December 1, 2017

If you haven’t been to El Paso yet, you’re missing out on the most unique adventure the Southwest has to offer. Boasting the best of natural beauty, history and culture, El Paso leaves a lasting impression on visitors and residents alike. There’s never a rainy day here in Sun City, so any time is the perfect time to come by and visit. From hiking tours and music fests to art museums and Tex-Mex, there’s so much to experience all around town. With so many options, it can be hard to plan your trip – so, we have an action-packed itinerary already laid out just for you. Here’s your guide to spending your weekend getaway in the borderland.

Let’s set the scene: It’s Friday evening, and you just arrived in the city after a long day of traveling. You need somewhere to drop your bags and saddle up for your first night in El Paso. Where better to lodge than in the heart of downtown? Book your room for the weekend at Hotel Indigo, a beautiful boutique hotel juxtaposing mid-century architecture and contemporary interior design located right where all the Friday night action is.

Now that your accommodations are settled, dinner’s probably the next priority on your mind. Get all dolled up and decked out for El Paso’s downtown dining scene. Whet your appetite with a healthy dose of history at Anson11. This quaint dining hall, which dates back to 1832, offers a worldly menu featuring dishes inspired by all four corners of the earth. Voted as the most romantic restaurant in El Paso, Café Central is another excellent choice for fine dining downtown. Enjoy prime steaks, fresh seafood and signature plates at this perfectly charming eatery.

Follow up dinner with live entertainment courtesy of the Plaza Theatre. Constructed in the midst of the Great Depression, the luxurious Plaza Theatre models the glamour and glitz of Old Hollywood – and the picturesque Spanish-Colonial architecture makes the theatre a great photo op! To this day, patrons flock to the Plaza Theatre to see memorable performances year round. And you should definitely do the same during your stay.

So the show’s over, and the night is still young – time to explore the Union Plaza bar scene! The plaza is home to a number of bars and nightclubs, so you can let loose and dance the night away. But try not to stay out too late; you’ve got a full day ahead of you.

Start your Saturday off right with a visit to the Downtown Art and Farmers Market, located right in Union Plaza. Open from 9 am to 1 pm, the market is a shopping hub for locally-sourced fares and original works of art. Experience El Paso through the lenses of area artists and farmers for an authentic cultural and culinary encounter. With arts and crafts workshops, live entertainment and family-friendly activities happening weekly, you’re in for a good time whenever you come by.

After your midmorning stroll through the Art and Farmers Market you’re ready to get out and see the city shine. Kick off your afternoon with a wild adventure at the El Paso Zoo. Home to some of the most exotic animals on the planet, the El Paso Zoo affords you the unique opportunity to get up close and personal with species you’ve never seen before. Admission is minimal and the attractions are many, so the zoo is definitely a must-see while you’re in town.

Continue your natural encounter after the zoo with a trip to the Franklin Mountains State Park. Whether you want to hike, bike or just marvel at the mountains, you’re sure to have an awesome time. At the base of the mountains, you’ll find the El Paso Museum of Archaeology, which is home to prehistorical artifacts nearly 14,000 years of age! Finish your time at the mountains with a breathtaking sunset ride on the Wyler Aerial Tramway. This spectacular cable car trip spans 200 acres of rugged mountain terrain with dazzling rock formations and desert flora.

After your eventful day, unwind and dine at L & J Café, one of El Paso’s best restaurants for authentic Mexican border food. Affectionately known as ‘the old place by the graveyard’, this brazen café has been serving up palate-pleasing plates for nearly a century. The fun atmosphere is accentuated by an ever-present blend of regulars and wayfarers enjoying good home cooking, one-of-a-kind brews and an abundance of slot machines. Sounds like the perfect combination for Saturday night nirvana.

Sunday It’s the final day of your weekend excursion in El Paso, but the festivities are far from over. Awaken your taste buds with a flavorful breakfast at 150 Sunset, where they’ve worked out that perfect balance between good and good for you. Try the Breakfast Tacos featuring house made chorizo (a Spanish sausage you don’t want to miss out on) served with black beans, eggs and salsa. Once noon hits, make the natural transition from the garden to the vineyard – the Zin Valle Vineyards, to be specific. Presenting free live music most Sundays this year, the vineyards are the perfect place to spend your afternoon in Sun City. Raise a glass to rest and relaxation amid ripening grape vines and verdant scenery.

About the Author

Chantel Britton

Chantel Britton has a knack for writing and a passion for food, fun and people. She recently received her BA in English and Professional Communications from Armstrong State University, and when she’s not writing she’s serving in the US Army Reserves as a Human Resources Officer. She loves NPR and is interested in food justice, sustainability, travel and international affairs.

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