Tag: San Antonio Texas

San Antonio, Texas

A- Overview:
In the course of its colorful history, ownership of San Antonio has been claimed by six different governments. Thus, the city is said to have been “under 6 flags.” Rule by France, Spain, Mexico, the Republic of Texas, the Confederate States of America and the United States of America has shaped San Antonio, as each culture has left its mark. Art, architecture, and history intermingle everywhere in this robust southwestern city. With nearly 300 years as a cultural crossroads the city has a colorful past and takes every opportunity to celebrate it! San Antonio is well known as a party going city. Fiestas and festivals abound.
Downtown San Antonio retains an Old World feeling as narrow streets, plazas, and Spanish architecture blend with modern skyscrapers. The city has always been a crossroads and a meeting place. Sounds and flavors of Native America, Old Mexico, Germany, the Wild West, African-America and the Deep South mingle and merge. Close to seven million visitors delight each year in the discovery of San Antonio’s charms.

San Antonio lies on the edge of the Texas Hill country, considered by many to be the most scenic area in the state. Its rolling terrain is dotted with dark green cedars and oaks gradually giving way to prickly pear and cactus. Clear rivers run beneath limestone cliffs and canyons, and spectacular views span the endless blue of the Texas sky.

Much of San Antonio can be explored on foot, although some of its attractions will require transportation. For the Hill Country, a car is a must. You can visit several towns in a day, enjoying some of the landscapes in between as you drive.

Are you looking for excellent traditional jazz or a sing-along at an Irish pub or piano bar? What about Hard Rock Cafe or Planet Hollywood on the River Walk, or Sunset Station? San Antonio offers a wide range of entertainment options both during the day and after the sun goes down. When the stars come out over the South Texas plains, it’s time to head to the nightclubs and dance halls, two-stepping to a country-western band, getting down to a rocking beat or swaying in a slower Tejano style.

San Antonio is a Mecca for history buffs. Native Americans first lived along the San Antonio River, calling the area “Yanaguana,” which means “refreshing waters.” In 1718, at an Cohuiltecan Indian village in a pleasant wooded area of spring-fed streams at the southern edge of the Texas Hill Country, Spanish Friar Antonio Olivares established Mission San Antonio de Valero (later called the Alamo). A customary accompanying presidio (fort), was added in the same year.

This site became permanently etched in the annals of history in 1836 as “The Alamo”, where 189 volunteer freedom fighters died after holding the old mission against some 4,000 Mexican troops for 13 days. The cry “Remember the Alamo” became the rallying point of the Texan revolution against Mexico. Located in the heart of downtown, today The Alamo still stands, dwarfed by twentieth century buildings, as a shrine and museum.

There was a time when flooding occurred on a regular basis with devastating results. After the 1921 flood, there was much deliberation as to how to improve the situation in the future. The fortunate decision was made to construct a bypass channel and two dams to control flooding. The river area was cleaned up, and a footpath and parks were created bordering the river. The result is that the river has become one of the city’s premiere assets, the Riverwalk, which symbolizes beauty and romance instead of destruction.

The Riverwalk is a 2.5 mile (21 block) tree lined promenade where luxury hotels, specialty shops, and European-style cafés line the banks of the San Antonio River . Below street level, the walk is reached by steps from various spots along the main roads and crossed by humpbacked stone bridges. Cobbled paths, lined with tropical plants and shaded by pine, cypress, oak and willow, wind beside the jade-green water, with much of the city’s eating and entertainment concentrated along the way. You can catch a river taxi at various points, or just stroll along and watch.

Dining options in San Antonio run the gamut from fine French cuisine to Chinese to Soul food and Cajun, but the one not to miss is Tex-Mex. Tex-Mex is a passion with local residents of all ethnic backgrounds, and numerous restaurants are open 24 hours.

San Antonio also offers a wide variety of spectator sports – the San Antonio Spurs, San Antonio Dragons of the International Hockey League and the San Antonio Missions minor league baseball team all attract crowds.

The downtown All Around Playground at HemisFair Park and the newly renovated Milam Park across from Market Square provide excellent stops for children to burn off excess energy. The Tower of the Americas offers a spectacular view of San Antonio from 579 feet above the ground.

Among the museums in HemisFair Park is the Institute of Texan Cultures. Articles representative of the social histories of thirty diverse Texan cultures are displayed with especially pertinent African-American and Native American sections. There is even an intriguing corner devoted to short lived attempts to introduce the camel to West Texas as a beast of burden.

West of the river stands the majestic 1731 San Fernando Cathedral, oldest in the US. Mariachi Masses are held on Sunday at 9am and 12.15pm, and crowds spill outside onto the plaza.

Two blocks west on the Plaza de Armas, stands the beautifully simple, whitewashed Spanish Governors Palace which was home to Spanish officials during the mission era. Just one story tall, it doesn’t fit the usual image of a palace, but its flagstone floors, low doorways, beamed ceilings, religious icons and ornate wooden carvings elevate it to that category. It provides an illuminating glimpse of the lifestyles of the civil and religious authorities in this remote outpost. It is easy to imagine them strolling through the cobbled courtyard, with its fountain, mosaic floor and lush palms.

The possibilities for entertainment, cultural offerings, spirited festivals, interesting shopping and exploration of natural wonders are all awaiting the visitor to San Antonio. Whatever your vacation dreams, they will be fulfilled in a visit to this welcoming, exciting, family friendly city.

The site that was to become San Antonio was originally a Coahuiltecan Indian village inhabited by a peaceful nomadic tribe. Spanish clergy seeking to extend their country’s efforts to colonize North America, taught these original inhabitants farming and in the process set up an outstanding system of irrigation that is still in use in the San Antonio area.

A band of Spanish explorers and missionaries came upon the river in 1691, and because it was the feast day of St. Anthony, they named the river “San Antonio.” A permanent settlement was made in 1718 when the city was officially founded by Friar Antonio de San Buenaventura Olivares, who established the first mission and named it after his patron saint, Saint Anthony. Later that same year, Don Martin de Alarcon , Captain General and Governor of the Province of Texas constructed a military fort (presidio) in order to protect the fledgling settlement.

To populate the colony, the Spanish sent several dozen people from the Canary Islands. Four missions built ,which flourished until 1794 when the attacks by Comanche and Apache tribes weakened them to the point that they could not survive. The missions then became military posts. In 1803 Spanish cavalry from Mexico occupied the original mission and changed its name to Mission del Alamo del Parras.

The city of San Antonio became a part of Mexico after the Mexican Revolution of 1821. Moses Austin, a Missouri pioneer, was the first American to attempt to colonize the frontier. He died before his plan came to fruition but his son Stephen F. Austin received a land grant from the new government and brought 300 Anglo families to settle in Texas in 1821.

By 1836, 3,500 Anglos lived in the city. When General Santa Anna abolished the 1824 Mexican constitution, these Americans, along with many Hispanic Texans, refused to recognize his presidency, an act of defiance that led to the Battle of the Alamo in 1836.

