Top 10 Museums in El Paso You Should Visit at Least Once

February 23, 2022
Culture & Art
jason wolfe
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El Paso boasts a rich history and culture that goes back hundreds of years.

But how much of it do you really know? To get a real, thorough glimpse into El Paso’s storied past, one of the best things you can do is visit some of its museums. From the Fort Bliss and Ironside Museums to the El Paso Museum of Art, there’s something for everyone here. Not sure which museums you should visit? We’ve got you covered. Check out our list of the top 10 museums in El Paso now!

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1. Fort Bliss and Old Ironsides Museums

Explore exhibits featuring old tanks and armored vehicles at this famous museum

Fort Bliss houses over 40 tanks. Image courtesy of Yelp.

1735 Marshall Rd | El Paso | bliss.army.mil

At the Fort Bliss & Ironside Museums, you can learn about the rich history of America’s powerful tank division. You’ll also learn all about Fort Bliss and its history dating back to 1849. Soldiers are available on-site to assist you throughout your visit. During your visit, you can also take a break outside at the Combined Arms Heritage Park located right out front.

Planning an event? There are three large spaces available to reserve for private functions. This includes an auditorium, ceremonial area, and reception area. Contact the museum today for more information!  

“There is a lot of history to see here and learn about. It has a variety of exhibits from different time eras in our history. They have a variety of military vehicles on display ranging from tanks to helicopters and others too. The exhibits have great information on vehicles, weapons and arsenal use during the time of past wars.” - Yelp Review

2. Centennial Museum and Chihuahuan Desert Gardens

Walk through this stunning botanical garden that celebrates the flora of the Chihuahuan desert

The Centennial Museum and Chihuahuan Desert Gardens house gorgeous pieces of art. Image courtesy of Yelp.

500 W University Ave | El Paso | museum.utep.edu

Did you know that the Centennial Museum is the oldest museum in El Paso? To get a true sense of El Chapo, you need to carve out a day to visit this famous museum. Inside, you’ll find fascinating exhibits that highlight the natural and cultural history of the Chihuahuan Desert.

The nearby Chihuahuan Desert Gardens also enhance the museum with its gorgeous flora and fauna. Over 800 species of plants call this stunning Texas Wildscape site home. Hundreds of people visit the Centennial Museum and Chihuahuan Desert Gardens every year. Why not join them?

“This museum was so much more than I expected. And it's FREE! Big thumbs up for any age and quite possibly one of the most comprehensive museums in the area with a focus on natural history and cultural history.” - Yelp Review

3. National Border Patrol Museum

Learn more about the history of the U.S.’s border vehicles at this fascinating museum

4315 Transmountain Dr | El Paso | borderpatrolmuseum.com

The National Border Patrol Museum is the only one of its kind in the country. Located on Transmountain Drive, the museum features weapons, old uniforms, and vehicles that patrolmen used in the past.

If you want a peak at what the museum offers, you can also visit its website, which features oral interviews and historical photos of the museum. Once you visit, make sure you take a look at the gift shop!

“I love history and especially the history of the US. This museum is very interesting! There are exhibits showing the very beginnings of the Border Patrol in 1904 until the present day. Cool vehicles and aircraft with hands-off exhibits the kids can climb in and on. I highly recommend a visit while in El Paso.” - Yelp Review

4. El Paso Museum of Art

Admire works of art from American, Mexican, and European artists

1 Arts Festival Plaza | El Paso | epma.art

Immerse yourself in the world of art at the El Paso Museum of Art. Works from Europe and the Americas can be found all around the museum. Some of their current exhibitions include Contemporary Ceramics by Mata Ortiz, Fashion Nirvana, and Rebeca Mendez: El Norte. Their photographs, paintings, and sculptures will awe and fascinate you.

You can also work on your own art skills at one of the museum’s many art classes. Children, teens, and adults can take classes on everything from ceramics to acrylic painting.

“I love this museum and try to visit it as much as I can, especially when they bring in new exhibits. I get so caught up in the art that I always forget to check in. The museum is beautiful and offers a variety of art to look at with the exhibits changing every few months.” - Yelp Review

5. El Paso Mission Trail

Take a stroll around this historic landmark

Pictured above is the Socorro Mission. Image courtesy of Yelp.

Soccoro Rd & S Zaragosta | Socorro | elpasomissiontrail.com

At the nine-mile Mission Trail corridor in El Paso County’s Mission Valley, you can find three of the oldest churches in Texas: the Ysleta Mission, Socorro Mission, and San Elizario Chapel. All three churches were built in the 1600s to 1700s. During your walk, you can also visit the Tigua Pueblo Cultural Center and Presidio de San Elizario fort. Don’t forget to bring your camera. You’ll want to take plenty of photos!

