El Paso is the kind of place that evokes more than just a tourist’s curiosity. While it rests in the big state of Texas, it’s characterized mostly by its proximity to Mexico, and border location. When you book flights to El Paso, you’re landing in the westernmost area of the state, so you can literally see the villages and colonias in Juarez as you drive on the Border Highway. Some describe it as a surreal experience – being able to freely see into the lives of Mexican residents’ homes, while they could never step foot on our soil without a proper process.
Downtown, a mix of newer, established areas and run-down, abandoned foundations are fused together to create a bit of urban sprawl. The bicultural hub accelerates toward the rotation of newness, but still holds firmly to its roots of Spanish conquistadors, struggles for land, and tension of immigration. The Rio Grande serves as a kind of “route” for people and goods, and the 609,000 residents that live there use it as a lifeline for commerce. Most tourists plan flights to El Paso for a very specific experience, but you shouldn’t feel like you absolutely need to have an agenda.
Even if you’re not here to cross the border, learn more about immigration, or to steep in the town’s history, you’ll still be able to enjoy the lighter aspects of the southern town. Sunny days, mountainous landscape, and fabulous TexMex are more of El Paso’s greatest attributes.