The Plaza Theatre has been in operation since 1930 and is one of the largest venues to catch a show in the entire Southwest. It hosts stage shows and also screens movies, but most people that come are awestruck by the grandiose Spanish Colonial architecture and design. The Plaza was nearly demolished in 1986, however a benevolent community association stepped in to save it. Today, guests can see many diverse shows on stage, from popular musicals and stand-up acts to concerts.
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. This museum presents the atrocities committed during the end of 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 regime, the concentration camps and more. Admission is free though donations are welcome.
The historic Magoffin Home today houses a vast collection of Magoffin family artifacts used at the end of the 19th Century. On display guests will find furniture, decorative art and other interesting historical resources from this important El Pasoan clan. Built in 1875, the site still retains an old Texas charm with its period furniture and paintings. The site has become an integral part of the city's rich history as well as a landmark listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Currently, the Texas Historical Commission manages the site and owns the belongings inside.
Located on the southernmost tip of the state of Texas, the Franklin Mountains State Park stands at an elevation of 5,426 feet (1,653.84 meters) overlooking the semi-arid expanses of El Paso. Encompassed by the dominant Franklin Mountains, the park offers a virtually never-ending selection of mountain biking, hiking, climbing and cross country driving options. The territory covers nearly 24,247 acres (9,812.41 hectares) and is America's most expansive park within a city's limit. Wildlife includes barrel cactus, Mexican poppy, hackberry, cottonwood, golden eagles, black bears, pumas and ring-tailed cats.
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.