Photo courtesy Texas Historical Commission
A Trip Through Time
This border city wears its history on its sleeve. The Spanish first arrived in the area in 1581, and ever since, El Paso has paid homage to its unique roots, from early indigenous settlements to military fortresses and monuments.
El Paso Museum of History
The city's history comes to life even before stepping inside the museum on Digie, a 3D digital touchscreen with more than 6,000 photos, films, and texts that tell the borderland's patchwork history. Inside, the interactive museum showcases similar techno-centric exhibitions dedicated to indigenous culture and the city's role in the Mexican revolution.
Chamizal National Memorial
This national memorial honors the peaceful resolution of a treaty a hundred years in the making: The 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo established the Rio Grande as the United States–Mexico border, but when the river channel changed course, the border's location became muddled — stranding the Chamizal citizens on a strip of land whose country was unclear. The Chamizal Treaty was signed in 1963, and now that strip of land is an expansive urban park, which hosts outdoor concerts like Music Under the Stars, and an indoor 500-seat performance venue.
Photo courtesy Getty Images: ZRF Photo
Concordia Cemetery and Buffalo Soldier Memorial
In use since the 1880s, Concordia has become a city time capsule. Mavericks of the Wild West (like gunfighter John Wesley Hardin), Texas Rangers, Civil War veterans, early Mormon pioneers, and Buffalo Soldiers are all buried here. The latter are honored with a dedicated memorial. Plan ahead for ghost tours and gunfight re-enactments.
War Eagles Air Museum
Military buffs wing their way to this hangar dedicated to restoring World War II and Korean conflict–era aircraft. The displays pay tribute not only to the airplanes but also their pilots and crews.
In 1849, Fort Bliss was an isolated frontier military post. Since then it has served as the command center for the capture of Mexican revolutionary Pancho Villa and as a World War II training facility. Today, the 1.1 million-acre base is the second-largest military installation of the U.S. Army. That notable history shines in a handful of museums, including the Old Fort Bliss Museum, where visitors wander through mid-1800s replicas of the original adobe fort buildings. Anti-aircraft guns are the marquee attractions at the Air Defense Artillery Museum, while airplanes draw focus at the Fort Bliss Museum and Study Center.
Did You Know?
El Paso is home to the El Paso Holocaust Museum and Study Center, the only bilingual Holocaust museum in the United States, and the National Border Patrol Museum, which chronicles the history of border patrol in the United States from the Old West to today.
Viva! El Paso
The region's history lives on in drama, dance, and song against the backdrop of McKelligon Canyon in this vibrant musical extravaganza featuring 50-plus performers, four centuries, and four cultures. Shows run June through August.