(includes Canutillo, Clint, Fabens, Mesilla, Salt Flat, San Elizario, Socorro & Sunland Park)
BAKERIES, COFFEE, ICE CREAM, JUICE & TEA
●Bowie Bakery – 901 Park Street; 915-544-6025; bowiebakery.com; pan dulce.
●Coffee Box – 401 North Mesa Street; elpasocoffeebox.com; unique coffee venue in downtown El Paso; two containers, one stacked on the other; modern; excellent but limited baked goods array.
●El Paso’s Bakery – 3300 Fort Boulevard; 915-562-5600; elpasosbakery.com; authentic Mexican baking, traditional pan dulce, artisan panaderos, adobe oven.
●Pastry Chef Cafe – 126 Shadow Mountain Drive; 915-585-9080; pastrychefcafe.com; European pastries.
BARS & NIGHTCLUBS
●Cafe Central – 109 North Oregon Street; 915-545-2233; cafecentral.com; over 100 years-old; luxurious.
●Garden – 511 Western Street; 915-544-4400; thegardenep.com; outdoor club on weekends.
●Hope & Anchor – 4012 North Mesa Street; 915-533-8010; hopeandanchorelpaso.com; large back patio strung with lights and paper lanterns.
●Hoppy Monk – 4141 North Mesa Street; 915-307-3263; thehoppymonk.com; 70 craft brews on tap.
●King’s X – 4119 North Mesa Street; 915-544-4795; thekingsx.com; since 1960; worth special trip.
●Lotus – 201 North Stanton Street; 915-503-2335; lotusep.com; sleek, ultramodern dance club with 3 floors and 2 DJs; huge Buddha statue presides.
●Lowbrow Palace – 111 East Robinson Avenue; 915-356-0966; thelowbrowpalace.com; caters to college crowd; local bands and touring acts.
●El Meson de Oñate – 9993 Socorro Road; 915-860-8288; facebook.com/pages/El-Meson-De-Onate/445587685485382?rf=121680197842820; notable for beers & margaritas.
●Tricky Falls/Bowie Feathers – 209 South El Paso Street (Union Square); 915-351-9938; facebook.com/bowiefeathers; Tricky Falls is music venue/nightclub in gorgeous historic building; Bowie Feathers is bar right upstairs (bar and hipster haven with black leather booths).
●Camino Real – 101 South El Paso Street; 915-534-3000; caminoreal.com/elpaso; national historical landmark; adjacent to lobby, Dome Bar is crowned by original Tiffany Dome, which was hotel’s original lobby; don’t miss 2-story vaulted ceiling with cherry stone and gold scallion wall; in 1912, Zach T. Whites, young Virginian entrepreneur, opened as Paso Del Norte, most modern hotel of its time in southwest.
●Amigos Restaurant (used to be La Hacienda) – 2000 Montana Avenue; 915-533-0155; menu at original menu from old Hacienda Restaurant that was El Paso favorite for 40 years; never busy at night so bring your party.
●Ardovino’s Desert Crossing – 1 Ardovinos Drive (Sunland Park); 575-589-0653; ardovinos.com; especially for brunch; worth special trip.
●El Bandido Cantina & Restaurant – 1591 Main Street (Clint); 915-851-0660; elbandidocantina.com or facebook.com/elbandidocantina; one of only patio restaurants on Mission Trail; antojitos & cold beer, if nothing else.
●Cafe Central – 109 North Oregon Street; 915-545-2233; cafecentral.com; over 100 years-old; luxurious; worth splurge; sleek urban bistro serving sophisticated international cuisine; 3 seating areas: gracious dining room; sleek lounge; and breezy patio out front; menu changes daily; creative Southwestern interpretations of traditional Continental dishes; award-winning wine list among city's best, with more than 300 bottles; desserts include best leches cakes in all of Texas.
●Cafe Italia – 6705 North Mesa Street; 915-832-0587; elpasocafeitalia.com; brick-oven pizza.
●Casa Jurado – 4772 Doniphan Drive; 915-833-1151; casajuradoondoniphan.com; serving great Mexican food, from family recipes for over 30 years; casual, yet upscale; 6 enchiladas types, chicken mole, steaks, and seafood; full bar with 6 margarita flavors.