“Mission Trail is essential for those who want to learn more about the history of El Paso and the Borderland. I managed to stop at each mission/chapel on my drive back to Arizona to read the plaques, walk around the plazas, and take in some spirituality.” - Yelp Review

6. El Paso Holocaust Museum and Study Center

Reflect on the history of the Holocaust

Take a moment to visit the wall of Holocaust survivors who moved to El Paso. Image courtesy of Yelp.

715 N Oregon | El Paso | elpasoholocaustmuseum.org

The El Paso Holocaust Museum and Study Center is one of only 13 free-standing Holocaust museums in the United States. It’s also the only fully bilingual Holocaust museum in the country.  

Throughout the museum, you’ll find various photographs, posters, and artifacts detailing the events of the Holocaust. As a memorial to the survivors of the Holocaust, the museum aims to combat prejudice and intolerance through education and community outreach.

“I learned a lot in my visit to this museum. It is a very heavy subject, and I felt this location did a great job to tell the story of such a horrific, historical event. It is fully bilingual (Spanish and English) which means more people can learn about this as well.” - Yelp Review

7. International Museum of Art

Check out different works of art collected from various areas of the world

You can spend all day here. Image courtesy of Yelp.

1211 Montana Ave | El Paso | internationalmuseumofart.org

The International Museum of Art features works from Asia, Africa, and Mexico. While the museum is small, it offers a great selection of artwork. Sculptures, paintings, furniture, and other marvelous works of art await you.

Planning a private event? This beautiful historic property is also popular for private events like weddings and corporate events. Call them today to see what availability they have!

“I am visiting a new exhibit by Philip Behymer. His portraits are huge and very expressive. Well worth you time to visit. Entrance is free.” - Yelp Review

8. Tigua Indian Cultural Center

Spend the day learning about the Tigua tribe’s rich heritage

You can learn more about the tribe’s culture and art at this historic museum. Image courtesy of Tigua Indian Cultural Center.

305 Yaya Ln | El Paso | visitelpasomissiontrail.com

The Tigua Indian Cultural Center is dedicated to educating visitors on the oldest federally recognized tribe in Texas.

Guests can purchase authentic attire and artifacts from tribe members and also peruse the many artworks and photographs housed inside the building. These artifacts represent over 300 years of Tigua history. Events are also held at the cultural center on a regular basis.

Tribal members can also take classes on pottery making, bead looming, gardening, storytelling, and dance! This museum is a must-see for anyone who wants to learn more about Texas’s rich history.

“We stopped by the Tigua Indian Cultural Center during an afternoon of exploring the nearby missions. The Cultural Center has a small museum, but is more of a cultural center (that hosts events).” - Yelp Review

9. War Eagles Air Museum

Explore the collection of over 30 military and civilian aircraft vehicles

8012 Airport Rd | Santa Teresa | wareaglesairmuseum.com

Located inside the Dona Ana County Airport, the War Eagles Air Museum is dedicated to educating visitors on the country’s rich aviation and military history. Over 40 aircraft carriers and over 50 automobiles and pieces of military equipment are housed inside this museum.

Eight permanent exhibits are also on-site, including the Women in Aviation, Atomic Weapons, and Vietnam Dust Off exhibits. Events are also held on a regular basis, like the Flight and Sights event where visitors can view the gorgeous city of El Paso from a bird’s eye view.

“The War Eagles Air Museum was a welcome stop on our way through El Paso.  It is a hidden gem that needs more exposure!  If you like vintage WW II, Korean War & Vietnam-era aircraft, then this is the place for you!” - Yelp Review

10. El Paso Museum of History

Explore this free museum with your friends and family

510 North Santa Fe St | El Paso | history.elpasotexas.gov

Last, but certainly not least, is the El Paso Museum of History. This popular museum is home to the only interactive digital wall of its kind in the country. Referred to as the DIGIE, this digital wall boasts five touch-sensitive screens that total 35 feet in length. Several permanent exhibits also call the El Paso Museum of History home, including the Resilience: Remembering August 3rd and Changing Pass: People, Land & Memory. Make sure you check the website to see what temporary exhibits are up!

“This is one of the smaller museums in town but I still enjoy it. I like to learn about the city's culture and past. They have a neat digital photo wall outside. You can submit photos to it via their web site. How cool is that? I like that the museum offers free events to the community often.” - Yelp Review

Whether you’re tired of sitting at home or you want to learn more about El Paso’s history, visiting a museum is a great way to get out of the house and immerse yourself in the rich culture and history that surrounds you. Which museums on the list do you plan to visit next? Let us know! We love hearing about your adventures.

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