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El Paso
—  City  —
El Paso skyline from Rim Road


Nickname(s): The Sun City,[1] The Star City of Texas,[1] El Chuco[2]
Location in the state of Texas
El Paso is located in the USA
El Paso
Location in the state of Texas
Coordinates: 31°47′25″N 106°25′24″W / 31.79028°N 106.42333°W / 31.79028; -106.42333Coordinates: 31°47′25″N 106°25′24″W / 31.79028°N 106.42333°W / 31.79028; -106.42333
Country United States
State Texas
County El Paso
 - Mayor John Cook
 - City 250.5 sq mi (648.8 km2)
 - Land 249.08 sq mi (645.11 km2)
 - Water 1.46 sq mi (3.78 km2)
Elevation 3,740 ft (1,140 m)
Population (2008[3])
 - City 613,190
 Density 2,446.7/sq mi (944.7/km2)
 Metro 736,310
Time zone MST (UTC-7)
 - Summer (DST) MDT (UTC-6)
Area code(s) 915,432
FIPS code 48-24000[4]
GNIS feature ID 1380946[5]
Website The City of El Paso web site
Downtown El Paso as seen from Interstate 10 West.

El Paso is a city in and the county seat of El Paso County, Texas, United States, and lies in West Texas. According to the United States Census Bureau's 2008 population estimates, the city had a population of 613,910.[3] It is the sixth-largest city in Texas and the 22nd-largest city in the United States. Its metropolitan area covers all of El Paso County. In 2009, the El Paso metropolitan area had a population of 742,062.[6]

El Paso stands on the Rio Grande (Río Bravo del Norte), across the border from Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, Mexico. The image to the right shows Downtown El Paso and Juárez, with the Juárez Mountains in the background. The two cities form a combined international metropolitan area, sometimes called El Paso-Juárez, with Juárez being the significantly larger of the two. Together they have a combined population of 2 million, with Juárez accounting for 2/3 of the population.[7] Given the proximity of the Las Cruces metropolitan area and its population of 201,603, the El Paso-Las Cruces combined population is 943,665 and with Ciudad Juarez, an international combined population of 2,993,313.[6][8]

El Paso is home to the University of Texas at El Paso (founded in 1914 as The Texas State School of Mines and Metallurgy, and later, Texas Western College; its present name dates from 1967) and the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center at El Paso. Fort Bliss, one of the largest military complexes of the United States Army, lies to the east and northeast of the city, with training areas extending north into New Mexico, up to the White Sands Missile Range and neighboring Holloman Air Force Base in Alamogordo. The Franklin Mountains extend into El Paso from the north and nearly divide the city into two sections, the western half forming the beginnings of the Mesilla Valley and with the eastern slopes connecting in the central business district at the south end of the mountain range.



The El Paso region has had human settlement for thousands of years, as evidenced by Folsom points from hunter-gatherers found at Hueco Tanks.[9] The earliest known cultures in the region were maize farmers. At the time of the arrival of the Spanish the Manso, Suma, and Jumano tribes populated the area and today form the basis of the Mestizo culture in the area. The Mescalero Apache roamed the region as well.

Spanish explorer Don Juan de Oñate was the first European explorer to arrive at the Rio Grande near El Paso in 1598,[10] celebrating Thanksgiving Mass there on April 30, 1598 (several decades before the Pilgrims' Thanksgiving). El Paso del Norte (the present day Ciudad Juárez), was founded on the south bank of the Río Bravo del Norte, (Rio Grande) in 1659 by Spanish conquistadors. In 1680 El Paso became the base for Spanish governance of the territory of New Mexico, remaining the largest city in New Mexico until its cession to the US in 1848, when Texas took it in 1850.

Map of the city in 1886.

El Paso del Norte (the present day Ciudad Juárez), was founded on the south bank of the Río Bravo del Norte, (Rio Grande) in 1659 by Spanish conquistadors. Being a grassland then, agriculture flourished and vineyards and fruits constituted the bulk of the regional production. The Spanish Crown and the local authorities of El Paso del Norte had made several land concessions to bring agricultural production to the northern bank of the river in present day El Paso. However, the Apaches dissuaded settlement and development across the river. The water provided a natural defense against them.

In 1680, after the successful Pueblo Revolt that decimated the Spanish colonies in northern New Mexico, El Paso became the base for Spanish governance of the territory of New Mexico. From El Paso, the Spaniards led by Diego de Vargas, grouped to recolonize the Spanish territory centered around Santa Fe stretching from Socorro to Taos.

El Paso became the southernmost locality of the Provincia de Nuevo Mexico (modern New Mexico). It communicated with Santa Fe and Mexico City by the Royal Road. American spies, traders and fur trappers visited the area since 1804 and some intermarried with the area's Hispanic elite.[11] Although there was no combat in the region during the Mexican Independence, Paso del Norte experienced the negative effects it had on its wine trade.

The Texas Revolution (1836) was not felt in the region as the area was never considered part of Texas until 1848. Given the blurry reclamations of the Texas Republic that wanted a chunk of the Santa Fe trade, the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo effectively made the settlements on the north bank of the river a formal American settlement, separate from Old El Paso de Norte on the Mexican side.[11] The present Texas-New Mexico boundary placing El Paso on the Texas side was drawn in the Compromise of 1850.

El Paso County was established in March 1850, with San Elizario as the first county seat. The United States Senate fixed a boundary between Texas and New Mexico at the thirty-second parallel, thus largely ignoring history and topography. A military post called The Post opposite El Paso (meaning opposite El Paso del Norte, across the Rio Grande) was established in 1854. Further west, a settlement on Coons' Rancho called Franklin became the nucleus of the future El Paso, Texas. A year later pioneer Anson Mills completed his plan of the town, calling it El Paso.[12]

During the Civil War, the Confederate cause was met with great support from Franklin residents until the city's capture by the Union California Column in 1862. It was then headquarters for the 5th Regiment California Volunteer Infantry until December 1864.[13]

After the war was concluded, the town's population began to grow. El Paso was incorporated in 1873 and encompassed the small area communities that had developed along the river. With the arrival of the Southern Pacific, Texas and Pacific and the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe railroads in 1881, the population boomed to 10,000 by the 1890 census attracting newcomers ranging from businessmen and priests, to gunfighters and prostitutes. El Paso became a boomtown known as the "Six Shooter Capital" because of its lawlessness.[12] Prostitution and gambling flourished until World War I, when the Department of the Army pressured El Paso authorities to crack down on vice (thus benefitting vice in neighborhing Ciudad Juárez.

Mining and other industries gradually developed in the area. The 1920s and 1930s saw the emergence of major business development in the city partially enabled by Prohibition era bootlegging.[12] The Depression era hit the city hard and population declined through the end of World War II. Following the war, military expansion in the area as well as oil discoveries in the Permian Basin (North America) helped to cause rapid economic expansion in the mid 1900s. Copper smelting, oil refining, and the proliferation of low wage industries (particularly garment making) led the city's growth. The expansion slowed again in the 1960s but the city has continued to grow in large part because of the increased importance of trade with Mexico.


A panoramic view of El Paso, Texas from the north. The Hueco Mountains can be seen toward the east, the Juarez mountains of Mexico can be seen to the south (far right of the image).
El Paso Skyline as seen from Scenic Drive
Central El Paso as seen from Scenic Drive.
El Paso (top) and Ciudad Juárez (bottom) as seen from earth orbit; the Rio Grande River is the thin line separating the two cities through the middle of the photograph. A portion of the Franklin Mountains can be seen in the upper-left. Image courtesy of NASA.
False color satellite image of El Paso and Ciudad Juárez. Paved streets and buildings appear in varying shades of blue-gray, and red indicates vegetation. Image courtesy of NASA.

El Paso is located at 31°47′25″N 106°25′24″W / 31.79028°N 106.42333°W / 31.79028; -106.42333 (31.790208, -106.423242).[14] It lies at the intersection of three states (Texas, New Mexico, and Chihuahua) and two countries (the USA and Mexico). It is the only major Texas city on Mountain Time. When Ciudad Juárez was on Central Time[15], it was possible to celebrate New Year's twice in the same evening by travelling a very short distance across the state and into another country. Both cities are now on Mountain Time.

The city's elevation is 3,800 feet (1,140 m) above sea level. The rustic North Franklin Peak towers at 7,192 feet (2,192 m) above sea level and is the highest peak in the city. The peak can be seen from 60 miles (97 km) in all directions. Additionally, this mountain range is home to the famous natural red-clay formation, the Thunderbird, from which the local Coronado High School gets its mascot's name. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 250.5 square miles (648.9 km²).

