If you’re looking for a vibrant city that embodies the “everything is bigger in Texas” motto, El Paso is the place for you! This bustling city boasts a population of 850,000 and an impressive urban sprawl that extends 200 miles from its downtown core. Nestled along the Rio Grande, El Paso is bordered by New Mexico and the Mexican state of Chihuahua. It has experienced rapid growth over the last 40 years, with an influx of businesses flocking to the area.
One notable example is the iconic Lucchese Boot Company, which relocated from San Antonio to El Paso in 1980 and has since expanded its operations in the city. Come see for yourself what all the fuss is about in this dynamic, thriving hub of Texan life!
Meet Sal and Joe Lucchese, two Italian brothers who arrived in Galveston, Texas in 1883. They set up the Lucchese Boot Shop in San Antonio and soon became the go-to artisans for boots, creating handmade pairs for Calvary soldiers, cowboys, ranch hands, rodeo bronc riders, and cattle herders. Back then, a pair of boots would cost you $4 a pair.
Their dedication to quality and craftsmanship lives on today as Lucchese artisans still make every pair of boots by hand, including hammering, stitching, designing, and cutting. They use a range of premium materials including cowhide, alligator, lizard, anaconda, ostrich, python, and shark skins.
Despite humble beginnings, the Lucchese Boot Company has blossomed into a world-class business, moving to El Paso in 1980, with a long list of famous clients, including US Presidents Lyndon B. Johnson, George H.W. Bush, and George W. Bush, as well as iconic entertainers like Willie Nelson, John Wayne, and Dolly Parton.
Along with the Lucchese boot factory, here are a few other reasons to visit El Paso.
Things to Do in El Paso
Whether on a road trip or vacation, El Paso is an excellent destination that has something for everyone. There’s no shortage of activities and entertainment to keep you occupied while you visit. Here are some of the top things to do in El Paso that you should consider.
El Paso Zoo
The El Paso Zoo is an excellent attraction for families visiting the city. It is located within a short drive of downtown and features an impressive collection of animals from different parts of the world. You can see giraffes, monkeys, tigers, and many other animals up close.
Learn about the zoo’s animals and birds at the Wildlife Amphitheater.
The zoo is open every day except for Mondays, Tuesdays, and some holidays. Be sure to allocate at least half of your day to experience everything this zoo has to offer. Admission is $15.95 for adults (non-resident) and $13.95 for resident.
Ride the African Star Train for $3 adults/$2 children 3 to 12 or the Endangered Species Carousel for $2.00 per person.
Franklin Mountains State Park
For outdoor enthusiasts, Franklin Mountains State Park is a must-visit destination in El Paso. The park covers over 27,000 acres of desert terrain with hiking trails, rock formations, and awe-inspiring vistas. You can hike over 100 miles of trails and observe the panoramic views of the city and nearby mountains. The stunning sunset view from the peak of the mountain is a highlight.
El Paso Mission Trail
The El Paso Mission Trail comprises three historic missions that date back to the late 16th century. The three missions – Ysleta, Socorro, and San Elizario- showcase the region’s rich cultural and spiritual heritage. You can take a self-guided tour of the missions and explore their museums, gardens, and gift shops.
Make sure to devote some time to each mission and learn the rich history behind them. The admission is free, but donations are welcome.
El Paso Museum of Art
The El Paso Museum of Art has a vast collection of around 7,000 paintings, sculptures, and other artwork. The art collections include European, American, and Mexican art with some works dating back to the 12th century.
Expect to find numerous exhibitions, programs, and educational events inside the treasure trove, where admission is absolutely free. If you are an art lover, this museum is definitely worth a visit. El Paso Museum of Art is open Wednesday through Saturday from 10 AM to 6 PM.
El Paso Museum of History
The El Paso Museum of History situated in the Las Plazas District, features numerous artifacts and exhibits that showcase the region’s diverse history from pre-Columbian times to the present. The museum’s collection provides a glimpse of the history of the region’s past, including its culture, traditions, and the people’s struggles.
Days of operation are Wednesday through Saturday, 1 0AM to 6 PM.
Thanks to Visit El Paso for hosting my travels. All opinions are 100% mine and unbiased. Photos in this post by Visit El Paso.
This article was originally written and published by Fran Folsom in 2019. It has been updated partially in 2023 by staff.
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