Whether you are in Downtown El Paso during the day or evening, the city offers a wide range of entertainment for you to enjoy any day of the week. Downtown offers five hotels, a local farmers market and more than 70 bars and restaurants for your pleasure. There is some thing for everyone to enjoy when you visit El Paso.
Downtown El Paso is split into five districts, Union Plaza, Las Plazas Art District, Office District, Government District and El Centro, each offers a unique restaurant that will bring you back for more every time you visit. After your meal, take the time to explore the history of the city.
Within almost every building or area you explore, you will certainly be looking at a historic landmark. In the middle of Las Plazas is the art district and home to “The Showplace of the Southwest”, the Plaza Theatre. In 2006 the theatre was reopened to the public and also houses its original Mighty Wurlitzer Organ. The Plaza Theatre holds weekly tours and is open to the public on Tuesday.
Walking around the area you’ll find the newly restored Mills Building and Hilton’s first high-rise hotel. In 1963 the hotel was sold and changed its name to the Plaza Hotel. Also in the Las Plazas art district you can catch a Chihuahuas baseball game during their regular season and encounter one of the only digital walls in the world at the history museum. Visitors can interact with the wall, learn about El Paso history and send a digital post card.
For history buffs, you can take a self-guided walking tour starting at San Jacinto Plaza. The tour takes you on a stroll to historic architectural landmarks and sites; some are noted with historical markers. For the brave at heart, ghost tours are available weekly.
During the weekend, Union Plaza transforms into a local farmers market. The market offers original arts and crafts, food vending, regionally grown agricultural products, artisans, regional farmers and live entertainment from local artists.
With a variety of venues for entertainment, there is always something to when visiting El Paso. Whether your trip is short or long, exploring Downtown is the perfect way to learn about the history of West Texas.
Misión de Guadalupe
Established by Fray Garcia de San Francisco in 1659, this is the first, still-standing, mission in the area built by the order of the Franciscans who began to evangelize indigenous populations.
Dunas de Samalayuca
Sand dunes known for being a habitat for many unique endemic species of plants and animals living in a rare ecosystem of the Samalayuca Desert.
Visitors can try their luck at one of seven different high-end casinos throughout the city.
Museo de la Revolución en la Frontera (MUREF)
Housed in the Old Customs House, the museum features multi-media exhibits on the Mexican Revolution and Ciudad Juárez, including the railroad, and the roles of the politicians, writers and revolutionaries, such as Francisco Madero and Francisco “Pancho” Villa.
Museo de Arte e Historia del INBA de Ciudad Juárez
The Juárez Museum of Art, a unit of the National Institute of Fine Art, features Mexican art from different periods by both local and internationally renowned artists.
La Rodadora Interactive Museum
La Rodadora is one of the largest museums in Latin America, with over 120 interactive exhibits. It combines science, technology, art and culture in one place, making it a unique and different space. La Rodadora also has a 3D theater, a library, and a food court.
Kentucky Club and Grill
This legendary bar dates back to 1920 is said to be the birthplace of the Margarita. “Hollywood Royalty,” politicians, artists and sports superstars have all been served in this beautiful bar.
The colorful restaurant is the perfect place to eat authentic Mexican food and enjoy a live historical reenactment performance.
Maria Chuchena is a restaurant whose concept of haute cuisine combines the colors, aromas and flavors of traditional Mexican recipes with contemporary adaptations.
El Paso is a bold and diverse metropolitan with a rich, blended history that’s well worth getting to know. History buffs can discover the land’s legacy in Sun City museums, eateries and other attractions, but locals know the most authentic historic encounter is to be had in El Paso’s long-standing communities. Many area neighborhoods date back to the early 1800s and beyond, each offering a distinct perspective on the borderland experience. Though it’s not the city’s first settlement, El Segundo Barrio is a great starting place to discover borderland culture. Located in southernmost El Paso, El Segundo Barrio was settled by Mexican immigrants during the late nineteenth century. And over the decades, El Segundo Barrio has become a valued community not only for its tenure; El Segundo Barrio has a booming, homegrown art scene.
Muralists and street artists borne out of the El Segundo Barrio community have been adorning facades of neighborhood buildings with breathtaking works since the 1970s, creating a unique and captivating open-air museum that both guests and residents can, and do, admire. El Segundo Barrio is host to literally dozens of murals, with more creations decking outward walls every day. The murals collectively represent important themes within the Chicano culture – like family, heritage, resilience, faith, music and community.
The Segundo Barrio mural is an imperative during your walking tour. Completed in 1975 by Arturo Avalos, Gabriel Ortega, Pablo Schaffino and Pascual Ramírez – who were collectively known as Los Muralistas Del Barrio – the Segundo Barrio mural was created as a testament to community pride and Chicano heritage in a period when El Segundo Barrio faced the threat of growing urbanization in Downtown El Paso. A hallmark of the vibrant mural is the use of geometric Aztec design, recalling the culture of origin with which many area residents strongly identify. The Segundo Barrio mural is located at 513 Father Rahm Avenue on the west wall of an apartment complex.
