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Introducing El Paso

Well, you've made it. You're just about as far west in Texas as you can go. Surrounded mostly by New Mexico to the north and Mexico to the south, El Paso is wedged between the two like a splinter. In fact, at times the city seems to have more in common with its non-Texas neighbors than it does with Texas itself.

Sadly, El Paso and its sister city – Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, which is right across the river – have had a bit of a falling out. At one time, the two cities were inextricably linked, with tourists streaming back and forth across the Good Neighbor International Bridge all day long. But with the rise in gang- and drug-related violence, Juárez has become so dangerous that there is now little traffic between the two sides.

Even with Mexico out of the equation, there's still plenty to do. Outdoorsy types can enjoy cycling in the largest urban park in the US, with over 24,000 acres to explore, and the warm weather makes nearby Hueco Tanks an ideal destination for wintertime rock climbing. Or you can go the culture route and enjoy some of El Paso's excellent museums, most of which are free. Ride the gondola to a mountain peak, buy handcrafted boots and, by all means, eat some of the city's famous red enchiladas.