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El Paso

Long considered a sleepy western backwater, El Paso used to just mosey along, keeping its head low while its notorious Mexican neighbour Ciudad Juárez grabbed the headlines. But no more; El Paso has been making its own headlines. Successive runs for the US Senate and Presidency by former local Congressman Beto O’Rourke, and repeated visits by President Trump promoting his border policies, have brought national attention. A construction boom – and we don't just mean the Wall – has given downtown El Paso a facelift, and it can now boast a fist-full of new high-rise hotels, a restored streetcar line, the Chihuahuas baseball team and even its very own crop of microbreweries.

Outdoorsy types have it made, thanks to wonderful cycling and hiking in Franklin Mountains State Park. Prefer the indoors? El Paso's top museums are free. Best of all is the local hospitality, which gives the city a welcoming small-town feel.

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Top attractions

These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout El Paso.