The San Antonio River Walk is really one of the most iconic places and reasons to come to the area. It really is a MUST SEE attraction.
It's usually the center of all celebrations. So, in Christmas it's decorated in MANY Christmas lights. On St. Patrick's Day they even die the water green!!
During the spring, fall, and summer nights it's very delightful to walk around and see the different area. While visiting last summer I took this first shot of the ducks swimming on the river while others were dining along it. It just represents a fun, pleasant summer afternoon. :)
Favorite thing: Aside from checking out tips on VT (of course!) I so so strongly urge everyone to also check out the official tourist website of San Antonio, www.visitsanantonio.com. The website is complete and packed full of all the info you'll ever need for your visit. They've even got maps and coupons you can download! I swear the coupons are so handy especially if you're traveling on a budget (like we were). I absolutely loved this website and was super super helpful to us. Along with VT (of course!) this website saved us a lot of time and hassle during our trip.
Even though we are locals we still act like tourists during certain times of the year. During the winter holidays the entire Riverwalk area is decorated. One of the most beautiful sights you will ever see is an open air boat ride down the river at night with a solid canopy of lights twinkling in the trees above you and dancing on the water all around you. Most of the locals we know have NEVER done this. After that we take a horse drawn carriage all through downtown. We look at the city and listen to the "clip clop", especially on the cobblestone areas. We end the evening holding hands and talking beneath the grand Christmas tree in front of The Alamo. Being budget conscious we also love how little it costs for what you get. You are basically just paying for boat fare and carriage fare. Everything is in the open air so you will always be snuggling with your partner. It is always a perfect evening.
p.s. The boat fare is always discounted if you show a local i.d.
Fondest memory: My fondest memory here is proposing to Alma downtown at the top of the Tower of The Americas. Actually the part where she said "yes" was the best.
One of the things that is interesting to me about the San Antonio Missions, is that these locations were more than just missions. These were communities that were built in hostile lands at the time, with many different people fighting over the land and the mission itself. Between the actual Spanish missionaries, Native Americans that were remaining native as well as those who had been converted, Mexicans moving north, and Americans moving south, there were always people fighting over these missions.
The interesting part about these gun positions to me were how small the holes were. It seems like there would be just enough room to stick a rifle out the slot, but then there would be not much room to see what you were shooting at. I guess the main point of these positions were to maintain an amount of safety from people shooting inward, so I assume this was a good give and take.
If you are interested in looking at these up close, the best place is in Mission San Jose.
Favorite thing: During your trip to San Antonio, you will likely stop in and see one or more of the missions. The missions carry on a unique combination of church and state, as the grounds are primarily owned and maintained by the National Park Service, while the actual cathedral and services are still privately run by the Catholic church and the parishes of San Antonio. It is one of the most clear cut examples of how church and state can co-exist in harmony even though they are separate entities. In particular, you will get excellent information and guidance if you take advantage of the National Park Service’s Rangers. They were highly knowledgeable and passionate about educating you on the topic of the San Antonio Missions, and best of all, it is a free service!
Favorite thing: As mentioned before there have been six flags that have flown over Texas for the history of its existence, and one of the first was the Spanish Cross of Burgundy. This flag represented Spain’s colonial empire in the Americas, which was in rule from 1520 to 1785 in Texas. This cross is known as a Saltire, or two crossed branches with their limbs cut off. This design became known as the Cross of Burgundy and was a symbol of Philip I who is the father of Charles I, the King of Spain in 1516. This cross could be found throughout the Spanish Military in both the land and sea.
Favorite thing: One of the beautiful things about San Antonio’s Riverwalk area are the various murals that can be found on a lot of the trails. A lot of time and effort has clearly gone into these beautiful artistic representations of the city, and the historical events of this town are recorded here. In this particular mural, you can see the six flags over Texas, the modern look of the city, its history with the Alamo and other missions, and of course the Riverwalk itself which binds most of these elements together.
“In Memory of the Heroes who sacrificed their lives at the Alamo. March 6, 1836, in the defense of Texas. They chose never to surrender nor retreat, these brave hearts with flag still proudly waving, perished in the flames of immortality that their high sacrifice might lead to the founding of This Texas.”
