Top Things to do in El Paso
Top things to do in El Paso
By: Tanya Torres
Over the years, residents and visitors of El Paso have watched the city continue to change before their eyes. It has gained new establishments and events and has lost some along the way while breaking a lot of hearts. However, as the city continues to grow as the popularity increases so do the many activities that come with it.
Instead of having to search for “what to do in El Paso”, we have created a list of all the places you need to see to ensure you become well-acquainted with the Sun City’s new and old gems.
Not only do we have some fun locations to have an inexpensive, exercise filled activity, but you will have fun from start to finish at these locations no matter if you choose biking, hiking, camping, running or climbing.
If you’re a fan of the outdoors then feel free to head over to the Franklin Mountains State Park, located in the northern edge of the city. The park is known for its beautiful views and for being the largest urban state park. While you are there, you can enjoy the 125 miles of trails and have a picnic before heading out to your adventure.
At the Franklins, you are able to stay at the Tom Mays campsite which consists of 14 tent sites and you can even park at any of the five RV sites. However, you must bring supplies (water, food, cleaning supplies) for your stay.
Not only does the Franklin Mountains offer such an amazing experience for those who visit it, but it also has the McKelligon Canyon on the south eastern side of it. The canyon offers a fresh escape from the hot desert sun and has some of the best trails near it like the Ron Coleman Trail for hiking. At the Mckelligon Canyon, they have tables under canopies to have a picnic at close by to an area to park at for one or two vehicles. It also allows you to see people hiking up the trail, animals roaming the outskirts of it and a great place to enjoy nature while eating something delicious without being beat down by the harsh elements in the summer.
McKelligon Canyon Amphitheater
McKelligon also has Cool Canyon Nights every thursday for a free concert at the amphitheater. The concerts begin at 6 pm with live performances on the patio stage followed by the main act. Although the concerts are free to attend, you must get there early to ensure you get a spot since space is limited. However, VIP tickets are also available at $10 per concert and allows access to the VIP lounge on the patio level. The VIP tickets also offer snacks from 6 until 7:30 pm, a private cash bar to avoid long lines along with their guaranteed seat.
Hueco Tanks State Park & Historic Site
Another exciting place to visit for climbing, hiking, stargazing and just appreciating nature and the pictographs left behind by people from the past is Hueco Tanks. People from all over the world visit Hueco Tanks for the world-class rock climbing and bouldering experience that it offers. Hueco also offers guided tours or a self-guided visit, camping at any of the 20 campsites, hiking, bird watching and various events related to the area for visitors to attend. Although there are plenty of restrictions that might overwhelm those who go out to the park, it’s what keeps Hueco preserved and a go to place
If you’re interested in observing the city from a high place without having to leave your car or having to work up a sweat then Scenic Drive is the ideal place for you. You can enjoy the scenery at Scenic Drive at any time of the day no matter the type of weather. Scenic is notorious for being the go-to-place for people cruising the city and who love taking the winding up road toward one of the most beautiful and unique spots in the city. It is one of the few locations that allows the visitor to look at two countries due to it being a border city.
The summertime is always the time of year practically everyone looks forward to especially those who don’t have to work or attend school. It brings a lot of freedom and time to go out and have fun.
Although summer brings the hottest temperatures to the Sun City that limits the time at the park, there are plenty of places to stay cool from Wet n’ Wild (located just outside the city limits), Western Playland,14 aquatic centers (10 are indoor and open year round) and plenty or parks and spray parks to choose from.
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Movies at the Parks
Not only do the parks offer a place for children to have fun for free in the playground and splash parks but some of the parks have movies playing at night for everyone to enjoy. The parks also offer concession stands and encourage visitors to bring blankets to get comfortable. The free movies are offered at the Horizon City park, El Paso and Socorro parks.
The city also offers free music along with the movies being shown at certain parks. Not only do parks offer this awesome activity but so does the Fountains at Farah. At the Fountains, the local and regional bands play at the amphitheater located in front of Chuy’s and Kona Grill. Another location that offers great music to enjoy is at Alfesco! Fridays which will be going on until August 23 at the Convention Center Plaza.
The Music Under the Stars event is typically held from 7:30 until 9:30 pm that welcomes all visitors to relax, dance and listen to the live music being performed. This event is the most popular one that has had families going to it for years. Be sure to keep an eye out for it next summer.
El Paso Zoo
If you haven’t been to the El Paso Zoo in years or haven’t gone at all then you’re in for a nice surprise. Awaiting the zoo’s guests is a newly designed look that continues to be upgraded to ensure the zoo’s mission is accomplished. The overall mission is to guarantee that the visitors will connect to nature once again while celebrating “the value of animals and natural resources.”
