Center Of The Action
Since 2011, the Downtown Arts District has celebrated hundreds of exhibitions, open-air concerts, and festivals. The heart of the city is home to El Paso Museum of Art, with a permanent collection featuring 6,000 pieces of American, contemporary, European, and Mexican art that shines with regional and national touring shows; performance venues, including El Paso Convention and Performing Arts Center, Abraham Chavez Theatre, and Arts Festival Plaza; and green spaces such as Cleveland Square Park. The district draws residents and visitors for events like Alfresco! Fridays, Chalk the Block, and the El Paso Downtown Street Festival. mcad.elpasotexas.gov/arts-district, elpasolive.com, downtownelpaso.com, elpasoartmuseum.org
Two of the city's greatest art installations bedeck the skyline. Along the César Chávez Border Highway, just over the border in Ciudad Juárez, you'll see La Equis, a 20-story tall "X" sculpture that reflects an Aztec creation myth. On the Franklin Mountains' southern slopes, the Star on the Mountain shines each night at dusk. A symbol of the city since 1940, the star sparkles with 459 lights in honor of the Lone Star State.
A 90-minute, self-guided Downtown Walking Tour begins at San Jacinto Plaza, where a sculpture by native son and acclaimed artist Luis Jiménez commemorates the live alligators once kept here, and then hopscotches to 25 stops. Highlights include the 1930 Plaza Theatre, a 2,400-seat hall that hosts touring Broadway shows, concerts by El Paso Symphony and El Paso Opera, and film screenings. Don't miss the Camino Real Hotel. Famed architect Henry C. Trost designed the 1912 gem, along with several others downtown. The hotel still features a 25-foot Tiffany stainedglass dome that now spans the Dome Bar. elpasolive.com/venues/plaza_theatre, visitelpaso.com/places/camino-real
San Elizario Historic Art District houses a handful of the city's most compelling galleries, 22 miles from downtown. Read "Day Trip: Mission Trail," for more.