15 Oct Why Downtown El Paso, TX is the Perfect Place to Live
El Paso, Texas is a city on the rise — figuratively and literally. Its population is pushing a million, there are over 70 Fortune 500 companies based in the metro area, additional construction projects have been approved in recent months, the city has invested $97 million in the El Paso Streetcar Project, and the area’s healthcare sector (a field growing in profitable and importance in recent years) remains strong and innovative.
But what’s attractive about El Paso isn’t just its booming economic growth, some pie charts, and colorful data; what’s attractive about El Paso and what makes it such a perfect place to live is its lively, interactive culture derived from the city’s roots as an agricultural post.
Reflecting the desert landscape
Though El Paso isn’t first on the list of must-see art destinations, it is not for a lack of beauty and uniqueness. While there are top hit exhibits like the El Paso Museum of Art and the Stanlee and Gerald Rubin Center for the Visual Arts, El Paso’s smaller galleries and pop-ups like the Amado Peña Galley and the Purple Pop-Up Gallery offer art lovers the opportunity to see new talent emerge and marry traditional, contemporary and philosophically-driven works. Even the larger places, like the Museum of Art, see the value of local artwork and seek to promote it within their collection.
The city’s government also knows the value that the art community provides. The Museum and Cultural Affairs Division, which implements public art and performing arts programs throughout the city, has a newsletter for those interested in staying current on upcoming events. They also help identify opportunities for artists to receive funding, share their work, or help volunteer.
You don’t have to stay inside to appreciate art here either. El Paso has regularly hosted the Borderland Jam graffiti festival, most recently in October 2017. They’ve also had Chalk the Block, a three-day public arts festival that brings over 38,000 people to the city every year. Just this year, they celebrated their 10th anniversary, inviting over 200 international and local artists to create temporary art installations, host a sidewalk chalk art competition, perform live music and dance, and sell art.
Locally grown, nationally loved
With its rich soils, attractive climate, and heavy Mexican influence, it’s unsurprising that there’s a strong local and well-spiced food scene at work in El Paso. As with most cities undergoing a transformation, there’s a pull between traditional, no-frills foods and the more eccentric, trendy dishes. For example, you could try a generational landmark like Los Bandidos De Carlos & Mickey’s, which has survived decades by cooking consistently quality Mexican dishes and serving El Paso’s “Best Margarita.”
Or you could try a place like Chico’s Tacos, a local chain which serves their signature Chico taco, which is essentially an incredibly mouthwatering deep-fried taco.
Of course, there’s no entering or leaving El Paso without finding a food truck that sells chillindras, a street food that’s as difficult to describe as it is delicious.
And though it seems unlikely, there are quite a number of good wineries in El Paso, particularly for fans of zinfandels, including the Zin Valle Vineyards and La Viña Winery, which both reside on the scenic Don Juan de Oñate Trail, a historic roadway that’s existed for centuries. You might not be able to waft the trail’s history as you ride along it, but you won’t be able to miss the scent of pecans and chili peppers.
A marriage of musical talents
Without a doubt, you’ll see some eccentric talent throughout your time in El Paso. That eccentricity doesn’t cut off before the music starts. Much of experiencing the local band scene involves popular nightlife spots, but there are a few dedicated music venues like Tricky Falls, which invites a wide-range of musical talents to grace the stage.
If you think because El Paso’s a desert city, there won’t be any big, outdoor festivals, then think again. Not only is El Paso host to the Neon Desert Music Festival, but they’re also party to the Sun City Music Festival, a multi-day electronic-dance festival.
Art, food, and music
Though often thought of as niche and insignificant to the wider metropolitan area — have genuinely defined the culture of El Paso, by underpinning the local economy, offering insight into area politics, and general relationships in the city. It’s easy to see big and growing cities like El Paso as duplications of larger metropolitan models like New York or Chicago because of the influx of franchises, but the residents continue to assert the southwestern, El Paso-feel to new buildings and newcomers. If you doubt that at all, give a listen to one of the local podcasts like Not Just an El Paso Show or Stay Tuned El Paso for a bit of local flavoring of topics like news, events, and culture.
Interested in experiencing El Paso yourself?
Check out all the things to do in El Paso, from adventure courses and attractions to restaurants and bars. Whether you’re coming down from the nation’s north or you’re migrating from another part of the state, you’ll enjoy the city’s vibrancy and never run out of places to go or things to discover.
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