El Paso is the westernmost city in the state of Texas. This city lies right on the border of the United States and Mexico. It is adjacent to Ciudad Juarez, Mexico to the south and the state of New Mexico to the northwest.
El Paso offers a rich history influenced heavily by Mexican and American settlements and has a lot of unique places to visit and explore.
In this article, you will learn a bit about the history of the city as well as some weird laws it has. You will also find out where some of the best historic places, unique experiences, and tourist attractions are in El Paso.
What Is the History of El Paso?
El Paso was named after the mountain pass that held economic significance to the Spanish friars that settled it after coming to the New World.
Originally a part of New Mexico, El Paso eventually fell within the borders of the state of Texas after the breaking of Texas from Mexico and its annexation as a state by the United States.
El Paso has always been a center of economic importance from the time of the railroads through the World Wars and even into today, especially as Ciudad Juarez has grown in manufacturing.
What Are Some Weird Laws in El Paso?
El Paso, Texas is not exempt from having a few weird laws on the books. The ones still valid in this city seem a bit out of date although we are sort of glad some of them are still in place. For example, it is illegal to pee in public streets. We’re definitely glad that’s still a law.
Another interesting law that may not be quite applicable today is the requirement for businesses such as banks, churches, saloons, and stores to have an appropriate number of spittoons in order to accommodate all of their expectorating customers.
Additionally, anyone dressed in a lewd manner who appears in a public place can be arrested.
Are There Any Historic Places to Visit in El Paso?
El Paso is rich with historical places and a great one to start with is the Concordia Cemetery. Buried in its grounds are some of America’s most famous gunslingers including John Wesley Hardin. This cemetery will make it clear why El Paso is referred to as the Gunfight Capital of America.
The Historic Mission Trail is another amazing historic site to visit. This nine mile trail features three adobe mission churches dating back to the 17th and 18th centuries. The Ysleta Mission, San Elizario Chapel, and Socorro Mission are all perfectly preserved and boast the title of Texas’ oldest churches.
Take a trip back to the late 19th century by visiting the Magoffin Home State Historic Site which features an adobe homestead preserved by the Texas Historical Commission to give visitors a taste of the life of one of El Paso’s prominent families.
What Are Some Unique Experiences to Try in El Paso?
If you’re looking for a unique adventure and an experience to get your adrenaline pumping, El Paso has a few great options. Check out the climbing tours by Adrenaline and Extreme Tours. Rock climbing in El Paso is epic so don’t miss out on this one!
Maybe you’d rather take to the skies. El Paso has a massive indoor skydiving park equipped with a vertical wind tunnel that will make your free-fall experience one that you will never forget.
Perhaps, you’re more a puzzle person who enjoys a challenge. There are plenty of citywide Scavenger Hunt experiences in El Paso that will help you learn about the city and challenge your friends to a game of who can find all of the clues first.
What Are Some of the Best Places for Nature Lovers in El Paso?
Hueco Tanks State Park definitely makes the top of the list for one of the best tourist attractions in El Paso. This natural landscape is at the edge of the Chihuahuan desert and features giant rock formations with pictographs dating back at least eight thousand years.
These rock tanks have been a source of freshwater for millenia and support not only human settlement but some amazing wildlife such as eagles, foxes, bobcats, and reptiles.
Franklin Mountains State Park is another great attraction for any nature lover. It features over a hundred miles worth of biking, hiking, and rock climbing trails and awesome camping sites.
With geocaching locations, tons of wildlife, and 12,000 year old Native American rock carvings, you will not be at a loss for things to do here.
For the flower lover, the El Paso Municipal Rose Garden is absolute heaven. With almost 1500 bushes and over 300 different rose varieties, this garden is a natural haven for anyone who appreciates greenery. The park is so tranquil with a koi pond in the center, you’ll never want to leave.
What Are Some Other Tourist Attractions El Paso Has?
The El Paso farmer’s market and art show downtown always draws a crowd and there are so many unique finds from cultural food to local artisan crafts. Explore the rich culture of El Paso by sampling the wares of its people.
The Casa de Azucar, translated to Sugar House, is a piece of art twenty-five years in the making. Rufina Loya’s stunning sculpture chiseled out of cement has become a beautiful piece of art that people flock to El Paso to see for themselves.
The El Paso Zoo is always great entertainment for the whole family. With 35 acres of land featuring different habitats for the zoo’s inhabitants, there are so many exciting animals to see. Sea lions, tortoises, monkeys, and more are featured here.
The El Paso Holocaust Museum is a beautiful tribute to the victims of World War II’s horrific genocide. The exhibits and artifacts are a stark reminder of the cost of tyranny and this touching museum is well worth a visit when you’re in El Paso.