Texas won its independence at the Battle of San Jacinto later that year. In the 1840’s there was a great influx of German settlers whose descendants still add to the city’s cosmopolitan flavor. In 1845 Texas entered the union as the 28th state. Thereafter, Anglos settled the city in greater numbers, and by 1860, San Antonio could claim a population of 8,000.

The beef industry grew after the civil war. A trail was established to drive cattle from San Antonio to Abilene, Kansas. With the arrival of the railroad in 1877, the city was directly linked to new northern markets In the 1870’s new settlers, adventurers and cowboys on long cattle drives made San Antonio a tough, hard drinking , hard fighting, gambling town.

In 1876 Fort Sam Houston was established. San Antonio was also the birthplace of the Rough Riders, a defense group formed after the battleship Maine exploded in Havana Harbor in 1898.

San Antonio gained a small but substantial Asian community long before most other Texas cities when, during the revolution, forces led by Francisco “Pancho” Villa were lynching Chinese merchants in northern Mexico. American General John J. Pershing launched a south of the border hunt for Villa in 1917. Pershing’s mission failed, but he brought the endangered merchants back to San Antonio with him, and they became permanent residents.

World War I brought the opening of two aviation training centers: Brooks Air Force base and Kelly Air Force base. Randolph Air Force Base opened in 1930, followed by Lackland Air Force Base in 1942. The military continues to be a vital economic factor in the city.

Since mission times, the San Antonio River has been the key to the city’s fortunes. Destructive floods in the 1920s, and subsequent oil drilling, reduced its flow, leading to plans to pave the river over. Instead, a careful landscaping plan, started in 1939 by the WPA, created the Paseo del Rio, or River Walk which is now the aesthetic and commercial focus of San Antonio.

The site that was to become San Antonio was originally a Coahuiltecan Indian village inhabited by a peaceful nomadic tribe. Spanish clergy seeking to extend their country’s efforts to colonize North America, taught these original inhabitants farming and in the process set up an outstanding system of irrigation that is still in use in the San Antonio area.

A band of Spanish explorers and missionaries came upon the river in 1691, and because it was the feast day of St. Anthony, they named the river “San Antonio.” A permanent settlement was made in 1718 when the city was officially founded by Friar Antonio de San Buenaventura Olivares, who established the first mission and named it after his patron saint, Saint Anthony. Later that same year, Don Martin de Alarcon , Captain General and Governor of the Province of Texas constructed a military fort (presidio) in order to protect the fledgling settlement.

To populate the colony, the Spanish sent several dozen people from the Canary Islands. Four missions built ,which flourished until 1794 when the attacks by Comanche and Apache tribes weakened them to the point that they could not survive. The missions then became military posts. In 1803 Spanish cavalry from Mexico occupied the original mission and changed its name to Mission del Alamo del Parras.

The city of San Antonio became a part of Mexico after the Mexican Revolution of 1821. Moses Austin, a Missouri pioneer, was the first American to attempt to colonize the frontier. He died before his plan came to fruition but his son Stephen F. Austin received a land grant from the new government and brought 300 Anglo families to settle in Texas in 1821.

By 1836, 3,500 Anglos lived in the city. When General Santa Anna abolished the 1824 Mexican constitution, these Americans, along with many Hispanic Texans, refused to recognize his presidency, an act of defiance that led to the Battle of the Alamo in 1836.

Texas won its independence at the Battle of San Jacinto later that year. In the 1840’s there was a great influx of German settlers whose descendants still add to the city’s cosmopolitan flavor. In 1845 Texas entered the union as the 28th state. Thereafter, Anglos settled the city in greater numbers, and by 1860, San Antonio could claim a population of 8,000.

The beef industry grew after the civil war. A trail was established to drive cattle from San Antonio to Abilene, Kansas. With the arrival of the railroad in 1877, the city was directly linked to new northern markets In the 1870’s new settlers, adventurers and cowboys on long cattle drives made San Antonio a tough, hard drinking , hard fighting, gambling town.

In 1876 Fort Sam Houston was established. San Antonio was also the birthplace of the Rough Riders, a defense group formed after the battleship Maine exploded in Havana Harbor in 1898.

San Antonio gained a small but substantial Asian community long before most other Texas cities when, during the revolution, forces led by Francisco “Pancho” Villa were lynching Chinese merchants in northern Mexico. American General John J. Pershing launched a south of the border hunt for Villa in 1917. Pershing’s mission failed, but he brought the endangered merchants back to San Antonio with him, and they became permanent residents.

World War I brought the opening of two aviation training centers: Brooks Air Force base and Kelly Air Force base. Randolph Air Force Base opened in 1930, followed by Lackland Air Force Base in 1942. The military continues to be a vital economic factor in the city.

Since mission times, the San Antonio River has been the key to the city’s fortunes. Destructive floods in the 1920s, and subsequent oil drilling, reduced its flow, leading to plans to pave the river over. Instead, a careful landscaping plan, started in 1939 by the WPA, created the Paseo del Rio, or River Walk which is now the aesthetic and commercial focus of San Antonio.

B- City Information:
Population:
935,933

Elevation:
650 feet

Time Zone:
Central Time

Area:
328 sq. miles within the city (San Antonio metropolitan area: 3354 sq. miles)

Important Phone Numbers:
Emergency: 911
Non-emergeny Police: 207-7273
Fire: 207-7744
Time (210) 226-3232
Weather (830) 609-2029

Average Temperatures in Fahrenheit:
Hi Lo
Jan. – March 71 41
April -June 89 57
July – Sept. 96 69
Oct. – Dec. 82 43

Spring, early summer and fall are ideal times to visit central Texas. From late March to mid June and from mid September through mid November days are usually warm but not too hot and evenings are pleasant. Many festivals are held during this time period. In the spring, the landscape is decorated with colorful wildflowers. Spring thunderstorms and floods can be severe, but acres of lush greenery are produced as a result. Summers are a popular time to visit, but the days are often intensely hot. The morning air in the Fall is crisp and cool, and most days are sunny.

Public Holidays:
Jan. 1 New Year’s Day
January (3rd Monday) Martin Luther King Jr’s birthday
January 19 Confederate Heroes Day
February (3rd Monday) Presidents’ Day
March 2 Texas Independence Day
May (Last Monday) Memorial Day
June 19 Emancipation Day
July 4 Independence Day
August 27 Lyndon B. Johnson’s birthday
September (1st Monday) Labor Day
November 11 Veterans’ Day
November (4th Thursday) Thanksgiving Day
December 25 Christmas Day

How to get around:

From the airport:
San Antonio International Airport is located only five miles north of the city, and is served by a number of U.S. and Mexican airlines. Taxis into the city charge approximately $15 – $20 depending on the destination. Taxis are metered, so the fare varies. Four passengers traveling together can ride for a single fare. Buses and rental cars are available.

Bus service:
Is excellent within the city. Metropolitan Transit buses have regular routes through all sections of the city. For shoppers there are buses that run from the city to the mall on I-410Express buses run from 6:30am- 9:30pm daily. Exact change is required.Telephone (210) 362-2020.