The 24,000-acre (9,700 ha) Franklin Mountains State Park is the largest urban park in the United States and resides entirely in El Paso, extending from the north and neatly dividing the city into several sections along with Fort Bliss and the El Paso International Airport.

The Rio Grande Rift, which passes around the southern end of the Franklin Mountains, is where the Rio Grande River flows. The river defines the border between El Paso from Ciudad Juárez to the south and west until the river turns north of the border with Mexico, separating El Paso from Doña Ana County, New Mexico. Mt. Cristo Rey, a volcanic peak (an example of a pluton) rises within the Rio Grande Rift just to the west of El Paso on the New Mexico side of the Rio Grande River. Other volcanic features include Kilbourne hole and Hunt's hole, which are Maar volcanic craters 30 miles (50 km) west of the Franklin Mountains.

El Paso is surrounded by the Chihuahuan Desert, the easternmost section of the Basin and Range Region.


Areas of El Paso

With the city limits are traditional suburban areas that are located on the far eastern and western edges.

Texas suburbs outside the city

New Mexico suburbs

Although New Mexican areas of Anthony, Sunland Park, and Chaparral lie adjacent to El Paso County, they are considered to be part of the Las Cruces, New Mexico metropolitan area by the United States Census Bureau.[16]


Snow on Franklin Mountains & El Paso causes a closure of Transmountain Highway
  • Temperatures range from an average high of 55 F (13 °C) and an average low of 28 °F (−2 °C) in January to an average high of 97 °F (36 °C ) in June and an average low of 68 °F (20 °C) in August.
  • The city's record high is 114 °F (45.5 °C), and its record low is −8 °F (−22 °C).
  • The sun shines 302 days per year on average in El Paso, 83 percent of daylight hours, according to the El Paso Weather Bureau. It is from this that the city is nicknamed "The Sun City."[1] The natives find the weather attractive though temperatures can reach 100+ °F.
  • Rainfall averages 8.74 inches (223 mm) per annum, most of which occurs during the summer from July through September and is predominantly caused by monsoonal flow from the Gulf of California. During this period, winds originate more from the south to southeast direction and carry moisture from the Pacific Ocean, the Gulf of California and the Gulf of Mexico into the region. As this moisture moves into the El Paso area (and many other areas in the southwest), a combination of orographic uplift from the mountains, and daytime heating from the sun, causes thunderstorms to develop across the region (some of which can be severe, producing flash flooding and hail). This is what causes most of the rain in the El Paso area.
  • El Paso, at 3,800 feet (1,200 m) elevation, is also capable of receiving snow; weather systems have produced over a foot of snow on many occasions. In 1980, three major snowstorms produced over a foot of snow; one in February, another in April and the last one in December, producing a white Christmas for the city. A major snowstorm in December 1987 dumped nearly two feet of snow.
  • Official weather records for El Paso have been kept by the National Weather Service since 1879.


Although the average annual rainfall is only about 8 inches, many parts of El Paso are subject to occasional flooding during intense summer monsoons. In late July and early August 2006, over 15 inches (380 mm) of rain fell in a week, overflowing all the flood-control reservoirs and causing major flooding city-wide. The city staff has estimated damage to public infrastructure as $21 million, and to private property (residential & commercial) as $77 million.[17] Much of the damage was associated with development in recent decades in arroyos protected by flood-control dams and reservoirs, and the absence of any storm drain utility in the city to handle the flow of rain water.

Temperature statistics

Climate data for El Paso
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 80
Average high °F (°C) 57
Average low °F (°C) 31
Record low °F (°C) -8
Precipitation inches (mm) 0.45
Source: {{{source}}} {{{accessdate}}}


10 Tallest Buildings in El Paso

Rank Name Height Floors
1 Wells Fargo Plaza 296 feet (90 m) 21
2 Chase Tower 250 feet (76 m) 20
3 Plaza Hotel 239 feet (73 m) 19
4 Kayser Building 232 feet (71 m) 20
5 El Paso Natural Gas Company Building 208 feet (63 m) 18
6 Camino Real Hotel 205 feet (62 m) 17
7 Doubletree Hotel 202 feet (62 m) 17
8 O. T. Bassett Tower 196 feet (60 m) 15
9 El Paso County Courthouse 185 feet (56 m) 13
10 Anson Mills Building 145 feet (44 m) 12

El Paso's tallest building, the Wells Fargo Plaza, was built in the early-1970s as State National Plaza. The black-windowed, 296-foot (90 m) building is famous for its 13 white horizonal lights (18 lights per row on the east and west sides of the building, and 7 bulbs per row on the north and south sides) that were lit at night. The tower did use a design of the United States flag during the 4th of July holidays as well as the American hostage crisis of 1980, and was lit continuously following the September 11 attacks in 2001 until around 2006. During the Christmas holidays, a design of a Christmas tree was used, and at times, the letters "UTEP" was used to support University of Texas at El Paso athletics. The tower is now only lit during the holiday months, or when special events take place in the city. With the new development downtown new highrise buildings have been planned to bring new young professionals.



The city government is officially non-partisan; the county government is not. Mayors and City Council members may not serve for more than ten years in their respective offices.[18]

The current mayor of El Paso is John Cook, who defeated Mayor Joe Wardy in 2005 and was reelected in 2009.[19]

The current members of the El Paso City Council, who are elected every four years to staggered terms, are Emma Acosta, Susie Byrd, Steve Ortega, and Carl Robinson, whose terms will end in 2013, and Eddie Holguin, Beto O'Rourke, Ann Lilly, and Rachel Quintana, whose terms will end in 2011. Lilly, Byrd, Ortega, Holguin, and O'Rourke have been on the council since 2005. Quintana has been on the council since 2007, Acosta since 2008, and Robinson since 2009. Due to the term limits clause in the City Charter, several City Council members will not be eligible in the next election: Byrd and Ortega, as well as Mayor Cook.[20]

According to city charter amendments approved on February 7, 2004, the city of El Paso operates under a council-manager form of government. This system combines the strong political leadership of elected officials, in the form of eight Council Members, with the strong managerial experience of an appointed local government manager. All power is concentrated in the elected council, which hires a professionally trained manager to carry out its directives and oversee the delivery of public services.[18] Joyce Wilson was selected by the city council in 2004 as El Paso's first City Manager.


Texas Legislature

El Paso City and County vote overwhelmingly Democratic, like most of the Texas–Mexico border area and urban Texas.[21] The El Paso metropolitan area is represented in the Texas State House by Democrats Marisa Marquez, Chente Quintanilla, Norma Chavez, Joe Pickett and Joe Moody; and in the State Senate, by Eliot Shapleigh (D-El Paso).

El Paso County

The El Paso County Judge is Democrat Anthony Cobos, and the County Commissioners are Democrats Veronica Escobar, Anna Perez, and Willie Gandara Jr., and Republican Dan Haggerty. Cobos and Escobar were first elected to their positions in 2006, and have been in office since 2007. Perez and Gandara were first elected to their positions in 2008, and have been in office since 2009. Haggerty was first elected to his position in 1994, and has been in office since 1995. The El Paso County Sheriff is Democrat Richard Wiles, since 2009.

Cobos did not seek re-election in 2010. The Democratic primary for County Judge was won by Escobar, and the Republican primary for County Judge was won by Jaime Perez, Cobos' chief of staff.[22]


The El Paso metropolitan area is represented by Silvestre Reyes (D-El Paso), chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, and Ciro Rodriguez (D-San Antonio) in the U.S. House of Representatives. The current U.S. Senators for Texas are Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) and John Cornyn (R-Texas).


El Paso is the Operational Headquarters of Helen of Troy Limited, a NASDAQ listed company that manufactures personal health care products under many labels such as OXO, Dr. Scholls, Vidal Sassoon, Sunbeam, among others. Also headquartered in El Paso is Western Refining, listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

El Paso is also the corporate headquarters to Spira Footwear, and the World Headquarters to the El Paso Saddle Blanket Co.

Until 1996, El Paso was home to El Paso Natural Gas Company. Now in Houston, Texas under the name El Paso Corporation. Farah Clothing Company was also headquartered in El Paso until 1998 when Farah along with other clothing manufacturing companies such as Levi's, moved their plants in search of cheaper labor. In the 1980s El Paso was known as the blue jeans capital of the world because it produced over 2 million pairs of jeans every week from different jean companies in El Paso. As of 2006, the only remaining companies in the clothing industry are Wrangler and a smaller company by the name of Border Apparel.

