big bend 2El Paso Convention & Visitors Bureau

Experience Hispanic Culture, Natural Wonders & Frontier History In Big Bend Country

Getting away from it all isn’t much of a challenge in Big Bend Country. After all, this region is all about ruggedly beautiful mountains, wide valleys and expansive plains stretching as far as the eye can see.

Set among some of the most breathtaking desert scenery, El Paso is made up of a variety of nationalities, and its cultural influences range from Native American to Spanish and Mexican.

This is reflected in the cuisine, and El Paso is the Mexican food capital of the U.S. and – most importantly – the birthplace of the margarita! midlandTexas DoT/Kevin Stillman

Located half way between Fort Worth and El Paso, Midland is a warm and inviting city that was originally established in the late-1800s as a water stop for the railroad. Farming and ranching were the main sources of income until the discovery of oil in the 1920s, when the area became the headquarters for a vast petroleum industry.

Also established in the late-1800s as a water stop for the railroad, Odessa nestles in the heart of west Texas, midway between Dallas and El Paso. Also a big player in the oil and gas industries, Odessa celebrates its Wild West flair at the SandHills Stock Show and the Fiesta West Texas and Firecracker Fandango events.

el paso sculptureTexas DoT/Kenny Braun

Art & Culture

El Paso is simply awash with art and culture. Check out the Museum of Art, which hosts a permanent collection of more than 6,000 works of art, or the Downtown Art Market near Union Depot, which takes place every Saturday morning. You can even mosey on down to the monthly ‘Last Thursday Art Walk’.

In Midland the ArtiZen Outlet is a great centre for creative inspiration, workshops and events. It’s a great spot to pick up some original artwork to take back home, too. You can also witness some magical ‘Ballet Folklorico’ and mariachi competitions at the Hispanic Cultural Center of Midland.big bend 3Odessa Convention & Visitors Bureau

But the most unique – and unexpected – cultural outlet in Big Bend Country has to be the ‘Globe of the Great Southwest’ in Odessa. This theatre has been built in the style of Shakespeare’s original Globe Theatre, allowing you to experience the Bard in Big Bend. You’ll also find a replica of Anne Hathaway's cottage and a Shakespearean library on the site.hueco tanksEl Paso Convention & Visitors Bureau

Family Fun

Don’t worry, the kids are well-catered to in Big Bend Country. They’re sure to love the zoo in El Paso and they’ll adore exploring the caves at Carlsbad Caverns National Park. 

Alternately, Hueco Tanks State Historic Site is known for its unique geology and its many American Indian rock paintings. Pictograph tours are offered, as well as hiking, picnicking, climbing and camping opportunities.

In Midland they can ‘pilot’ a vintage aircraft at the CAF Airpower Museum, go bird-watching at the I-20 Wildlife Preserve, do some star-gazing at the Marian Blakemore Planetarium or rent giant Frisbees and go sliding down the sandhills at Monahans Sandhills State Park. How much fun is that?

Fort Davis National Historic Site is one of the best remaining examples of a frontier military post in the American Southwest. From 1854 to 1891 troops posted there protected emigrants, freighters, mail coaches and travellers on the San Antonio-El Paso Road on the way to the California gold fields. Today the whole family can relive the frontier days through restored buildings and interpretive and historical displays. Kids can even become a ranger for the day.

Dining & Nightlife

In El Paso’s Cincinnati District, check out the modern American menu at Crave Kitchen & Bar, or head to the trendy Kern Place District to sample the city’s hottest martini grill, G2.

In Midland, don’t miss the famous onion rings at Clear Springs Cafe. You can also soak up the sleek, upscale atmosphere at the Blue Door cocktail bar, or savour a cigar in Cigar Frogs Piano Bar’s well-ventilated lounge.

Must-Do

For two weeks every August, The El Paso Community Foundation hosts the Plaza Classic Film Festival. This ever-growing event showcases more than 80 feature films, 20 shorts, film talks and special screenings with appearances by acting greats. Previous guests include Al Pacino, Debbie Reynolds and Tippi Hedren.marfaTexas DOT

The X Factor

Paranormal phenomena or atmospheric reflections? The Marfa Lights were first reported by early settlers in 1883, and these mysterious lights still defy explanation. The Marfa Mystery Lights Viewing Centre features exhibitions about local flora and fauna and a viewing deck. Bring an open mind.

Big Bend Country: What’s On?

Sun City Craft Beer Festival, September 28

Oktoberfest, September 28

Permian Basin Intertribal Powwow, September 28 & 29

Donkey Daze, September 28 & 29

Celebration of our Mountains, Throughout October

Smoke in the Mountains Cook-Off, October 4 & 5

Haley Library Fall Gathering, October 5

Chalk the Block, October 11 to 15

Breast Cancer Awareness Chilli and Barbecue Cook-Off, October 12

CAF ‘Airsho’, October 12

‘Airsho’, October 12

Boots, Buckles and Bronzes, October 16 –to18

Southwest Impressionist Art Show, October 24

Boo at the Zoo, October 26 & 27

San Elizario ChristKindleMarket, December 7 & 8

El Paso Puzzler Endurance Weekend, January 18 & 19

Neon Desert Music Festival, May 24

Elephant Fest, June 21 & 22

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