Streetcars:
Utilizing rubber-tired replicas of antique cars, San Antonio Streetcars travel main city routes Mon.-Fri. from just before 7am to 9pm or later.Tokens can be purchased at the Via Information Center . Telephone (210) 227-2020.

Railway:
The Amtrak station is located at 1174 East Commerce Street. For train schedule and ticket information call (210) 223-3226 or (800) 872-7245.

Automobile:
It is wise to have a car available if travel is planned to any of the many attractions that are located outside the city. There is ample parking downtown. It is, however, best to obtain a local map as the system of streets was laid out following old cattle trails. Avoid freeways and loops during rush hours: 7-9am and 4-6pm Mon.-Fri.

C- Attractions/Things To Do:
The Alamo
Alamo Plaza
210-225-1391
Admission: free.
Originally a Franciscan mission called Mission San António de Valero, this was the first of five missions established in the area starting in 1718. It was fortified and renamed by the Mexicans. The Alamo stands as a monument to the 189 volunteers who fought to the death there in 1836 against an army of 4000 Mexican troops. Texas was at that time a part of Mexico, and the goal of the 189 volunteers was to break free of Mexican rule. “Remember the Alamo” was the battle cry several weeks later when a motley crew of Texas volunteers surprised the Mexican army outside Houston and defeated them.
Today , the historic chapel and barracks contain the guns and other paraphernalia used by William Travis, Davy Crockett, James Bowie, and other Texas heroes. Outside in the peaceful courtyard, a history wall recounts the history of the Alamo before and after its days as a fortress.

Texas Adventure
Alamo Special Effects Theater
307 Alamo Plaza
Winter: 10 -7 Summer hours: 10.-8 .
Admission charged.
Group rates available for 10 or more.
210-227-8224
An action-packed multi-media production portraying the movement toward Texas Independence with the Alamo drama as its centerpiece. Utilizing an array of state of the art special effects, the “Encountarium F/X Theatre” format surrounds viewers with an environment that simulates the touch and feel of being present as history is made. (Small children may be frightened by the vivid scenes of battle and the loud sounds of guns being fired). In addition to the theatre, there is a retail store and a light food and beverage service both inside and outdoors at the Losoya Court Cafe.

IMAX Theatre
In the River Center Mall
This state of the art theater presents Alamo, The Price of Freedom a 45-minute docudrama. The story begins with the arrival of William B. Travis on Feb. 3, 1836, in San Antonio, and tells story of the 189 defenders who chose to die for freedom from Mexican rule. IMAX surround sound and the huge (six story) screen make the battle of the Alamo very realistic. (Small children may be frightened by the vivid scenes of battle and the loud sounds of guns being fired).

San Antonio Missions National Park
Established along the San Antonio River in the 18th century, the four Spanish colonial missions that now comprise this national park stand as reminders of Spain’s evangelical outreach northward from Mexico. All of the missions are active parish churches which in addition to religious services offer exhibits, lectures, talks and cultural demonstrations.

(1) Missión San José
6539 San José Dr.
210-932-1001
One of the largest and most successful missions in the southwest, it has a visitor center that details the history of the missions. San José’s outer wall, Native American dwellings, granary, water mill, and workshops have been restored and can be viewed by visitors.

(2) Missión Concepción
807 Mission Rd.
210-534-1540
This mission dates back to 1731. It is one of the best preserved in Texas and the oldest unrestored stone church in the country. It is built of porous limestone which is found in quarries in the area. It is known for its remarkable 18th century frescoes.

(3) Mission San Juan
9102 Graf
210-532-3914
A self sufficient community was centered around this mission, which was also established in 1731. Goods produced by local Indian artisans and farmers and not needed by residents were traded. The mission church is notable for its Romanesque arches. It has a serene chapel for meditation.

(4) Mission Espada
10040 Espada Rd.
210-627-2021
Admission: free
The southernmost Spanish colonial mission has a 120 foot long Arab-inspired aqueduct. This was part of the missions’ famous acequia water management system that carried water over Piedras Creek for over 250 years. Nearby farms still use water from this system.

Texas Star Trail
210-224-6163
This interesting family activity involves taking a 2.6-mile walking tour in which 80 historic sites are identified by blue disks inlaid in the sidewalks. A map and brochure(available from the San Antonio Conservation Society, 107 King William St.) give details about each marked site.

Yanaguana Cruises
The river’s floating transportation system, provides a novel method of sightseeing in downtown San Antonio. Groups can also dine aboard open air, candlelit cruisers as they wind their way along the scenic waterway. River taxis deliver visitors to Rivercenter, a dazzling three-level glass shopping, dining and entertainment complex, and to the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center.

River Walk
Amidst the daily hubbub of the busy metropolitan downtown, sequestered 20 feet below street level, lies one of San Antonio’s jewels. Best known as River Walk, but also as Paseo del Rio, this leading tourist attraction comprises about 3 miles of stone pathways lining both banks of the San Antonio River as it flows through downtown. In some places the walk is peaceful and quiet; in others it is an energetic mix of European style cafés, restaurants, nightclubs, gleaming high rise hotels, boutiques, and strolling mariachi bands, all of which can also be seen from river taxis and charter boats.
The River Walk stretches for approximately two-and-a-half miles from the Municipal Auditorium and Conference Center on the north end to the King William Historic District on the south.

HemisFair Park
22 S. Alamo
210-207-8615
Admission charged.
This former 1968 World’s Fair site southeast of River Walk is home to the 750-ft Tower Of The Americas. The Tower, 750 ft. tall, offers a panoramic view of San Antonio and the surrounding area. Glass-walled elevators ascend over 500 feet to the restaurant and observation level. It was the theme structure for HemisFair in 1968 and was designed to symbolizes the progress made by the confluence of civilizations in the Western Hemisphere. Observation Deck, 9 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday – Thursday; 9 a.m.-11 p.m., Friday -Saturday. Parking for restaurant is available off Bowie Street, east of the park.

Institute Of Texan Cultures
HemisFair Plaza
210-458-2300
Admission charged.
This is an interactive museum which allows visitors to walk through a recreated sharecropper’s house and also to observe and listen to an animated, recorded conversation that might have taken place between a Spanish governor and a Comanche chief in the 1790’s.

La Villita (Little Village)
South Alamo and Nueva Streets
210-207-8610
Admission Free
This 250 Year Old Spanish settlement and site of the city’s original settlement was reconstructed during the 1930’s to preserve the unique buildings. The area has three patios where various functions and festivals are held. The adobe houses currently are occupied by working artists who produce art work and craft items for sale and display.

McNay Art Museum
6000 N. New Braunfels Ave.
210-824-5368
cost: donation requested.
This 1920s mansion on the outskirts of the city has handsome tile floors and a Moorish-style courtyard. Gothic, medieval, late 19th and 20th century American and European paintings, sculpture, graphic arts, rare books, and exhibits are all featured. The impressive collection includes works by Gauguin, Picasso, and Manet, and there is a theater arts library.

