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7 Captivating Museums in El Paso, TX the Entire Family Can Enjoy
7 Captivating Museums in El Paso, TX the Entire Family Can Enjoy

In this age of constant information—photos and videos shooting by in your pocket faster than you can keep up—it’s easy to feel like you’ve seen it all. Maybe the world has even lost a little bit of its mystery, which has long been one of its greatest charms. Thankfully, there remains a place we can go to have our minds opened, our knowledge deepened, and our imaginations stoked: the museum. In El Paso, we have several distinct museums with exhibits you can’t find anywhere else. From Byzantine-era art to the Chihuahuan Desert to kid-centric fun, El Paso’s museums are a diverse selection of both local and worldwide history. Read on for just a handful of the best museums in El Paso.

El Paso Museum of Art

7 Captivating Museums in El Paso, TX the Entire Family Can Enjoy

Over 7,000 works are on display at the El Paso Museum of Art, reaching all the way from the Byzantine era to the present day. Among the most notable collections at the museum is the Kress Collection, which includes paintings from the late Rococo era as well as some impressive marble sculptures. You’ll also be able to see an original portrait of George Washington by Gilbert Stuart, one of the few painters Washington posed for.

In addition to the permanent exhibits, the El Paso Museum of Art has a new temporary exhibit or event every single month. Plus, there’s an onsite art school offering classes for all ages and skill levels. Classes include embroidery, printmaking, and ceramics, just to name a few.

El Paso Museum of History

7 Captivating Museums in El Paso, TX the Entire Family Can Enjoy

Having served as home to several different cultures throughout its history, El Paso has quite a backstory. And there’s no better place to get all the juicy details than the fully bilingual El Paso Museum of History.

Within its 44,000 square feet, you’ll find such exhibits as Changing Pass: People, Land & Memory. This display chronicles more than 1,000 years of El Paso’s regional history, all the way from early Indigenous settlers to World War II. As you explore, keep on the lookout for the Giron Chest, a beautiful wooden trunk from Spain that dates to the 18th century.

El Paso Museum of Archaeology & Wilderness Park

7 Captivating Museums in El Paso, TX the Entire Family Can Enjoy

Maybe you’re torn between the charms of a museum and the natural beauty of the great outdoors. Great news: The El Paso Museum of Archaeology & Wilderness Park is best of both worlds, offering 15 acres of outdoor exhibits, gardens, and trails detailing 14,000 years of El Paso prehistory.

Throughout the museum’s vast expanse, you’ll learn about the local Native American culture from the Ice Age to the present day. Among the museum’s most fascinating items are prehistoric pottery, basketry, and footwear.

On the trails, you’ll want to look for the Cholla Cactus, a local breed that’s as colorful as it is prickly. You may even see the elusive and adorable Desert Cottontail. This little guy can hit speeds of up to 20 miles per hour, so keep that picture-taking finger at the ready.

Centennial Museum and Chihuahuan Desert Gardens

7 Captivating Museums in El Paso, TX the Entire Family Can Enjoy

Much like the Museum of Archaeology, the Centennial Museum and Chihuahuan Desert Gardens—the oldest museum in El Paso—provides visitors a distinctive outdoor experience. Stroll through the botanical garden to get a vertical slice of the flora in the Chihuahuan Desert and surrounding areas. If you attend the annual Florafest, you can even bring your favorite plants home!

Located at the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP), the Centennial houses both a permanent collection and an ever-rotating selection of temporary exhibits. All year-round, you’ll be able to view a wide variety of Indigenous Chihuahuan art and tools, as well as the storied history of the El Paso Fire Department (which even includes a firefighting tournament).

Oh, and we can’t forget about the Lhakhang, something you might not expect to find in East Texas. The Lhakhang is a Bhutanese meditation temple given to UTEP by none other than a Bhutanese prince. The architecture of the building is extraordinary and the eye-popping interior has to be seen to be believed.

El Paso Holocaust Museum & Study Center

7 Captivating Museums in El Paso, TX the Entire Family Can Enjoy

At the El Paso Holocaust Museum & Study Center, you’ll find in-depth exhibits on the rise of the Third Reich, the ghettos and concentration camps that held millions, resistance efforts, and the eventual liberation of the camps at the end of World War II.

Exhibitions tell their stories through prose, artwork, and environmental recreations. In order to maximize the museum’s message to all corners of the El Paso region, it’s proud to be one of the only fully bilingual holocaust museums in the country. Admission is free but donations can be made online.

La Nube

7 Captivating Museums in El Paso, TX the Entire Family Can Enjoy

The newest addition to El Paso’s museum lineup will be the children’s museum, La Nube. Currently set to open in August of 2024, La Nube describes itself as a “cutting-edge STEAM discovery center where guests of all ages can explore, play, create, and push the boundaries of innovation.”

Within its more than 70,000 square feet and four stories, La Nube features nine themed zones that each explore a different aspect of science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics. All ages are accommodated, so you can be sure that no member of the family will feel left out.

Mexican American Cultural Center

7 Captivating Museums in El Paso, TX the Entire Family Can Enjoy

Another El Paso museum set to open in the summer of 2024 is the Mexican American Cultural Center, which will be located at the El Paso Main Library. As the name suggests, the museum will provide visitors with a comprehensive look at Mexican American culture via exhibition spaces, an auditorium, broadcast studios, culinary programs, and much more.

