The Tigua people are the last remaining tribe that carries on Puebloan culture in the state of Texas. Puebloan culture includes all tribes that live in similar ways and have similar cultural practices albeit they speak mutually unintelligible languages. In fact the binding nature of their name also derives from the houses they build, Pueblos. Here at the center inside the Ysleta del Sur Pueblo, visitors can learn more about these native peoples with the wealth of education the tribe provides, such as bread baking, social dancing and even a museum with ancient artifacts.
Take the El Paso Mission Trail to get a glimpse of this cow-town's frontier past. This nine mile (14.5km) stretch has the famous missions Ysleta and Socorro alongside the San Elizario Presidio and Chapel. The trail originated back between the 16th and 17th Centuries. In fact, these churches are some of the oldest in the country. Check out the pioneer county jail which housed the infamous Billy the Kid or the exhibit on the Salt War of 1877. The Tigua Cultural Center chronicles five centuries of history, from Indian origins to the Spanish conquest. Each of these historic sanctuaries will transport you to a different era. If you want to know the real El Paso, then this trail is an interesting place to start.
The El Paso Holocaust Museum and Study Center was established in 1994 by Henry Kellen, a Holocaust survivor. It is an ode to the millions of people who died and to those who endured the Shoah. This museum presents the violent atrocities committed during the end World War II as a grim reminder of hatred and prejudice. Visitors can get a glimpse of that time with the multi-media presentations that cover life before the Third Reich, the subsequent rise of the Nazi regime, the concentration camps, ghettos and more. Admission is free though donations are welcome.
The EPMA has been going strong since 1959, providing the city and surrounding area with countless aesthetic delights. About 100,000 visitors come through the doors of the museum annually, to see some of the many temporary exhibits in the well-designed halls and galleries, as well as more than 5,000 permanent artworks. The majority of art focuses on Native American, Mexican and European pieces. For complete list of exhibits and current events, check the website.
In the midst of the scenic Franklin Mountains lies the McKelligon Canyon Amphitheatre, a venue that holds over 1,500 spectators. The theater hosts a number of events throughout the year, from plays and concerts to dance and opera, there is something for all ages. During the summer, the amphitheater presents its 'Cool Canyon Nights' series, it's free to public and always a nice entertainment option in the hot desert. See website for upcoming activities and a complete calendar of events.
This museum focuses on the more than 400 years of history in this part of what is now known as Western Texas. It is one of the three city-operated museums, the other two include the Museum of Art and the Museum of Archaeology. The permanent exhibits include artifacts and documents that present the past as well as the city's present development. The exhibits are spread over more than 44,000-sq. ft. of space and since the admission is free, it provides a cheap, interesting education on how this part of the Southwest was settled.
Over the last decade, the downtown El Paso area has undergone plenty of revitalization and will eventually be completely revamped under a plan which will see the private and public sector coming together. Even today, the area that surrounds the El Paso Museum of Art and the Canam Highway encloses tons of restaurants, entertainment options and other attractions.
The Scottish Rite Temple stands as one of the oldest buildings in El Paso, and is an impressive landmark, to say the least. The glowering sphinxes that guard the entrance are but a hint of the treasures inside. The temple houses a beautiful theater, a library, a museum and a a large banquet hall capable of comfortably holding 380.
This historical home that once belonged to famed El Pasoan Richard Burges today provides information about the development of the city and county. The building in classic Revival style is an architectural anomaly in the Southwest, yet it is an attraction in its own right. Today, the home houses the El Paso Historical Society office and guests are encouraged to visit and learn more about why this man was so important to the city's people, not just in politics, construction and other endeavors, but in ecological preservation as well. In fact, Burges played an instrumental part in the development and conservation of the famed Carlsbad Caverns.
Downtown El Paso may not be as intriguing as other centers like Manhattan or Chicago, but this southwestern Texas town has a charm all its own. The city center is small, however there are plenty of landmarks which beckon the visitor. Some include the Plaza Theater, the Anson Mills Building and San Jacinto Square. In addition to history and architecture, downtown El Paso also has plenty of upscale restaurants and shopping options as well.