Menger Hotel
204 Alamo Plaza
210-223-4361 or 800-345-9285.
According to legend, William Menger’s hotel was occupied at various times following its opening in 1859 by Robert E. Lee, Theodore Roosevelt and William Jennings Bryan. The mahogany bar is where Teddy Roosevelt supposedly recruited his Rough Riders.

San Antonio Botanical Gardens
555 Funston Pl.
210-207-3250
Admission charged.
Among these 33 acres of formal gardens are meadows of wildflowers, a Japanese garden, herb gardens, a xeriscape, rose gardens, native Texas vegetation surrounding a lake and model dwellings of the 1800’s. There is also a “touch and smell” garden specially designed for the visually impaired.

San Antonio Museum Of Art
200 W. Jones Ave,
210-978-8100
Admission charged.
Housed in the castle – like former Lone Star Beer brewery, this museum is noted for its unique collections of pre-Columbian, Native American, and Spanish colonial folk art. There is also a section for Ancient Art, with Egyptian, Greek and Roman antiquities. On the grounds are a sculpture garden and rest areas. . A new $11 million wing houses the Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Latin American Art. It contains major Latin works dating back 3000 year.

Brackenridge Park
2800 block of North Broadway;
2 miles north of the Alamo
210-736-9534
This lushly landscaped park has 340 acres of picnic grounds, playgrounds, athletic fields, and a golf course. It also has a miniature railroad, a carousel with antique horses, a cable car sky ride and paddle boats. Some of the attractions charge a small fee. Stroll across rustic stone bridges and up winding walks around gleaming pools, and through an authentic Japanese Tea Garden. The Sunken Gardens Theater regularly presents entertainment. Following are additional facets of the park:

(1) San Antonio Zoological Gardens and Aquarium
3903 N. St. Mary’s St.
210-734-7183
Admission charged.
Daily 9-5 Summer 9-8
The zoo is inhabited by more than 3,000 animals representing 750 species and is one of the top zoos in North America. It is a sanctuary for various endangered species like the whooping crane, snow leopard, and white rhino. Natural habitats have been created and there are special sections for Australian and African animals. Most of the animals reside in outdoor habitats. In addition, there is a children’s zoo with a boat ride.

(2) Witte Museum of History and Science
3801 Broadway
210-357-1900
Admission is charged.
The museum features extensive hands on exhibits covering history, science and the humanities. Also displayed are exhibits of the natural history and natural science of Texas and dioramas of Texas flora and wildlife. These are brought to life through instructions on how to decipher ancient rock art, by the recreation of a walk through a thorny Texas landscape and the opportunity to meet some dinosaurs that once roamed the State. On the museum grounds are four early Texas houses and a furnished log cabin. A four-level “science tree house” filled with interactive exhibits lets children lift themselves with pulleys and ropes, play music with laser beams, and launch tennis balls 30 feet in the air.

(3) Pioneer Memorial Hall
3801 Broadway
210-822-9011
This museum houses collections of Texas trail drivers, pioneers and the Texas Rangers. Among the exhibits are saddles, guns, tools, furniture, etc.

(4) Japanese Tea Gardens
Free Admission.
Hours: 8: am-dark.
210-821-3120
3800 North St. Mary’s St.
At the northwestern edge of Brackenridge Park Winding pebble walkways, stone bridges, a waterfall and tranquil pools highlight this lush garden.

Sea World Of Texas
10500 Sea World Dr.
210-523-3611
Admission charged.
Closed Nov.-Feb.
Sprawled across 250 acres of manicured gardens northwest of the city, this is the world’s largest marine life park offering more than 25 shows in a 4500 seat stadium. The 300,000 gallon coral reef aquarium features many species of sharks and thousands of Indo-Pacific fish. The shows feature sea lions, beluga whales, dolphins, and penguins, among others. There are water rides and a children’s play area. For the more adventurous, there are high speed roller coasters, including the Steel Eel hypercoaster and The Great White inverted coaster. A water park features rides such as the Rio Loco.

The Spanish Governor’s Palace
105 Military Plaza (Plaza de Armas)
210-224-0601
Mon.-Sat. 9-5
Admission charged.
45 minute tour
This was the residence and the seat of government when San Antonio was the capital of the Spanish Province of Texas from the mid 1700’s to the early 1800’s. It has carved doors, low beamed ceilings an interior patio with a fountain and several rooms furnished in period furniture. Tours are offered daily of this National Historic Landmark.

Market Square
515 West Commerce Street
210-207-8600
The largest Mexican marketplace outside of Mexico, this colorful village within a city is busy from dawn until late at night. It includes a farmers’ market, Mexican restaurants, a bakery, art galleries, boutiques, and El Mercado, a market with vendors selling handicrafts and souvenirs from Latin America. Festivals are often held here.

Military Bases Complex
San Antonio has five military installations – a reminder that the city was founded as a garrisoned fort. A visitor’s pass is normally required except for Fort Sam Houston, an open post. Since some of these bases are restricted, it is best to call in advance.

Brooks Air Force Base
Southeast Military Drive at the junction of I-37 (7 miles southeast of downtown).
Brooks is headquarters of the Human Systems Center.
Tours 8:00am-4:00pm, Monday -Friday.
Free admission.
210-536-3234.

Hangar 9/Edward H. White Museum Brooks Air Force Base
8:00 – 4:00 Monday – Friday
Individuals will be added to scheduled tours
Free admission.
For reservations call 210-536-2203 or 531-9767.
Hangar 9 is the oldest aircraft hangar in the Air Force. It houses the Museum of Flight Medicine, which contains exhibits concerning the history of the base, the development of manned flight and the evolution of aerospace medicine and the Flight Nursing Annex which is dedicated to the history of flight nurses

Fort Sam Houston
Grayson Street and New Braunfels Avenue
10-4 Wednesday – Sunday
210-221-1886
Quadrangle Gift shop Friday-Tuesday 8 -4.
210-226-1216.
This fort was established in 1876 and was the site of the first military airplane flight. Today, it is Fifth Army Headquarters and home of Brooke Army Medical Center. Fort Sam’s Quadrangle dates from 1876. The Apache Indian Chief Geronimo was once held prisoner within its walls. Today this historic landmark stands in the center of a park-like setting where animals roam the grounds among people at work and visitors from around the world.

Fort Sam Houston Museum/National Historic Landmark Building
123, Fort Sam Houston.
Museum open 10:00 am to 4:00 pm Wednesday-Sunday,
closed Monday, Tuesday and Federal holidays.
Free admission
210-221-1886
Exhibits trace U.S. Army history in San Antonio area from 1845 to the present. Historic 500 acre fort includes the Quadrangle, built in 1876.

