San Antonio City Guide
All-year-round sunny climate and a laid-back, small-town feel make San Antonio (aka the City of the Alamo) one of the most pleasant destinations in the American South. The city offers visitors a refreshing mixture ...
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San Antonio City Guide
All-year-round sunny climate and a laid-back, small-town feel make San Antonio (aka the City of the Alamo) one of the most pleasant destinations in the American South. The city offers visitors a refreshing mixture of diverse cultural attractions, outdoor entertainment, and Mexican-influenced cuisine and art while the newly acquired UNESCO recognition of its historic landmarks makes San Antonio even more attractive than ever.
The most popular landmark in the city of the Alamo is the River Walk. This network of lush, leafy promenades and pathways along the San Antonio River runs for miles. The River Walk is lined with alluring shops and open-air restaurants. Stone bridges span the two banks of the river making it easy to cross from one side to the other.
Take a stroll in any direction and admire the changing urban landscape or sit down in a waterfront restaurant for a chance to watch the world go by. Walking the entire length of the riverside might be challenging, but you always have the option of renting a bike or taking a river taxi. On the outskirts of San Antonio, the river becomes a wilderness of lush vegetation that attracts different species of birds.
San Antonio has a rich history that is most evident in the UNESCO-designated Spanish colonial missions. These atmospheric, utilitarian stone buildings were erected by Catholic missionaries in the 18th century as centers of education for the Native Americans converted to Christianity. Today the missions form a historical park that welcomes visitors from all over the world. The four beautifully preserved sites also boast very well preserved heritage features, such as an aqueduct and a three-century-old dam.
The mission that holds the greatest historical importance to Texans is the Alamo. This building served as a fortress during the Texan Revolution of the early 19th century. Its role was so crucial that it later earned San Antonio the nickname by which it is known to this date – the Alamo City.
San Antonio acquired its independence from Mexico two centuries ago, but its culture remains largely influenced by South American heritage and traditions. The vibrant local art scene is very much Latino in its flavor and so is the regional cuisine. Known as Tex-Mex. This unique mixture of Mexican and Texan food is all about juicy steaks, zesty salsa and spicy guacamole, as well as seafood and Mexican-style pastries.
The Latin heritage of the city is also evident at El Mercado, the largest Mexican market outside of Mexico. Vendors here sell traditional art and crafts goodies which make for fantastic gifts and souvenirs. If you prefer, you can also take a more intellectual approach to learning about the diverse people who shaped today's San Antonio and Texas by exploring the artefacts and photos on display at the Institute of Texan Cultures.
The art and culture connoisseur's first stop in San Antonio, however, should the eponymous Museum of Art. Given the permanently sunny weather, however, most visitors opt out for more outdoorsy activities. Texas has a dry and arid climate, but head to the Botanical Gardens and the exotic Japanese tea gardens, and you will find yourself amidst a lush and tranquil oasis.
San Antonio is an extremely family-friendly destination with lots of outdoor attractions that will appeal to children of all age groups. The DoSeum, the children's museum in San Diego, gives young visitors a glimpse into the world of science, art and culture through child-friendly exhibits. At the SeaWorld aquarium visitors are welcome to take behind-the-scenes educational tours and get first-hand with marine life, while over at the San Antonio Zoo kids can see species from all around the globe – from elegant flamingos tо lumbering rhinos.
Your best bet for a real adventure, however, is the Wildlife Ranch where the entire family can go on a safari. At the Ranch exotic animals roam freely around (these are only harmless herbivorous species). Expect to see zebras, ostriches and lemurs, and if you are lucky the animals might even take food from your hands.
Sometimes the simplest of activities make for the best fun and Yanaguana Garden in downtown San Antonio is the proof of that.
This little leafy city escape comes filled with fountains, sandboxes and simple climbing frames for youngsters. Yanaguana Garden is a favourite destination for families with younger children.
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The nearby Tower of the Americas is is one of the city's most popular attractions. Its revolving, fine dining restaurant and the observation deck offer bird's eye views of the city – equally stunning at both day and night time. That's one of the Alamo city attractions no one should skip. Finally, if you are feeling too lazy or pressed for time, simply hop on one of the city's funky vintage trolleys, and you will be whizzed around the more important sites.