With warm weather, perennial sunshine, and stunning desert landscapes, El Paso is a gem nestled in the far western corner of Texas. Look forward to attending vibrant farmers’ markets and browsing stunning works at the El Paso Museum of Art. As for accommodations, there are abundant El Paso vacation rentals to choose from. Without further ado, take a look at the most notable hidden gems in the city of El Paso.

1. Hueco Tanks

Blue sky over a desert.
Source: Flickr/Tom Bennett

The Hueco Tanks State Historic Site lies in a rocky area of the Chihuahua Desert just northeast of El Paso. Natural outcroppings serve as catch basins for water, so the location has attracted humans and wildlife for millennia. Numerous pictographs, or rock paintings from various Native American groups, adorn the rocks at the site. A type of freshwater shrimp that lives in the rock ponds lures animals such as foxes, bobcats, reptiles, and eagles, making the area an excellent place for wildlife observation. Hueco Tanks is also internationally renowned as a bouldering, or rock climbing, location.

2. Ysleta Mission

Southwestern style mission.
Source: Flickr/Eugatnom

The Old Ysleta Mission lies near vacation rentals in southeastern El Paso not far from the Mexican border. Constructed out of adobe in 1682 by Tigua Pueblo Native Americans, the mission remains a working church as well as a fascinating reminder of the historic Mission Trail. The gleaming white dome is one of its iconic architectural features, and the interior decorations reflect a blend of Native American and Christian tradition. Nearby is the Tigua tribal government offices and the Tigua Cultural Center.

3. El Paso Museum of Art

Sign on a building.
Source: Flickr/Thomas Hawk

The El Paso Museum of Art is notable not only for its collections of contemporary art from the southwestern United States and Europe, but also for its special programs for children. Interactive classes for children aged six to nine and 10 to 13, teens, and adults include instructions in kite making, painting superheroes, clay sculpture, ceramics, and creation in numerous other media. Expert artists teach these classes, which last only a few days and take place in well-equipped studios.

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4. Wyler Aerial Tramway

Sign posted in a state park.
Source: Flickr/Visit El Paso

The Wyler Aerial Tramway is in Franklin Mountains State Park, an enormous urban desert park of almost 25,000 acres that is completely within the city limits of El Paso. The single-span cable tramway takes you up almost 1,000 feet in altitude over magnificent rock formations and a deep canyon to Ranger Peak, which offers a stunning panoramic view of the city of El Paso. Along the way, a park ranger describes the flora, fauna, and geology that you observe. Franklin Mountains State Park is also a great place for scenic drives, hiking, mountain biking, and picnicking.

5. Downtown Artist and Farmers Market

People walking through a farmers market.
Source: Flickr/Visit El Paso

The fun and lively El Paso Downtown Artist and Farmers Market takes place every Saturday in the Union Plaza District in the downtown area. This family-friendly weekly event features streets full of vendors offering locally made arts and crafts as well as locally grown and gathered food products. Besides the eclectic booths with items for sale, numerous musicians and entertainers perform on the streets. Some of the arts and crafts vendors provide free art activities, including face painting for children.

6. Chihuahuan Desert Gardens

Southwestern style building in the desert.
Source: Flickr/Bill Herndon

Located beside the Centennial Museum on the University of Texas at El Paso campus, the Chihuahuan Desert Gardens highlight over 600 species of desert flora. Artistically arranged in themed sections, the gardens demonstrate the efficacy of desert plants for landscaping. They include an arroyo garden, a desert shrub garden, a terrace garden, a sand garden, and a water garden. After you explore the diverse and lovely gardens, check out the Centennial Museum, which features exhibits on the geology, ecology, archeology, and cultures of the southwestern United States and Mexico.

7. Magoffin Home State Historic Site

Vintage style room in a house.
Source: Flickr/Visit El Paso

The Magoffin Home State Historic Site offers a fascinating look at a multigenerational pioneer dwelling built in 1875. The main building, which features thick adobe walls to help prevent extremes of temperature, has 19 rooms and eight fireplaces. Much of the original furniture, such as a massive grand piano, is still intact and on display. The site provides a graphic reminder of the first Texas settlers, trade along the Santa Fe Trail, the Civil War era, and the often abrasive relationship between the United States and Mexico.

8. Chamizal National Memorial

Memorial sign on the grass.
Source: Flickr/Jasperdo

The Chamizal National Memorial, which lies alongside the Mexican border in south El Paso, commemorates the peaceful settlement of a border dispute with Mexico, which began in 1899 and was not resolved until 1964. The Chamizal National Memorial Cultural Center has exhibits that highlight the history of the conflict and a gallery featuring the works of regional artists. Trails in the park offer opportunities for walking, jogging, and cycling. The park also has pleasant covered picnic tables and barbecue grills.

9. El Paso Municipal Rose Garden

Small rose bushes planted outdoors.
Source: Flickr/Amy the Nurse

The lovely El Paso Municipal Rose Garden sits in the center of the city at the northern edge of Memorial Park. Along the garden’s pleasant walkways are over 1,500 bushes with almost 500 varieties of roses carefully selected for their ability to adapt to El Paso’s climatic conditions. Take a stroll through this magnificent oasis, and inhale the aromatic fragrance of the flowers. Benches placed throughout the garden give you the opportunity to have a snack or a drink while you absorb the stunning beauty around you.

 
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