More than 70 Fortune 500 companies have offices in El Paso, including The Hoover Company, Eureka, Boeing, and Delphi (auto parts).

El Paso is an important entry point to the U.S. from Mexico. Once a major copper refining area, chief manufacturing industries in El Paso now include food production, clothing, construction materials, electronic and medical equipment, and plastics. Cotton, fruit, vegetables, livestock, and pecans are produced in the area. With El Paso's attractive climate and natural beauty, tourism has become a booming industry as well as trade with neighboring Ciudad Juárez.

Education is also a driving force in El Paso's economy. El Paso's three large school districts are among the largest employers in the area, employing more than 19,000 people between them. The University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) has an annual budget of nearly $250 million and employs nearly 3,600 people. A 2002 study by the university's Institute for Policy and Economic Development stated that the University's impact on local businesses has resulted in $349 million.

The military installation of Fort Bliss is a major contributor to El Paso's economy. Fort Bliss began as a Cavalry post in 1848. Today, Fort Bliss is the site of the United States Army's Air Defense Artillery Center and produces approximately $80 million in products and services annually, with about $60 million of those products and services purchased locally. Fort Bliss' total economic impact on the area has been estimated at more than $1 billion, with 12,000 soldiers currently stationed at the Fort. During the 2005 round of Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC), Fort Bliss came out an enormous winner. By 2013, BRAC growth is expected to add almost 28,000 new troops, 16,000 new spouses, and 21,000 new children to the El Paso community. The growth is expected to create a strong economic ripple throughout the El Paso area. With the growth in Fort Bliss, the economy is expected to profit an additional $10 billion by 2012, and an additional $5 billion each year after that.

In addition to the military, the federal government has a strong presence in El Paso to manage its status and unique issues as a border region. The Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), and the Customs and Border Protection Agency (CBP) all have agency operations in El Paso to regulate traffic and goods through ports of entry from Mexico. Including these agencies, government job growth in the area is expected to rise to 64,390 jobs by 2007.

Call center operations make up 7 of the top 10 business employers in El Paso. With no signs of growth slowing in this industry, in 2005 the 14 largest call centers in El Paso employed more than 10,000 people. The largest of these in terms of employees are EchoStar, MCI/GC Services, and West Telemarketing.

Analysts in the area say that job growth in 2005 will be in the form of health care, business and trade services, international trade, and telecommunications.

Items and goods produced: petroleum, metals, medical devices, plastics, machinery, automotive parts, food, defense-related goods, tourism, boots

Largest city employers

All numbers are estimates as of 2006[citation needed]


Historical populations
Census Pop.  %±
1890 10,000
1900 15,906 59.1%
1910 39,279 146.9%
1920 77,560 97.5%
1930 102,421 32.1%
1940 96,810 −5.5%
1950 130,003 34.3%
1960 276,687 112.8%
1970 339,615 22.7%
1980 425,259 25.2%
1990 515,342 21.2%
2000 563,662 9.4%

As of the 2005-2007 American Community Survey conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, White Americans made up 76.5% of El Paso's population; of which 15.0% were non-Hispanic whites. Blacks or African Americans made up 2.9% of El Paso's population; of which 2.6% were non-Hispanic blacks. American Indians made up 0.5% of the city's population; of which 0.3% were non-Hispanic. Asian Americans made up 1.2% of the city's population. Pacific Islander Americans made up 0.1% of the city's population; of which less than 0.1% were non-Hispanic. Individuals from some other race made up 16.5% of the city's population; of which 0.2% were non-Hispanic. Individuals from two or more races made up 2.2% of the city's population; of which 0.6% were non-Hispanic. In addition, Hispanics and Latinos made up 80.2% of El Paso's population.[24][25]

As of the census[4] of 2000, there were 563,662 people, 182,063 households, and 141,098 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,263.0 people per square mile (873.7/km²). There were 193,663 housing units at an average density of 777.5/sq mi (300.2/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 76.6% White, 3.12% African American, 0.82% Native American, 1.12% Asian, 0.10% Pacific Islander, 18.15% from other races, and 3.40% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 86.62% of the population.

There are 182,063 households, out of which 42.4% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 54.6% were married couples living together, 18.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 22.5% were non-families. 19.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.07 and the average family size was 3.54.

In the city the population was spread out with 31.0% under the age of 18, 10.0% from 18 to 24, 29.1% from 25 to 44, 19.2% from 45 to 64, and 10.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 31 years. For every 100 females there were 90.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 85.0 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $32,124, and the median income for a family was $35,432. Males had a median income of $28,989 versus $21,540 for females. The per capita income for the city was $14,388. About 19.0% of families and 22.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 29.8% of those under age 18 and 17.7% of those age 65 or over.

According to the 2006 United States Census Bureau population estimates, the El Paso metropolitan area had a population of 736,310.[26] As of December 3, 2007, El Paso is ranked the second safest city in the US with a population greater than 500,000.[27]

Around 2010 many Mexicans fleeing drug violence in Ciudad Juarez settled in El Paso. Benjamin Sáenz, a novelist and a literature professor at the University of Texas at El Paso, said during that year that El Paso was "becoming a lot more Mexican and a lot less Chicano."[28]


Major League teams

El Paso does not have any major league sports team. El Paso hosts the annual NCAA Brut Sun Bowl. El Paso is also the site of the Borderland Derby horse race held in the nearby suburb of Sunland Park. El Paso is also host of the Texas vs. The Nation Football Game all-star game played in the Sun Bowl Stadium.


Club Sport League Stadium
El Paso Diablos Baseball American Association of Independent Professional Baseball (South Division) Cohen Stadium
El Paso Patriots Soccer USL Premier Development League Patriot Stadium
Indios USA Soccer National Premier Soccer League Canutillo Stadium
El Paso Rhinos Hockey Western States Hockey League (Jr. Hockey League) El Paso County Coliseum
El Paso Brawlers Football Far West Football League Sun Bowl Stadium
El Paso Generals Indoor Football IFL El Paso County Coliseum
UTEP Miners Division I Conference USA Sun Bowl


  • UTEP owns the two largest stadiums in El Paso:
    • Sun Bowl Stadium has a capacity of 51,400 and is home to the UTEP Miners football team, coached by Mike Price. It is also home to the annual Sun Bowl, soccer games, and special events such as concerts.
    • Don Haskins Center has a capacity of 12,222 and is used for UTEP's basketball teams and special events such as concerts and boxing matches. It is also where the graduation ceremony takes place for UTEP students.
    • Cohen Stadium has a capacity of 9,725 and is used primarily for the El Paso Diablos Independent baseball club. It also hosts concerts and boxing matches and is able to host soccer games as well.
    • El Paso County Coliseum has a capacity of 5,250. It is currently used primarily for special events such as concerts, wrestling matches, and others. It can also be utilized for hockey and arena football.
    • Memorial Gym is a 5,000 seat multi-purpose arena located on the UTEP campus. It was home to the Miners basketball teams until the Don Haskins Center, then known as the Special Events Center, opened in 1976.
    • Patriot Stadium has a capacity of around 3,000 and is solely used for the El Paso Patriots soccer club.


Public school districts

The city of El Paso is served by:

Nearby areas are served by:

Colleges and universities

Two-year and vocational colleges

Four-year colleges

Medical School

  • Texas Tech University-Paul Foster School of Medicine

Private and parochial schools

There are several parochial schools within the El Paso Catholic Diocese:

  • Primary schools:
    • Blessed Sacrament Catholic School
    • Father Yermo Primary School
    • Loretto Academy Primary School
    • Most Holy Trinity Catholic School
    • Our Lady of the Assumption Catholic School
    • Our Lady of the Valley Catholic School
    • St. Joseph's Catholic School
    • St. Matthew's Catholic School
    • St. Patrick Cathedral School
    • St. Pius X Catholic School
    • St. Raphael Catholic School
  • Secondary schools:
    • Cathedral High School
    • Father Yermo High School
    • Loretto Academy

Other private schools include the following:

  • Bethel Christian School
  • Bridges Academy
  • Covenant Christian Academy
  • Community of Faith Christian School
  • El Paso Adventist Junior Academy
  • El Paso Country Day School
  • El Paso Jewish Academy
  • Faith Christian Academy
  • Jesus Chapel Christian School
  • Immanuel Christian School
  • Journey Academy
  • Lydia Patterson Institute
  • Mount Franklin Christian Academy
  • Northeast Christian Academy
  • North Loop Christian Academy
  • Palm Tree Academy
  • Radford School
  • Rose of Sharon Christian School
  • St. Clement's Episcopal Parish School
  • Trinity Lutheran Church and School

Public libraries

El Paso Public Library operates public libraries in El Paso.

