San Antonio, Texas is home to the Spurs basketball organization, not to mention some of the best authentic barbeque in America. Aside from this, many head to San Antonio to explore one of America's most well-known historic destinations, The Alamo. Originally a mission church, the Alamo was the site of the most pivotal battles in the Texas revolution, and featured some of the country's earliest pioneer heroes, including Davy Crockett. To understand the region's rich cultural history, it's pivotal to look past this stark event in the nation's history and discover many of the other amazing attractions this versatile city has to offer. There are many historically-charged things to do in San Antonio, including several missions, stone pathways and museums.
San Antonio Mission Churches
There are several beautiful mission churches scattered across San Antonio. Amongst the most notable is Mission San Jose, the largest of these Spanish-style churches which is well-known for its rose windows. The mission also holds mariachi mass on Sundays and is both a United States and Texan official historical site. The Mission Concepcion is another Franciscan-style church set along the famed “Mission Trail,” and was constructed amongst the turbulent backdrop of French colonization.
The Paseo de Rio, or River Walk, is literally feet from the Alamo in downtown San Antonio. Aside from the amazing views, colorful vendors and mariachi music flowing through the sky, the River Walk is also a place to witness the evolution of Texas culture. The stone pathways wind alongside the river and highlight the centuries-old architecture that stands in stark contrast to many of the newer buildings. Plans are in the works to extend the River Walk from two to over 13 miles in length, which will allow patrons to follow this well-worn path to many of San Antonio's other tourist attractions, including several museums, shops and restaurants.
Also found alongside San Antonio River, Brackenridge Park was constructed from a parcel of land donated to the city of San Antonio in 1899. The 343-acre park features several walking trails, picnic areas and is home to the San Antonio Zoo. The kids will particularly enjoy the Brackenridge Eagle, a miniature train that was constructed in 1952 and runs along the river banks in the San Antonio Zoo. For the adults, there's the Brackenridge Park Golf Course. Affectionately called “Old Brack” by the locals, this 18-hole course was originally designed in 1915, and holds the distinction of being the only golf facility added to the Texas Registry of Historical Sites.
King William Historic District
The King William Historic District was the first designated historical district in the city. During the 1800s, it was inhabited by the posh-est members of San Antonio’s elite. From German merchants to wannabe French aristocrats; the wealthiest members of society at the time all constructed homes in this 25-block radius. The area is once again becoming a hot commodity, and if you cannot afford to stay at a hotel or even purchase a home, don't hesitate to join many of the tour groups that explore the district.
Institute of Texan Cultures
Operated by the University of San Antonio, the Institute of Texan Cultures (ITC) is a library and museum found in the Hemisfair Park region of downtown San Antonio. This educational center works to study and understand the impact of the many cultures that have shaped the landscape of San Antonio and Texas. Aside from the outreach program for local schools and an expansive library that houses 3.5 million images, the ITC also features several exhibits highlighting all of the cultures that influenced San Antonio, including displays representing: African-American, Chinese, Czech, Greek, Hungarian, Lebanese, Native American, Polish and Swedish immigrants.
Getting Around in San Antonio
There is a plethora of modes of transportation available to visit many of San Antonio's historical and cultural attractions. Amongst the most popular for tourists is the #7 Sightseer Special. This one-way bus costs under $2, and stops at many “must-see” attractions, including the San Antonio Zoo, San Antonio Museum of Art and the Botanical Gardens.
With all of the amusement parks, museums, restaurants, amazing hotels and outdoor activities, you'll never be at a loss for amusement on your San Antonio holiday. When dining in the city, don't forget to splurge on at least one amazing Mexican-style meal at many of the city's various fusion and traditional eateries.