Allow me to be blunt: Don't go to El Paso. Oh, I just hate being so negative. OK, how about this: The airport is very nice in El Paso. I recommend you don't leave it.
We went there to watch my ever-charming yet ineffectual Northwestern Wildcats play UCLA in the Sun Bowl. For some reason, I didn't think twice that we would be going to El Paso to watch the game, just that it would be fun to see NU play in person again. Which it was...even though we lost in a typical "Hey, I thought we had a chance until that second onside kick failed" sort of way.
However, the trip was 48 hours and only 4 was at the game. El Paso seems to be very much a waystation on the road to Juarez, Mexico - and it's really just not pleasant to be a waystation to the murder capital of the northern hemisphere. Everything is rundown and kind of sketchy - not to mention it obviously wasn't built to appeal to outsiders. It sits right on the Rio Grande - but as far as we could tell there was no sort of park or river walk or anything to highlight the river. It was all industrial, with billowing smokestacks and railroad shipping containers. Downtown was eerie quiet (not like L.A. can talk) but it was also decrepit - we tried to find a restaurant after attending the NU pep rally at the convention center and didn't see anything but an Arby's with its neon sign burned out and a Jack in the Box.
But again with the negativity. Let me end with something that makes us all bleed purple just a little bit: