15 Amazing Things To Do In El Paso During Your Vacation

Plaza Theater

The Plaza Theater Performing Arts Center is located in the heart of downtown El Paso, Texas.

This historic venue offers a variety of events throughout the year, including concerts, plays, family shows, and special events.

You can enjoy great music while you dine at one of the many restaurants nearby.

The El Paso Mission Trail

The Mission Trail is a great way to experience the history of Texas — and the United States (see also ‘15 Amazing Things To Do In Lubbock During Your Vacation‘).

This road trip takes travelers across the state from east to west, starting in El Paso and ending in Laredo.

Along the way, visitors encounter many historical sites, museums, restaurants, art galleries, and historic buildings that help tell the story of the state.

This itinerary includes five days of travel, beginning and ending in El Paso, and taking in some of the most iconic places in Texas.

Highlights include the El Paso Museum of History, the Ysleta Mission, the Fort Bliss Military Base, the Chihuahuan Desert, and the Rio Grande River.

El Paso Zoo

The El Paso Zoo is a zoological park located in El Paso, Texas. Opened in 1928, it is one of the oldest zoos in the United States.

Today, the zoo houses over 200 different animal species, most notably tigers, lions, cheetahs, bears, elephants, giraffes, and zebras.

In addition to these large mammals, the zoo also features smaller species like rabbits, monkeys, birds, reptiles, fish, and even insects.

The zoo offers many educational opportunities for visitors, including hands-on activities, behind-the-scenes tours, and talks about wildlife conservation.

Visitors are encouraged to learn about the animals’ habitats and how they live, while enjoying interactive exhibits where they can feed the animals themselves.

Centennial Museum

The Centennial Museum is located within UTEP’s main campus, and contains both permanent and changing exhibitions dealing with archeology, anthropology, geology, paleontology, art, and science.

Visitors are encouraged to explore the collections, view special events, and learn about the region’s rich cultural heritage.

Housed in the municipal buildings dating from the 1950s, the collection details early railroads, the spring, tobacco products, individuals, government, and more.

Citizens have provided a very creative and intriguing display which can be enjoyed both locally and by visitors.

Chihuahuan Desert Gardens

The Chihuahuan desert gardens exhibit about 625 species of native desert plants, representing nearly every major family of plants that occur naturally in the region.

Visitors can see examples of the following families: Asteraceae, Chenopodiaceae, Euphorbiaceae, Lamiaceae, and many others.

The Chihuahuas call the desert home. They live there, farm there, hunt there, gather water there, and make medicines there.

They have done so since prehistoric times. Today, they continue to use plants for food, shelter, clothing, fuel, medicine, and tools, so a visit to the Chihuahuan desert gardens is an experience you do not want to miss.

National Border Patrol Museum

The National Border Patrol Museum is the only one in the U.S. It is a private non-profit organization that covers the history of U.S. border patrols from the Old West, prohibition, and World War II.

Right up to current day operations, through displays of weaponry, art, documents, vehicles, and many more. You can book guided visits in advance and entry is free.

Magoffin Home State Historic Site

The Magoffin Home State Historical Site is one of the most popular El Paso attractions.

It has a spot on El Paso’s National Register of Historic Places, and was built in 1874.

19 rooms, a Territorial style, and a rich history make it a must see.

There are tours throughout the day, including Sunday through Thursday.

With 19 rooms, a Spanish Colonial Revival style, and a rich story, the Magoffin House is one of the best places to explore in El Paso.

Pop by and learn about the Magoffins, their impact on Texas, and how they helped expand America.

El Paso Museum Of Archaeology

The El Paso Museum of Archaeological Science opened in 1976.

The museum is located on the north side of El Paso, just off Interstate 10. On October 2, 2016, it reopened after a $14 million renovation.

The museum houses dioramas depicting life in the region from over 14,000 years ago.

In addition to exhibits about the prehistoric people who lived here, there are displays about the Spanish conquistadors who encountered the area, and even some about the modern day residents of El Paso.

El Paso Museum Of Art

The El Paso Museum of Art is located in downtown El Paso, Texas.

This museum offers visitors access to one of the most extensive collections of American, European, and Latin American art in the United States.

The museum’s mission is to preserve and promote knowledge about the arts in the region.

Franklin Mountains State Park

The Franklin Mountains are a common site on the El Paso skyline, but few people know about the 27,000-acres of rugged beauty that make up the Franklin Mountains State Park.

Located on the north end of town, the park features some of the most impressive natural landscapes found anywhere in Texas.

A favorite among hikers, the Franklin Mountains also boast several hiking trails.

A network of paved paths connects many of the park’s trailheads, making it simple to explore the park on foot without having to worry about getting too lost.

Fort Bliss And Old Ironsides Museums

The Fort Bliss and Old Ironsides museums are conveniently located near each other.

Both are great places to go and explore. They’re the perfect place for military enthusiasts and are filled with so many fun options.

The exhibits inside the museum are varied, covering daily soldier life, family life, the world during peacetime, and much more.

All date back to 1849. It is also where the 1st Armored Division resides, the very same division that stayed in Germany for 4 decades.

Old Ironsides is the oldest ship still afloat, built in 1797. It is now a floating museum and offers tours of the vessel.

There are several different areas to explore including cannons, a gun deck, a hospital, and a chapel.

Visit The Ysleta Mission

The Ysleta Mission is located just outside of El Paso, Texas. When you arrive there, you’ll see why it’s considered one of the most beautiful Spanish missions in Texas.

Built in 1682, the Ysleta Mission is the oldest surviving Spanish mission in Texas.

The mission is still used today by the local Tigua tribe.

You can learn about the history of the mission during the annual festival held each summer.

During the festival, visitors are able to tour the grounds and watch traditional dances performed by the Tiguas.

The San Elizario Chapel

The San Elizario Chapel sits just outside of El Paso, Texas, and it is easy to miss.

It is located behind the San Elceario chapel and the Old El Paso county jail museum.

There are no signs pointing out where it is, but once you find it, you won’t want to leave.

This small chapel is filled with history and beauty. Built in the late 1700s, it is surrounded by tall trees and lovely flowers.

This is a great location for pictures because you can really capture the atmosphere and beautiful scenery here.

Downtown Art And Farmers Market

El Paso’s Downtown Art and Farmers’ Market is a great place for people looking to shop while enjoying the beautiful weather.

You’ll find everything from locally crafted goods to fresh produce and even baked goods.

Plus, there are plenty of things to do around town while you browse.

Whether you want to soak in the sun on one of the many patios or enjoy live music, there are lots of options.

And since it’s located downtown, you can easily walk to most places.

The San Jacinto Plaza

San Jacinto Plaza is one of the most popular parks in Downtown El Paso.

This park features a fountain, gazebo, playground, walking trails, benches, a café, and even a giant alligator.

The centerpiece of this park is the fiberglass sculpture of an alligator by Luis Jimenez.

Originally built in 1956, it was moved here in 2003. In fact, the original sculpture was originally located in another part of town.

However, the city had plans to build a parking garage where the sculpture stood. Because of this, the city decided to move the sculpture to this location.

Today, the plaza is a good place to take the family out for some outdoor fun.

There are plenty of places to play, like the playground, and there are also several pathways to walk along.

You can also stop off at the nearby café for a bite to eat.

Final Thoughts

If you’re planning your vacation to El Paso, be sure to check out these 15 amazing things to do in during your vacation (see also ‘15 Amazing Things To Do In Des Moines During Your Vacation‘).

These activities and places to visit will help make your trip an unforgettable and beautiful experience.