●Cattlemen’s Steakhouse – 3450 South Fabens Carlsbad Road (Fabens); 915-544-3200; cattlemanssteakhouse.com; back in 1966, while still working in his father’s shipping business in Germany, Dieter Gerzymisch was put in charge of moving German Air Force School and its soldiers to Fort Bliss; oddly, place made such impression on him, that I made it his home; later, trying to help friend who badly needed job, he bought livery horse string he stabled at Indian Cliffs, which gave ranch its name; started restaurant in 1973; Gerzymisch still buys every pound of beef every week hisself and personally sees that employees and managers never forget who makes paycheck happen.
●Charcoaler Drive-In – 5837 North Mesa Street; 915-581-0660; facebook.com/pages/Charcoaler-Drive-In-Official/189685124386000; you can smell their charcoal-grilled burgers from street; drive through, place your order, then pull up to carport and enjoy 1950s ambience.
●Chico’s Tacos – 4230 Alameda Avenue (original, off intersection of US I-10 & Patriot Freeway); 915-533-0975; en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chico's_Tacos; legendary local chain; rolled tacos in tomato soup-like sauce, hamburgers, French fries, grilled cheese sandwiches (or, as Chicos Tacos employees refer to them, grillos), and special round hot dogs served on hamburger buns.
●Chico’s Tacos – 5305 Montana Avenue (Northeast Side); 915-772-7777; en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chico's_Tacos; legendary local chain; rolled tacos in tomato soup-like sauce, hamburgers, French fries, grilled cheese sandwiches (or, as Chicos Tacos employees refer to them, grillos), and special round hot dogs served on hamburger buns.
●Chico’s Tacos – 11381 Montwood Drive (East Side); 915-849-8777; en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chico's_Tacos; legendary local chain; rolled tacos in tomato soup-like sauce, hamburgers, French fries, grilled cheese sandwiches (or, as Chicos Tacos employees refer to them, grillos), and special round hot dogs served on hamburger buns.
●Chico’s Tacos – 3401 Dyer Street; 915-565-5555 (North Side); en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chico's_Tacos; legendary local chain; rolled tacos in tomato soup-like sauce, hamburgers, French fries, grilled cheese sandwiches (or, as Chicos Tacos employees refer to them, grillos), and special round hot dogs served on hamburger buns.
●Chico’s Tacos – 1365 George Dieter Drive (East Side, Rojas Commons); 915592-8484; en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chico's_Tacos; legendary local chain; rolled tacos in tomato soup-like sauce, hamburgers, French fries, grilled cheese sandwiches (or, as Chicos Tacos employees refer to them, grillos), and special round hot dogs served on hamburger buns.
●Garden – 511 Western Street; 915-544-4400; thegardenep.com; daytime dining on patio (that becomes dance floor at night).
●G&R Restaurant – 401 East Nevada Avenue; 915-546-9343; old-school Mexican; family-owned since 1960; local favorite; colonial-style dining room; authentic and super-affordable enchiladas, rellenos and burritos.
●Leo’s Mexican Food Restaurant (Airport) – 9420 Montana Avenue; 915-593-5367; leosrestaurantandbar.com; El Paso institution (along with Chico’s Tacos); category is “El Paso comfort food”; original restaurant opened in 1946; notable for lunch specials that include combination plates and sopapillas for dessert; all owned and operated by various Terraza family members; varied menu; caldo de res (beef soup with vegetables), served all day; try Tri-Color Baked Cheese Enchiladas; all food made with vegetable oil.
●Leo’s Mexican Food Restaurant (Central) – 5103 Montana; 915-566-4972; leosrestaurantandbar.com; see review for Leo’s, above.
●Leo’s Mexican Food Restaurant (Downtown) – 315 East Mills Avenue; 915-544-1001; leosrestaurantandbar.com; see review for Leo’s, above.
●Leo’s Mexican Food Restaurant (Far East) – 1921 Zaragoza Road; 915-855-0063; leosrestaurantandbar.com; see review for Leo’s, above.
