915.585.7867 / planetfitness.com
Admission fees are steep for non-members ($20/one or two days), but this enormous facility packs a hard punch of high quality workout equipment. Planet is warehouse-like on the inside with high ceilings and plenty of spacing between machines. Its most unique feature is the dimly-lit cardio theater where exercisers can ride their favorite machine while watching video entertainment on a movie screen-size wall.
Where to Eat
915.584.7473 / eatripe.com
Don't mistake this tiny eatery for a coffee shop. Ripe cooks up homemade, healthy and hearty meals after receiving your order at the counter. A variety of tasty prepared foods are available for warming as well. Nightly entrees are typically limited to three or four selections (shrimp scampi, pasta dish, etc.). We thoroughly enjoyed the chicken stuffed with rosemary, wasabi mashed potatoes, meatloaf and the fresh vegetable soup.
El Rincon de Cortez
915.544.2808 / 3415 Sun Bowl Drive
We always enjoy experiencing at least one truly local restaurant when we travel--even if it's not "healthy". El Rincon de Cortez's parking lot is full during breakfast and lunch hours for good reason: Their Mexican food is inexpensive and flavorful. The large menu offers most traditional dishes (burritos, chilaquiles, enchiladas, tacos) along with a few specialty meals. The 60-ish table dining area is no frills with tile floors and simple tables and chairs, but the staff is welcoming and the customers are friendly.
El Paso Growers Association
915.820.2281 / 9484 Dyer Street
Open on Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sundays from 7 a.m. till sellout, this farmers market features local and organic produce, plants, spices, baked goods, cheeses, meats and more! It definitely has a Mexican and TexMex vibe, which can be a unique and worthwhile experience for out-of-towners.
Fresh Air Pursuits
Do you have a few hours to enjoy the El Paso outdoors? Finding places to explore and frolic in the metro area is no sweat.
Franklin Mountains State Park
915.566.6441 / tpwd.state.tx.us
Sure it's the largest urban park in the nation covering 37 square miles, but don't expect towering trees, lush landscape and a myriad of flowers. Franklin's high desert characteristics include dusty trails, steep rock-walls and impressive peaks, providing challenges for hikers, cyclists and rock climbers.
Rio Grande Riverpark Trail System
918.596.8620 / parks.tulsacounty.org
Although this paved bike and run route that meanders along the Rio Grande River continues to be a work in progress, many miles have reached completion. Most El Pasoans pick up the flat pathway just behind River Run Plaza on Country Club Drive (just west of the River). Head north on the trail for miles through the towns of Canutillo, Vinton, and Anthony, Texas.
Find additional first-hand athletic-minded recommendations for El Paso and more than 100 other destinations at www.athleticmindedtraveler.com.
Jim Kaese is co-founder of Athletic-Minded Traveler, LLC, which operates the largest healthy travel content site on the web, creates healthy lifestyle content for various media, and generates online custom wellness and work-life solutions for Fortune 500 employers.