El Paso Travel Guide

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El Paso Travel Guide

El Paso Local History

In search of a "paso por las montanas", Spanish Explorers stumbled across a passage between the treacherous Chihauhaun desert mountains in 1581. Baptized as El Paso del Norte, the passage became the main trail for trade from south to north, east and west, after it was colonized in 1598. Only after the end of the Mexican War (in 1848) did El Paso finally become part of the United States. With the arrival of the Southern Pacific Railroad, in 1881, the community was assured a stable future.

El Paso was "The Wild West". Infamous characters like Billy the Kid, Wyatt Earp and Pat Garrett roamed the roads of El Paso. During the Mexican Revolution, in 1911, refugees streamed out of Mexico into El Paso and helped to build the unique culture and heritage of the city.

Today El Paso is a thriving community of blended cultures and a major distribution/manufacturing center, focussed on trade between the United States and Mexico.

El Paso Attractions

El Paso Shopping

The Mission Trail Harvest Market - Every Saturday 8am to 12noon. Enjoy a large variety of local, regional, and some out-of-state produce. In addition to the farm fresh produce, you will also find quality handmade arts & crafts, and value goods such as baking, nuts, honey, Asadero cheeses and eggs, all at reasonable prices.

Downtown El Paso - The main shopping district, targeting both Mexican and American shoppers. Enclosed malls are scattered all around the city and the area is known for western wear, southwestern art, and Mexican imports.

El Paso Chile Company - For mouthwatering delicacies, sauces (with names like "Hellfire & Damnation", and other spicy things. 1909 Texas Ave. Tel: 915/544-3434.

Sunland Park Mall - Is the top shopping centre and houses Dillard's, Sears and Mervyns. 750 Sunland Park Dr. Tel: 915/833-5595.

El Paso Activities

Western Play land Amusement Park - The Amusement Park is home to the El Bandito roller coaster, three water rides, a go-cart track, miniature golf course, carnival games and a kiddies playground. Picnic areas and concession stands cater for the need of the hungry and thirsty. Admission: $15 pass for unlimited rides or $5 admission plus $2 ride tickets. 6900 Delta Dr. in Ascarate Lake City Park. Tel: 915/772-3914 or 772-3953.

Wet-n-Wild Waterworld - It is a great place to beat the El Paso heat. The park has an abundance of trees and shaded grassy areas, plus restaurants and locker rooms. In addition, it offers 22 water attractions for everyone, from little children to teenagers and adults. Truly a cool place to get wet and wild. Tel: 915/886-2222.

El Paso Parks & Gardens

Ascarate Park - At 448 total acres, the largest public-use recreational park in El Paso. Dedicated to sports, picnicking and other recreational activities, it also supports the Ascarate Golf Course, Ascarate Lake and Western Play land Amusement Park. The picnic facilities feature shelters, tables, grills, playgrounds and restrooms. Fees: (Monday - Thursday) No charge, (Friday - Sunday) $1 per vehicle to enter park. Remember that alcoholic beverages are not allowed in the park.

Franklin Mountains State Park - Located on Transmountain Road (a road that cuts through the mountain range), there are many places to stop and enjoy the desert vista. Various trails make it ideal for hiking and picnicking. Tel: 915/566-6441.

Indian Cliffs Ranch - Here you can see Texas Longhorns, Belgian team horses, buffalo and deer. It also features an Indian maze, movie sets, the fort Apache Playground, free hay rides every Sunday, and the world famous Cattleman's Steakhouse. Entrance to the park is free, if you are a hotel guest. Situated 35 minutes from downtown El Paso, I-10 East Exit 49. Tel: 915/544-3200.

El Paso Restaurants and Bars

El Paso offers some of the best Tex-Mex food you will find anywhere. Most cuisine in El Paso have a distinctive Mexican influence, which is quite obvious for a country bordering Mexico. Many dishes draw from regional influences, however chefs are not constrained by any one school of cuisine. Chile plays quite a substantial role on most of the menus and you will be hard pressed to find a menu without it.

Beer is the most popular choice of drink but many restaurants offer an extensive wine list, consisting of regional and local wines. Tequila (you have guessed it!) plays a noticeable part in the choice of beverage and cooking. Do not leave El Paso before trying the famous leches (Mexican milk cakes) served as a desert.

El Paso Restaurants

L & J Cafe - A landmark since opening in 1927. It is both inexpensive and offers some of the best food around. The chicken enchiladas, buried under chunky green chile and Jack cheese, are close to perfection. The salsa is spicy, the beer cold and the service quick and friendly. El Paso. Tel: 915/566-8418.

Cafe Central - This sleek urban bistro, serving sophisticated international cuisine, is an anomaly in a town dominated by Tex-Mex. Their specialities include luscious guyanas shrimp with a tangy tequila cilantro sauce, cream of green chile soup, grilled white veal chops and green chile risotto. The wine list is quite extensive and there is delicious desserts to choose from. Reservations are recommended and prices range $7 -$28 (lunch), $13 - $35 (dinner).

Dome Restaurant - Highly regarded for it's sumptuous dinners and regal atmosphere. Offerings include classic appetizers (try the top notch escargots), gourmet soups and salads, and creative entrees, which undoubtedly are the main attraction. The duck with tequila-chile-cactus coulis is unbeatable. Reservation are recommended and prices range $17 - $29 for main courses. 101 S. El Paso St. Tel: 915/534-3000 ext 3010).

El Paso children's activities

Western Play land Amusement Park - The Amusement Park is home to the El Bandito roller coaster, three water rides, a go-cart track, miniature golf course, carnival games and a kiddies playground. Picnic areas and concession stands cater for the need of the hungry and thirsty. Admission: $15 pass for unlimited rides or $5 admission plus $2 ride tickets. 6900 Delta Dr. in Ascarate Lake City Park. Tel: 915/772-3914 or 772-3953.

Wet-n-Wild Waterworld - It is a great place to beat the El Paso heat. The park has an abundance of trees and shaded grassy areas, plus restaurants and locker rooms. In addition, it offers 22 water attractions for everyone, from little children to teenagers and adults. Truly a cool place to get wet and wild. Tel: 915/886-2222.

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