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For starters, El Paso has more than 315 days of sunny weather per year and some of the only mountains in the state. Franklin Mountains State Park, a 96-square-kilometer maze of peaks and trails, is a protected wilderness for hiking, mountain biking, running and exploring. If you’re looking for a milder way to enjoy the rugged Franklins, the Wyler Aerial Tramway offers visitors a breathtaking 11,000-kilometer view from way up top. Just a few kilometers up the road, climbers from all over the world come to conquer the imposing boulders of Hueco Tanks State Park and Historic Site.

For those into more conventional sporting events, make plans to attend the Sun Bowl, the second oldest U.S. college football bowl game in the nation. You can also check out the the official affiliate of the San Diego Padres, the El Paso Chihuahuas, in a Triple-A baseball game at Southwest University Park, which was named 2014 Ballpark of the Year by Visitors can also test their handicap at Butterfield Trail Golf Club. This 72-par labyrinth was designed by the legendary Tom Fazio, and it’s open year-round.

If you’re into food, El Paso is known as the Mexican Food Capital of the U.S., thanks to generations of handed-down, authentic recipes. Mexican food restaurants such as L&J Café, H&H Car Wash and Coffee Shop, Kiki’s, Chico’s Tacos and the world-renowned Cattleman’s Steakhouse at Indian Cliffs Ranch have all been featured on the Food Network and in the New York Times, Texas Monthly and other outlets.

El Paso’s history dates back more than 400 years. Visitors can learn about gunfighters, famous saloon ladies, buffalo soldiers and Chinese immigrants who built the railways.

El Paso is also home to the El Paso Mission Trail featuring continuously operating churches dating to the 17th century. Get another culture fix nearby with ancient tribal music and dancing at the Tigua tribe’s Ysleta del Sur Pueblo.

El Paso is also a great place for guests to purchase custom, handmade boots. There are more than a dozen bootmakers and manufacturers, many of whom have made boots for feature films.

When it comes to entertainment, El Paso hosts more than more than 25 major festivals and events for families, athletes, sports enthusiasts, music lovers, history buffs, cinephiles and tattoo lovers.

The historic Plaza Theatre, a restored atmospheric theater built in the 1930s, hosts to everything from Broadway shows and film screenings to concerts by music greats such as Tony Bennett, James Taylor, Blondie and Tom Waits.

Nighttime brings out El Paso’s colouful locals. There are plenty of clubs and bars in town where guests can catch indie talent and burn up the dance floor. Grab a late-night snack from one many food trucks circulating throughout the entertainment districts.

El Paso isn’t a day trip. It’s a place that’ll change you, challenge you and send you home with stories you couldn’t have dreamed up on your own.

Fun Fact

El Paso’s Star on the Mountain
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A star is born: El Paso’s Star on the Mountain, which sits on the side of the Franklin Mountains, is the largest man-made illuminated star in the world.