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.
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.
This museum located on the eponymous military base pays homage to the United States 1st Armored Division, more affectionately known as 'Old Ironsides'. The first division in WWII to encounter enemy fire. Today, the museum exhibits artifacts about this unit which include weaponry, historical accounts, patches, etc. Additionally, if you have the time, visit the replica Old Fort Bliss located on the same property. Admission is free, however you must have identification to enter the base.
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.
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.
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.
The Tumbleweed Interactive Space also called La Rodadora in Chihuahua, Mexico is an interactive science museum for kids. The museum has many interactive displays and kids can explore various aspects of light and sound technology and learn about things from the past. The museum believes in the ideology of learning through fun and games and it is a perfect place to visit with kids.
The Los Portales Museum is run under the auspices of the San Elizario Genealogy & History Society and it is here where you will learn all about the history of this tiny town. The museum is tucked away on the side of the San Elizario Presidio Church, a hidden gem on its own. Some of the artifacts exhibited here include documents and pictures from the Salt War and exhibits as far back as the Spanish Conquest. Guests will also find a visitor's center which provides comprehensive information about the surrounding region.
This 42 foot tall statue of Christ atop what used to be called 'Mule Drivers Mountain' (now Mount Cristo Rey) is a monument to those in the Catholic faith. Its location at an elevation of 4,675-ft. and the accompanying 4.4-mile trail (round-trip) is constantly traversed by hikers, the curious and almost everybody else who is in the area. Its original conception came from a parish priest who erected a wooden cross here in 1934. Thereafter in 1939, the church commissioned sculptor Urbici Soler to design the base and statue. And though the face on the statue resembles the one on the famous Corcovado in Brazil, this one is quite smaller and little less scenic, however once you reach the top, you can see into Mexico, New Mexico and Texas at the same time.
Hal Marcus displays his work in this eponymous gallery located in the Sunset Heights neighborhood of El Paso. He is a native El Pasoan that has been creating art for more than 40 years and in addition to his own work the gallery presents other pieces from local artists as well. Admission is free and some of the art includes paintings, sculpture, photography, mixed-media, etc. For a complete list of artists and to see examples of their work, check out Hal's website.