Boys & Girls Club Mural
Werc Alvarez installed this mural on the wall of the Boys and Girls Club at 801 S. Florence in 2012 to depict the youth-led artistic rebirth taking place in the Segundo Barrio community. There’s a compelling verve in the mural that stirs the senses, and the phrase ‘in living color’ is the perfect fit to describe the feat. A rich and saturated spectrum of hues almost literally jumps off the wall at you, encouraging a return to joviality and creativity in the mural-gazers. If you’re feeling sluggish, the Boys and Girls Club mural will definitely jolt you with energy. Of course, there are plenty more mesmerizing murals to set your sights on in El Segundo Barrio; we didn’t want to give them all away here. So head south to El Paso’s second ward, and see the community through the deft paint strokes that don walls of El Segundo Barrio.
Art lovers, history fans and people who like visiting treasured neighborhoods should plan a walking tour through El Paso’s only alfresco art gallery soon. You’ll find a diverse collection of commissioned murals by celebrated artists in the community as well as street pieces, tucked away in corridors like hidden gems, by nameless painters. There’s a bold, beautiful painting around just about every corner in El Segundo Barrio, but here’s three must-see murals to get you started as you traverse the ward’s longstanding streets.
Sacred Heart Mural
Located nearby at 231 Father Rahm Ave, you’ll find the Sacred Heart mural, which was commissioned by the church of its namesake in 2007. Painters Francisco Delgado and Mauricio Olague aided by 50 talented students from Bowie High School combine central icons of the Catholic Faith with symbols and figures that are important to the Segundo Barrio community. The mural is a telling tapestry of immigration hardships, Mexican pride, the contributions of revered religious leaders and more. With so much symbolism, the mural is sure to pull a long, pensive gaze out of all passersby.
Take flight, El Paso! The El Paso Zoo Wildlife Amphitheater is a state-of-the-art facility that will be home a world-renowned free flight bird show, sure to amaze and inspire the El Paso community. Wings of the World shows will begin Saturday, December 17. Shows will take place at 12 p.m. and 2 p.m. on weekends and 2 p.m. on weekdays.
In addition, the theater will be a place for guests to engage and learn in a whole new way through animal encounters, educational programs, concerts, and much more!
The Wildlife Amphitheater will also be home to the Wings of the World bird show, sponsored by Paul and Alejandra Foster. Wings of the World is a world-renowned free flight bird show and will be a one-of-a-kind opportunity for Zoo guests to experience the majesty of animals as they swoop, soar, and dive through the air. The show will be led by Joe Krathwohl – known as The Birdman® – who has dedicated himself to the care and preservation of birds and has developed the largest free flight bird show in the world (and the only show featuring trained condors and cassowary!).
The Wildlife Amphitheater is one of the many exciting Quality of Life Bond projects that has now been completed. As part of the 2012 Quality of Life Bond program, The El Paso Zoo was approved for $50 million to complete a 10-year master plan that will allow the Zoo to continue to be an engaging place of discovery, a respected center for informal environmental education, a contributor to stewardship-based conservation action – and a destination for great fun!
Get your jingle bells ready and “jungle” all the way … to see SANTA at the ZOO, presented by Neighbors Emergency Center! Santa will be at the Zoo on December 10 and 11, checking on his El Paso toy workshop and ringing in the holiday season with all your favorite Zoo animals! While you’re here, play in the fluffy snow and write your holiday wish list – we’ll mail it directly to the North Pole!
With the year coming to a close, we have our own, short wish list: it is our wish that you had a wonderful year of memories with us here at the El Paso Zoo! Watching Khaleesi turn 1-year old on her Earth Day Birthday, opening the scaly, not scary, new Texas tortoise-shaped Reptile House, introducing you to Pipkin, Acorn, and Big Wig, the new Red River Hogs – sharing and making memories with you is our favorite, during the holidays and every day!
In the spirit of this season of thankfulness and celebration, we want to take a moment to thank you for your continual support of our community Zoo and the El Paso Zoological Society! Because of your support, and the collaboration with the El Paso Zoological Society, we are able to develop meaningful programs and engaging exhibits that promote conservation and cultivate an appreciation for wildlife and healthy ecosystems. Together, we are engaging and inspiring children and families to make a positive impact on the natural world around them.
We have so many new exciting projects and animals coming your way in 2017 and we couldn’t do it without your support! From a thrilling new flighted bird show and state-of-the-art wildlife theater, to new animals, expanded field conservation efforts, and exciting community events, there are so many ways for you to discover – or rediscover – everything that makes the Zoo El Paso’s Most-Visited Family Attraction during the coming year!
Where else in the borderland can a child see, hear, and feel what it’s like to be on the plains of Africa, connecting to wildlife by feeding a giraffe? Where else can a child experience the wonder of being an endangered Sumatran orangutan first-hand? And, this December – where else can a child frolic in the snow before running through the rainforest?
We invite you to join us this holiday season, for an unforgettable celebration with Santa and your WILDEST friends. Santa at the Zoo will feature carolers, special “presents” and holiday enrichment treats for the animals to enjoy, and much more!
For more information, visit www.elpasozoo.org.