lunes 8  de  julio 2024
TRAVEL

San Antonio, historic city with plenty of fun and pride

Explore the Spain’s influence on the southwestern part of the United States, the history of the Texas Revolution and the amenities that make this city unique

Por JESÚS HERNÁNDEZ

As we travel throughout the US, we discovered there’s no shortage of things to do in San Antonio Texas. This historic city is home to a wide variety of places to visit and activities to enjoy, including UNESCO listed Spanish missions.

Let’s start with some history to understand where we are. What started as a Native American village grew when Mission San Antonio de Valero (The Alamo) was constructed by Spanish missionaries in 1718. Four more missions were built during the next 13 years.

Spain left the area and France took over, but Spaniards came back until they left again, and Mexico claimed the land in 1821 when the neighboring country declared independence from the Spaniards.

In 1836, white American settlers (Texans) gathered at the Alamo for a 13-day standoff against the Mexican army. Although most all the Texans died, the battle was a turning point in the Texas Revolution.

Nine years later, in 1845, Texas became the 28th state in the United States.

Today, San Antonio has evolved into a modern, prosperous city of 1.5 million inhabitants, the second most populated in the state of Texas.

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The river

Yes, San Antonio is hot in the Summer, but cooler in the Fall and Winter.

Here the River Walk is the number one attraction, as architect Robert H. H. Hugman visioned it in 1929.

The two-mile loop in Downtown San Antonio offers a variety of restaurants, tours, arts, and shops. By night, a vibrant nightlife scene takes over with music, restaurants, and bars.

Stand by one of the many bridges to enjoy the beauty of the river walk, before you embark on a narrated boat tour, let’s say Go Rio Boat Tour, uncovering many of the city's main buildings and history as you travel along the waterway.

Arts

History is about arts and the Spanish Colonial Missions, and the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park are the places to explore the city’s roots and Spain’s influence on the southwestern part of today United States.

Only 10 minutes’ drive from Downtown San Antonio you will find the visitor center at Mission San José. The Alamo along with the four Spanish colonial missions were collectively designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the first in Texas.

Don’t miss the Spanish Govenor's Palace, built in the early 18th Century, and restored in the 1930s.

Besides traditional art, there is also experimental art, and Hopscotch gallery is a uniquely curated, permanent experiential art gallery that features distinct interactive installations created by significant artists.

“We believe art can be a vessel to tell stories and illuminate important messages of the past, present, and future,” said curator Nicole Brown.

The San Antonio Museum of Art takes you around the world and through 5.000 years of art. The gallery offers important permanent collections of Egyptian, Greek and Roman antiquities, Asian art, Latin American art, and American paintings.

Explore the full Texas experience displaying a collection of exotic stuffed animals and offering a glimpse into real cowboy life, try the Buckhorn Saloon and Texas Ranger Museum.

King William neighborhood is home to some of San Antonio’s most historic and beautiful houses. Many of them have been revived by individuals enthusiastic about preservation, and a few have been transformed into museums. Villa Finale, an amazing Italianate mansion built in 1876, filled with antiques and located on King William Street, is one of those places.

And if you want to know more the Mexican influence in Texas, explore the Mexican American Civil Rights Institute. This is the premier national organization dedicated to chronicling and advancing the Mexican American community’s civil rights efforts in the U.S.

Gastronomy and music

Schilo’s is the oldest operating restaurant in San Antonio. It started as a saloon in the 1900s in Beeville, Tx and "Papa" Fritz Schilo moved the saloon and his family to San Antonio in 1914, where they started serving some of the German recipes.

Try Chicken and Biscuits, a crispy hand-breaded chicken breast, golden fried, served with two biscuits and sausage cream gravy.

Don’t forget to try the root beer. Schilo’s makes its own and it tastes delicious. One of the best you have ever tried.

On you way back from Mission San José, you might want to stop for lunch or dinner at The Good Kind, where they serve fresh food from chicken fingers and fries and chips to fish or cauliflower tacos and salads.

Save some time for dinner at Casa Hernan, where Chef Johnny Hernandez makes delicious Mexican dishes and decoration is inspired by the vibrant colors of Mexico.

Later at night, when music starts, pay a visit to the Stable Hall, San Antonio’s newest venue, where performances are presented in a setting that brings back the typical Texas dance hall.

Another place to visit is the 24-hour Tex-Mex restaurant Mi Tierra, located in historic San Antonio’s Mercado.

If you prefer Texan barbeque, Pinkerton’s is the place to be. You will be amazed by the menu. From Beef Ribs and Glazed Pork Ribs to Chopped Pork, sausages and sandwiches, and a full bar with plenty of beverages and cocktails to choose from.

You cannot leave San Antonio without having lunch or dinner at Bombay Bicycle Club. This beautiful place resembles the 1880s, with turn-of-the-century furniture, stained glass patterns, and elegant chandeliers.

Want to try some local whiskey? Devils River Whiskey is in the heart of Downtown San Antonio. Nestled in the old Burns Building, a registered historic place in the city, this distillery and barroom offer not only cocktails but pleasant beauty.

Morning has broken again, and you need breakfast. Let’s go to La Panaderia. Brothers José and David Cáceres opened this bakery-cafe in 2014 to share their Mexican heritage and love for baking and more.

How to get there

San Antonio has a convenient and modern airport that is located 20 minutes from the city.

Well served by restaurants and shops, the SAT has non-stops flights from Dallas and many other cities.

Where to Stay

This Texan city has plenty of places to stay overnight. From hostels and Airbnb apartments to five-star hotels and historic buildings, like The Gunter, where you can travel back in time.

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