|City of El Paso|
From upper left: downtown El Paso skyline, star on the Franklin Mountains, The Cathedral of Saint Patrick, Wyler Aerial Tramway, North Franklin Peak, downtown El Paso at night
|Nickname(s): The Sun City, El Chuco|
Location in El Paso County and the state of Texas
El Paso is the county seat of El Paso County, Texas, United States, and lies in far West Texas. As of July 1, 2013, the population estimate from the U.S. Census was 674,433, making it the 19th most populous city in the United States. Its U.S. metropolitan areacovers all of El Paso and Hudspeth counties, with a population of 831,036.The El Paso MSA forms part of the larger El Paso–Las Cruces CSA, with a population of 1,044,496.
El Paso stands on the Rio Grande (Río Bravo del Norte), across the borderfrom Juárez, Chihuahua, Mexico. The two cities, along with Las Cruces, form a combined international metropolitan area, sometimes referred as the Paso del Norte or El Paso–Juárez–Las Cruces, with over 2.7 million people. The El Paso-Juárez region is the largest bilingual, binational work force in the Western Hemisphere.
In 1659, Fray Garcia de San Francisco, established Our Lady of GuadalupeMission of El Paso del Norte. Around this mission, the village of El Paso del Norte grew into what is now the El Paso–Juárez region. El Paso has been ranked the safest large city in the U.S. for four consecutive years and ranked in the top three since 1997.The city is the headquarters of oneFortune 500 and three publicly traded companies, as well as home to theMedical Center of the Americas, the only medical research and care provider complex in West Texas and southern New Mexico, and theUniversity of Texas at El Paso, the city's primary university. The city hosts the annual Sun Bowl, the second oldest bowl game in the country. In 2010, El Paso received an All-America City Award.
El Paso has a strong federal and military presence. William Beaumont Army Medical Center, Biggs Army Airfield and Fort Bliss call the city home. Fort Bliss is one of the largest military complexes of the United States Army and the largest training area in the United States. Also headquartered in El Paso are the DEA domestic field division 7, El Paso Intelligence Center,Joint Task Force North, U.S. Border Patrol El Paso Sector and U.S. Border Patrol Special Operations Group (SOG).
El Paso has a diversified economy focused primarily within international trade, military, government civil service, oil and gas, health care, tourism and service sectors. The El Paso metro area had a GDP of $29 billion in 2011. There were also $92 billion worth of trade in 2012. Over the past 15 years the city has become a significant location for American-based call centers. Cotton, fruit, vegetables, and livestock are also produced in the area. El Paso has added a significant manufacturing sector with items and goods produced that include petroleum, metals, medical devices, plastics, machinery, defense-related goods and automotive parts. The city is the second busiest international crossing point in the U.S behindSan Diego.
El Paso is home to one Fortune 500 company in Western Refining, which is listed on the New York Stock Exchange. This makes the city one of six Texas metro areas to have at least one Fortune 500 company call it home; the others being Houston,Dallas-Fort Worth, San Antonio, Austin and Corpus Christi.The city has three other publicly traded companies in Helen of Troy Limited, a NASDAQ-listed company that manufactures personal health care products under many labels, such as OXO,Dr. Scholl's, Vidal Sassoon, Pert Plus, Brut and Sunbeam, among others. The third publicly traded company is El Paso Electric listed on the New York Stock Exchange, a public utility engaging in the generation, transmission, and distribution of electricity in west Texas and southern New Mexico. The fourth publicly traded company isWestern Refining Logistics also traded in the New York Stock Exchange. It is a Western Refining subsidiary which owns, operates, develops, and acquires terminals, storage tanks, pipelines, and other logistics assets.
More than 70 Fortune 500 companies have offices in El Paso, including AT&T,ADP, Boeing, Charles Schwab, Delphi, dish network, Eureka, Hoover, Raytheon,State Farm and USAA. Hispanic Business Magazine included 28 El Paso companies in its recently released list of the 500 largest Hispanic owned businesses in the United States. El Paso's 28 companies are second only to Miami's 57. The list of largest Hispanic owned businesses include companies likeFred Loya Insurance, Dos Lunas Spirits, Dynatec Labs, Spira Footwear and El Taco Tote. El Paso was home to El Paso Corporation formerly known as El Paso Natural Gas Company.
The city also has a large military presence with Fort Bliss, William Beaumont Army Medical Center and Biggs Army Airfield. The defense industry in El Paso employs over 37,000 and provides a $6 billion annual impact to the city's economy. Fort Bliss was chosen as the newly configured U.S. Air ForceSecurity Forces Regional Training Center which will bring 8,000 to 10,000 Air Force personnel annually.
In addition to the military, the federal government has a strong presence in El Paso to manage its status and unique issues as an important border region. Operations headquartered in El Paso include the DEA domestic field division 7, El Paso Intelligence Center, Joint Task Force North, U.S. Border Patrol El Paso Sector andU.S. Border Patrol Special Operations Group (SOG).
