El Paso City Guide
When you think El Paso, Texas, you might not think “mountain view”—but that’s just what you’ll get here. This city is home to the Franklin Mountains and its highest peak can be seen for 60 miles in all directions. Quite appropriately, El Paso is the only major city in Texas that is on Mountain Time. For a city with a booming population of 679,036, it has been rated the safest big city in the country four years in a row and has been given the All-American City Award.
Unsurprisingly, El Paso has a desert climate, which means hot summers and mild winters, though at 3,800 feet above sea level, this city “is also capable of receiving snow.” But that’s not all, folks—it’s also a very windy city, with average wind speeds of 30 mph, though 75 mph gusts have been recorded. Speaking of wind, you won’t want to miss KLAQ’s annual Balloonfest, a festive event with live music and a water park.
And you know where they store all those enormous hot air balloons the rest of the year, don’t you? At a convenient and affordable self storage facility.
Another must-see spot is Hueco Tanks State Park (“hueco” means “hollows” and refers to the tank-like water basins within the low mountain range). It’s a lovely place to hike, picnic, bird watch, and rock climb, or you can take a guided tour of the stunning rocks. And speaking of water, check out the Rio Grande River, one of the longest rivers in North America on which you can fish, whitewater raft, and hike (along the shores, that is). KLAQ also hosts the Great River Raft Race.
When you get tired of outside activities, head on over to Viva! El Paso, an outdoor (oops, guess not) music event every Friday and Saturday night. The Plaza Theatre is a historical site (one of the country’s oldest operational venues) where you can check out Broadway musicals. If you want to taste authentic Mexican food but don’t have a passport, you’re sure to enjoy L&J Café (which might not sound Mexican, but it is). Work off those enchiladas and cervezas at 301 Live for live music and dancing in the heart of downtown.
No reference to Texas would be complete without a mention of Southwestern International PRCA Rodeo, El Paso’s longest-running event. Don’t mess up your house with ropes, chaps, saddles, and cowboy boots—besides looking like a member of the Village People, you’ll just clutter up your house. Instead, rent a self-storage unit.