U.S. Army Medical Department Museum
Located at the corner of Harry Wurzbach and Stanley Road, Fort Sam Houston.
Museum hours 10 -4 Tuesday-Sunday. Closed Monday, and Federal Holidays.
Free admission.
210-221-6358
The museum collection consists of Army medical equipment (including captured medical equipment from Germany, Japan, Russia, China and Vietnam), uniforms, artwork, photographs, and scale models. The museum is also assembling a collection of restored and replicated ambulance vehicles. The museum has a significant collection of American prisoner of war memorabilia.

Lackland Air Force Base
12 miles southwest of downtown off U.S. 90 at SW Military Dr. exit
Lackland is a basic military training center for all Air Force recruits nationwide.

Air Force History and Traditions Museum
Tuesday-Saturday 8 -4:45 closed on Sundays, Mondays
Tours of 15 or more by appointment. Auditorium for 35.
210-671-3055
Featuring aviation history, the museum maintains a collection of rare airplanes and their components. Free admission.

Randolph Air Force Base
17 miles northeast from downtown off I-35
210-652-4407
Randolph is home to the 12th Flying Wing, HQ. Air Training Command, HQ. Air Force Military Personnel Center and HQ. Air Force Recruiting Center. The Taj Mahal (Bldg. #100) is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Six Flags Fiesta Texas
Route I-10 at La Cantera Parkway
1-800-473-4378
Open March-Novembe
Admission charged.
Set in a limestone quarry, this 200 acre theme park surrounded by 100-foot cliffs celebrates the cultural diversity of Texas. Disney characters entertain with thrilling rides, a water park and live shows. The park is divided into “theme areas” : the Mexican town of Los Festivales, the German village of Spassburg, the 1920 cowboy boom town of Crackaxle Canyon, and the small Texas town of Rockville during the golden age of rock’n’roll, which includes Fiesta Bay Boardwalk, a ’50s-’60s seaside boardwalk complete with a 90-foot ferris wheel.
Thus, in the course of one visit, it is possible to polka in Germany, participate in a Latin fiesta and move on to riding one of the world’s tallest wooden roller coasters. Joker’s Revenge sends the rider into a 360 degree loop, a series of corkscrew turns, and into a spiral. All of this rotation is backwards!

Blue Bonnet Palace
Open at 7 p.m. Fri., Sat.
Garden Ridge Exit off I-35
Country/Western entertainment complex includes dance hall, indoor bull-riding arena, outdoor sports, and rodeo arena. Big name country stars, professional cowboys, special events, and entertainers.

Majestic Theater
210-226-5700
224 E. Houston
Named a State and National Historic Landmark. One of the few remaining vintage, vaudeville movie palaces. Home to the San Antonio Symphony and the Majestic Broadway Series. Individual concerts and events are also showcased.

Sunset Station
1774 E. Commerce
210/222-9481
All aboard! The complex is a destination for great entertainment, food and live music, as well as shopping all set in the historic backdrop of a turn of the century train station on St. Paul Square. Originally constructed in 1902, it has been revitalized to showcase the city’s cultural diversity. Traditional Mexican cuisine against a backdrop of live music. Four music stages and five dance floors.

Buckhorn Saloon & Museum
318 E. Houston
10 a.m.-6 p.m. daily.
Admission charged.
210-247-4000
The museum’s two stories are packed with more than 40,000 western artifacts and 550 different species displayed from all over the world. Other features include the only wax museum of Texas history, an authentic shooting gallery, videos, live entertainment, gifts and the original 118-year old bar

Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center
325 South Salado
210-271-0379
The Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center brings its artistic vision alive through six art disciplines: visual arts, media arts, theatre arts, literature, dance, and music life

King William Historic Area
A 25-block area near downtown on the south bank of the San Antonio River. In the late 1800’s the King William District was the most elegant residential area in the city. Prominent German merchants originally settled the area. It was zoned as the state’s first historic district, and has once again become a fashionable neighborhood. The area includes the following attractions:

(1) Guenther House
205 E. Guenther
Museum and River Mill store hours 9-5 Monday-Saturday
8 -2 Sunday.
Admission: Free
210-227-1061
The house is located on a bend of the river, at the foot of King William, one of the oldest historic districts in Texas. Carl Hilmar Guenther, founder of Pioneer Flour Mills, built this elegant home in 1860. The restored house is now a museum. Of interest to collectors are the Dresden china anniversary plates which were made in Germany until WWII.

(2) Steves Homestead
509 King William
Open daily. Hours: 10 a.m.-4:15 p.m.
Small Admission charged.
210-227-9160
Located in the King William Historic District, this Victorian French Second Empire design three-story home was built for Edward Steves in 1876 and furnished in a late 19th-century style. The River House, a one-story brick structure, housed the first natatorium or inside swimming pool in San Antonio. The Carriage House was built in 1875. This two-story frame and stone building was used for storage. The servants quarters were built around 1877. The Steves Homestead has been maintained since 1954 as a historic house museum.

Castroville Regional Park
From Jct. US 90 in city: Athens St S 5 blks; Lisbon St W 3 blks; half blk S on Alsace St. On suburban, grassy hill by Medina River.

Matagorda Island State Park and Wildlife Management Area
For several years, beginning in 1942, a portion of Matagorda Island was used for practice bombing by the U.S. Air Force. Now, as a state park, the 7,325-acre area has largely returned to its natural state as a haven for migratory water fowl and deer.

Friedrich Wilderness Park
On I-10
Open Wed. – Sun. 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Operated by city of San Antonio as a nature preserve. Provides nesting habitat for black-capped vireo and golden-cheeked warbler. Five miles of hiking trails.

Mission Tejas State Historic Park
Landmark structure in 363-acre state park commemorates Mission San Francisco de los Tejas, first Spanish mission in East Texas, built in 1690 to stem tide of French settlement, but was not successful and closed in 1693

Lake Calaveras
3,624-acre impoundment on Calaveras Creek is among the best of the Texas bass lakes, producing trophy-size fish above 12 lbs. Two non-native species of game fish have been introduced.

Choke Canyon Reservoir
Midway between San Antonio and Corpus Christi, the 25,733-acre reservoir on the Frio River has been heavily stocked with largemouth, striped and Florida bass, crappie, sunfish, and channel and blue catfish.

Old Tunnel Wildlife Management Area
The wildlife management area is open nightly from June – Oct. for a spectacular emergence of 1.5 to 2 million Mexican free-tailed bats from an abandoned tunnel of the old San Antonio, Fredericksburg and Northern Railway Co.

Cascade Caverns Park
14 miles NW on I-10 to exit 543 (Cascade Caverns Road)
210-755-8080
This beautiful park has been a popular visitor attraction since 1932. Skilled guides conduct 45 minute interpretive tours every 30 minutes over well lighted, comfortable walking trails. A water formed underground cavern with spectacular rock formations is the centerpiece of the tour. It has a 100 foot underground waterfall. There is a picnic facility on the grounds of the 10 acre park.

D- Family Fun Attractions:
Tower of the Americas
222 S. Alamo
210-207-8615
Admission charged.
The observation deck and rotating restaurant at the top of the tower afford amazing views of the city. Children will enjoy the elevator ride up to the top and the view.