Ciudad Juárez residents attending schools in El Paso

Many affluent Ciudad Juárez residents attend schools in El Paso, including El Paso ISD schools ("Mexican children cross border to go to school", Houston Chronicle, April 29, 2007). Due to the number of students from Ciudad Juárez enrolled in United States schools, the Paso Del Norte crossing (also called "Santa Fe bridge") holds a dedicated student crossing lane. The lane stays open from 6:30 A. M. to 8:30 A. M.


University Medical Center
  • Del Sol Medical Center[29]
  • Las Palmas – Del Sol Rehab. Hospital
  • Las Palmas Medical Center[30]
  • Horizon Specialty Hospital
  • University Medical Center- The city's general hospital and the only Level I trauma center in the area
  • Rio Vista Rehab. Hospital
  • Sierra Medical Center
  • Southwestern General Hospital
  • William Beaumont Army Medical Center
  • Providence Memorial Hospital
  • Physicians Hospital
  • Highlands Regional Rehabilitation Hospital
  • Sierra East medical center



Bronze equestrian statue of Juan de Oñate by John Sherrill Houser.

El Paso has been home to literary figures such as:

The Tigua Indians of Ysleta del Sur Pueblo

Located within the city limits lies the autonomous Ysleta del Sur Pueblo Nation, with its own governing body. It is one of the three Federally-recognized Indian tribes in Texas.

The Tigua have been at their present location since a successful Pueblo Revolt of 1680 that forced the Spaniards and New Spaniards (future Mexicans) to retreat south to present day Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua and El Paso. The tribe is led by a governor who serves a term of two years. The current governor is Danny Senclare.

Very close to tribal lands is the sacred site of Hueco Tanks.

Points of interest

Street scene in Downtown El Paso

Area museums


  • The Abraham Chavez Theatre is located adjacent to the El Paso Convention & Performing Arts Center, welcomes patrons with a three-story-high glass-windowed entry and unique sombrero-shaped architecture making it a distinct feature on El Paso's southwestern landscape
  • The Plaza Theatre is a historic building located at 125 Pioneer Plaza in El Paso, Texas. The theater stands as one of the city's most well-known landmarks. It shows various Broadway productions, musical concerts, and individual performers. It has a seating capacity of 2,100.
  • McKelligon Canyon is a 90-acre (360,000 m2) park, located in the Franklin Mountains, open to hikers and picnickers. In the canyon, McKelligon Canyon Amphitheatre is surrounded on three sides by dramatic canyon walls; the 1,500-seat amphitheatre is used for concerts and special events, such as Viva El Paso!
The Cathedral Church of Saint Patrick is the mother church of the Diocese of El Paso.

Sites within the city limits

Sites within the surrounding area

Other sites of interest


El Paso is served by El Paso International Airport, Amtrak via the historic Union Depot, Interstate 10, U.S. Highway 54 (known locally as "54", the "North-South Freeway" or officially as the Patriot Freeway), U.S. Highway 180 and U.S. Highway 62 (Montana Avenue), U.S. Highway 85 (Paisano Drive), Loop 375, Loop 478 (Copia Street-Pershing Drive-Dyer Street), numerous Texas Farm to Market Roads (a class of state highway commonly abbreviated to FM) and the city's original thoroughfare, State Highway 20, the eastern portion of which is known locally as Alameda Avenue (formerly U.S. Highway 80). Texas 20 also includes portions of Texas Avenue in Central El Paso, North Mesa Street from Downtown to the West Side, and Doniphan Drive on the West Side. Northeast El Paso is connected to West El Paso by Woodrow Bean Transmountain Drive. The city also shares 4 international bridges and one railbridge with Ciudad Juárez, Mexico.


Passenger rail

Major highways

  • I-10 (TX).svg Interstate 10 The primary thoroughfare through the city, connecting the city with other major U.S. cities such as Houston, Los Angeles, New Orleans, Phoenix and Dallas (via Interstate 20). The I-10 is also a connector to Interstate 25, which connects with the cities of Albuquerque, Denver and Cheyenne.
  • US 54.svg U.S. Highway 54 Officially called the Patriot Freeway, locally known as the North-South Freeway. A business route runs along Dyer Street, the former US 54, from the freeway near Fort Bliss to the Texas-New Mexico border, where it again rejoins the expressway. The original U.S. 54 was a transcontinental route connecting El Paso with Chicago.
  • US 62.svg U.S. Highway 62 Santa Fe Street south of Paisano Drive concurrently with US 85, Paisano Drive east of Santa Fe Street to Montana Avenue, then Montana Avenue concurrently with US 180.
  • US 85.svg U.S. Highway 85 Santa Fe Street south of Paisano Drive concurrently with US 62 and Paisano Drive west of Santa Fe Street to I-10.
  • US 180.svg U.S. Highway 180 Montana Avenue, which is a bypass route to the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex to the east, and Flagstaff, Arizona to the west.
  • Texas 20.svg SH 20 Alameda Avenue (formerly US 80), Texas Avenue, Mesa Street and Doniphan Drive.
  • Texas 178.svg SH 178 Art Craft Road in Northwest El Paso extends from Interstate 10 west to the New Mexico state line, at which point it becomes New Mexico Highway 136, the Pete V. Domenici International Highway.
  • TexasSL375.png Loop 375 Texas Highway Loop 375 encircles the city of El Paso. In Northeast El Paso, it is Woodrow Bean Trans-Mountain Drive. In East El Paso, the north- and southbound section is known as Joe Battle Boulevard, or simply as "the Loop". South of I-10, in the east and westbound portion, it is known as the Cesar Chavez Border Highway, a four-lane expressway which is located along the U.S.-Mexico border between Downtown El Paso and the Ysleta area.
  • TexasSL478.png Loop 478: Copia Street, Pershing Drive and Dyer Street.
  • Texas Spur 601.svg Spur 601. Also known as the Inner Loop, it is currently under construction; the operational portion of the highway connects Biggs Army Air Field to the Purple Heart Memorial Highway (Loop 375).
  • Texas FM 76.svg North Loop Road, as well as Delta Drive between North Loop Road and Alameda Avenue (Texas Highway 20).
  • Texas FM 659.svg Zaragoza Road, running more or less north from the Ysleta International Bridge to US 62-180 (Montana Avenue); it lies mostly in East El Paso.
  • Texas FM 1505.svg A portion of Clark Drive from Alameda Avenue (Texas Highway 20) north to Trowbridge Drive in South-Central El Paso.
  • Texas FM 2316.svg McRae Boulevard, running north from Interstate 10 to US 62-180 (Montana Avenue) in East El Paso.
  • Texas FM 2529.svg Texas Farm Road 2529 includes Stan Roberts Avenue and McCombs Street between Dyer Street and Stan Roberts Avenue in Northeast El Paso.
  • Texas FM 2637.svg Runs east from McCombs Street (Texas Farm Road 2529) in far Northeast El Paso; does not have a city street name.
  • Texas FM 3255.svg Texas Farm Road 3255 runs north from US 54 to the New Mexico state line in Northeast El Paso and bears the city street name Martin Luther King Boulevard.

Mass transit

The Sun Metro Mass Transit System operates a system of medium to large capacity natural gas powered buses all around the city of El Paso.[31]

El Paso County Transit makes trips with small capacity buses mainly in the Eastern El Paso area.

On September 1, 2009, NMDOT Park and Ride began operating commuter bus service to and from Las Cruces, New Mexico.[32]

Historically, El Paso and Ciudad Juarez had a shared streetcar system with a peak electrified route mileage of 64 miles (103 km) in 1920. The first electrified line across the Rio Grande which opened on January 11, 1902 was preceded by a network that relied on animal labor. The system quickly spread into residential and industrial areas of El Paso. In 1913 a 12 miles (19 km) interurban line was built to Ysleta. At the close of 1943 holding company El Paso Electric Company sold its subsidiary the El Paso Electric Railway Company and its Mexican counterpart to one of National City Lines' subsidiaries. This resulted in the formation of El Paso City Lines whose domestic streetcar lines were replaced by buses in 1947.[33] The international streetcar line continued to operate until 1973. In 1977 El Paso City Lines and two other bus companies were bought by the municipality and merged to form Sun City Area Transit (SCAT). In 1987 SCAT restyled itself Sun Metro.[34]

International border crossings

The first bridge to cross the Rio Grande at El Paso del Norte was built in the time of Nueva España, over 250 years ago, from wood hauled in from Santa Fe.[35]

Today, four bridges serve the El Paso-Ciudad Juárez area, and another connecting Ysleta with Ciudad Juárez.



