Plazas have played a role in the origination and development of El Paso dating back to its earliest days when Pioneer Plaza was considered the center of town. Today, our downtown plazas continue to play a key role in the growth of our downtown serving as casual lunch spots for downtown employees to the home of major community events and traditions.
The Las Plazas district is the city’s nucleus of art and recreation in Downtown El Paso. Museums, entertainment venues, and Southwest University Park draw massive amounts of people searching for entertainment and leisure. Multiple plazas encompass the area, such as Arts Festival Plaza, the Convention Center Plaza, the heart of Downtown itself San Jacinto Plaza and Pioneer Plaza on which the historic Plaza Theatre resides.
The Plaza Theatre opened in 1930, being the first public theatre in the United States with air-conditioning. After changing ownership once in 1973, the theatre was donated to the City of El Paso in 1990. This lead to a renovation and subsequent reopening in 2006.
San Jacinto Plaza, situated in the heart of Downtown was acquired by the City in 1881 and officially named after the battle Texas fought for its independence in 1903. Once home to as many as seven live alligators (Lagartos), a commissioned sculpture of the alligators now stands as an homage to the reptiles. The park is sometimes fondly referred to as “La Plaza de los Lagartos.”
La Plazas is also home to Southwest University Park and the El Paso Chihuahuas baseball team, the historic Anson Mills building, the EL Paso Museum of Art and History, and the Convention Center.