Kiddie Park
3015 Broadway
America’s Original Kiddie Park, as verified by the National Amusement Park Historical Association. Established in 1925 a highlight of any visit to Kiddie Park is the 1918 Herschell-Spillman Carousel featuring 36 jumping horses and two Chariots. This lovely carousel was created in North Tonawanda, New York and originally located in Miami, Florida. It has been working its magic on the children of San Antonio and many visitors since 1935.

Cascade Caverns Park
14 miles NW on I-10 to exit 543
Cascade Caverns Road
210-755-8080
This beautiful park has been a popular visitor attraction since 1932. Skilled guides conduct 45 minute interpretive tours every 30 minutes over well lighted, comfortable walking trails. A water formed underground cavern with spectacular rock formations is the centerpiece of the tour. It has a 100 foot underground waterfall. There is a picnic facility on the grounds of the 10 acre park.

San Antonio Botanical Gardens
Lucile Halsell Conservatory
555 Funston Pl.
8 a.m. – 5 p.m. daily
Admission (includes the conservatory): adults $4; seniors $ 2; children (3-13) $1; children under 3 free.
210-207-3255
This 33-acre garden represents in miniature, the diverse Texas landscape-from Hill Country wild flowers to the formal rose gardens of East Texas. A biblical and children’s garden and a fragrance garden are featured. Enter through the Carriage House to visit the gift shop and have lunch in the tea room (kitchen closed on Monday). The Conservatory, a $6.5 million complex with 90,000 sq. ft. of climatically controlled structures, includes an exhibition hall, tropical house, desert house, palm house, fern room and an orangery. Visitors enter at ground level and follow a tunnel 16 ft. below the surface where architecture separates different environments within a series of tent-like pavilions surrounding a large inner courtyard and pond.

San Antonio Zoological Gardens and Aquarium
3903 N. St. Mary’s St.
210-734-7183.
Admission charged.
Daily 9-5 Summer 9-8
The zoo is inhabited by more than 3,000 animals representing 750 species and is one of the top zoos in North America. It is a sanctuary for various endangered species like the whooping crane, snow leopard, and white rhino. Natural habitats have been created and there are special sections for Australian and African animals. Most of the animals reside in outdoor habitats. In addition, there is a children’s zoo with a boat ride.

Splashtown – San Antonio
3600 North Pan American Expressway
Apr. – Sept.
I-35 at Coliseum Rd.
Admission. charged
210-227-1100.
15 acre water recreation park features water slides, the world’s largest surf-tech wave pool, a sandy beach, and a peaceful river. There are a variety of children’s activities available. Lockers and showers on premises.

Sea World Of Texas
10500 Sea World Dr.
210-523-3611
Admission charged.
Closed Nov.-Feb.
Sprawled across 250 acres of manicured gardens northwest of the city, this is the world’s largest marine life park offering more than 25 shows in a 4500 seat stadium. The 300,000 gallon coral reef aquarium features many species of sharks and thousands of Indo-Pacific fish. The shows feature sea lions, beluga whales, dolphins, and penguins, among others. There are water rides and a children’s play area. For the more adventurous, there are high speed roller coasters, including the Steel Eel hypercoaster and The Great White inverted coaster. A water park features rides such as the Rio Loco.

San Antonio Children’s Museum
305 E. Houston Street
210-212-4453
Admission charged.
A better understanding of the cultural diversity of San Antonio can be gained in this hands on, bilingual museum which is designed to appeal to children ages 2-10. Interactive educational exhibits engage all of a child’s senses to make learning an entertaining experience. The museum is located two blocks from the Riverwalk in the heart of downtown just a short walk from the Alamo.

Six Flags Fiesta Texas
Route I-10 at La Cantera Parkway
1-800-473-4378
Open March-November
Admission charged.
Set in a limestone quarry, this 200 acre theme park surrounded by 100-foot cliffs celebrates the cultural diversity of Texas. Disney characters entertain with thrilling rides, a water park and live shows. The park is divided into “theme areas” : the Mexican town of Los Festivales, the German village of Spassburg, the 1920 cowboy boom town of Crackaxle Canyon, and the small Texas town of Rockville during the golden age of rock’n’roll, which includes Fiesta Bay Boardwalk, a ’50s-’60s seaside boardwalk complete with a 90-foot ferris wheel. Thus, in the course of one visit, it is possible to polka in Germany, participate in a Latin fiesta and move on to riding one of the world’s tallest wooden roller coasters. Joker’s Revenge sends the rider into a 360 degree loop, a series of corkscrew turns, and into a spiral. All of this rotation is backwards.

IMAX TheatreIn the River Center Mall
This state of the art theater presents Alamo ..The Price of Freedom a 45-minute docudrama. The story begins with the arrival of William B. Travis on Feb. 3, 1836, in San Antonio, and tells story of the 189 defenders who chose to die for freedom from Mexican rule. IMAX surround sound and the huge (six story) screen make the battle of the Alamo very realistic. (Small children may be frightened by the vivid scenes of battle and the loud sounds of guns being fired.)

Hertzberg Circus Museum
210 West Market Street
210-207-7810
The museum traces the history of the circus and contains more than 20,000 items. Changing exhibits are also featured. This museum will be of interest to older children who have some familiarity with the circus.

Monarch Collectibles
2012 NW Military Highway
210-341-3655
Admission free.
A collection of over 2500 dolls from around the world is featured. In addition there are limited edition collector plates depicting sports figures, movie stars, wildlife scenes and other subjects.

Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch
17 miles NE of San Antonio via Natural Bridge Caverns Road Exit off I-35
Daily 9-6:30
Admission charged.
830-438-7400
A 200 acre drive through safari. Visitors follow a map to locate 60 varieties of animals. A cup of food is provided to feed the ostriches, zebras and other tame species that come up to the car. A petting zoo and fenced section are also on the grounds.

E- Events & Entertainment:
Events

January

Mid January: River Walk Mud Festival. This festival celebrates the annual draining of the San Antonio River. Festivities include a parade, an arts-and-crafts show, a ball, pub crawl and the crowning of the Mud King and Queen. For information, call 210-227-4262.

Mid January: Martin Luther King Jr. March. The largest march of its kind in the country begins at the Boys and Girls Club Eastside branch, 3503 Martin Luther King Drive, and ends at Martin Luther King Plaza at Houston and New Braunfels. For information, call the city government at 210-207-2098 or 210-207-7235.

Late January: Asian New Year Festival. Pageantlike celebration of the cultures of Asia and Polynesia, with authentic ethnic cuisine, traditional dance and music, martial-arts demonstrations, arts and crafts, cultural displays, fortune-telling and children’s activities. Institute of Texan Cultures, 801 S. Bowie St. For information, call 210-485-2300.

