San Antonio is rich in Spanish and Mexican heritage, architecture, and culture. It’s the seventh-most populated city in the United States and the second-largest city in Texas. Here are a few treasured landmarks and sites you can visit while you’re in this historic city for CHEST 2018.
300 Alamo Plaza, thealamo.org, 210-225-1391
On the east side of Alamo Plaza is the most famous spot in Texas, where 189 defenders fell on March 6, 1836, after repeated attacks by Mexican General Santa Anna’s army. Construction began on the Mission San Antonio de Valero (The Alamo) in 1724, and housed missionaries and their Indian converts. The chapel, one of the most photographed facades in the nation, and the Long Barracks are all that remain of the original fort. Long Barracks Museum and Library are near the chapel. The museum contains relics and mementos from the Republic of Texas and offers narration on the fall of the Alamo.
Buckhorn Saloon & Museum
318 E. Houston, buckhornmuseum.com, 210-247-4000
The museum chronicles more than 120 years of Texas history, including two stories of exotic collections, from a unique horn collection to cowboy memorabilia. See a two-headed calf and a lamb with eight legs, or test your hand in an authentic shooting gallery and arcade. Today, it also includes The Texas Ranger Museum. Located two blocks from the Alamo and 50 feet from the River Walk.
South Alamo at Nueva, lavillitasanantonio.com, 210-207-8610
This unique arts and crafts community features shops, working artists, restaurants, and a post office. The Old San Antonio Exhibit (located in Bolivar Hall) houses a collection of art objects, artifacts, and symbols relevant to the city’s history. This beautifully landscaped historic district also offers leisurely shopping, dining, and five rental venues for special events.
224 E. Houston, majesticempire.com, 210-226-3333
Named a State and National Historic Landmark, the Majestic is one of the few remaining vintage, atmospheric vaudeville movie palaces in the country. The theater is currently home to the San Antonio Symphony and The Majestic Broadway Series. Individual concerts and events are also showcased, and regular tours are conducted.
Market Square – El Mercado
514 W. Commerce, visitsanantonio.com/Browse-Book/Shopping/Market-Square-El-Mercado-(1), 210-207-8600.
From early morning until late at night, Market Square is alive with activity. Visitors can browse through the 32 shops at “El Mercado,” an area patterned after an authentic Mexican market. There are also 80 specialty shops in Farmers Market Plaza. Market Square is also the scene of many Hispanic festivals, where food and beverage booths spring up alongside the Guadalajara lamps while mariachi music lends to the excitement of Mexican dances.
A former 1800s-era brewery now anchors one of the hippest neighborhoods along the San Antonio River Walk. Its newest offerings include The Bottling Department, a food hall featuring five restaurant concepts from top local chefs, Hiatus Spa, as well as new events and culinary celebrations.
San Antonio Botanical Garden and Lucile Halsell Conservatory
555 Funston Pl. (Broadway & Funston Pl.), sabot.org, 210-207-3255
In this 33-acre living museum, one can enjoy colorful seasonal floral displays, a serene native forest walk, exotic plant specimens from around the world, modernistic glass pyramids, and even an authentic log cabin. Highlights include the Old Fashioned Perennial Garden, Rose Garden, Sacred Garden, Garden for the Blind, Kuamoto En (an authentic Japanese Garden), and extensive native collections representing the hill country, East Texas, and Southwest Texas.
Spanish Governor’s Palace
105 Plaza De Armas, getcreativesanantonio.com/Explore-San-Antonio/Spanish-Governors-Palace, 210-224-0601
A national historic landmark, the Spanish Governor’s Palace was called “the most beautiful building in San Antonio” by the National Geographic Society. It once housed the officials of the Spanish Province of Texas. Today it is used as a museum and houses a number of artifacts and souvenirs pertaining to its history. Distinguishing features include period furnishings and a cobblestone patio with fountain and foliage.
Tower of the Americas
600 HemisFair Park, toweroftheamericas.com, 210-223-3101
This 750-foot tall tower offers a panoramic view of San Antonio and the surrounding area. Glass-walled elevators ascend more than 500 feet to the restaurant and observation level. It was the theme structure for World’s Fair in 1968 and symbolizes the progress made by the confluence of civilizations in the Western Hemisphere.
Broadway Cultural Corridor
Just north of downtown, Broadway Street is transforming a mix of art, history, education and entertainment assets into the Broadway Cultural Corridor. Broadway already connects many top cultural attractions including the San Antonio Museum of Art, The DoSeum, Brackenridge Park, Witte Museum, San Antonio Zoo, Japanese Tea Gardens, San Antonio Botanical Garden, and the McNay Art Museum.
River Walk (Paseo del Rio)
The Paseo del Rio, in the heart of downtown, is the pride of San Antonio. Lush green foliage lines the banks of this peaceful, historic river. Cobblestone walkways lead visitors to river-level restaurants and shops. The river bubbles to the surface on the grounds of the University of the Incarnate Word and flows into downtown, threading its way through the city one level below the hustle and bustle of its busy streets. The river was first called Yanaguana, meaning “place of refreshing waters,” by the Payaya Indians. Along a horseshoe-shaped bend, the river is shaded by towering cypresses, oaks, and willows and bordered by gardens of flowering ornamental plants. River cruisers travel the River Walk’s 15 miles past unique retail shops, restaurants, and nightclubs. The River Walk Mission Reach links four of San Antonio’s five Spanish colonial missions.