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Katie from Los Angeles asked

Best free things to do in El Paso?

I'm going to be in El Paso next month and will be on a pretty tight budget. I'm looking for the best free and inexpensive things to check out! I love the outdoors, art, museums, you name it. Thanks!

El Paso (Texas)

3 Answers
top answer by
Andrea from Ciudad Juárez, Mexico

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answered by
Gilbert from El Paso


The sun shines in El Paso approximately 302 days per year, earning it the nickname “Sun City.”

You can visit the Franklin Mountains State Park Hiking trails for some outdoor adventures--there is one just off of Transmountainpark Transmountain road for easy access. 

I would also suggest a drive through Scenic Drive - Overlook and stop to take in the view and maybe even some pictures!

The University of Texas At El Paso has a nice campus to walk around and enjoy the beautiful sunny days.

On the military installation with a valid driver license or passport you can sign it at the gate and then go see the Fort Bliss Museum.

Ruidoso is a BEAUTIFUL town just 2 hours East of El Paso. El Pasoan's go there as a way to escape the heat or just to enjoy green and beautiful outdoors and fresh air. During the winter there is availability to ski or sled in the snow! There are many cool little boutiques and shops you can walk near on the main street area as well as good restaurants.

Fairly Cheap:

If you like outdoors stuff, there is the world famous Hueco Tanks State Park & Historic Site. You can rock climb there or just walk and see old Native American rock/cave paintings.

White Sands National Monument is one of the 7 Natural Wonders of the World. Two hundred and seventy-five square miles of pure white gypsum that looks like white sand. Emerging from the Tularosa Basin like some mythical land, it’s the largest gypsum dune field in the world. 115 square miles of it is open to the public for beachy frolicking and BBQ picnics, sand sledding, or night time moonwalks. (sign up in advance for moonwalks).

There are plenty of museums: El Paso Holocaust Museum & Study Center, El Paso Museum of History, El Paso Museum of Art.

There is also the very cool experience of the Wyler Aerial Tramway (a cable car takes you to the top of the Franklin Mountains and you can see the 3-points; El Paso, New Mexico and Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.) 

There is also the El Paso Ghost Tours

There is the Sunland Park Racetrack & Casino if you are into that sort of thing.

There is the El Paso Zoo or the Licon's Dairy Azaderos Petting Farm.

Western Playland has rollercoasters and amusement park rides and it is fairly inexpensive--like $20 all you can ride.

For a CHEAP food experience, try Chico's Tacos--not the most Authentic Mexican food, but definitely a classic El Paso restaurant that will give you an experience you will never forget...and best of all, it is VERY CHEAP!!

More expensive:

2 Hours West of El Paso there is the Riverbend Hot Springs which is a natural hot spring that is very relaxing. You can spend a few hours just resting your muscles there!

Partying at clubs--they are everywhere. This is a college town so plenty of clubbing, drinking and meeting people.

The biggest thing to do in EL Paso, in my opinion is to EAT. There is A LOT of restaurants in El Paso, TX. If you want to try the best authentic Mexican cuisine in the United States, this is the city to visit, short of going to Mexico itself. For the best margaritas and great food, visit Los Bandidos De Carlos & Mickey's; it's a full restaurant and bar with the occasional band and karaoke. For the best tacos that are the closest thing to authentic Juarez Mexico's tacos, try Tacos Don Cuco (they have about 3 locations).  We also have local landmark dating back to 1927, the L & J Cafe which sits near the oldest cemetery in El Paso. I highly recommend Julio's Cafe Corona especially at lunch where they have a high quality buffet that will leave you happy! I DO NOT recommend any seafood in El Paso, regardless of what any locals will tell you. El Paso is a desert, plenty of beach, but no ocean nearby, that's all I will say about that. Last, I would say that if you like wine, the Zin Valle Vineyards and Sunland Winery will be a nice stop and nearby after that there is the famous La Posta De Mesilla which sits inside the town (Old Mesilla) where the notorious Billy the Kid was tried for murder. La Posta is delicious authentic New Mexican cuisine (yes there is a HUGE difference); I highly recommend ANYTHING with green chile (not hot), especially the chimichanga.

I think that's about all I can think of in one sitting. 

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Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Franklin Mountains State Park (attraction)
  2. Transmountainpark (attraction)
  3. Scenic Drive - Overlook (attraction)
  4. The University of Texas At El Paso (attraction)
  5. Fort Bliss Museum (attraction)
  6. Ruidoso (city)
  7. Hueco Tanks State Park & Historic Site (attraction)
  8. White Sands National Monument (attraction)
  9. El Paso Holocaust Museum & Study Center (attraction)
  10. El Paso Museum of History (attraction)
  11. El Paso Museum of Art (attraction)
  12. Wyler Aerial Tramway (attraction)
  13. Ciudad Juarez (city)
  14. El Paso Ghost Tours (attraction)
  15. Sunland Park Racetrack & Casino (attraction)
  16. El Paso Zoo (attraction)
  17. Licon's Dairy Azaderos (restaurant)
  18. Western Playland (attraction)
  19. Chico's Tacos (restaurant)
  20. Riverbend Hot Springs (attraction)
  21. Los Bandidos De Carlos & Mickey's (restaurant)
  22. Tacos Don Cuco (restaurant)
  23. L & J Cafe (restaurant)
  24. Julio's Cafe Corona (restaurant)
  25. Zin Valle Vineyards (restaurant)
  26. Sunland Winery (restaurant)
  27. La Posta De Mesilla (restaurant)
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answered first by

Nice museums Art & History, The Plaza Theatre (restored 1930's), if it's not windy Wyler Aerial Tramway. Drive to Old Mesilla in Las Cruces (abt 30 mins), drive to White Sands National Monument in New Mexico (abt 1.5 hrs), hike in the Franklin Mountains State Park, several nice malls if you like to shop.  If you have your passport the city might offer Juarez tours, recommend as day trip only.  Try to get a copy or check on line for El Paso Scene magazine for Nov, they will list free activities by date.  Have Fun!!

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