Top 12 Top Attractions in El Paso

Last Updated on February 14, 2024 by Emily Johnson

Sitting along the Rio Grande border with Mexico, vibrant El Paso, Texas beautifully blends American and Mexican cultures. Historic missions and Old West lore mix with a thriving contemporary art scene anchored by the country’s largest urban park.

AttractionBrief Description
El Paso Mission TrailHistoric Spanish missions connected by a trail.
El Paso Museum of ArtArt museum showcasing Latin American and southwestern U.S. collections.
Union Depot Train StationHistoric train station with modern amenities.
El Paso ZooA 35-acre zoo offering animal encounters and educational programs.
Wyler Aerial TramwayTramway offering views of El Paso and Mexico.
Rio Bosque Wetlands ParkWetlands park with diverse ecosystems and wildlife.
Chamizal National MemorialPark commemorating US-Mexico border collaboration.
Concordia CemeteryHistoric cemetery with graves dating back to the mid-1800s.
Keystone Heritage ParkPark featuring historic homes and a heritage farm zoo.
Sunland Park Racetrack and CasinoEntertainment venue with horse racing and casino.
Fort Bliss MuseumMuseum detailing the history of Fort Bliss and its role in U.S. military history.

Outdoor lovers also flock here to hike in the mountainous Franklin Mountains State Park minutes from downtown. For a Southwestern city overflowing with pride and personality, these attractions showcase El Paso’s rich offerings.

El Paso Mission Trail

Name and Location: The El Paso Mission Trail follows San Antonio Ave in downtown El Paso, connecting the region’s historic Spanish missions.

History and Significance: These missions represent the beginning of El Paso’s rich history spanning early Native American tribes, Spanish colonization in the 1600s, and Mexican and Western influences thereafter.

What to Expect: Visitors can take self-guided walking tours along the trail and explore preserved adobe structures and artifacts at sites like Mission Ysleta, the oldest mission in Texas dating to 1682.

Visitor Information: The trail and missions are open daily to visitors year-round. Guided tours are available through the Ysleta Del Sur Pueblo Tribal Administration.

Explore El Paso’s founding by strolling along the Mission Trail connecting the region’s three historic Spanish missions. Rolling vine-covered hills intersperse with native vegetation, framing the iconic missions’ striking facades. Marvel at their stunning preserved murals inside and imagine life 300 years ago. The trail also provides excellent views of the Rio Grande and Juarez, Mexico along certain points. Interpretive signage offers handy background about the architecture and history.

El Paso Museum of Art

Name and Location: Located downtown at 1 Arts Festival Plaza in El Paso.

History and Significance: Founded in 1959, the museum has grown to house over 7,000 works spanning 5,000 years of art from the Americas. From Southwest and Mexican folk art to contemporary Latin works, it celebrates regional creativity.

What to Expect: Visitors can explore the permanent galleries’ wide ranging collections as well as rotating exhibits focused on modern art movements and notable regional and international artists.

Visitor Information: Open Tuesdays through Saturdays year-round, closed major holidays. Admission ticket prices vary.

The El Paso Museum of Art traces human creativity from classical eras through today via comprehensive Latin American and southwestern U.S. collections. Wander chronologically from Ancient Greek figures to contemporary installations. Don’t miss the museum’s 120 Cordova Collection works by Mexican Modernism masters like Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo plus cutting-edge Latino artists. The museum also mounts rotating exhibitions focused on local arts and culture, as the city embraces the arts dynamically.

Union Depot Train Station

Name and Location: The historic Union Depot train station is located at 700 San Francisco St in downtown El Paso.

History and Significance: Union Depot opened in 1906 to serve expanding railroad transportation through the city. Restored in the 1990s, today it acts as a tourist center to educate about the station’s and railroads’ impact.

What to Expect: Visitors can explore historical exhibits and model trains inside the depot, tour grounds and historic wagons, and access Amtrak’s Southwest Chief line.

Visitor Information: The depot is open daily with some facilities having varying hours based on train schedules and staff availability.

Originally opened in 1906 to link Texas and the Rockies with Mexico, the Mission Revival-style Union Depot Train Station recently underwent major restorations. Today the grand brick building serves Amtrak passengers but also delights visitors with bars, a restaurant in the former ticketing hall, and ample shopping housed under its broadly arched windows. It connects via streetcar to downtown El Paso featuring tons of murals creating an artistic thoroughfare.

