Interesting place. Our first stop in Texas, so we got to add a new sticker to our map.
El Paso, population 680,000, is supposedly ranked as the safest large city in the United States, while just across the Rio Grande sits Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, which in 2010 was ranked as the most violent city in the world. Needless to say, we didn’t go for a visit to Juarez.
We decided to stop in El Paso as a detour on our way to White Sands since there’s a cheap RV park there at Fort Bliss and we thought it would be a good place to stop for a week.
Come to find out, El Paso is the boot capital of the world. (Yes, this means cowboy boots…this is Texas after all.) So a visit to El Paso wouldn’t be complete without a trip to a boot store to try on some boots. We found one that had rows and rows and rows and rows of boots in every size and color imaginable.
El Paso Mexican Food
We love good Mexican food and were excited to try some of the offerings in this very bi-cultural city that sits right on the Mexican border. We ended up trying three different places while we were there and discovered how different Mexican food can be in different regions.
We’re used to Mexican food from the Southern California/Tijuana region that gave birth to the Carne Asada and California burritos served in Roberto’s/Alberto’s/Eriberto’s/Gilberto’s/Beto’s and other -eto’s style restaurants found all over California and spreading through the Rockies.
We went to El Paso expecting to find similar types of burritos, but instead found something quite different. All the burritos we tried in the area were messier, wetter, full of sauce and moist meat and all were delicious. We noticed they tended to add refried beans in El Paso burritos, something not usually done in the SoCal style.
Then there was Chico’s Tacos, a staple of El Paso, with their famous rolled tacos. Not just your everyday rolled tacos, these were served covered in shredded cheddar and smothered in a tomato-based soupy sauce. It was some good eatin’.
Chamizal National MemorialOf course, we had to visit the Chamizal National Memorial so the kids could earn a Jr Ranger badge and learn all about the border disputes between the U.S. and Mexico.
This memorial commemorates the finalizing of the border by President LBJ in the 60s. The area near the Rio Grande had been contested for over 100 years because the river would move and wander over the years.
The kids enjoyed this visit more than I thought they would. One big highlight was when they got to help the ranger raise the U.S and Mexican flags (we got there early in the morning).
Fort Bliss Museum
We got in a little more history at the Fort Bliss Museum where we saw all kinds of tanks and other vehicles and learned all about the history of this Army post and the surrounding area.
It was very kid-friendly with several things they could touch and play with. A good free stop to learn a little more about some stuff.