Why These 2 Cultural Texas Cities Are Breaking All Time Visitor | phillipspacc

Why These 2 Cultural Texas Cities Are Breaking All-Time Visitor Records


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The Lone Star State is difficult to encapsulate as the massive state’s borders stretch far and wide, intermixed with different cultures, landscapes, and multi-faceted cities.

Some may fall head over heels with Texas simply by visiting the seemingly endless delightful small towns where ‘Southern Hospitality’ is just a way of life.

Others may opt for trendier cities constantly on the up and up with ever-changing skylines. Of course, this falls in line with Dallas and Austin, but locals in both cities are saying, “Don’t Dallas my Austin” and “Don’t Austin my Dallas”.

tourist boat on san antonio riverwalk

Despite the sibling-like rivalry, both cities are super fun to visit, yet it’s hard to pinpoint what makes these cities tick.

With so many transplants in Austin nowadays, who is considered a local anymore? And the same goes for Dallas with so much glitz, glamour and “keeping up with the Jones’s”. And Houston…well, let’s just say your 26 lane highway alone is overwhelming.

You could say the anti-Dallas and anti-Austin are breaking all-time tourism records. San Antonio and El Paso are two of the most cultural cities in Texas and somehow still underrated in 2024.

A Record Year For San Antonio

skyline of san antonio

According to the City of San Antonio Aviation Department, 2023 was a record-breaking year with 10,676,570 travelers touching down at San Antonio International Airport (SAT).

Last year may have been huge, but 2024 is expected to be even better. One key reason being more flights, including the first ever flight to/from Europe, a direct route to Torreon, Mexico, plus a plethora of new domestic flights, such as Tampa, Philadelphia, and Newark.

Located just an hour away from Austin, these numbers don’t represent day-trippers. Being so close, travelers can easily pull off a Texas two-fer – that’s a 2-for-1 for those not fluent in Texan.

A City That Embraces Its Heritage

tourists at the alamo

“Remember the Alamo?”. That’s a common corny joke tossed around this city, but it is indeed important to remember.

The Alamo, a significant historic piece of Mexican-American history, remains downtown and completely accessible to the public.

Along with the winding Riverwalk, these are the top 2 attractions in the city, and both are within walking distance.

Certain points of the Riverwalk never seem to end, and that’s a good thing.

This lively, bustling district is jam-packed with fun bars, restaurants, shopping, and, of course, boat tours along the man-made river that flows through downtown.

san antonio riverwalk boats

Although touristy, it’s super fun, but not the only way to spend your time here. San Antonio is deeply rooted in Mexican heritage and it shows.

From the phenomenal Mexican cuisine, beautiful architecture, and cultural markets, such as Market Square, tourists are in for a treat both figuratively and literally.

Even though San Antonio is so close to Austin, they have completely different personalities, which is why day trips and weekend getaways are common between both cities.

El Paso Is Having A Moment

el paso skyline at dusk

Longed overlooked as a pass-through city, El Paso is overdue for its moment in the spotlight. Often overshadowed by larger and more familiar cities, this desert city tucked away in the corner of Texas finally had its best year ever.

According to El Paso Inc., 3.9 million travelers flew into El Paso International Airport (ELP) in 2023, which was an 11% increase compared to pre-pandemic years.

El Paso is one of the biggest and safest cities in Texas, but mainstream news has it all wrong in portraying this misunderstood city.

A Blend Of Cultures Packed In One City

skyline of el paso at dusk

If you’ve heard El Paso in the news it’s probably for the wrong reasons as this city of roughly 800,000 is often labeled a sketchy border town caught in the crosshairs of an immigration crisis.

What’s left out is the unsuspecting beauty, impressive safety statistics, welcoming locals, affordability, ritzy hotels and a foodie’s paradise.

Not to mention, El Paso is the perfect gateway into neighboring New Mexico as well as Mexico as it’s 45 minutes from the second biggest city of New Mexico, Las Cruces, as well as just across the border neighboring one of Mexico’s major cities, Ciudad Juarez.

field of poppies blooming in el paso texas

Mixed together, El Paso is a melting pot of Mexican, Texan, and Southwest cultures, making it one of the most cultural cities in the state.

El Paso doesn’t always feel like quintessential Texas; it’s quite the opposite of Dallas per se. Given its inaccurate reputation, many proud Texans across the state wouldn’t claim this city.

If given a chance, the beauty of the Franklin Mountains alone would change their mind, especially this time of year when poppies are in full bloom.

In fact, the Castner Range of the Franklin Mountains was declared a National Monument. Now that nearly 4 million travelers are visiting, the narrative of El Paso will surely change.

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