True Patriots in every sense of the word, the people who gave their lives at the Alamo are beautifully remembered outside the Alamo grounds with a wonderful statue presented 100 years after the battle that founded Texas occurred. The statue contains the names of each person who died in the battle, 189 in all. Some of the well known figures are also immortalized in full body portraits surrounding the statue. I definitely recommend spending 10-15 minutes reading every name, and you will get an appreciation of just how important these 189 men were to the state.
Favorite thing: The Shops at La Villita are a major attraction for the shoppers in the group, however if you are like me and can take it or leave it going through tens of little shops selling similar souvenirs, then I would recommend walking to the river side of the shops, and enjoying some music in the open air amphitheatre. There always seems to be something playing here, and when we went there was some sort of band orchestra competition, which meant we were able to hear a great number of songs for free! The steps are made of concrete and double for seats, so if your rear is not as well padded as mine is, it would be in your best interest to bring a cushion or folding chair.
Favorite thing: The Riverwalk is an integral part of downtown San Antonio, with many entry and access points. Although it is actually a large square pattern for the most part, you will likely find yourself crossing backward and forward from the north side to the south side or the west side to the east side of the river. Every once in a while I found myself walking up the stairs at a given point to get my bearings and see which portion of the Riverwalk I was currently at. Also, if you are not entering the Riverwalk from one of the main parking structures like the mall or one of the hotels located on the walk, you will want to look for these type of signs to point you where to walk down to get to the river.
I think San Antonio's City Hall is an impressive structure! I guess it should be since the city is the 7th largest in the United States as of 2005. It's population has doubled in 35 years and has a 58% Hispanic population.
Twenty million tourists come to San Antonio every year...most popular sight: THE ALAMO! This city also has the distinction of having been awarded the All-America City Award: Hall of Fame. It joins many other U.S. cities to have received this title.
The population is nearly 281,000 and the city has elected a democratic mayor.
It was a clear, sunny day as we walked along Main Plaza. The Bexar County Courthouse stood as a silent sentinel framed against the cool, blue sky.
San Antonio has seen four courthouses throughout the years: 1837, 1850, 1882 and the present structure built in 1892. The courthouse was constructed of red sandstone in the Romanesque Revival style by architect J. Riely Gordon. It was designed with a tall, picturesque tower and stately columns, which are hidden by the large tree on the grounds.
I always recommend you visit these centers. You never know what you may miss if you don't go inside. Always filled with lots of information and the people are always so helpful and friendly. So please check them out.
602 E. Commerce Street
Corner of Alamo & East Commerce Streets
Phone: (210) 229-2100 / Fax: (210) 229-1600
Hours: Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m
Fondest memory: *It was enjoyable to see this city better, since I was not able to so many years ago. I really enjoyed my travels here!
I fell in love with these little houses - not actually in San Antonio, but in Fredericksburg, about 50 miles outside San Antonio - an easy day trip.
We were spending the day in the Texas Hill Country and stopped for lunch in Fredericksburg and to have a look at the Pioneer Museum .
Fredericksburg was founded by German farmers back in the 19th century. Living out on their farms but with the church in town, the houses gave families somewhere of their own to stay when they came in to town on Saturday to be ready for the Sabbath - a day of rest - and long hours in church. The houses are tiny, most were no more than a kitchen/living room downstairs, a single bedroom upstairs where the whole family slept, and an outside ladder or staircase for access. About 30 remain, some are now shops, others have been enlarged but all are very much prized.
I'd love a little Sunday House - my own wee bolt hole - and if it was as cute as these ones are, I might well feel inclined not move back home come Monday. Failing that, I could stay in one next time I visit Fredericksburg, a few Sunday houses have become B&Bs
Visit the San Antonio Visitor information Center at 317 Alamo Plaza to pick up brochures, maps, and information about events and things to do. Plan to do lots of walking. The web site for the San Antonio Visitor Bureau is:
Fondest memory: Favorite memories: Listening to the Inka music played on traditional instruments of the Andes as we were exploring the city, as well as a couple of fantastic meals out. We also enjoyed the racial diversity of the city.