El Paso, TX
Welcome to the Sun City
When I pulled up a barstool at L&J Café for lunch, I fully intended to read a book or scroll social media. But the El Pasoans at the seats around me drew me into conversation about the weather and our favorite menu items at the family-run Mexican eatery. Warm conversation is typical in this town, where people wave each other through four-way stops and hold the door for each other in shows of timeless courtesy.
Throughout my journeys as a travel writer, I have rarely encountered a friendlier, safer community than El Paso. And this city is on the rise. In every corner, you find new coffee shops, restaurants, and galleries.
This edition of GuestLife El Paso & Southern New Mexico offers plenty of ways to get to know the Sun City and beyond — from tips on the best ways to Instagram its iconic sights to five essential art experiences.
There's always something popping up to delight and surprise — like the Bach's Lunch concerts the El Paso Chamber Music Festival presents each January at the El Paso Museum of Art. We share more about the festival and its guiding organization.
Another favorite is strolling through downtown, where spotting new murals is one of my top pastimes. We also explore El Paso's relationship with its sister city, Ciudad Juárez, through regional spirit sotol and a walking tour just over the border.
Our feature stories revel in El Paso's outdoors and show you how to get into the action on foot, bike, and horseback . We also examine the best way to road trip through Southern New Mexico, exploring everything from a UNESCO World Heritage site to one of the country's newest national parks.
I hope you enjoy your visit, whether you're discovering El Paso for the first time or experiencing it anew.
Ask A Local
Elia Esparza, Musician
The 27-year-old El Paso singer dazzled on NBC's The Voice as a member of Adam Levine's team during the 11th season. She most recently released the single "We Could Be."
What's your perfect Sunday morning?
"I'd start off with a hike at the Lost Dog Trail by Transmountain, then go for brunch at Grove or an açaí bowl from Tippi Teas. Afterwards, I'd go walking through the Upper Valley Farmers Market. The farmers market is one of my favorites because it feels like a home community, and I love supporting local."
Andrew Fox, Defender, El Paso Locomotive FC
El Paso Locomotive made its United Soccer League debut in 2019, and the Huntingdon, United Kingdom-born footballer helped the team advance to the Western Conference playoffs in its inaugural season.
What's your perfect day off the field?
"Ideally, play golf in the morning with a few of the guys, then go for a coffee at Hillside Coffee and Donut. In El Paso, you can spend nearly every day outside because of the lovely weather."
Eric Pearson, President/CEO, El Paso Community Foundation
As CEO of El Paso Community Foundation, Pearson oversees the restoration of the Plaza Theatre and the Plaza Classic Film Festival, which attracts more than 50,000 people to the city each year. In the coming year, the foundation plans to construct a children's museum.
What are your favorite experiences?
"My wife and I hike the trails through Arroyo Park, [and] we walk Scenic Drive on Sundays to look out on the vastness of our diverse region. We love to go to Juárez and eat dinner at Ardeo or Los Arcos or Martinos on the strip, followed by a margarita at the Kentucky Club. We enjoy Viva! El Paso in McKelligon Canyon Amphitheatre, and we really enjoy Franklin Mountains State Park and all it has to offer — Aztec Caves, Mundy Gap, Cottonwood Springs. After that long day, we often enjoy great Mexican food or continental fare at Ardovino's Desert Crossing, which is in Sunland Park, New Mexico. In a day, you can be in two countries and three states."