El Paso Zoo

Name and Location: El Paso Zoo is located at 4001 E. Paisano Dr. in El Paso, Texas.

History and Significance: Founded in 1930, El Paso Zoo is a key family recreation center with animal conservation education. Notable elements include the Hunt Family Desert Springs exhibit and Aquarium.

What to Expect: Visitors can discover animals like mammals, birds and reptiles in naturalistic habitats. Interactive areas, rides and daily keeper chats are available.

Visitor Information: Open daily except Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day. Hours vary seasonally. Standard admission fees apply.

Families flock to the 35-acre El Paso Zoo near downtown offering animal encounters, educational programs, entertaining shows, and up-close meetings with wildlife from prickly meerkats to towering giraffes. Special highlights include the African Star Train rollercoaster zipping past animals, budgie budgie bird experience allowing these parakeets to land on you, and the Hunt Family Desert Spring highlighting this fragile ecosystem with endangered species like Mexican gray wolves. Interactive exhibits teach about the regional Chihuahuan Desert’s diverse plants and animal residents.

Wyler Aerial Tramway

Name and Location: The Wyler Aerial Tramway is located in the Franklin Mountains State Park, carrying passengers up Ranger Peak.

History and Significance: Opened in 1959, the tramway ascends over 1,500 feet to offer panoramic views of three states and two countries. It provides access for mountain recreation.

What to Expect: Visitors can ride the tram and access trails along the summit. Highlights include views of El Paso and beyond plus mountainside restaurant dining. The site has picnic areas.

Visitor Information: The tramway is open seasonally on most days. Hours vary by month. Tickets should be purchased in advance online when possible.

For extraordinary elevated city views, ascend the towering rugged Franklin Mountains via the Wyler Aerial Tramway ferrying passengers over 5,000 feet in under four minutes. At the top, trails meander through pine and juniper with Instagram-worthy El Paso and Mexico vistas including colorful murals and bustling ports of entry. Interpretive areas explain this ecosystem’s unique plants, animals, and geology – being the world’s largest expanse of igneous rock. The cafe’s observation deck also impresses with panoramic tableaus.

Rio Bosque Wetlands Park

Name and Location: Rio Bosque Wetlands Park encompasses nearly 470 acres along the Rio Grande in east El Paso County.

History and Significance: Previously farmland, it was restored to wetlands starting in 1997 to aid biodiversity and water quality. Today, it provides habitat to over 200 bird species migrating the Americas.

What to Expect: Visitors can discover wetlands via nearly 4 miles of trails. Park staff offer guided tours, while info signs detail local ecosystems, wildlife and more.

Visitor Information: The park is open daily year-round. Access is free but donations are welcome. Some areas may close due to floods.

Despite its desert location, El Paso enjoys rich wetlands along the Rio Grande nurturing vibrant ecosystems, birds, plants, aquatic species, and more. At the 47-acre Rio Bosque Wetlands Park, restored wetlands feature vegetation-lined marshy ponds perfect for spying herons, ducks, turtles, butterflies hummingbirds and 270 other documented species. Well-groomed trails circle past designated wildlife viewing areas with shaded benches. Connect with this delicate habitat and appreciate nature’s resilience.

Chamizal National Memorial

Name and Location: Located at 800 S San Marcial St in the heart of El Paso, Texas.

History and Significance: Chamizal National Memorial commemorates the peaceful resolution of a 100-year border dispute between the US and Mexico. Today it honors connections between the two countries.

What to Expect: The memorial includes a museum, art gallery, outdoor plazas, and hosts cultural events. Lush gardens, fountains and views of neighboring Ciudad Juárez make it an urban oasis.

Visitor Information: Free and open daily year-round except some major holidays. The visitor center and gallery follow varying open hours.

A testament to cross-border collaboration, Chamizal National Memorial straddles the US-Mexico border commemourating 1964’s Chamizal Treaty finally resolving a 100-year border dispute after the Rio Grande shifted course, placing land that was once Mexican firmly on the American side. Today the park contains Plaza de las Americas on the Mexican side and Plaza del Chamizal on the American side joining the countries together through common green space with cultural programming. The memorial beatifies international goodwill with festivals, concerts and museum exhibits exploring border history.

Concordia Cemetery

Name and Location: Concordia Cemetery is located at 700 Yandell Dr. in El Paso, Texas.

History and Significance: Established in the mid-1800s, Concordia Cemetery inters Mexican-American War soldiers and El Paso pioneers. Its age and unique grave sites make historic explorations meaningful.