February

Mid-Late February: San Antonio CineFestival. The oldest Hispanic film festival in the U.S. screens more than 70 independent Mexican, Latino and Chicano films and documentaries by emerging and contemporary filmmakers. Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center, 1300 Guadalupe. For information, call 210-271-3151. Continues through early March

Early February: San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo. Includes livestock judging, bull riding, barrel racing, a horse show and live concerts. SBC Center, 3201 Houston St. For information and tickets, call 210-225-5851, toll-free 877-637-6336, or Ticketmaster at 210-224-9600.

Late February: River Walk Mardi Gras Arts and Crafts Fair and Parade. Decorated river barges, krewes of costumed revelers and live entertainment transform the San Antonio River Walk. An arts-and-crafts fair featuring all handmade items takes place on the River Walk extension. For information, call 210-227-4262.

March

Early-Mid March: Tejano Music Awards and Fan Fair. More than 40,000 people annually attend this three-day event in Market Square featuring live music and autograph booths where fans meet the stars. The actual awards show takes place at Graham Central Station, 4902 Fredricksburg Road. For information, call 210-222-8862.

Mid March: Alamo Irish Festival. Three-day celebration with food, live music, arts and crafts, Irish dancing and music from traditional Irish to country and jazz to rock and tejano. Organized by the Harp and Shamrock Society of Texas. Arneson River Theater on the River Walk and the La Villita area. For information, call 210-497-8435.

Early March: San Antonio CineFestival. The oldest Hispanic film festival in the U.S. screens more than 70 independent Mexican, Latino and Chicano films and documentaries by emerging and contemporary filmmakers. Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center, 1300 Guadalupe. For information, call 210-271-3151.

Early March: Remembering the Alamo Weekend. Dramatization of the final two days of the Alamo conflict in 1836. A predawn re-enactment pays homage to the fall of the Alamo and the sacrifices made by both armies. Alamo Plaza. For information, call 210-273-1730.

April

Early April: NCAA® Final Four®. Division I men’s collegiate basketball championship, one of the nation’s premier sporting events. Alamodome. San Antonio Sports Foundation, UTSA, City of San Antonio. Admission. 210/820-2100.

Mid April: Fiesta San Antonio. The city’s lavish annual celebration with more than 100 events, including parades, sports meets, house tours, an art fair, carnival, exhibits, flower show, concerts and lots of mariachi music. Along the River Walk and at other venues throughout the city. For information, call 210-227-5191, or toll-free 877-723-4378. For tickets, call 210-224-0358.

Early April: Viva Botanica! Annual fair at the height of spring with a leading plant sale, advice from gardening experts, live animal shows, garden craftmaking, dance, music, children’s gardening activities and food booths. San Antonio Botanical Gardens, 555 Funston Place. For information, call 207-3250 or 210-829-5100.

May

Early May: Cinco de Mayo Events. Celebrations commemorate the Mexican Army’s defeat of the invading French at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. Events include a festival with music and food at historic Market Square, concerts and other commemorations. 800/447-3372.

Throughout May: San Antonio Dance! The San Antonio Dance Umbrella kicks off this month-long celebration of dance with a judged show of local dance companies. Dancers and troupes from across the state and country perform in numerous styles from ballet, tap and jazz to modern, ethnic and even wheelchair dancing. Various venues. For information, call 210-212-7775, or the City Office of Cultural Affairs at 210-222-2787

Early May: Tejano Conjunto Festival. Live performances by more than 20 top tejano, conjunto and norteno musical groups, as well as dancing, a national poster-contest exhibit, inductions into the Conjunto Music Hall of Fame, an accordion students recital, food and games. Rosedale Park, 340 Dartmouth. For information, call 210-271-3151.

Late May: The Return Of the Chili Queens. A return to that historical and colorful time in Market Square when the Chili Queens set out their tables in the open plazas and served their traditional foods and chili con carne. Sponsored by the El Mercado Merchants Association. Free. 210/207-8600

June

9-12 June: Texas Folklife Festival. Annual celebration of the numerous ethnic and cultural groups in Texas. Features more than 150 ethnic dishes, 50 arts-and-crafts vendors and 10 outdoor stages presenting the state’s best musicians, ethnic dancers and storytellers. Also carnival rides and children’s activities. Institute of Texan Cultures, 801 S. Bowie St. For information, call 210-458-2390. For tickets, call 210-458-2259.

Mid June: Juneteenth. Observances throughout the city, including a picnic, festival, Freedom Fair, and cultural celebrations honoring the date, June 19, 1865, that Texas slaves received word of the Emancipation Proclamation. 800/447-3372.

July

Early-Mid July: Art in the Hood. Annual festival showcasing emerging local visual artists, photographers, performers, poets and musicians, held in the arts district of the Southtown neighborhood. For information, call 210-226-0888.

Mid July: Latina Letters. An academic conference and literary festival featuring world-renowned authors, artists and scholars from throughout the Americas in lectures, seminars, panels, musical concerts, dramatic performances, multimedia presentations and art exhibits. St. Mary’s University, 1 Camino Santa Maria. For information, call the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center at 210-271-3151.

1-24 July: Contemporary Art Month. This citywide celebration of San Antonio’s creative community has become the nation’s longest contemporary-arts festival. More than 400 exhibits are displayed in approximately 60 museums, galleries, studios and other venues throughout the city. For information, call 210-222-2787.

September

Throughout September: Fotoseptiembre USA. One of the largest photography festivals in the U.S. features approximately 70 exhibits of images by more than 250 established and emerging regional photographers. More than 60 venues throughout the San Antonio area. For information, call the City Office of Cultural Affairs at 210-222-2787.

Early September: Fiestas Patrias. Diez y Seis de Septiembre celebrates Mexico’s independence from Spain. The festivities are highlighted by the Guadalupe Street Parade, with floats and marching bands along South Brazos and Guadalupe streets, and the family-oriented Calle Guadalupe Festival in Plaza Guadalupe. For information, call 210-223-3151.

Mid September: Valero Texas Open at La Cantera. One of the oldest professional golf tournaments takes place at La Cantera Golf Club. 72-hole, four-day PGA TOUR EVENT. Admission. 210/341-0823.

Mid September: Jazz’Salive. Local and regional jazz musicians perform alongside the nation’s top talent. Special events include a champagne brunch and nighttime auction with dining and dancing. There are also arts and crafts and food. Travis Park, 301 E. Travis. For information, call 210-212-8423.

October

Early October: Oktoberfest San Antonio
210-222-1521 or 210-408-0004
Entertainment direct from Germany, also a band concert and authentic German song, dance, food and drink. Beethoven Home and Garden & Beethoven Männerchor.

Early October: Annual River Art Group Show and Competition.
210-226-8752. Over 100 Texas artists display their fine art along the River Walk and in La Villita. Along the River Walk and in La Villita.

Late October: Halloween Spooktacular
210-523-3611 Special Halloween-themed show and entertainment to include a haunted forest. SeaWorld San Antonio.

Late October: Midtown on Blanco ” Classic Days” Festival
Free admission 210-738-9900
Come have some fun at the street festival in the historic Midtown Business district. There will be food booths, music, and much more for the entire family.