Call center operations make up seven of the top 10 business employers in El Paso. With no signs of growth slowing in this industry, in 2005, the 14 largest call centers in El Paso employed more than 10,000 people. Automatic Data Processing has a business solutions center in West El Paso, employing about 1,100 people with expansion plans to reach 2,200 by 2020.
Tourism is another major industry in El Paso, bringing in $1.5 billion-a-year and over 2.3 million visitors annually due to the city's sunny weather, natural beauty, rich cultural history and many outdoor attractions.
Education is also a driving force in El Paso's economy. El Paso's three large school districts are among the largest employers in the area, employing more than 20,000 people among them. UTEP has an annual budget of nearly $418 million and employs nearly 4,800 people. A 2010 study by the university's Institute for Policy and Economic Development stated the University's impact on local businesses is $417 million annually.
Amigo Airsho is one of El Paso's premier events, and is ranked as one of the top ten air shows in the country. The show is filled with air entertainment and ground activities. Acts include the Franklin's Flying Circus, where performers walk on the wings of an airborne plane. Ground activities include the Jet Powered School Bus. After 31 years of being held at Biggs Army Airfield, the show will move to Dona Ana Airport in 2014.
The KLAQ Great River Raft Race is an annual event celebrated on the second to last Saturday of June. Participants are encouraged to ride the river and float the Rio Grande with family and friends. The organizers encourage the building of unique rafts that will get you down the river with prizes and trophies awarded for the most points earned, best looking crew, and best decorated raft. The race starts at the Vinton bridge and ends three miles downstream at the Canutillo bridge.
The Southwestern International PRCA Rodeo is the 17th oldest rodeo in the nation and El Paso's longest running sporting event. Consistently ranked as one of the top 50 shows in the country by the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association, this charitable event is a true celebration of western culture and heritage.
Fiesta de las Flores is the oldest Hispanic Festival in the Southwest. The three-day Fiesta is held each year during the Labor Day weekend and emphasizes El Paso's Hispanic heritage and culture. The festival attracts 20,000 to 30,000 visitors from El Paso County, New Mexico, West Texas and the State of Chihuahua, Mexico. Activities included in the Fiesta are crowning of the Queen, a Fiesta Parade, Senior Appreciation Dance, Military Appreciation Day, and live Entertainment. The Fiesta is also well known for the authentic regional cuisine, arts and craft wares, games, and services available for the enjoyment of all segments of the attendees. Over 80 booths, sponsored by local vendors and nonprofit organizations create the Hispanic ambience and culture.
The annual Neon Desert Music Festival is a two-day event usually held on the last Saturday and Sunday of May on five stages in downtown El Paso stretching from San Jacinto Plaza to Cleveland Square. The festival brings over 30 acts from the worlds of indie rock, Latin and electronic dance music.
The Texas Showdown Festival is an annual event celebrating musicians and tattoo artists under one roof. Dubbed as the world's largest tattoo and musical festival, the event is held usually the last weekend of July at the El Paso County Coliseum.
The only El Paso musical festival not held downtown; instead it is held at Ascarate Park. The Sun City Music Festival is a two-day event dubbed as the largest electronic dance music festival in Texas.
The Plaza Classic Film Festival is the world's largest festival dedicated to classic cinema. All classic films are shown at the El Paso Plaza Theater during the first week of August.
The KLAQ Balloonfest is an annual event celebrated on Memorial Day weekend and is self described as "3 days of hot air balloons filling the El Paso skies, 3 afternoons of concerts and fun in the sun at Wet N' Wild Waterworld in Anthony, Texas." Over 60 balloons take to the air annually from TFCU launch field which is adjacent to the water park. After the balloons launch, visitors have a weekend of water rides, swimming, concerts, and grilling. The concert aspect of the event features local bands, starting at noon, and different headlining artists in the afternoon.Overnight camping has been added for 2014.
The annual El Paso Downtown Street Festival is held during the last weekend of June in downtown El Paso near the El Paso Convention center. It is the oldest musical festival in the city and brings local, regional and nationally known acts.
The outdoor concert series, started in 1983, is held annually at the Chamizal National Memorial and draws over 60,000 attendees. It features local and international performers with musical genres ranging from Classical, Country, Tejano, rock and others. The evening concerts are showcased every Sunday afternoon and start in early June and end in the middle of August.
A free summer concert series which takes place outdoors at the McKelligon Canyon Amphitheater on Thursday nights May–July.
A free concert series at the downtown Convention Center Plaza featuring Jazz, Latin, Reggae, Classic Rock, Salsa, Funk, and Mariachis on Fridays May–September.
The Abraham Chavez Theatre, adjacent to the El Paso Convention and Performing Arts Center, welcomes patrons with a three-story-high glass-windowed entry and unique sombrero-shaped architecture, making it a distinct feature on El Paso's southwestern landscape.