The zoo offers the African Star Train, Foster Tree-House Playground, Giraffe Encounters, the Hunt Family endangered Species Carousel and Desert Spring and the Wildlife Amphitheater. Not only does the zoo offer all these great activities, but they offer events like Zoofari Nites, Bugfest, Boo at the Zoo, Santa at the Zoo and more.
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From free-range eggs to organic pastries with friendly ingredients to CBD products and more, El Paso’s farmers markets have it all and continues to grow as the city increases in size and popularity. In the farmers markets, people are able to support local businesses whether they are well-known or just starting out in the business.
There are currently eight farmers markets in El Paso to pick up some delectable food to munch on and unique clothing, art and so on.
You will have plenty not only on the weekends but all year round!
Farmers Market at Ardovino’s Desert Crossing
The market at Ardovino’s is open all year round and has been open for more than 18 years. During the summer hours (May-Sep), the market is open at 7:30 am until 12 pm while in the winter (October-April), it is open at 9 am and closes at 1 pm.
El Paso Downtown Art and Farmers Market
The El Paso downtown market opens at 10 am until 2 pm all year round and offers special events and quarterly markets. It has been around since 2011 and has plenty of activities for everyone to enjoy from learning how to cook to free health screenings conducted by the UTEP Society of Hispanic Nurses and UTEP Nursing Student Association.
Upper Valley Artist & Farmers Market
It’s been almost two years since the upper valley market began at the Substation and continues to grow. The market also partnered with Desert Spoon Food Hub that allows people to subscribe to their farm boxes which are filled with organic fruit and vegetables. The market is also open on Sundays from 10 am until 2 pm in front of Hobby Lobby on Mesa.
The Kern Place Sunday Morning Art & Farmers Market
The farmer’s market at Kern Place is held from March until November of every last Sunday of the month. Despite being around for a short amount of time with a limited amount of parking, the market still brought in a huge crowd of potential customers while welcoming leashed pets. The market was held from 8:30 am until 1 pm, rain or shine and encouraged shoppers to use reusable bags. The Kern market is not currently happening this year but stay tuned for updates on their Facebook page.
915 Pop up Art and Farmers Market
The 915 Pop Up Market is one of the newest markets in El Paso. It began back in January and is a rolling pop up, meaning the market goes where the people are. The market focuses on staying small to ensure all vendors get more traffic and exposure. The pop up holds markets every Saturday, some Sundays and has night markets every so often at Whole Foods, the Outlet Shoppes and Cielo Vista Mall. The market will also be held at the Fountains of Farah in August, it will be the first market to happen at the Fountains and it will also be holding the El Paso Hemp CBD Wellness Fair and the Christmas in July market.
Horizon City Market
Although Horizon City isn’t El Paso, it still is part of the city and has a lot to offer especially with the Horizon City Market that began in March.The market is the first of its kind in Horizon and has vendors from the surrounding area (Clint, El Paso, Horizon and Fabens) selling their produce, art, different types of food and more. The market is open from 9 am until 1 pm every saturday.
El Paso Punk Rock Flea Market
When rock music and farmers markets are combined, you get the El Paso Punk Rock Flea Market. The market offers more than just rock music and local produce, it offers unique items such as art, rockabilly themed decor, accessories and rockabilly clothing, natural beauty products, henna, handmade foods and more. The flea market is on every first and third Saturday of the month from 5 pm to 11 pm and offers events in between then. All ages are welcome and it is pet friendly. If you’re looking for the typical market then steer away from this one, but if you want to have an exciting experience then head over to the El Paso Punk Rock Flea Market.
The Homegrown Market
Another first of its kind is the Homegrown Market where people can avoid El Paso’s harsh weather and relax in the air conditioned indoor market at Sunland Park Mall. This monthly market opens from 12 pm until 4 pm.
Sun City Motorplex
If you’re the type of person who loves loud noises, fast, shiny cars then the Sun Motorplex is perfect for you. All car enthusiasts are welcome to join in on the fun at the motorplex and can show off their racing skills and vehicles to all their friends, strangers and family. The venue is family friendly and opens on Fridays and Saturdays at 6 pm.The races start at 8 pm and go on until 12 am
There are plenty of sporting events to watch from high school and below, college sports (UTEP and EPCC) and the minor league baseball team, El Paso Chihuahuas. The athletic games for UTEP and EPCC do not start until the school year begins so be sure to keep an eye out for them so you can go support the athletes in El Paso.
