Mexico bleeds into El Paso the way it does in few other cities. You can leave your passport behind, forget the jet lag, and still feel like you're getting a shot of culture that's different from your own. That is, you get margaritas, cowboy boots, and taco festivals without the language barrier. El Paso is the best of both worlds.

A solid weekend is enough time to get a feel for the city. Nab a room at one of IHG's best hotels in El Paso, and let's get to exploring.

The Boot Scene

Image via  Flickr  by Rod Waddington

Image via Flickr by Rod Waddington

No trip to El Paso would be complete without diving headfirst into the boot scene. Check out Lucchese or Justin Boots, and you'll see why the city is touted as the Boot Capital of the World. Seriously, even Europeans regard boots from El Paso as the crème de la crème.

It'll also give you a deeper appreciation as to how the boots are formed. At the Lucchese factory, for example, 275 people work on each pair. That's 550 hands at work on the set of leather on your feet. They're not just boots; they're handmade works of art.

The Food Scene

El Paso is a global city. You'll find tons of cuisines, and picky eaters won't have an issue. But that's the boring stuff. Let's talk about the Mexican food. Hit up H & H Car Wash and Coffee Shop at 701 East Yandell Drive for a greasy, diner-like Mexican breakfast. Kill a few hours, and then go to L & J Cafe at 3622 East Missouri Avenue for a historic, been-doing-this-since-1927 kind of food experience. It's going be a lot of Mexican in one weekend, but you won't be in El Paso forever.

Before the day is out, end it with a paleta, or a popsicle. Flautas Y Paleteria Tepalca at 5198 Doniphan Drive is a worthwhile stop on a summer's day, or during any other season for that matter. We're practically in Mexico, remember?

The Culture Scene

Yes, El Paso has culture. It doesn't just feature cowboys and country western music, though that would be enough. 

For starters, check out Chalk the Block every October. Artists turn blocks and blocks of sidewalk into art, and music rages throughout downtown. There are also food trucks galore, including the Sweet Addiction truck, which has the best red velvet cupcakes. El Paso also hosts Cool Canyon Nights, where music and movies play in the McKelligon Canyon Amphitheatre, and it's all free.

Every day of the week, you can also find DIGIE, a 90-foot interactive wall that's really just a giant, futuristic toy. It stands for Digital Information Gateway in El Paso, and you can play on it for hours, scrolling through El Paso's history, making postcards and videos, and getting a glimpse into the city's future.

Which is pretty bright. El Paso is booming, as it should be. There's plenty to do (day trip to White Sands, anyone?), it's budget-friendly, and there's far more to see that what's listed above. When are you going?