The Plaza Theatre is a historic building located at 125 Pioneer Plaza. The theater stands as one of the city's most well-known landmarks. It shows various Broadway productions, musical concerts, and individual performers. It has a seating capacity of 2,100.
McKelligon Canyon is a 90-acre (360,000 m2) park, located in the Franklin Mountains, open to hikers and picnickers. In the canyon, McKelligon Canyon Amphitheatre is surrounded on three sides by dramatic canyon walls; the 1,500-seat amphitheatre is used for concerts and special events, such as Viva El Paso! El Paso Playhouse is a theater affiliated with Kids-N-Co, a theater for child actors. The UTEP Dinner Theatre is a theatre within the UTEPcampus.
The Centennial Museum and Chihuahuan Desert Gardens, located on the grounds of UTEP, includes a comprehensive collection of El Paso Brown, Native American pottery, as well as educational exhibits for students.
The El Paso Museum of Archaeology is located on the eastern slope of North Franklin Mountain, west of Gateway South Blvd. on TransMountain Rd. Its grounds include native plants of the American Southwest, as well samples of Native American shelters, in an unspoiled location. The museum includes dioramas for school children which illustrate the culture and geology of the American Southwest, such as Hueco Tanks in El Paso County. One diorama (see image to the right) is of the Cueva de la Olla (cave of the pot) which is located in the Sierra Madre ofChihuahua, an example of the Paquimé culture.
Other area museums include:
Within driving distance from El Paso are nine state parks, two national parks, two national monuments, one national memorial and a national forest.
El Paso is home to the Sun Bowl, the second oldest consecutive college football contest (after the Rose Bowl). It played its first game in 1937, and is now known as the Hyundai Sun Bowl.
On September 18, 2012, the city council voted to approve the demolition of the current city hall to make way for Southwest University Park, to be the new home of the El Paso Chihuahuas Triple-A team (San Diego Padres affiliate) beginning with the 2014 season. The team was recently purchased by Mountainstar Sports Group of El Paso.
The El Paso Marathon takes place annually since 2007.
|El Paso Chihuahuas||Baseball||AAA PCL||Southwest University Park||9,500|
|El Paso Patriots||Soccer||TBD||Patriot Stadium||3,000|
|El Paso Rhinos||Ice hockey||WSHL||Sierra Providence Event Center||5,250|
|UTEP Miners football||NCAA Division I FBS Football||Conference USA||Sun Bowl Stadium||51,500|
|UTEP Basketball men||NCAA Division I Basketball||Conference USA||Don Haskins Center||12,000|
|UTEP Basketball women||NCAA Division I Basketball||Conference USA||Memorial Gym||5,000|
|UTEP Softball||NCAA Division I Softball||Conference USA||Helen of Troy Field||607|
|UTEP Track and Field||NCAA Division I Track and Field||Conference USA||Kidd Field||15,000|
|UTEP Women's soccer||NCAA Division I soccer||Conference USA||University Field||500|
|EPCC Baseball||NJCAA Division I Baseball||WJCAC||EPCC Baseball Field||520
El Paso is home to the largest urban park in the nation. The Franklin Mountains State Park, with its over 24,248 acres, is completely located within the city limits. The park is open for year-round recreation including hiking, mountain biking, picnicking, scenic driving and vistas. The city is also home to 242 municipal parks.
The Wyler Aerial Tramway is operated by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Departmentand is located in the Franklin Mountains State Park. The tramway complex covers 196 acres (0.79 km2) on the east side of the Franklin Mountains. The gondolas travel along two 2600 foot 1 3/8" diameter steel cables to Ranger Peak, 5,632 feet (1,717 m) above sea level. The trip takes about four minutes and lifts riders up 940 vertical feet above the boarding area.
Hueco Tanks State Historic Site is a Texas historic site in the Hueco Tanks area, approximately 32 miles (51 km) northeast of El Paso. The park is popular for recreation such as birding and bouldering, and is culturally and spiritually significant to many Native Americans. This significance is partially manifested in thepictographs (rock paintings) that can be found throughout the region, many of which are thousands of years old. Also within the city limits the Chamizal National Memorial is a 54.90-acre (22.22 ha) memorial park that serves primarily as a cultural center and contains art galleries, a theater, and an amphitheatre. A museum, which details the history of the U.S.–Mexico border, is located inside the visitor center.
The metro area has 16 golf courses including Butterfield Trail Golf Club, the only public premium daily fee Tom Faziodesigned golf course in the state of Texas. It was ranked No. 1 in Texas and No. 3 in the Nation on Golfweek Magazine's 2013 Best Municipal Golf Courses.Other golf courses found in the county include:
Next door in Dona Ana County there are the following golf courses:
The El Paso Public Library serves the needs of the public in El Paso, Southern New Mexico, and Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. It consists of 13 branches and one bookmobile service. It also has multiple outreach services available, including a homebound service. Livability.com ranked El Paso's libraries as the 6th best library for kids in the US.