Radio stations

Radio stations from Las Cruces, New Mexico and Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua can also be heard within the El Paso market.


El Paso was the largest city in the United States without a PBS television station within the city limits until 1978. El Paso viewers had to watch channel 22, KRWG from Las Cruces until 1978. In fact, the city had only three English-speaking channels and two Spanish language channels (channel 2 and channel 5) from Juarez, and cable subscribers in the 1970s and 1980s could receive four Los Angeles independent channels: KTLA, KHJ, KTTV and KCOP. Over time, as more television stations signed on and more cable channels were added (and the internet expanded), the L.A. stations would disappear from the lineup. The last to be removed was KTLA in the Fall of 2006, when KVIA-TV opened its own CW station.

El Paso's current television stations are as shown in the table below:

Popular culture

  • Eddie Guerrero pro-wrestler with the WWE who was WWE champion and a member of the WWE Hall of Fame. Eddie was born in El Paso and attended Jefferson High School. Eddie also named one of his finishing moves "The Lasso from El Paso".
  • Vikki Carr, international singer and entertainer ("It Must Be Him", "Total", "Cosas del amor") was born in El Paso on [[July 19, 1941.
  • Debbie Reynolds, singer/actress was born in El Paso on [[April 1, 1932.
  • "El Paso" by Marty Robbins was a popular Country ballad released in 1959. Robbins followed it up with a sequel, "El Paso City," in 1976.
  • Juan Gabriel started his singing career by singing for passengers on the electric trollies that connected El Paso and Ciudad Juárez.
  • Fleetwood Mac held their first concert that featured Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham in El Paso in 1975. Stevie Nicks attended Loretto Academy in El Paso as a teenager.
  • In the 1975 movie, The Stepford Wives the fluoride content in El Paso's drinking water is mentioned as a possible method the women of Stepford are being "brainwashed."
  • In the movie Kill Bill the Massacre at Two Pines in which Beatrix Kiddo was put into a coma and her whole wedding party slaughtered took place in a small chapel just outside El Paso.
  • The current Blue Beetle comic book series takes place in El Paso.
  • Radio La Chusma's song, Cruisin' describes the city's streets in their pachuco style sound that is heard internationally.
  • El Paso has become a favored destination for musicians of all stripes. See Vanity Fair's March 2009 article.
  • In one of the opening scenes in Call of Juarez, Ray mentions El Paso.
  • In Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2, the penultimate mission is set in El Paso.
  • The Chinga Chavin song "Asshole From El Paso", most famously recorded by Kinky Friedman, which was a parody of Merle Haggard's "Okie from Muskogee", mentions El Paso in both the lyrics and the title.

Filmed in El Paso

Sister cities

El Paso, Texas has the following sister cities:

See also


  1. ^ a b c Carlos A. Rincón (2002). "Solving Transboundary Air Quality Problems in the Paso Del Norte Region". in Linda Fernandez and Richard Carson. Both Sides of the Border. Springer. ISBN 1402071264. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ a b c
  4. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  5. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  6. ^ a b
  7. ^ El Paso Information and Links
  8. ^|04000US48|05000US48141&_street=&_county=dona+ana&_cityTown=dona+ana&_state=&_zip=&_lang=en&_sse=on&ActiveGeoDiv=geoSelect&_useEV=&pctxt=fph&pgsl=010&_submenuId=population_0&ds_name=null&_ci_nbr=null&qr_name=null&reg=null:null&_keyword=&_industry=
  9. ^ The evidence points to 10,000 to 12,000 years of human habitation.
  10. ^ Leon C. Metz (1993). El Paso Chronicles: A Record of Historical Events in El Paso, Texas. El Paso: Mangan Press. ISBN 0-930208-32-3. 
  11. ^ a b El Paso, A Borderlands History, by W.H. Timmons, pp. 74, 75
  12. ^ a b c El Paso, Texas from the Handbook of Texas Online
  13. ^ Records of California men in the war of the rebellion 1861 to 1867, By California. Adjutant General's Office, SACRAMENTO: State Office, J. D. Young, Supt. State Printing. 1890. p.672
  14. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2000 and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2005-05-03. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  15. ^ Time changes in Chihuahua
  16. ^
  17. ^ - City of El Paso
  18. ^ a b
  19. ^
  20. ^
  21. ^ William Earl Maxwell, Ernest Crain, Edwin S. Davis (2005). Texas Politics Today. Thomson Wadsworth. ISBN 0534602118. 
  22. ^
  23. ^
  24. ^
  25. ^
  26. ^
  27. ^ San Jose now third safest city - News
  28. ^ Corchado, Alfredo. "Families, businesses flee Juárez for U.S. pastures." The Dallas Morning News. Sunday March 7, 2010. Retrieved on March 10, 2010.
  29. ^ Del Sol Medical Center - Home Page
  30. ^ Las Palmas Medical Center - Home Page
  31. ^ - Sun Metro Homepage
  32. ^ "History and Facts". NMDOT. Retrieved 22 November 2009. 
  33. ^ Myrick, David F. (1970). New Mexico's Railroads: An Historical Survey. Golden: Colorado Railroad Museum. pp. 189–190. 
  34. ^ "El Paso Mass Transit History". City of El Paso. Retrieved 22 November 2009. 
  35. ^ Paul Horgan, Great River: The Rio Grande in North American History. Volume 1, Indians and Spain. Vol. 2, Mexico and the United States. 2 Vols. in 1, 1038 pages - Wesleyan University Press 1991, 4th Reprint, ISBN 0-8195-6251-3
  36. ^ "City Council Meetings - Voting Items". City of El Paso. 2008-11-18. Retrieved 27 December 2008. "ADDN1A. MAYOR AND COUNCIL: Discussion and action to authorize the Mayor to sign a Sister City agreement with the City of Chihuahua, Mexico reaffirming the commitment made in 2002. ACTION TAKEN: AUTHORIZED" 
  37. ^ a b c d e Andrade, Robert (March 2007). "Sister Cities". ¿Qué Pasa? A biweekly electronic newsletter from Mayor Cook. City of El Paso. Retrieved 27 December 2008. "Currently on record, there are four Sister Cities, three in Mexico (Ciudad Juárez, Zacatecas and Torreón) and one in Spain (Jerez)." 

External links

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

For other places with the same name, see El Paso (disambiguation).
El Paso skyline
El Paso skyline

El Paso is the sixth largest city in Texas, on the United States-Mexico border. The city on the other side of the border is Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua. El Paso is often called the Sun City. Collectively, the city of El Paso and other nearby cities, such as Juarez and Las Cruces, New Mexico are referred to as The Borderland.

Spanish for Travelers

The Spanish language is an important part of life to El Pasoans. It's not always necessary to know Spanish, but it can help in some situations! To say yes is Si, No is No. Gracias is thank you in Spanish. Given that Spanish tends to be a more formal language than English, you will be even better received if can manage "Si/no, señor/señora/señorita" ("Yes/no, sir/ma'am/miss"), and "No, gracias" ("No, thank you")rather than a curt "Si" or "no." To ask for the restroom, say ¿Dónde está el baño?. When asking for directions, you might need a mapa, or map. The calle or street you are looking for may be izquierda (left) or derecha (right). You may want to take an autobus which is cerca de la plaza, or the bus is near the town square.

If you do not speak Spanish yourself, going to Juarez can be confusing. Taking a friend who can speak fluent Spanish makes the experience much richer. In this way, you can get to know people through your translator.

And if all else fails, and communication is at a stand still, smile and say Lo siento. No hablo Español.

El Paso is geographically divided into several parts with the Franklin Mountains and Fort Bliss cutting the city into distinct sections. Each area has its own style and culture.

The West Side of town, between the Franklin mountains and Mexico and New Mexico includes El Paso's most affluent neighborhoods along the side of the mountain. Border Hospital and the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) are both located here. The UTEP area ("Kern Place") is emerging as an entertainment district with restaurants and nightclubs.

