Several of the city's top destinations lie within an easy walk of the border.
By Ashley M. Biggers
El Paso and Ciudad Juárez are woven together geographically, culturally, and commercially. Juárez is home to 1.3 million people, which brings the binational region's population to 2.7 million. It represents the second largest metropolitan area on the U.S./Mexico border and the 26th-largest trading center in the United States. Thousands of people on both sides of the border cross daily for work, school, or business meetings. Tastes of Juárez's history, culture, and cuisine lie within an easy two-and-a-half-mile walk of the Stanton Street Port of Entry.
Start at the Sala de Arte Tin-Tan. The gallery chronicles the life and career of Mexican radio and movie star Germán Gómez-Valdés Castillo, aka Tin-Tan (1915–1973). With around 100 film and TV credits, he was a celebrity during the Golden Age of film, beginning in 1949 and became famous for popularizing the pachuco style of dress that emerged in Los Angeles. (One of El Paso's nicknames, "Chuco Town," comes from this history). Follow Avenida Benito Juárez past the now shuttered clubs where the likes of Glen Miller played during the 1940s, toward El Museo de la Revolucion en La Frontera (Museum of the Revolution in the Border). Housed in an ornate 122-year-old customs building, it tells the story of the 1910–1920 Mexican Revolution and its impact on immigration, politics, and journalism. Although most of the text is in Spanish, artifacts, photographs, and displays provide vivid illustrations of the conflict.
Next, head down Calle 16 Septiembre to the Ciudad Juárez Cathedral. The European-style cathedral is devoted to Our Lady of Guadalupe and was completed in 1957 — relatively recently compared to the much daintier Franciscan mission adjacent to it. The Franciscans founded that mission in 1659, and the well-preserved chapel still bears many original details such as intricately carved beams. Just behind the Mission, you can observe the Presidencia Vieja and Museo de la Antigua Residencia Municipal (Museum of Old City Hall), both long-used government buildings. You'll spot several mercados (colorful shopping halls) for souvenirs along the way.
Kentucky Club & Grill.
Retracing your steps back toward the border crossing, stop in the world-famous Kentucky Bar & Grill. According to local lore, this is where the margarita was born. Even if the legend isn't true, the bar serves a great version of it as well as a savory enchilada plate.