Travel Tips

Suzy Gershman’s Postcard from El Paso, Texas: Outlet Malls and Cowboy Boots

Locations in this article:  Buenos Aires, Argentina Las Vegas, NV Paris, France Santa Barbara, CA Seoul, South Korea

Suzy and doggieDear Peter,
I might have sent you a postcard from Arizona or New Mexico, but we breezed through them very quickly on our drive from California to Texas.

Possibly we were a little too breezy.

In today’s mail I got a little letter from the Arizona Highway Department inviting me to pay them $181.50.

They say I was speeding, but don’t even tell me how fast I was going. Enclosed was a photo of myself at the wheel. Uh-oh.


Things immediately got better in Texas. The highway exit numbers barely started over (on I-10 numbers begin again when you cross state lines) and we were at Exit 6 for the El Paso factory outlet mall (

We arrived in El Paso on a Sunday and were surprised at how many stores on our list of must-shop were closed on Sundays. The shopping was so good, however, that we were busy on Sunday and on Monday. All our favorite motels line the highway, so we had our choice of numerous branches of La Quinta, Holiday Inn and Red Roof Inn. Thankfully, the outlets were already open—Sunday hours are 11 a.m. until 7 p.m.

This is a fairly good outlet mall—a great one after the examples we had seen in Arizona—with the kind of stores you want to shop. Some are fancy, but most are mainstream. There is a Coach, but no N-M Last Call.

Doggie-Friendly Old NavyWe had the most fun in the Old Navy outlet because we were able to put my doxies into the store’s shopping carts and shop at ease. Not everything at this store was at an outlet price—Old Navy is famous for mixing up the regular priced merchandise with the mark-downs. I ended up buying mostly spring items at full price, so they “got me” with the perception of a bargain.

We had planned to stop at the Whoopee Bowl, an antiques dealer also near the state line, but they are closed on Sundays. I can’t help but become 7 years old again and think of Whoopie Cushions when I determine to shop here, but I hear the selection here is a blast.


The rest of El Paso spread before us to such an extent—talk about Texas sprawl—that we stayed on the frontage road to really get a good look at things. The frontage in this city is named Gateway and the differentiation between east and west represents which side of the freeway you are driving alongside. Because frontage roads are always one way, there’s a lot of up and down and over the bridge driving to get to everything.


El Paso is home to several factories that manufacture cowboy boots, so there are a handful of outlets selling cowboy boots for men, women and children. The standard everyday stuff is offered at Justin Boots or Tony Lama. The king of the cowboy boot is Luchesse.

Although Sam Luchesse has died and the specialty line is held by a larger company, the main outlet (Gateway West at Lee Trevino) is enormous and filled with boots that should be in a museum. Quality is much higher than at other outlets and boots are a variety of prices. You can get a pair on sale for about $149.

I was attracted to three different pairs, all beyond me: $450, $350 and $1,150. Oh well. There is a second outlet in the firm’s offices, near the airport, but it was closed on Sundays and we later heard the selection wasn’t nearly as good as at this bowling-alley sized heaven on heels.


Cowboy PatternsA TT is a Tourist Trap and this one is a stunner. Saddleblanket is acres and acres of shopping with enough merchandise from the Southwest and Mexico to make you simply swoon. Once you get past the dried piranhas, there’s an entire room filled with carpets that really sizzle.

I flipped for a thick wool carpet with a modern design that, come to think of it, looks a lot like a design I just saw on some cowboy boots. I also bought a used kilim. I bargained hard but still had to pay tax and shipping. Still, for $100, the carpets were sent on to my home address.

Since we had eaten Mexican food just about every day of our drive, we went for American fare at BJ’s Restaurant and Winehouse, a chain we like from California. After eating a light dinner, we still had room for dessert—and the red light was flashing just down the road at Krispy Kreme.

Sweet Texas Kisses,

By Suzy Gershman for

Go on a shopping spree with Suzy! Join her October 13-21 traveling through Buenos Aires and Rio de Janeiro with Suzy Gershman’s Born to Shop & Spa tour with InterContinental Hotels. Contact Sarah Lahey at srlahey @ for more information. And don’t forget to check out Suzy’s blog at