The Best Museums in El Paso for the Whole Family

Only museums can offer an educational experience that’s fully immersive. As great as an article or book is, there’s something different about being inches away from an 800-year-old artifact or close enough to a painting to see the brushstrokes. It reminds you that history isn’t just a paragraph in a textbook, but something real and always with us.

Whether you’re interested in the history of the Chihuahuan Desert region, Mexican American culture, World War II and the Holocaust, or you want to get the kids interested in the wonders of sciences, El Paso has a museum for you. Start planning your trip today by booking a room at one of our many hotels.

Centennial Museum and Chihuahuan Desert Gardens
UTEP Campus
500 University at Wiggins and University
El Paso, TX 79902
(915) 747-5565

Created in 1936, the Centennial was the first museum in El Paso and one of the earliest buildings at the College of Mines, now UTEP. Permanent exhibits focus on the Chihuahuan Desert region, the largest desert in North America. Temporary exhibits are generally related to border life and culture, or more broadly to the Americas. The extensive Gardens display native plants in a variety of settings.

Hours of Operation

Mon: 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM Tue: 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM Wed: 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM Thu: 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM Fri: 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM Sat: 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM

The Chihuahuan Desert Gardens are open daily from dawn to dusk.

El Paso Holocaust Museum & Study Center
Photography by El Paso Holocaust Museum & Study Center
715 N. Oregon
El Paso, TX 79901
(915) 351-0048

The El Paso Holocaust Museum & Study Center was established to educate the public about the Nazi Holocaust, and to honor those who perished and those who survived. The museum houses exhibits that trace the rise of the Third Reich, the mass deportations of millions of German and European citizens to ghettos and concentration camps, their valiant resistance efforts, and the liberation of the camps by Allied Forces in the closing days of World War II. Admission is free.

Hours of Operation

Sun: Closed Mon: Closed Tue: 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM Wed: 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM Thu: 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM Fri: 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM Sat: 1:00 PM - 5:00 PM

El Paso Museum of Archaeology & Wilderness Park
4301 Transmountain Rd.
El Paso, TX 79924
(915) 212-3271

The museum’s grounds include 15 acres of nature trails, outdoor exhibits and desert garden with various native Chihuahuan desert plants. The trails leading from the Museum are well marked and maintained, with some leading into the canyons of the East Franklin Mountains. For bird enthusiasts you may see doves, gambols and scaled quail, verdin, canyon wren, various sparrows, horned larks, turkey vultures and perhaps golden eagles.

Hours of Operation Sun: Closed Mon: Closed Tue: Closed Wed: 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM Thu: 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM Fri: 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM Sat: 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM

El Paso Museum of Art
Photography by El Paso Museum of Art
1 Arts Festival Plaza
El Paso, TX 79901
(915) 212-0300

The El Paso Museum of Art (EPMA) houses a permanent collection of over 7,000 works of art from the Byzantine era to the present. Among the collection’s strengths in American, Mexican, and European art are Renaissance and Baroque masterpieces from the likes of Botticelli, Canaletto, and Van Dyck, as well as 20th century works by notable natives like Tom Lea. In addition, the museum hosts a robust schedule of temporary exhibitions. The museum school also offers diverse classes, hands-on workshops, and popular camps for adults and children alike.

Hours of Operation

Sun: 11:00 AM - 3:00 PM Mon: Closed Tue: Closed Wed: 10:00 AM - 6:00 PM Thu: 10:00 AM - 6:00 PM Fri: 10:00 AM - 6:00 PM Sat: 10:00 AM - 6:00 PM

El Paso Museum of History
Photography by El Paso Museum of History
510 N. Santa Fe Street
El Paso, TX 79901
(915) 212-0320

The El Paso Museum of History (EPMH) offers visitors a bilingual, multi-cultural experience through exhibitions that focus on the history of El Paso del Norte (The Pass of the North). The permanent and rotating exhibitions in the museum’s six galleries feature history beginning from pre-Spanish contact to present. Through exhibitions and educational programming, EPMH involves diverse audiences in exploring the varieties of human experience and encourages individuals to explore the past by reflecting on their own place in history.

Hours of Operation

Sun: 11:00 AM - 3:00 PM Mon: Closed Tue: Closed Wed: 10:00 AM - 6:00 PM Thu: 10:00 AM - 6:00 PM Fri: 10:00 AM - 6:00 PM Sat: 10:00 AM - 6:00 PM

La Nube
Photography by La Nube Children's Museum and Science Center
201 W Main Dr
El Paso, TX 79901
+1 915-259-8199

The Shape of Imagination

Coming Soon! El Paso’s new children’s museum (for now, called The Children’s Museum) is being designed and built for kids of all ages. Let your imagination run wild and experience epic learning adventures across four floors of fantastic exhibits, all linked by an impressive 50-foot tall climber. The best part? There’s no right or wrong way to explore La Nube. Dive into nine themed learning zones where you can explore, build, test, problem-solve, and play. With a mix of permanent exhibits and ever-changing activities, each visit is an exciting, new experience.