El Paso, Texas: Chamizal National Memorial - It Used To Be In Mexico

Cross into Mexico without leaving the U.S. Pose straddling the border markers that became irrelevant in 1964, when the U.S. extended its border just a little bit further south.
Address:
800 S. San Marcial St., El Paso, TX
Directions:
Being a National Memorial, there are distinctive brown signs pointing the way off of I-10 (right around the "spaghetti bowl" -- the I-10/US 54 interchange). Keep your eyes peeled, though; if you're in the wrong lane, you'll wind up in Mexico. The cement obelisks that mark the former border are on the north edge of the park, which runs along the south side of E. Paisano Drive.
Hours:
Daily 5 am - 10 pm. (Call to verify)
Phone:
915-532-7273
RA Rates:
Worth a Detour
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Boundary marker.

Chamizal National Memorial - It used to be in Mexico

Enjoyable and quirky bit of history to learn about. And they have a Junior Ranger program.

[Mike&Di, 03/16/2015]
Chamizal National Memorial - It used to be in Mexico

Exactly what does the Chamizal memorialize? That's hard to say.

Basically, LBJ got tired of arguing with Mexico about boundary restrictions. The Rio Grande is the official border definition, but the Rio Grande has a funny habit of changing course and creating disagreements and arguments. So, a sizable hunk of land has been set aside as Yours and Ours.

No one can really say or explain whether the Chamizal belongs to us or to them, or to both, so it just sits there quietly and doesn't ask any questions. As such, it is a very nice nod to international relations. Being at the Chamizal gives you a very satisfying sense of being a citizen of Planet Earth, without having to worry about borders. Mexicans and US citizens hang out there, quite happy to be with one another, and no one cares what your passport says.

It is a national park, and therefore administrated by Uncle Sam, which means that there are people in uniforms standing around and making sure that you behave yourself.

There is a very nice multi-media center indoors, some nice artwork, and a very cool bull ring for those among us who are interested in doing battle with cows.

The best thing, though, is just showing up with a blanket and a bottle of wine and enjoying the Music Under the Stars series--100% open and free to all, regardless of where you come from.

One of democracy's quieter and more noble accomplishments.

[John H Russell, 06/02/2003]

All of this land is now squarely on the U.S. side, north of the border. There's a corresponding "Parque Chamizal" on the Mexico side, and a big ditch and barbed-wire fence between the two.

Nearby Offbeat Places

1919 Vintage Gas Station1919 Vintage Gas Station, El Paso, TX - 1 mi.
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In the region:
Big Rooster, Fabens, TX - 25 mi.

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