El Paso Museum of Art houses more than 7,000 works of art.
Photo courtesy Destination El Paso
El Paso by Design
The city's thriving visual and performing arts scene comprises everything from fashion to film to classical music. Much of the creative action centers in the Downtown Arts District, with a menagerie of museums and venues, as well as artist studios and galleries.
El Paso Museum of Art
The museum's wide-ranging, 7,000-piece permanent collection reflects the city's diverse interests and includes American, European, and Mexican art. Touring shows spotlight regional and national talents, particularly contemporary works from the Southwest. Check the museum's schedule for artist talks, films, and performances by El Paso Pro Musica, a chamber orchestra and choir group that performs its October–April season here and at the UTEP campus.
Built in 1930 and restored in 2006, this historic venue hosts classical film festivals, stand-up comedy, touring Broadway shows, and concerts. Also dating to the 1930s, El Paso Symphony is the oldest performing arts organization in town and the longest continuously running symphony orchestra in the Lone Star State. Area musicians present a dozen classical concerts annually.
elpasolive.com/venues/plaza_theatre, elpasolive.com/broadway, epso.org
El Paso Convention and Performing Arts Center
This hub for billboard-worthy acts hosts several summer art events. Its Abraham Chavez Theatre raises the curtain on Spotlight El Paso's season; the series includes classical music and dance performances.
6 Must-See Music & Art Events
Cool Canyon Nights
Escape the city heat in breathtaking McKelligon Canyon Amphitheatre on Thursday nights for free concerts, food trucks, and craft beer May through July. elpasolive.com/coolcanyonnights
Neon Desert Music Festival
This festival brings headlining acts to downtown on five stages for two days of live music in May.
Music Under the Stars
This family-friendly world music concert series held on Sundays from June through July draws local and international artists in salsa, bluegrass, and rock.
Plaza Classic Film Festival
The world's largest classic film festival unfolds at this historic theater Aug. 1–11, 2019, with film screenings and appearances by Hollywood stars.
Mercedes-Benz of El Paso Fashion Series
Wearable art hits the runway Nov. 14–18, 2019, with model competitions, designer showcases, and bridal shows.
Chalk the Block Arts Festival
More than 200 artists take over downtown Oct. 11–13, 2019, for a sidewalk chalk competition that has become one of El Paso's premier events and the largest three-day public arts festival in the Southwest.
El Paso's Boom Time
Everywhere you look in downtown El Paso, something new is taking shape: a Mexican-American cultural center, a minor-league soccer team, a streetcar system, artist lofts, or a high-rise office tower. Downtown's rebirth has been at least two decades in the making. Many date a sea change to the 2006 Plaza Theatre renovation; the 1930s movie house expanded its backstage to host large-scale productions like touring Broadway plays. The district's transformation continued with the 2016 reopening of San Jacinto Plaza. "It's dramatically different than five years ago," says Joe Gudenrath, executive director of El Paso Downtown Management District. "We're seeing a growing number of bars, restaurants, attractions, and venues. Now you can book a weekend in El Paso knowing there's going to be an event downtown." This revitalization will continue with the addition of a children's museum, set to break ground this year and open in late 2020.