Downtown is in the Southern part of El Paso, just below the tip of the Franklin Mountains. The streets of Downtown are often difficult to navigate for first time visitors, especially with the current construction. Parking (there are many cheap areas to park your car for the day) is probably the best bet. Walking through Downtown, there are many little shops reminiscent of Mexico and many small cafes. Many of the buildings are historic and very beautiful. The Downtown area boasts a beautiful plaza in the center of the city. An art museum, theater and a Children's science museum are all located here. Extensive renovations are taking place in the Downtown area.

The North East of El Paso is home to Fort Bliss Military Base. Fort Bliss is located near the airport and is also adjacent to Biggs Airfield. Fort Bliss is one of the largest US Military bases in the world. Tours can be arranged, or if you know a service member, have them give you a tour. Fort Bliss has very obviously influenced the area. Outside of base are many military surplus stores.

The East Side part of El Paso is the fastest growing area. It is closest to the Mission Trails area and Hueco Tanks State Historic Site.

El Paso is a diverse community featuring many different kinds of people. The largest language spoken at home is Spanish, followed by Engish. Many older El Pasoans speak Spanish regularly in public and it is helpful, although usually not necessary, to understand the language.


El Paso was formerly known as El Paso del Norte (The Pass of the North) and was named by Spanish travelers in 1581. The area wasn't colonized by Europeans until 1598 when Don Juan de Oñate led an expedition into the territory. In 1848, El Paso formally became part of the United States and a military post was erected there which eventually became Fort Bliss. The city was actually incorporated in 1873. El Paso Public Library [1] was the first Public Library in Texas.


El Paso is part of the Chihuahuan Desert. It receives on average about 8.5 inches of rainfall a year. The sky is usually clear and cloud-free. Summer temperatures can reach 100 or more°F. Winter rarely sees snow and temperatures drop to around 40 or 50°F. During periods of rain, flash flooding can occur.

Location of El Paso
Location of El Paso
  • El Paso International Airport [2] This is a small airport that lacks 24 hour dining facilities.
  • From Mexico, take one of the International bridges. Expect long traffic jams during rush hour.
  • From the Guadalupe Mountains National Park, take 62/180 West towards El Paso.
  • I-10 is the largest Interstate going through El Paso. Coming from East Texas, I-10 will take travelers through El Paso all the way to the Downtown area. It can also be used to reach El Paso from Las Cruces, New Mexico.

By bus

Greyhound and a few other companies have routes going in and out of El Paso. The station is located Downtown.

By train

Amtrak has a few times that it comes in and out of El Paso. The Depot is located Downtown.

Get around

Car Rental

This may be the easiest way to see what El Paso has to offer. Since many sites of interest are quite far apart from one another, renting a car may afford visitors the most flexibility. Cars can be easily rented at the Airport or on Fort Bliss.


Must be called for pickup in most areas.

Taxis in the area:

  • Yellow Cab Company: 915-533-3433
  • Checker Cab Company: 915-532-2626
  • Sun City Cab Company: 915-544-2211
  • Border Cab Company: 915-533-4282
  • United IND. Cab Company: 915-590-8294

By bus

Sun Metro: The city's bus system. Although Sun Metro has had it share of problems in the past, they are striving to undo previous mistakes. Buses (like El Paso in general) can become very hot in the summer, and higher temperatures may lead to breakdowns and service interruptions.

Smaller "trolley" style buses are a generally reliable (if sometimes crowded) means of traveling downtown, and the area from UTEP to the international bridges is perhaps part of the city best served by public transportation. Route and Schedule Information [3] Fares are usually $1.00 on standard bus routes, $0.25 on trolleys, with a variety of student, senior, and other discounts.

Private bus companies may or may not operate from downtown El Paso into the center of Juárez, due to frequent changes in policy within both the United States and Mexico. Inquire with Sun Metro for whether such a service is in operation.


Historic tours by trolley [4].


Once a traveler has reached certain destinations, walking will suffice. Much of what can be seen in the Downtown and UTEP area is easily accessed by pedestrians, for example.

El Paso museum of art
El Paso museum of art
  • The valley of the Rio Grande
  • The historic Mission Trail
  • Wyler Aerial Tramway

Franklin Mountains

There are many ways to enjoy the Franklin Mountains. Ranger guided tours are available by reservation.

McKelligon Canyon

The Tom Mays Unit known locally as McKelligon Canyon is easily reached by taking US Highway 54 and exiting onto Fred Wilson Road. Take Fred Wison past Dyer Rd, heading towards the mountains. Merge onto Alabama, drive past William Beaumont Army Medical Center. At the top of the road, turn towards the mountains onto McKelligon Canyon Road. The road is small. This road eventually leads visitors on a winding tour of the canyon. It is truly beautiful, with many plants and colorful hills. There are picnic facilities, a park store and steep trails into the wilderness. It is very quiet and peaceful, a desert oasis in the middle of the city. Many runners and bikers enjoy the challenge of the winding, rolling roads in the canyon. Pets are allowed on leash and there are also mountain biking trails.

  • Address 1331 McKelligon Canyon Road El Paso TX 79930 (915) 566-6441
  • Map of trails at McKelligon Canyon [5]

Transmountain Road

Taking the Transmountain Road (Loop 375) through the Franklin Mountains at night is a wonderful experience. The entire city of El Paso and the city of Juarez are both lit up like a galaxy of stars. There are many places to pull off and watch the artificial stars.

During the day, take Transmountain Road and stop at any of the hiking areas. These places have donation boxes for hikers who are supposed to provide $3 for the use of the trails. These trails are very steep and surrounded by native cacti, yucca and agave. Travelers may also see hummingbirds, large spiders and lizards. If the trails seem too chancy for you, pull over at the small picnic and viewing areas located throughout the Eastern half of the road. The view is amazing and you can see far off into Mexico and New Mexico.

Be aware that Transmountain road can be closed due to inclement weather.

Museum of Archeology at Wilderness Park

On the East Side of the Franklin Mountains is the Museum of Archeology at Wilderness Park [6]. Exhibits include artifacts and reconstructions of life in the past. The museum also has numerous trails covering fifteen acres of land behind the museum that afford visitors terrific views of the Franklin Mountains and over 250 native plant species.

  • Hours Tuesday-Saturday, 9AM to 5PM. Closed Sunday and Monday
  • Admission Free

Fort Bliss Army Base

One of the largest US Military Bases in the world, Fort Bliss is primarily the home to Air Defense Artillery. Soldiers from Germany and Japan come to Fort Bliss for training in the PATRIOT missile system. Getting on Base is difficult, but can be done by coming through one of two main gates and obtaining a day pass. Based on threat levels, this may or may not be possible. Travelers who know soldiers personally can come easily onto base with a soldier to guide them. The Air Defense Artillery Museum is located here, in addition to the NCO Museum. Fort Bliss also owns large tracts of land that are home to herds of oryx antelope.


The University of Texas at El Paso [7] was founded in 1914. It's located on the West Side of El Paso and is easily accessible from I-10. UTEP, pronounced you-tep, boasts a beautiful campus nestled into rocky hills with amazing xeriscaped gardens.


El Pasoans are enthusiastic about their Miners, especially Miner Football coached by the one and only Mike Price. UTEP has a beautiful stadium, the Sun Bowl, that looks as though it was cut right out of the mountain. Every late December the Sun Bowl is played, where two 3rd, 4th, or 5th place teams from either the Pac-10, Big Ten, or Big 12 meet. This is the longest running televised bowl game in the country.

UTEP is a school rich with basketball tradition. This is due to Don Haskins who changed the way college basketball was played forever in 1966. He led his all-black lineup against the all-white Kentucky team featuring Pat Riley and won the National Champsionship. Prior to Don Haskins, black players were marginalized in college basketball. Don Haskins has the basketball arena named after him, the Don Haskins Center, that hosts Miner Basketball and concerts.

  • More information about UTEP athletics [8]

Centennial Museum and Chihuahuan Desert Gardens

The Centennial Museum [9] has both temporary and permanent exhibits. The temporary exhibits feature life, culture and the natural environment of the Borderlands. In many cases, the galleries are made up of contributions of fellow El Pasoans. The permanent exhibits are a natural and social history of the Chihuahuan Desert. The Chihuahuan Desert Gardens[10], next to the museum, boasts over 600 native plant species. At the end of every April, there is a fun event sponsored by the gardens, known as FloraFest. During FloraFest, native plants such as agave, yucca, cacti and other hard to find desert plants can be purchased. For anyone interested in horticulture, especially xeriscaping, this is a must see.