●Little Diner – 7209 7th Street (Canutillo); 915-877-2176; littlediner.com; just beyond El Paso, far from interstate and several blocks off main road that runs through Canutillo; finest flautas and gorditas in West Texas.
●L&J Cafe – 3622 East Missouri Street (just north of I-10, exit 22A at Copia Street); 915-566-8418; nicknamed “Old Place by Graveyard” because near Concordia Cemetery; El Paso landmark; Duran family operated and owned since 1st opened in 1927; was casino and speak-easy during Prohibition; today known for transcendental “border regional cuisine”; huevos, chile con queso, and caldillo (beef and potato stew with green chile and garlic kick).
●Lucy’s Restaurant – 4119 North Mesa Street (in King’s X bar); 915-544-3922; thekingsx.com; biker dive notable, especially, for breakfasts.
●El Meson de Oñate – 9993 Socorro Road; 915-860-8288; facebook.com/pages/El-Meson-De-Onate/445587685485382?rf=121680197842820; breakfast, lunch or dinner; traditional dishes like chile rellenos & hearty dishes like Tarahumara rib-eye smothered with cheese & long green chile; desserts include sopapillas made from scratch.
●Red Mountain Bistro – 631 North Resler Drive; 915-585-6940; redmountainbistro.com; far-reaching menu of innovative American cuisine.
●Ripe Eatery – 910 East Redd Road; 915-584-7473; ripeeatery.com; surprisingly chic spot in nondescript strip mall; great breakfasts (try Brisket Rancheros Eggs Benedict).
●Riviera – 5218 Doniphan Drive; 915-584-1542; rivsauces.com; open since 1948; on old Camino Real; Mexican food.
●Rosco’s Burger Inn – 3829 Tompkins Road; 915-564-9028; hoosierburgerboy.com/2008/05/roscos-burger-inn-el-paso-tx.html; burgers.
●State Line – 1222 Sunland Park Drive (Sunland Park); 915-581-3371; countyline.com; restaurant based on 4 principles: (1) highest quality smoked barbecue (brisket, chicken, ribs, and sausage), with traditional sides (beans, cole slaw, and potato salad); (2) provide generous portions at reasonable prices; (3) employ college-age students to offer friendly table service with linens and bar service; & (4) authentic location.
●Suzu – 5825 North Mesa Street; 915-845-7898; suzurestaurant.com; Asian-Mexican fusion; worth special trip.
●Tabla – 115 Durango Street; 915-533-8935; tabla-ep.com; across from old locomotive on display; on cobbled block of dimly lit restaurants; modern decor; custom-infused liquors; extensive tapas menu.
●Tacos X Cuatro – 9618 Socorro Road; 915-858-2199; es-es.facebook.com/pages/Tacos-X-Cuatro/114003948631036; fun & festive feel, rancho style; musico soundtrack singer knows all hits from JuanGa to El Chente; only place on Mission Trail to offer Chocoflan, chocolate twist on classic Mexican custard dessert.
●La Terraza East – 11250 Montwood; 915-593-6400; leosrestaurantandbar.com; owned by Leo’s; see review for Leo’s, above.
●Tom’s Folk Cafe – 204 Boston Avenue; 915-500-5573; tomsfolkcafe.com; tiny, locavore restaurant.
●Toro Burger Bar – 2609 North Mesa; 915-533-4576; toroburgerbar.com; great hamburgers; good bar; something of sensation in West Texas after having been featured in Texas Monthly for their delectable Toro Burger (topped with avocado, pepper jack cheese & original spicy mayo called “Toro Sauce”).
●Bookery – 10167 Socorro Road (just past historic Socorro Mission driving east); 915-859-6132; facebook.com/elpasobooks; only independent bookstore in El Paso; incredible collection of books for adults & children, with a focus on Southwest Latino literature; also, gifts, artwork, and crafts.
●Licon Dairy & Petting Zoo – 11951 Glorietta Road (San Elizario); 915-851-2705; licondairy.com; great cheese products, as well as camels, llamas, etc.