Late October: The San Antonio New World Wine and Food Festival
210-518-1000. San Antonio will sizzle with gourmet food, wine, and celebratory spirits. The festival will include a Gala, a Silent Wine Auction, Tapas and Wine Tasting at La Mansion del Rio Hotel, cooking schools and a Charity Costume Ball.

Late October: Halloween and Dia De Los Muertos
Free. 210-207-8600. Celebrating two events, American and Mexican. Market Square.

Late October: Fall at The Alamo
Free. 210-225-1391 ext. 27. Interpretation of life during the Republic period of Texas in 1836-1846 by various living history groups featuring demonstrations, period entertainment and children’s games. Held at The Alamo. Daughters of the Republic of Texas.

Late October: Rivercenter Spooky Lagoon.
210-225-0000. Free. Tricks and treats for the kids and shopping for the parents. Rivercenter Mall from 12-6 p.m.

Dia De Los Muertos
Oct. 30 – Nov. 5. 210-212-4453.Learn about Day of the Dead traditions through hands-on activities. Dias De los Muertos takes place at the San Antonio Children’s Museum.

Buffalo Soldiers Veterans Day Ceremony
Nov.11. San Antonio National Cemetery.Free.210-675-1799.
To honor the forgotten Black U.S. 9th and 10th Cavalry who served strictly in the West during the Indian wars 1866-1891.

Mid November: Annual Mariachi Vargas Extravaganza
Municipal Auditorium. Admission. 210-225-3353. Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlan performs in concert. Mariachi workshops, competitions and more offered to Mariachi aficionados around the world.

Late November: Lone Star Holiday River Parade and River Walk Lighting
Along the River Walk.Free and ticketed viewing available.210-227-4262
A one-hour parade with decorated, illuminated floats with celebrities, bands and lavishly costumed participants. The switch is thrown and around 122,000 twinkling lights form a magical canopy over the River Walk. Sponsored by the Paseo del Rio Association.

Early December: Pepsi Holiday Boat Caroling
Along the River Walk. Free 210-227-4262. Over 175 joyous caroling groups fill the River Walk with holiday tunes. Sponsored by the Paseo del Rio Association.

Early December: Kristkindlmarkt
Free. 210-222-1521 or 210-408-0004. Authentic German outdoor holiday market with seasonal music, food, drink and crafts. Beethoven Home and Garden, Beethoven Männerchor.

Early December: Christmas Along the Corridor Grande Finale
Fort Sam Houston.Free. 210-362-5200. Over 100 Pony Express Christmas couriers ride over 90 miles and gallop up the parade field with Governor’s Christmas greeting.

Early December: Rivercenter Christmas Pageant
Rivercenter Mall Lagoon. Admission.210-225-0000
A 40-minute San Antonio-style production of the living nativity unfolds on river barges and the Rivercenter Island stage first three weekends in December.

Las Posadas
Mid December. San Antonio Conservation Society. Free. 210-224-6163
Reenactment of Joseph and Mary’s search for shelter. Candle-lit procession sings traditional Posada songs. River Walk level of La Mansion del Rio to Arneson River Theatre. Followed by a piñata party and hot chocolate in La Villita.

La Gran Posada
Mid December. Free. 210-227-1297. Procession begins at Milam Park and winds its way through the historic center of the city ending at San Fernando Cathedral.

Late December: Alamo Bowl Team Fiesta
At Arneson River Theatre. 210/226-2695. River pep rally with the teams, coaches, bands and cheerleaders. Sponsored by Sylvania Alamo Bowl.

Dec. 31: Celebrate San Antonio.
On S. Alamo between Durango and Market streets. San Antonio Parks Foundation
210-207-3075. Ring in the New Year with revelers, San Antonio style! Enjoy spectacular fireworks, live music, food booths, family activities and more.

Early December: Fiesta de las Luminarias
Along the River Walk. 210-227-4262. More than 2,500 luminarias, warm glowing candles in sand filled bags, line the walkways to symbolically mark the “lighting of the way” for the Holy Family. Sponsored by the Paseo del Rio Association.

Toy Take Over Christmas
Dec. 1- Dec. 23. 210-227-2751. Please call for times Delightful tale of toys coming to life and a wonderful lesson for all. Shows on Friday and Saturday evenings and Saturday and Sunday afternoons.

San Antonio Dickens Carolers
Annually in December. River Walk and citywide, Pierrot Theater. Free
210-534-5765. Carolers in full Charles Dickens costume stroll and sing favorite Christmas carols

December 24: Lone Star Holiday River Parade and River Walk Lighting
210-227-4262. A one-hour parade with decorated, illuminated floats with celebrities, bands and lavishly costumed participants. The switch is thrown and around 122,000 twinkling lights form a magical canopy over the River Walk. Sponsored by the Paseo del Rio Association. Along the River Walk. Free and ticketed viewing available.

Sports

Alamodome
100 Montana Street
210-207-3652
This multi purpose dome contains 160,000 sq. ft. of exhibit space and 30,000 sq. feet of conference space. The building has a cable suspended roof which is anchored from four concrete towers. It provides facilities for basketball, hockey, football, concerts, and other events and is the only domed stadium in North America with two permanent ice sheets. The seating capacity is 73,200. It’s home for the Alamo Bowl, college football, and home games of the San Antonio Spurs NBA team. (210-554-7700 or 210-224-9600 for schedules and tickets)

Horseback Riding
Brackenridge Park Bridle Trails
Check telephone directory for riding academies and stables

Baseball

April-August
at San Antonio Missions Municipal Stadium
San Antonio Missions
210-675-7275

Horse Racing

June – November
210-651-7000
Thoroughbred and quarter horse racing Wed.-Sat. at Retama Park

Golf

With over 300 days of sunshine annually and an average temperature of 68.8 degrees Fahrenheit, visitors to San Antonio will find an abundance of outdoor sports and recreation to challenge them.
The first public golf course in Texas was built in San Antonio in 1916, and the city has been busy hosting golfers since then. A flurry of golf course construction since 1993 has made the city even more attractive to visiting golfers with additional upscale, public courses opening every year.

Theater and Concerts

San Antonio Symphony
212 E. Houston Street
210-554-1010
Performs September – June
Pops series, opera season, chamber music, and symphony

Convention Center Arena
Alamo and Market Streets
210-299-8566
Pop concerts, rock and jazz

Laurie Auditorium
715 Stadium Drive
210-736-8117
Instrumental soloists

Freeman Coliseum
3201 E. Houston
210-226-1177
Country music performances

Trinity University Drama Department
Ruth Taylor Theater
210-999-8511
presents a dozen or more dramatic productions each year

San Antonio Little Theater
San Pedro Playhouse
San Pedro Avenue
210-735-8324
Community theater productions

Arneson River Theater
next to La Villita
210-207-8610
Outdoor theater with tiers of grass seats on one side of the river and a patio stage on the other side. Folk dances, opera, flamenco and other musical events presented nightly in the summer.