If your group hasn’t checked out El Paso recently, take our advice: Do so. Now. The West Texas city’s skyline and landscape are changing with the opening of new hotels and attractions.
“El Paso has gone through a true renaissance. We have renovated meeting facilities, [there is] an influx of hotels, and a plethora of restaurants and bars. We are poised to welcome large conventions and invite all meeting planners to experience the new El Paso,” says Anthony Jay Mancuso, director of conventions sales development at Visit El Paso.
The fifth largest city in the state is known as Sun City, thanks to it being one of the sunniest locales in the country, boasting 300-plus sunlit days each year.
Here’s a brief look at what you’ll discover when you meet up in El Paso:
Meet & Sleep
Newly renovated, the 1930s-era Plaza Pioneer Park was once the address of legendary actress Elizabeth Taylor, who used the 17th floor as her penthouse suite during her marriage to Conrad “Nicky” Hilton. During its early years, the 130-room hotel was known as the “living room” of El Paso. The new renovations reflect that original ambiance with its comfortable lobby complete with fireplace, bookshelves and plenty of conversation-inspiring seating. The hotel features multiple dining options, including Ámbar Restaurante and La Perla, a rooftop bar. Thanks to El Paso’s unique coordinates—directly across the Mexican-U.S. border to Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, and the Texas-New Mexico border to Las Cruces, New Mexico—the bar offers views of Mexico, New Mexico and the Franklin Mountains. Private dining is available for 12 in Ámbar, while events can be held in the 2,154-square-foot Trost Ballroom or 1,650-square-foot La Perla South Terrace.
Built in 1912, Hotel Paso del Norte was dubbed the million-dollar hotel and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Featuring 351 rooms, the hotel once welcomed U.S. presidents, celebrities and dignitaries. Amenities include a fitness center, cigar lounge, outdoor pool and the gift shop, Dannah Lane. A yoga studio and wellness spa will be coming soon. It also offers 32,000 square feet of meeting and event space, including a 7,344-square-foot ballroom, a 3,738-square-foot junior ballroom, and a rooftop deck.
Doubletree by Hilton Hotel El Paso Downtown offers 200 guest rooms and nearly 5,000 square feet of event space, including the 3,551-square-foot Franklin Ballroom. Amenities include an outdoor pool, fitness center, free Wi-Fi and on-site dining options, including the Fire Restaurant, grab-and-go M Café, and lounges Sunset Terrace and Fire Bar.
The 145-room Courtyard El Paso Downtown has just 765 square feet of meeting space, but as it’s only 0.2 miles to the convention center, there are plenty of off-site options available. The hotel has a fitness center, heated outdoor pool, the Bistro, and a grab-and-go market.
With 133,100 square feet of usable space across three halls and 17 breakout rooms, the Judson F. Williams Convention Center recently underwent a $1 million renovation that included a new bistro and updated furniture, flooring and digital radio system. In addition to the indoor space, the Convention Center Plaza is also available for open-air events.
Founded in 1959, the El Paso Museum of Art (EPMA) is located in the city’s Downtown Arts District. The museum also includes EPMA’s 6,500-square-foot Art School, which includes three studio classrooms. Be sure to check with staff on the type of event you are holding: The museum allows private celebrations, but does not allow trade shows or political, fundraiser, pre-ticketed or religious events.
Located between the Museum of Art and Plaza Theatre is the Arts Festival Plaza. Featuring a waterfall and lush landscaping, it is also home to some of the city’s favorite events.
Site of the El Paso Farmers Market, as well as a variety of other events, the Pedestrian Pathway connects the convention center to Chihuahuas Stadium and includes a huge colorful mural.
In the mid 20th century, San Jacinto Plaza’s pond was filled with alligators, and people would gather to watch them sun. Today, it’s an open space of paths, bridges, gaming areas and a café. As a nod to its past, the plaza features the Pile O’ Gators sculpture.
While visiting, be sure to head out to enjoy El Paso’s sunshine. Take a hike in Franklin Mountains or Hueco Tanks state parks, try the El Paso Zoo’s Copper Canyon Challenge Ropes Course or the challenge course at the University of Texas El Paso.
And rest assured, whatever you do, El Paso has your group’s health and safety in mind.
“We are committed to safety when it comes to meeting in these unprecedented times,” says Mancuso. “The protocols and procedures we activate provide security, customer confidence, and cleanliness. We are committed to help you meet safely. Another reason why El Paso is on the forefront of the nation’s premiere meeting destination.”