El Paso Chihuahua
The Chihuahuas season is currently in session and offers not only interesting games to watch for the whole family and baseball enthusiasts but for their pets too. The team is also committed to helping the El Paso community on and off the field by visiting schools, hospitals and offering baseball clinics and helping with reading and mentor programs. Gates open at 6 pm.
Although golfing is available throughout the city with 13 locations open for golf enthusiasts, El Paso has recently added their 13th golfing establishment that brings a new spin on the game for golfers at Topgolf. Instead of spending hours playing the game, people can cut the game shorter and spend more time on the food, drinks and having fun with those around them.
There’s a lot of places to choose from when it comes to places to eat in El Paso from Mexican food, Tex-mex, American, Chinese, Vietnamese to Italian dishes and so on. No matter where you decide to let your taste buds explore, you will not be disappointed. However, finding the right place for you prove to be difficult with all these options but it is a fun adventure waiting to happen for your taste buds.
El Paso Playhouse
If you’re in need of a theatrical performance then there are plenty of places to watch a play or listen to the tunes of a symphony orchestra. You can head over to the El Paso Playhouse formerly known as the Festival Theatre and watch an amazing performance in the longest running community theatre in the city. It’s been open for about 70 years and continues to have people flock to see their plays with their incredible cast and atmosphere.
El Paso Theatre
Similar to the playhouse, the theatre has been around for as long as the theatre and has an incredible background. Right now, the theatre is open to the public for broadway shows, comedy shows, music, illusion shows and more. The venue is also open for film festivals, symphony orchestra and even private receptions, business parties
Adults can have fun too
Are you the type of person who seeks out adventures and wants a different kind of night out? Well look no further because El Paso has some newly added places in its city to calm that raging heart of yours or pump for endorphins through your system.
With El Paso opening iFLY next to Topgolf and near Alamo drafthouse, the westside of El Paso continues to sound more appealing than ever. iFLY is available for parties, field trips, team building exercises for coworkers and flight school for ages 4-16.
A BYOB/wine axe throwing venue called Relaxe is open for business for those who want to have a different kind of night that still involves drinking. Relaxe is perfect for any kind of party from birthday parties to corporate parties, divorce parties, bachelor/bachelorette parties and even gender reveal parties.
If you’re into solving riddles, overcoming challenges and love puzzles then Operation Outbreak: El Paso Escape Room (locally owned) and Red Door Escape are perfect for your night out with a group of friends. The escape rooms need a great team who has great communication skills to figure out a way out of the room before it’s too late and the time runs out.
The only Dave and Busters came to El Paso back in 2016 and was one of the most anticipated places to be built for all adults across the city. It has over 160 games in their large arcade room, 24 televisions in the sports bars, a wall devoted to HD screens in the sports viewing lounge, plenty of delicious food and alcohol to go around. Who said that adults can’t have a restaurant filled with games like the ones we had as kids like at Peter Piper Pizza or Chuck E. Cheese? Adult dreams do come true.
There are approximately 15 museums within the El Paso area, some that have been open since the 30’s like the Centennial Museum and Chihuahuan Desert Gardens and some that have been fairly opened like the El Paso Funeral Museum. There is a wide array of museums to choose from which goes into El Paso’s history, culture, education and more to help anyone learn more about the city, the past and what is going on now.
It’s rare to find someone not into watching movies and luckily for the El Pasoans, they have plenty of movie theaters to choose from to watch their movies. With the new improvements in most movie theaters and some having the option to have a beer, all movie lovers can sit comfortably with chairs that lean back and provide an adequate enough leg room including the ones at the Alamo Drafthouse. At the drafthouse, all patrons must be 18 and up with the exception of when the child is being accompanied by a parent which is only available for specific showings. The drafthouse also offers a delicious meal that is paired with local beer while providing a way to get a refill by raising an order card. Another option for El Paso is the Flix Brewhouse which is headed to the city in the near future.
There are plenty of El Paso festivals to attend depending on the time of year it is in the city. There’s the Plaza Classic Film Festival that is coming up in August for all the film lovers to go to or the El Paso Sky Lantern Festival at the end of July. After the film festival comes El Paso’s Corn Festival then the Way Our West Fest, Sun City Musical and so on.
If you ever hear that there is nothing going on then see back to this long list of activities to do in El Paso. It does not cover everything, but it does have some great snippets to make an unforgettable day/night for you and whoever has the pleasure of being with you at the moment.