What to Expect: Visitors can wander the cemetery’s older sections and discover graves dating back to the 1800s marked with imagery symbolic of the era. Maps help locate notable burial plots.

Visitor Information: The cemetery grounds are open daily during daylight hours for walk-in visitors free of charge.

Wander the labyrinthine paths of historic Concordia Cemetery in central El Paso overflowing with over 60,000 graves dating back to the mid-1800s after the region transferred from Mexico to America in 1848. Intricately carved Victorian-era headstones mark the earliest non-Hispanic settlers later joined by elaborate Mexican gravesites topped with Virgins and adorned with glass-enclosed photographs of the deceased. Prominent figures buried here include lawmen, artists, war veterans, and prostitutes with intriguing backstories unearthed through Concordia’s informative walking tours.

Keystone Heritage Park

Name and Location: Keystone Heritage Park is found at the base of the Franklin Mountains in northwest El Paso, Texas.

History and Significance: Once a ranch, Keystone is now an El Paso county park focused on the region’s heritage. Historical structures dot the landscape containing museums and nature paths to hike.

What to Expect: Facilities feature the Great Train Robbery museum, flour mill museum, nature center and historical wetlands walk. Living history days provide immersive entertainment.

Visitor Information: Keystone is open daily with some facilities having varying hours or seasonal closures. Entry is free but donations are accepted.

Step back in time at the historic Keystone Heritage Park centrally located near downtown encompassing four meticulously preserved homes of El Paso’s early movers and shakers from the sprawling 1905 Silva House to the 1890 High Victorian Keystone House. Costumed docents recount tales about the presidents, generals and aristrocrats who once walked these halls when El Paso remained a lawless frontier outpost. Outside, the heritage farm zoo even holds heritagebreeds like Randall Cattle descended from cows brought by first settlers.

Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino

Name and Location: Sunland Park Racetrack & Casino is located at 1200 Futurity Dr, Sunland Park, New Mexico.

History and Significance: Established in 1959, the racetrack also opened a casino in 1999, becoming New Mexico’s first racino. It features live horse racing and casino gaming and entertainment.

What to Expect: Visitors can experience quarter horse and thoroughbred racing, wager on races, play casino games like slots and poker, dine, and more. Select days have concerts.

Visitor Information: Hours vary based on live racing days in season and events. An admission fee applies for most offerings. Age restrictions exist for gambling areas.

Just over the New Mexico state line, Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino thrills visitors with live horse racing, casino gaming, tasty restaurants, and lively bars. Belly up to an on-site eatery’s counter for juicy burgers and beer while handicapping races. Then head outside to the grandstands to roar for favorites battling to the finish line on their versatile track hosting thoroughbreds, quarter horses and more. With slot machines, poker rooms and weekly entertainment, it delivers round-the-clock Vegas-style excitement just minutes from El Paso.

Fort Bliss Museum

Name and Location: Fort Bliss Museum is located at Fort Bliss Army Post at 1716 Pershing Rd, El Paso, Texas.

History and Significance: The museum opened in 1974 with the mission to preserve Fort Bliss history. Exhibits cover its origins as an 1800s frontier post through modern missions along the Mexico border.

What to Expect: Visitors can view artifacts, photographs, weapons and vehicles documenting Fort Bliss soldiers and operations through the centuries. Guided group tours can be booked.

Visitor Information: The Fort Bliss Museum is open Tuesday to Saturday for self-guided tours with free admission. Advanced security screening is required for non-DOD visitors.

As one of the oldest and largest US Army forts still operating, Fort Bliss’s long, distinguished history along the Rio Grande comes alive at Fort Bliss Museum. Housed in the former commanding officer’s residence, detailed exhibits chronicle centuries of soldiers guarding far West Texas, fighting Native Americans and Pancho Villa, training for every US conflict since WWI, and testing early missiles – even javelina-hunting on base! Other displays highlight Buffalo soldiers, POWs held here, and colorful base commanders who stealthfully protected the nation despite this dusty, remote outpost.

With a skyway ferrying you up mountain crags, historic train depots linking eras, evocative Old West gravesites, borderland national parks symbolizing cross-cultural partnerships, El Paso embraces its past and future. But this Western town also makes way for progress with a strong arts scene, imaginative museums, and a modern urban zoo showcasing its Chihuahuan Desert home through conservation. Blending cultures and nature, El Paso delivers intriguing attractions off the beaten path.

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