El Paso, Texas, is a city of 681,124 (2015 U.S. Census estimate) on the Rio Grande River in the westernmost corner of the state, where Texas touches New Mexico and Mexico. The combined metro area—El Paso; Las Cruces, New Mexico; and Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, Mexico— comprises over 2.7 million people. El Paso is the county seat of El Paso County.
El Paso History
In the 1500s, Spaniards traveling north to the Rio Grande River named the passage between two mountain ranges “El Paso del Norte” (the pass of the north). This area would eventually become the site of El Paso, on the northern bank of the river, and Ciudad Juárez, on the southern bank.
El Paso Weather
El Paso’s climate is transitional between hot and cold desert. Summer’s heat is dry, and winters are mild and dry. Average high temperatures range from 57°F in December to 96°F in June. Average low temperatures range from 33°F in December and January to 71°F in July. The city sees just under ten inches of rainfall annually and 7 inches of snow.
El Paso Transportation
Sun Metro provides public transportation in El Paso with fixed route buses and LIFT vehicles for disabled passengers. Air travelers come and go via El Paso International Airport, located six miles east of downtown. The major east-west artery is I-10, which connects El Paso to Albuquerque, New Mexico (300 miles to the north) and San Antonio, Texas (550 miles to the southeast). On average, people spend about 22 minutes traveling to or from work.
El Paso Cost of Living
A dollar goes a little further in El Paso. According to Sperling’s Best Places, the cost of living index is 84.40 (100 is average for U.S. cities). Comparatively, you’ll save most on housing, followed by utilities. The per capita income is $19,262 and the median family income is $45,800 (2014 estimates). The effective sales tax rate is 8.25 percent. Use the links below to gauge your salary’s buying power in El Paso.
El Paso Schools
El Paso is served by four public, independent school districts; by several private, religiously affiliated schools (Christian, Catholic, Jewish); and by Montessori schools. All told, there are nearly 300 institutions educating students from pre-K through grade 12. El Paso is also home to excellent schools for higher education, such as University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) and Paul L Foster School of Medicine at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center.
El Paso Hospitals
An online search finds 17 hospitals in or near El Paso, although none have nationally ranked specialities. Las Palmas Medical Center and Hospitals of Providence Memorial Campus are two of the larger ones. The University Medical Center is a teaching hospital affiliated with the Paul L. Foster School of Medicine.
El Paso Real Estate
The 2010 U.S. Census found 227,605 housing units in El Paso, with an owner-occupied rate of 59.3 percent. The median value of owner-occupied homes is $117,800, and homeowners with a mortgage pay median monthly owner costs of $1,159. The median monthly gross rent is $747. Among 55 neighborhoods in El Paso, Area Vibes ranks Mission Hills as the most desirable.
El Paso Hotels
El Paso offers an abundance of two- and three-star properties for your stay. The Hilton Garden Inn is a good choice if you visit UTEP and just a 15-minute stroll from Sun Bowl Stadium. The Camino Real El Paso downtown dates back to 1912; it’s located just a block from the Williams Convention Center and right across the street from the El Paso Museum of Art.
El Paso Restaurants
Many say El Paso is the “Tex-Mex Capital of the World.” See for yourself with a visit to L&J Cafe where they’ve been serving local and regional favorites for four generations. (You’ll probably want to get some salsa to take home with you.) If you’re craving a craft beer, or if you like a smooth cigar after dinner, check out The Hoppy Monk. It features an eclectic menu with rabbit tacos, hormone-free burgers, and Trappist mushrooms.
El Paso Things to Do
El Paso offers a nice variety of diversions. There’s hiking, biking, and rock climbing at Franklin Mountains and at Hueco Tanks State Park & Historic Site. Younger family members will enjoy a day at the El Paso Zoo, with 35 acres of exotic animals and outdoor attractions. Grownups will like the choices for cultural outings, including the El Paso Symphony and museums for archeology, art, and history.