Introduction to El Paso, Texas
El Paso is located on the north bank of the Rio Grande in western Texas. Originally claimed in 1598 by Spain and settled in 1659 by Spanish colonists, it was named El Paso ("the crossing") after the route to the north. When owned by Mexico, what is now El Paso was part of a larger city that included Ciudad Juárez on the south bank of the Rio Grande. During the Mexican Revolution, Francisco "Pancho" Villa lived and organized his forces in El Paso. After the Mexican American war in 1848, El Paso passed into US hands, becoming a city in 1873, and soon after that, the stomping grounds for legendary figures Billy the Kidd, Wyatt Earp, and Pat Garrett.
Today, El Paso is the fifth-largest city (565,000) in Texas and one of the emerging Southwestern cities quickly joining the ranks of the country's new urban centers. The petroleum, mining and defense industries boost the city's strong economy, with US military installation Fort Bliss a leading employer. The city's history, Latin flavor ( nearly three-quarters of El Paso's population is Latin) and proximity to Mexico attract thousands of visitors each year. El Paso is among America's safest and most affordable cities.
El Paso Culture
The El Paso Centennial Museum on the UTEP campus, established to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the state, celebrates Texas history. Prehistoric drawings can be viewed 32 miles northeast of the city at Hueco Tanks State Historical Park, which is also a perfect place for hiking and rock climbing. Fort Bliss has 2 museums and hosts many annual events such as the Amigo Air Show, Oktoberfest, Showtime, USA and Armed Forces Day. Other historic sites and museums in the El Paso area include Magoffin Home State Historical Park, the Wilderness Park Museum, the Border Patrol Museum and the El Paso Museum of Art.
El Paso Sports and Leisure
Cohen Stadium in northeast El Paso hosts minor league baseball home games of the El Paso Diablos, the AA affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks. During the college football season, the University of Texas at El Paso perennially ranks among the best in the country. On New Year's Eve, college football's Sun Bowl attracts crowds of more than 40,000 to one of the premier events in the sport. The Sun Bowl also hosts the El Paso Patriots (USL) soccer games, providing affordable entertainment. Just 6 miles across the New Mexico border, Sunland Park, has horseracing from October through May. Within an hour's drive, New Mexico State University in Las Cruces offers more college sports.
El Paso Outdoors
The comfortably dry heat of the El Paso sun (temperatures averaging in the low 80s during the summer and above 40 in the winter) allows outdoor recreation throughout the year. El Paso has 7 public golf courses, including highly-acclaimed Painted Dunes. Across the New Mexico state border are several getaway spots allowing hiking, hunting and fishing. A 2-hour drive to Ruidoso will access horse racing, hunting and fishing, and mountains offering great skiing in the winter months.
El Paso at Night
El Paso has an energetic nightlife. Numerous bars and clubs can be found downtown and within walking distance across the Mexican border in Ciudad Juárez. A charming blend of American and Mexican cultures, the "Sun Capital of Texas" offers big-city attractions with a small-town flavor.