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7 Reasons Why Solo Travelers Will Be Shocked By How Much They Love This Off-Path U.S. City

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Located on the southwestern point of Texas lies a cultural gem waiting to be discovered. This off-path city is often overlooked or even purposely ignored due to politics and nonfactual assumptions.

But those who truly love to travel typically have the special ability to come up with their own opinions about a place rather than be sold by headlines.

“El Paso” translates in English as “the pass,” and that fits its reputation. For many, El Paso, Texas is often just a pass-through town on the way to somewhere else. Some would say to somewhere better.

Mainstream news and those who have simply passed through may tell you at surface level, “It’s brown, it’s ugly, and it’s unsafe”, given it’s a desert border town next to notoriously crime-ridden Juarez.

el paso skyline at night

Even TikTok doesn’t always paint the Sun City in the brightest light. But this desert city is so much more than meets the eye.

Especially more than what is presented by clickbait headlines and misguided TikToks. El Paso is a safe, cultural gem ready to be put on the map for travelers.

Solo travelers, in particular, will be shocked by how much they will fall in love with this place. Here are 7 reasons why:

Endless Hiking Opportunities

Home to scenic mountains surrounding the city and across the border into Mexico, El Paso has plenty to offer in terms of nature.

@vicstevechacon Franklin Mountains El Paso, Texas #hike #hiking #drone #nature #wanderlust #hiker ♬ Every Step Every Way – Majid Jordan

One reason solo travel has become a hot trend is to embrace solitude. El Paso is one of the top destinations in the U.S. for that.

You can explore trails with caves, wildlife and amazing views of the vast landscape. Look past its ‘brown’ reputation and you’ll see it’s actually quite green in some places, such as the highlight for El Paso hiking – Franklin Mountain State Park.

In fact, President Biden recently declared Castner Range a National Monument. This mountainous land is over 6,600 acres and is known to bloom colorful Mexican Poppies perfect for the ‘gram.

Revitalized Downtown District

Downtown El Paso was absolutely crushed during the COVID-19 pandemic. The good news is they are making a strong comeback, slowly but surely.

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@salgadophoto Quick #ElPaso #Drone tour of #DowntownElPaso ♬ Location (feat. Lil Wayne & Kehlani) (Remix) – Khalid

This area is very walkable and easy to find lively rooftop bars, trendy coffee shops, and new bar concepts and restaurants.

El Paso Street is full of thrift shops, Mexican imports, and a quirky pawn shop. You might even run into celebrities when they’re in town for a show.

El Paso’s First Capsule Hotel

Boxtel is located in a sub-district of downtown known as Union Plaza, which was also wrecked by the pandemic.

This region is gaining traction again with new restaurants and the newly opened Boxtel, the first-of-its-kind accommodation in El Paso with 4 different room types, all private, including free Wi-Fi.

@elpasocoffeebox New capsule hotel In El Paso! Best deal for your money! #newhotel #elpaso #capsulehotel #boxstel #bestplacerostay #elpasotexas ♬ Summer day – TimTaj

Those who stay here will be in one of the most walkable areas of downtown. You can wake up and get a coffee nearby, explore the weekend farmer’s market, or hit up the newly opened Tiki bar for cocktails.

Affordability

Whether you’re concerned with overspending on accommodations, transportation or food, none of the above should be a major concern.

Airbnb’s are easy to find for under $50 per night if a Capsule Hotel isn’t your vibe. El Paso has Uber and Lyft but there is also free transportation.

The city-owned Streetcar, running since the 1950s, is free to ride to some really cool spots for nightlife and sporting events.

Since solo travelers don’t have someone to split the bill, El Paso should be at the top of your list!

Amazing Food

El Paso is a bit of Texas, New Mexico, and Mexico all combined in one. So, the food here is unmatched.

Whether you go to a dive bar for their classic nachos, a hole-in-the-wall for an authentic bowl of menudo, or a James Beard nominee for some mouth-watering tacos and margs, you won’t be disappointed.

The beer scene is thriving too with breweries all across town. As a solo traveler, your phone is your friend, and there are few places ahead of El Paso to brag on Instagram about what you just ate.

@buyelpaso Elemi restaurant is definitely a must when dining out here in El Paso. The distinguished chef and owner Emiliano Marentes will leave you wanting more of their real Mexican flavors and textures. Don’t forget to try their delicious cocktails as well! #BuyElPaso #ElPasoEats #ThingsToDoInElPaso #EmilianoMarentes #Elemi #MixedCornTortilla ♬ Me Gustas Un Chingo – Alex Luna & DAAZ

One Of The Safest Cities In The U.S.

Statistically, El Paso is one of the safest cities in the nation. Out of all major cities in Texas, it’s the safest in the state, according to a report this year from SmartAsset.

While it does neighbor Juarez, a city with a reputation for violent crime, El Paso and its neighbor are apples and oranges.

Even small towns outside of El Paso were reported as being some of the safest in the state, according to a report from Safewise.

@johnpenaelpaso How does El Paso rank when it comes to safety? #elpaso #elpasorealtor #elpasostrong ♬ original sound – John Peña

Day Trips To Charming Small Towns

El Paso has very unique geography as it is sandwiched between New Mexico and Mexico. Many cross into New Mexico to have a fun time at a casino just across the Texas state line.

But further into New Mexico is the charming, quiet town of Mesilla, where infamous outlaw Billy the Kid was sentenced.

Solo trippers will love wandering through various shops, bars and restaurants around the main square only 40 minutes from El Paso.

It’s an even better trip taking back roads through the picturesque pecan farms. In the opposite direction, East of El Paso is the 9-mile Mission Trail with churches dating back centuries.

Ranging from the charming towns of Socorro to San Elizario, which was recently awarded Best Historic Small Town.

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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com