10 Once Popular El Paso Spots I’ll Never Check Off My Bucket List
Let's go back to when Swensen's Ice Cream Parlor, Studio 14, the Bronco Drive-In, and other popular spots were the hip places to hit up for yummy eats and entertainment around town.
I wasn't born in El Paso, so by the time we moved into town in the late 80s, many of the listed establishments below had already shut down, or I was too young to visit on my own.
Unfortunately, I missed hanging out at the Plaza de Los Lagartos, taking the Streetcar into Juarez, rolling into the Bronco Drive-In for a movie, and many more fun and unique spots that once thrived in the Sun City that are gone forever to time.
The Wyler Aerial Tramway
I never did get to ride the Wyler Aerial Tramway, even though I had heard that it was such an incredible ride with a great view of the city. I thought I had time to jump on board, but sadly it closed in 2019 after analysis revealed the tram was no longer safe for public use.
The Plaza de Los Lagartos
Photos are the only thing left of the once-live alligators at San Jacinto Plaza. While folks loved the idea of the alligators living in the heart of downtown, they were removed more for their safety than the public's and were closed down officially in the early 70s before I was even born.
Did you know there used to be a miniature golf course called Castle Park in East El Paso that was seen off the Gateway near Yarbrough in the 80s? I don't even remember this place, but it sounds like it would have been a fun place to hit up.
Studio 14 With Steve Crosno
Studio 14 was an 80s dance show featuring on-air personality Steve Crosno. I recall tuning into the TV Dance show on channel 14 but could never join the party since I was too young to participate at the time.
The Bronco Drive-In
The Bronco Drive-In off Alameda was one of the hottest nightlife spots in town and today has survived only in name as the 'Bronco Swapmeet.' Unfortunately, the alfresco cinema closed in the mid-'70s, and I never was able to check it out.
Swensen's Ice Cream Parlor
Does anyone else remember Swenson's Ice Cream Parlor? Before moving to the Sun City, I remember seeing this place as we drove through town, but I never had a chance to experience the sweet treats at the ice cream shop.
Panchos Mexican Buffet
Famous for its little flags, Panchos Mexican Buffet is the stuff of legends. I never had the pleasure, but folks remember the eatery fondly, and sadly I'll never raise a flag to ask for 'more please.'
Trolley Into Juarez
The original #1511 El Paso Streetcar would travel from downtown El Paso into Juarez until the trolley was retired. Even though the Streetcartcar is back in business, it no longer travels to Juarez like it did in its heyday.
Magic Landing had a brief life in the mid-80s, and because the theme park closed due to insurance issues and a freak accident, I never had the chance to check out the park.
The Pershing Theatre
The Pershing Theatre closed in the mid-80s before my family moved to El Paso, so I never had the opportunity to visit. But, the theatre off Pershing and Piedras was once the first to premiere all the Disney movies of the time, and as a fan of the most magical place on earth, I would have no doubt been one to frequent the theatre during its peak moment in time.