We are El Paso strong.

Our beautiful, multicultural border city made international headlines this year when on Aug. 3, a stranger to our city forever changed us.

Yes, we are the city where 22 people were killed at a Walmart. Many more were injured.

Our lives were forever shattered.

But in the days that followed, people across the world also came to know El Paso for more than the city where a mass shooting took place.

Amid the devastation, we grew stronger together. We showed the world our true resolve, our friendliness and our love of neighbor.

Here are seven things to know about El Paso and this region we call the borderland beyond the headlines of that fateful day.

1. OUR SUNNY DISPOSITION

We average 297 sunny days a year, so it’s no surprise El Paso is nicknamed the Sun City. Our smiling city mascot, the Amigo Man, dons a blue sombrero over his yellow-sun-shaped head.

2. WE THE PEOPLE

El Paso has a population of nearly 680,000 (865,000 countywide), and is the sixth-largest city in Texas and the 20th largest in the U. S.  

3. DESERT, MOUNTAINS, STARS

El Paso sits amid the Chihuahuan desert; and the Franklin Mountains run through the middle of our city. 

Our Star on the Mountain – a string of 500 light bulbs that stretches 275-by-460 feet – shines bright on the south side of the Franklins and always guides us home.

4. MUSIC & LYRICS

Yes, that song is about us. Singer-songwriter Marty Robbins immortalized the city in his 1959 hit “El Paso,” singing “out in the West Texas town of El Paso, I fell in love with a Mexican girl.” 

Most recently, El Paso’s own Grammy-nominated R&B singer, Khalid, has heated up the music charts and taken home a slew of awards. Among his song list? “Sun City.” “Llévame a ciudad de sol, llévame, llévame, donde dejé mi corazón,” he croons. “Take me to the city of the sun, take me, take me to where I left my heart.”

5. CHAMPIONS & ATHLETES

Texas Western College – now the University of Texas at El Paso – won the 1966 national basketball championship, becoming the first to start five African-American players in a NCAA title game, beating Kentucky 72-65.

Today, El Paso’s Aaron Jones is scoring big as a Green Bay Packer. The former UTEP standout can often be seen signing “915,” El Paso’s area code, on the NFL field. 

6. CUDDLY DOGS & CRAZY TRAINS

Rich in sports traditions, El Paso is home to the El Paso Chihuahuas, the Triple-A affiliate of the San Diego Padres. The team, whose mascot is Chico the Chihuahua, has made the playoffs five times since its inaugural season in 2014.

In March, we also became home to a United Soccer League team – the El Paso Locomotive FC. The team made the playoffs in its inaugural year. 

7. TACOS & MARGARITAS

Several cities lay claim to the origins of the tequila-based margarita. Among them is our sister-city, Juárez, where some say the delightful cocktail was first mixed up in the famous Kentucky Club. Whether or not that’s true, we raise our glass and say, “Cheers!”

And what better to accompany a margarita than a plate of tacos? It may be the borderland’s favorite dish, but we often prefer them rolled. Our tacos ahogados, or drowned tacos, were popularized with the iconic Chicos Tacos that serves them in a tomato-based broth and tops them with yellow shredded cheese.

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