●Las Misiones Arts & Crafts – 10520 Socorro Road; 915-858-1016; visitelpasomissiontrail.com/explore/las-misiones-arts-crafts.html; on Mission Trail, near Socorro Mission.
●Mission Cabinet Shop – 9993 Socorro Road; 915-859-1793; visitelpasomissiontrail.com/article/follow-the-trail.html; Western furniture; call first.
SIGHTS & SITES
●Camino Real & Don Juan de Oñate Trail – Highway 28 (El Paso to Mesilla); nps.gov/elca/photosmultimedia/traveling-the-trail.htm or caminorealheritage.org/camino/camino.htm; Highway 28 is back-road, winding through farm, wine, pecan, and chile country; fun and peaceful ride on old-fashioned, 2-lane road; several wineries; culminates in Old Mesilla, historical little village.
●Concordia Cemetery – 3700 East Yandell Drive; 915-842-8200; concordiacemetery.org; John Wesley Hardin; lively during Dia de los Muertos in November.
●El Paso Federal Building (Courthouse) – 511 East San Antonio Avenue (now U.S. Bankruptcy Court), Room 201; 915-779-7362 (Clerk); Tom Lea mural, “Pass of North”
●El Paso Mission Trail – start at San Elizario Presidio Chapel (7-11 am), then visit Socorro Mission (10 am-3 pm), then Ysleta Mission; 915-534-0630; visitelpasomissiontrail.com; addresses below; San Elizario - start day with peaceful almuerzo (breakfast) or early lunch at only patio restaurant on Mission Trail, El Bandido Cantina & Restaurant (address above), to enjoy patio dining & view; few steps away is local artist presence with numerous art galleries featuring local & regional artists; note that El Paso Mission Trail Art Market held every 3rd Sunday, featuring over 50 artisans from around region, displaying art, photography, pottery, jewelry & home accents; as you leave, can check out Licon Dairy & Petting Zoo (address above), famous for fresh azaderos cheese; Socorro - as you travel towards Socorro Mission, you are on 1 of America’s oldest roads; along way is Las Misiones Arts & Crafts & Bookery (addresses above), as well as El Meson de Oñate (address above), for coldest beers & margaritas on trail; Ysleta - on way, can stop at Bowie Bakery (address above) and/or Tacos X Cuatro (address above); also worth seeing is Tigua Cultural Center (address below).
●El Paso Museum of Art – 1 Arts Festival Plaza; 915-532-1707; elpasoartmuseum.org; extensive collection; impressive; Tom Lea.
●El Paso Museum of History – 510 Nort Santa Fe Street; 915-351-3588; history.elpasotexas.gov; 1956 illustration of “Arrival of First Train in El Paso” (1881) by Tom Lea; displayed outside Transportation Gallery; depicts Engine No. 1 (4-4-0 type steam locomotive, preserved in El Paso); characters based on actual people in El Paso & Juárez.
●El Paso Public Library – 501 North Oregon Street; 915-543-5433; in lobby, Tom Lea mural painted in 1957, “Southwest,” gift from Tom and and his wife, Sarah, to their town.
●Farmer’s Market – 1 Ardovinos Drive (Sunland Park); 575-589-0653, ext. 6; ardovinos.com/farmersmarket.html.
●First Presbyterian Church – 1340 Murchison Drive; 915-533-7551; fpcep.org; stain glass window designed by Tom Lea.
●Franklin Mountains State Park – 1331 McKelligon Canyon Road; 915-566-6441; tpwd.state.tx.us/state-parks/franklin-mountains; largest US urban park lying completely within city limits, covering 24K acres; hiking, mountain biking, picnicking, and scenic driving; pictograms and mortar pits; Mule Deer, Mountain Lions, Black Bear and various rodents; birds include Golden Eagles, owls, and hawks.
●Guadalupe Mountains National Park – 400 Pine Canyon Road (Salt Flat); 915-828-3251; nps.gov/gumo; make sure to see McKittrick Ridge (best access from Dog Canyon); best trails for hiking (& among best in Texas) are: Guadalupe Peak Trail (Salt Flat), which will leave you feeling on top of world (takes you through ascending canyons, steep cliffs & raging waterfalls until you reach summit at over 8K' feet, being highest point in Texas); and/or McKittrick Canyon Trail (Salt Flat), which provides a nice contrast with west Texas (typically full of sprawling deserts) because turns into enthralling display of colors when Fall rolls around (only .9 miles long & takes less than 1 hour to complete).
●Hueco Tanks State Park & Historic Site – 6900 Hueco Tanks Road #1; 915-857-1135; tpwd.state.tx.us/state-parks/hueco-tanks; low mountains in high-altitude desert basin between Franklin Mountains (to west) and Hueco Mountains (to east); hueco is Spanish for “hollows” and refers to many water-holding depressions in boulders and rock faces; unique concentration of historic artifacts, plants, and wildlife; spiritually significant to many Native Americans, such as Mescalero Apache, Kiowa, Hopi, and Pueblo; pictographs (rock paintings) found throughout region, some of which are Ks years-old; contains single largest mask painting concentration in North America, of which 100s exist.
●International Museum of Art – 1211 Montana Avenue; 915-543-6747; internationalmuseumofart.net; lintels above Brown Street entrance by Tom Lea.
●Keystone Heritage Park & El Paso Botanical Gardens – 4220 Doniphan; 915-584-0563; keystoneheritagepark.org; park includes among nation’s largest and oldest Archaic and late prehistoric villages.
●Plaza Theater – 125 Pioneer Plaza (1 Civic Center Plaza); 915-534-0633; theplazatheatre.org.
●Los Portales Museum & Info Center – 1521 San Elizario Road (San Elizario, across from Chapel); 915-851-1682; epcounty.com/sanelizariomuseum; housed in 1850s territorial building.
●Rio Bosque Wetlands – 10716 Socorro Road (Socorro, take Loop 375 to Pan American Drive (1.5 miles to bridge)); 915-747-8663; riobosque.org; 372 acres; walking tours offered several times monthly; natural surface trail network weaves through wetlands; excellent birding.
●San Elizario Mission – 1556 San Elizario Road/Main Street (San Elizario, on Plaza’s south side); 915-851-2333; nps.gov/nr/travel/tx/tx4.htm; constructed in 1877 to replace earlier chapel destroyed by flood (original chapel built for Mexican troops stationed in valley in 1770s); 1-story adobe chapel built in traditional Spanish Mission style.
●Scenic Drive – Scenic Drive Road (between Rim Road & Wheeling Avenue); drive skirts around mountain; several visitors’ platforms; amazing views.
●Socorro Mission (La Purisima) – 328 South Nevarez Road (Socorro); 915-859-7718; nps.gov/nr/travel/tx/tx1.htm; original Franciscan mission, Nuestra Señora de la Concepción del Socorro, founded in 1682.
●Tigua Cultural Center – 305 Yaya Lane (El Paso, at Socorro Road); 915-859-7700; ydsp.stantonstreetgroup.com/locations.sstg?id=40.
●Tom Lea Institute – 201 East Main Street (Chase Building), Suite 100; 915-533-0048; tomlea.com; unimpressive office in nondescript office building belies its value; arrange Tom Lea tours here, and pick up information from the knowledgeable (limited) staff.
●La Viña Winery – 4201 New Mexico 28 (La Union/Anthony, NM); 575-882-7632; lavinawinery.com.
●University of Texas at El Paso Centennial Museum (and Chihuahuan Desert Gardens) – 500 West University Avenue (at Wiggins Road); 915-747-5565; museum.utep.edu; Tom Lea designed massive stone lintel over front doors.
●Wyler Aerial Tramway – 1700 McKinley Avenue; 915-566-6622; tpwd.state.tx.us/state-parks/wyler-aerial-tramway; aerial cable car that ascends Franklin Mountains.
●Ysleta Mission – 131 South Zaragoza Road (Ysleta del Sur Pueblo, reservation contained within El Paso); 915-859-9848; ysletamission.org; oldest continuously operated parish in Texas.
●Zin Valle Vineyard – 7315 Canutillo La Union Road (Canutillo); 915-877-4544; zinvalle.com.