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Overview

The largest population on any international border in the world, the El Paso-Juárez metroplex is home to about four million people, three-quarters of them in Mexico. Built around the Franklin Mountains and named for El Paso del Norte ("the pass to the north"), this is also one of the most historic cities in North America, as the area has been inhabited by native peoples for some 10,000 years and served as a crossing point for Spanish explorers since the 16th century. (Local historians argue that El Paso was actually the site of the first true Thanksgiving in 1598.)

Modern El Paso is a hub for manufacturing and ...

The largest population on any international border in the world, the El Paso-Juárez metroplex is home to about four million people, three-quarters of them in Mexico. Built around the Franklin Mountains and named for El Paso del Norte ("the pass to the north"), this is also one of the most historic cities in North America, as the area has been inhabited by native peoples for some 10,000 years and served as a crossing point for Spanish explorers since the 16th century. (Local historians argue that El Paso was actually the site of the first true Thanksgiving in 1598.)

Modern El Paso is a hub for manufacturing and international trade, with a bustling downtown and a fertile contemporary arts scene. The opposite end of the Southwestern spectrum from the glitz of Santa Fe, this is a big, urban, gritty town with plenty of interesting nooks and crannies, if you bother to take the time to find them. Also in the area: casinos just across the other border in Sunland Park, New Mexico; the bouldering mecca of the Hueco Tanks, located 30 miles northeast; and dipping into town, Franklin Mountains State Park.

Eric Peterson
About the Expert

Eric Peterson has written and contributed to numerous Frommer’s guidebooks covering the American West, including Montana & Wyoming, Yellowstone & Grand Teton National Parks, and Texas.

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Eric Peterson for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Spring and fall are best seasons to visit El Paso. Summers can be quite hot and dry.