  • Museum Hours 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday (Museum is also sometimes closed during Miner Football Home Games on Saturdays)
  • Garden Hours Daily, from dawn to dusk.

UTEP Theatre

The Department of Theatre, Dance, and Film produces quality plays throughout the year. Check the website for more information [11]

  • Dinner Theatre Presenting food and theatre (mainly musicals). Check their website for show availability, times and ticket prices [12]


Rodeos can be seen in El Paso around the months of January and February. Rodeo is a unique cowboy 'sport' where individuals compete in a number of events the most famous of which is bull riding.

Diablos Baseball

The El Paso Diablos is a minor league team that plays at Cohen Stadium. Cohen Stadium was recently voted the best stadium in minor league baseball. The Diablos are affiliated with the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Rio Bravo, border river towards Ciudad Juarez
Rio Bravo, border river towards Ciudad Juarez

Visit Juarez

Juarez can be accessed by foot, car or tour bus. By foot is often the easiest method with the least amount of waiting. The main tourist strip of shops in Juarez are close to the downtown bridge and easily accessed by foot. Make sure you have your passport with you for re-entry. Beware of drug cartels. There has been a killing spree in Juarez. Visiting is not recommended. If decide to visit and find yourself in a situation with the "Policia Federal" Federal Police or the Mexican Army do as they say do not try to negotiate as that may lead to violence. Be Ware they have the authority to kill if suspicion arises

Licon Dairy

This is a working dairy famous for its Asadero cheese. It boasts a very unusual petting zoo including camels, goats, zebras and parrots. Visitors can fish for catfish at the small pond inside the petting zoo, which is filled up about weekly. It is accessed near the International bridge, off of Socorro Rd.

  • Hours Petting zoo is open from 6AM to 6PM, daily.
  • Address 11951 Glorietta Rd, San Elizario TX 79849

Walking and Driving Tours

A number of walking tours of various parts of El Paso are available. A great resource for these tours is located at the City of El Paso Tourism [13] site.

Chamizal National Memorial

Chamizal National Memorial is a large park in the Southern part of El Paso, near the US/Mexico border. It hosts many events throughout the season, including concerts and dance performances. More information and event schedules can be found at the Chamizal National Memorial website [14].

Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino

Located just over the state line in New Mexico. The casino is open every day, including holidays and has over 700 slot machines. It is easy to reach by taking I-10 West, away from Downtown. The Casino also hosts live shows and music. The Casino was established to counter the decline in horseracing and 25% of the earnings of the casino go to taxes for New Mexico. Most visitors report good experiences at the casino, with the exception of a few very competitive individuals.

  • Casino Hours Sunday through Thursday 9:30AM to 12:30AM and Friday and Saturday 9:30AM to 2:00AM
  • Racetrack Hours Check the schedule [15]
  • Address 1200 Futurity Dr. Sunland Park, NM 88063 (505)874-5200
  • El Paso Saddleblanket, 6926 Gateway East, [16]. Fine Southwest rugs, furniture, jewelry and folk art.


Local Foods

The following foods are popular in El Paso, but not necessarily recommended for everyone!

  • Menudo Travelers will see signs referring to Menudo everywhere. It is a type of soup made with hominy , chile and tripe. It is a Mexican specialty.
  • Burritos A border favorite. Try going to Burritos "El Padrino" in Juarez or to "Rafas Burritos" in El Paso. Burritos are a humble but delicious food and should not be expensive. Do not try them in an upscale restaurant. True burritos are done with home made flour tortilla and your choice of filling. Try "chile con queso", chile relleno, barbacoa (meat) or "deshebrada con chile colorado" (shredded meat with red chile) for the local traditional El Paso/Juarez flavor. Green chile fillings are great too. All other flavors are more likely not from the region.
  • Gut Trucks These are large white vans that sometimes sell ice cream, but usually always sell burritos and gorditas. They are often best described as restaurants on wheels. They can be found parked anywhere there is construction work, or in parking lots of large Do-It-Yourself stores. Do not pass them by! The food is very inexpensive and is absolutely terrific. They are usually only seen around lunch time. You'll know the food is good if you see a line or group of people waiting for food.
  • Smokey's Pit Stop and Saloon There are 3 locations of these barbecue joints slash bars on the East and Northeast part of El Paso. The inside of the Pit Stops aren't much to look at, but the food is great. Again, vegetarians forget about it. All of the food is starch and meat, with the exception of cole slaw. There are 2 locations with a third in construction on Zaragosa Rd. 1346 Lee Trevino (915) 593-6332 and 9100 Viscount (915) 592-3141
  • Chico's Tacos There are 5 different stores in El Paso serving these unique rolled tacos. These tacos are unlike either the "Taco Bell" tacos many Americans are familiar with, or those served in an authentic Mexican taquería. Resembling flautas more than tacos, a single order of tacos will not cost you more than $2.00 and provide you with three tacos. A "double" or "triple" order will fill up those who are more hungry. The tacos are served with a red sauce and piled high with cheese. They don't look appetizing, but the consensus is you either love them or hate them. Chico's Tacos also serves delicious hamburgers, El Paso-style hot dogs (sliced franks served on a hamburger bun with chili), grilled cheese sandwiches, and burritos. Chico's is a treasured El Paso tradition. 1235 McRae Blvd 915-592-8484, 3401 Dyer St. 915-565-5555, 11381 Montwood Dr. 915-849-8777 are 3 of the 5 stores. Open late, cheap and always quick service.
  • Avila's Mexican Food A historic family owned restaurant, often wins citywide food and service awards. Owned and operated by four generations of the Avila family, often occupied with fiercely loyal patrons. The enchiladas and tacos are highly recommended, but the Chile con Queso is the signature dish of the restaurant. The average total meal costs about $10, with lunch specials for $5.25. 915-584-3621, 6232 N. Mesa Dr.
  • Cattleman's Steakhouse [17] A steakhouse in the middle of the desert in the city of Fabens, East of El Paso. Go for dinner to enjoy a fine steak with a gorgeous sunset view. An outdoor balcony is available to bring your cocktail while your food is being prepared. They do not serve food or drinks in the balcony area. "The Cowboy" is their 2-pound T-bone steak--a must for the first time.
  • Cafe Central [18] Cafe Central is the perfect place to go to enjoy fine dining with a Southwestern flair. Originally opened in Juarez in 1918, Cafe Central moved to El Paso after Prohibition ended. This fancy restaurant is led by Chef Armando Pomales and his team. Service here is nearly perfect, but it is the food that will have you seeing stars. A true "fancy restaurant" for those looking for a place to take a date, celebrate an anniversary, eat an amazing lunch, or hold a business lunch/dinner.
  • Forti's Mexican Elder Restaurant, 321 Chelsea, 915-772-0066. A mid-price restaurant and piano bar located just barely above the border. The price is comparable to that of a lot of mediocre Mexican restaurants elsewhere, but this food blows theirs out of the water. The fajitas are perfectly seasoned and the carnitas are amazing. Fresh homemade tortillas complete the meal. Be sure not to binge on the chips and salsa as the meals are large.


The legal drinking age in Texas, like all of the United States, is 21. However across the border in Mexico, the drinking age is set at 18.

Tequila is a drink made of the native agave plant. There are many varieties at different prices. Tequila can be purchased almost anyplace that sells liquor in El Paso.

Cincinnati Street has a strip of bars adjacent to the UTEP campus. Expect cheap drink specials and minimal selection of food (if any.) Watch out while crossing the streets in the area.

  • El Paso International Hostel / Gardner Hotel, 311 East Franklin Avenue, +1 915 532-3661, [19]. Beds start at $20 per night.
  • Holiday Inn El Paso Airport, 6655 Gateway West, [20].
  • AmeriSuites El Paso/Airport, 6030 Gateway Blvd. East, Tel: (915) 771-0022, [21], . Located on Interstate 10 with easy access to downtown El Paso and the International Bridges to Juarez, Mexico.
  • Hawthorn Inn & Suites El Paso, 6789 Boeing Drive, Tel: (915) 778-6789, [22]. Hotel features spacious suites, full or efficiency kitchens, exercise facilities, video cassette players and on-site guest laundry and valet service.
  • Microtel Inn & Suites El Paso - East, 12211 Gateway West, Tel: (915) 858-1600, [23].
  • Microtel Inn & Suites - El Paso Airport, 2001 Airway Blvd., Tel: (915) 772-3650, [24].
  • Microtel Inn & Suites El Paso West / Anthony, 6185 South Desert Blvd., Tel: (915) 584-2026, [25], .
  • Holiday Inn El Paso Airport, 6655 Gateway West, 915-778-6411, [26]. Easy access to downtown; Juarez, Mexico; Cielo Vista Mall, Bassett Place Mall, Fort Bliss, Biggs Army Airbase, the Convention Center, El Paso Community College, University of Texas at El Paso.  edit


While El Paso has lowered much of its crime rate statistics, these rates are still on par with most major cities in the United States.

