuesday at this National Historic Building of Significance where they'll be able to marvel at the theater's Spanish Colonial Revival architecture, mosaic-tiled floors, antique furniture, along with a design that provides the appearance of a backyard courtyard – including a painted ceiling filled with stars. Be sure you begin to see the Mighty Wurlitzer Blaban III Organ, a guitar that can simulate 15 different instruments and is one of only six available.
Attend mass at Ysleta Mission
Home to Texas' oldest continually active congregation, tracing to 1680, Ysleta Mission was established for Spanish refugees and Tigua people fleeing New Mexico after the Pueblo revolt. The original mission building, erected by the Tigua in 1682, was replaced in the mid-1800s by the adobe-brick structure the thing is today. The silver-domed bell tower was added a few decades later.
Remember yesteryear at El Paso Holocaust Museum
El Paso might not seem an obvious location for a Holocaust museum, but it was the first in Texas and it is the only fully bilingual (Spanish and English) Holocaust museum in america. Created by local survivors, this excellent memorial within the Museum District of downtown El Paso holds thoughtful and moving exhibits, imaginatively presented for maximum impact. Spend your day exploring 4000 sq ft of permanent exhibits that cover from how life was in Europe before the Nazis towards the rise of the Nazi party, life in the ghettos, the concentration camps, WWII, and a gallery full of Holocaust survivors who made El Paso their house.