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EP17 - Find Your Next Adventure in Sun City

El Paso - Annual 2017

EP17 - Find Your Next Adventure in Sun City
Franklin Mountains
Photo by Laurence Parent

Epic mountain hikes and bike rides, fascinating art and architecture, Tex-Mex eats, and family fun await you in El Paso, the sixth-largest city in Texas. Though the city is a thriving metropolitan area, it maintains its small-town charm and has been noted as one of the safest large cities in the United States several years running by research firm CQ Press.

Spanish explorers first arrived in the area in 1581, establishing the future location of El Paso and Ciudad Juárez as El Paso del Norte (the Pass of the North). El Paso became part of the United States after the Mexican-American War's conclusion in 1848, when the international boundary was set as the flowing Rio Grande. The city remains at an intersection, situated on the western edge of Texas, with New Mexico to the north and Mexico to the south, and maintains close connection to Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, Mexico, just over the river.

Once a rural outpost of some 200 residents in the 1870s, today the city thrives with some 700,000 residents working in international trade, healthcare, retail, military, education, and the maquiladora (assembly plant) industry, to name a few. The city is proudly home to Fort Bliss, the second-largest military installation in the U.S. El Paso is a desirable place to call home, ranking well in affordability and overall well-being — qualities that translate to a top-notch visitor experience.

Downtown El Paso is undergoing a renaissance, with more than $1 billion of investments injecting fresh life into attractions, like the in-progress children's museum, and hotels. El Pasoans love a party — many evenings, downtown overflows with concerts, dance, and theater in the open air or in one of its premier performance venues, such as the historic Plaza Theatre.

With 300 days of sunshine a year, El Paso easily earned the moniker "Sun City." Its summer-like weather beckons visitors and locals outside, from hiking Franklin Mountains State Park to bouldering at Hueco Tanks State Park and Historic Site. Don't forget to cheer on the UTEP Miners at the Sun Bowl or root for the home team, the minor league Chihuahuas, at Southwest University Park.

Whether you're a history buff, a culture vulture, or a curious traveler, your adventure starts here.

Like The Locals Do

Check these five must-do items off your El Paso bucket list.

Southwest University Park El Paso TX
Photo by Sean Mathis

1) Attend a Chihuahuas Baseball Game
The San Diego Padres Triple-A affiliate is up to bat at Southwest University Park from April to September. If the game doesn't capture your kids' attention, Chico's Playground, with its splash pad, inflatables, and play set, surely will. When you're not rooting for the home team, you may find yourself in this downtown stadium for concerts, 5Ks, a yoga festival, or any number of other events that take place here throughout the year.
milb.com/index.jsp?sid=t4904, southwestuniversitypark.com

Union Plaza El Paso TX
Photo by Heidi Phillips

2) Stroll Union Plaza
This district near the 1906 El Paso Union Depot is feeling a second wind as a nightlife hot spot. Renovated industrial buildings-turned-restaurants, -bars, and -clubs line a two-block pedestrian mall. Saturdays, the Downtown Artist and Farmers Market enlivens Anthony Street with local art and food.
downtownelpaso.com/ union-plaza

Wyler Aerial Tramway El Paso TX
Photo by Sean Mathis

3) Ride the Wyler Aerial Tramway
At Franklin Mountains State Park, Swiss-made gondolas ascend to 5,632-foot Ranger Peak, soaring above a vast canyon. The four-minute ride offers views of rock formations and wildlife, but the true rewards are the observation deck views encompassing 7,000 miles of New Mexico, Texas, and Mexico.

Scenic Drive El Paso TX
Photo by Sean Mathis

4) Travel Scenic Drive
This sinuous path on the north side of town affords panoramic views over a more than 2 million–resident metropolitan area comprising El Paso and Ciudad Juárez. Nighttime views dazzle with even more city lights. (To drive this route from downtown, take Stanton Road north and turn right on Rim Road.)

Sun Bowl El Paso TX
Photo by Sean Mathis

5) Take a Seat at the Sun Bowl
College football fans flock to this gridiron for University of Texas at El Paso Miners games each fall, as well as December's Sun Bowl when teams from the ACC and Pac-12 face off. El Paso has hosted the game since 1935, making it one of the longest-running collegiate bowl games in the United States.

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