Most of El Paso is safe from violent crime, and El Paso has a very low murder rate for a large American city. El Paso is generally very quiet and peaceful during the daytime, take normal precautions at night. Areas to avoid at night may include near the international bridges - though curfews on both sides of the border have cut down on the number of aggressive, intoxicated juveniles at night. To a lesser degree, the area around Cincinnati Street and UTEP may be somewhat problematic late at night, more due to the presence of intoxicated people than anything else. Drunk driving is a problem at night. Some areas of south, central, east, and northeast El Paso have gang activity, but generally only young people who may look like members of rival gangs are directly targeted by this violence. The area around Dyer street, near Fort Bliss is notorious for seedy bars and prostitution at night.

Theft and crimes against property are a more serious concern. Auto theft is an ongoing problem. While auto theft rates are not unusually high, the proximity of the border and "chop shops" in Mexico make recovery far less likely. Always lock your car door, even for a short trip into a convenience store. Especially if you have a valuable or popular model automobile, you should have effective anti-theft devices.

Crime and safety in Ciudad Juárez is a much different issue.

Environmental Dangers

Heat in the Summer During the summer months when temperatures nearly always stay around 90 degrees to 100 or more degrees Farenheit, the biggest dangers facing visitors are dehydration and heat stroke. El Paso is in a desert and it is important for all visitors to remember to drink enough water at all times. Too many people fail to take the heat seriously. The dry heat can actually feel less 'hot' than it really is to many people. Learn to recognize the signs of danger for dehydration and heat stroke. Heat stroke is very serious. Take care of yourself in the heat. And remember a cowboy word of wisdom: If you're thirsty, you're already dehydrated. For more information, consult the article for this region.

Sun Not just for the heat, but the sun can be dangerous because of UV rays which are much stronger at El Paso's altitude than at sea level. Wear a hat, sunglasses and sunscreen. It is not uncommon to see pedestrians in El Paso walking with an umbrella to shield them from the sun.

Rain During the rainy season (usually late June to early October) be aware that flash flooding can occur during and after rainfall. Areas closer to the Rio Grande are much more susceptible to flooding and standing water. Poor drainage and the dry desert soil ensure that even moderate rainfall can result in street flooding, especially in underpasses. Visitors who are in El Paso during the rare times of rain should remember to never drive into a flooded street. In addition, since El Pasoans are not used to driving in the rain, accidents are more likely to occur.

Snow and ice While El Paso winters are generally mild, cold weather can occur. In general, winter is a dry season in El Paso; however, when snow and icy conditions exist, take extreme caution, as El Pasoans are not used to driving in these conditions.

Wind and dust El Paso's windy season is generally from January through April. During this time, high winds and blowing dust can make breathing difficult, especially for asthma sufferers. Blowing dust and sand can also reduce visibility on roads, especially in rural areas surrounding El Paso. Area highways may close during high winds.

Mosquitoes Along with rain comes mosquitoes. Yes, El Paso is a desert, but many residents own pools and water gardens. These can be a breeding ground for mosquitoes. The Rio Grande area also has mosquito problems. The West Nile Virus has been recorded in El Paso. The best advice is to remember to wear a good insect repellent if you will be outdoors in the evening. The area around Hueco Tanks can be very bad, mosquito-wise. Some local weather websites will tell visitors the projected mosquito danger.


911 will connect travelers with assistance.

Hospitals with 24 Hour Emergency Rooms Please remember that in the United States health care is private and going to an emergency room can be very expensive if the traveler does not have health insurance.

  • Providence Memorial Hospital 2001 N Oregon St, El Paso, TX (915) 577-6551

Sick Pet: 24 Hour Veterinary Care Veterinary Hospitals that run emergency rooms are also extremely expensive. This is the sort of place you might take your pet if they are seriously injured and cannot wait for medical care.

  • Animal Emergency Center 2101 Texas Ave, El Paso, TX (915) 545-1148 (relocated.... where is it now?)
  • Ciudad Juarez, the fifth largest city in Mexico, is just south across the river.
  • Presidio Chapel of San Elizario, in San Elizario, a few miles south on Hwy. 20, 915-851-1682. Built in 1877 to replace the original constructed in the 1770's.
  • Socorro Mission, 328 S. Nevarez Rd. (I-10 at Moon Rd. and FM 258, south of town), 915-859-7718. Mon-Fri 8AM to 4PM. Originally constructed in 1682 and subsequently destroyed by fire. The present structure was built in 1840, incorporating decorative beams salvaged from the original structure.
  • Ysleta Mission, 131 S. Zaragosa Rd. (near the US 800 junction, south of town), 915 859 9848. Constructed in 1744.
  • White Sands National Monument is northeast on US-54.
Routes through El Paso
TucsonLas Cruces  N noframe S  → Junction W EFort StocktonSan Antonio
This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

EL PASO, a city, port of entry, and the county-seat of El Paso county, Texas, U.S.A., on the E. bank of the ' Rio Grande, in the extreme W. part of the state, at an altitude of 3710 ft. Pop. (1880) 736; (1890) 10,338; (1900) 15,906, of whom 6309 were foreign-born and 466 were negroes; (1906, estimate) 19,248. Many of the inhabitants are of Mexican descent. El Paso is an important railway centre and is served by the following railways: the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe, of which it is the S. terminus; the El Paso & South-Western, which connects with the Chicago, Rock Island & El Paso (of the Rock Island system); the Galveston, Harrisburg & San Antonio, of which it is the W. terminus; the Mexican Central, of which it is the N. terminus; the Texas & Pacific, of which it is the W. terminus; a branch of the Southern Pacific, of which it is the E. terminus; and the short Rio Grande, Sierra Madre & Pacific, of which it is the N. terminus. The city is regularly laid out on level bottom lands, stretching to the tablelands and slopes to the N.E. and N.W. of the city. Opposite, on the W. bank of the river, is the Mexican town of Ciudad Juarez (until 1885 known as Paso del Norte), with which El Paso is connected by bridges and by electric railway. The climate is mild, warm and dry, El Paso being well known as a health resort, particularly for sufferers from pulmonary complaints. Among the city's public buildings are a handsome Federal building, a county court house, a city hall, a Y.M.C.A. building, a public library, a sanatorium for consumptives, and the Hotel Dieu, a hospital maintained by Roman Catholics. El Paso is the seat of St Joseph's Academy and of the El Paso Military Institute. Three miles E. of the city limits is Fort Bliss, a U.S. military post, with a reservation of about 2 sq. m. El Paso's situation on the Mexican frontier gives it a large trade with Mexico; it is the port of entry of the Paso del Norte customs district, one of the larger Mexican border districts, and in 1908 its imports were valued at $2,677,784 and its exports at $5,661,901. Wheat, boots and shoes, mining machinery, cement, lime, lumber, beer, and denatured alcohol are among the varied exports; the principal imports are ore, sugar, cigars, oranges, drawn work and Mexican curios. El Paso has extensive manufactories, especially railway car shops, which in 1905 employed 34.5% of the factory wage-earners. Just outside the city limits are important lead smelting works, to which are brought ores for treatment from western Texas, northern Mexico, New Mexico and Arizona. Among the city's manufactures are cement, denatured alcohol, ether, varnish, clothing and canned goods. The value of the city's total factory product in 1905 was $2,377,813, 96% greater than that in 1900. El Paso lies in a fertile agricultural valley, and in 1908 the erection of an immense dam was begun near Engle, New Mexico (loo m. above El Paso), by the U.S. government, to store the flood waters of the Rio Grande for irrigating this area. Before the Mexican War, following which the first United States settlement was made, the site of El Paso was known as Ponce de Leon Ranch, the land being owned by the Ponce de Leon family. El Paso was first chartered as a city in 1873, and in 1907 adopted the commission form of government.

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Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary


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Proper noun

El Paso


El Paso

  1. A city in Texas.



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