One of our most unique tourist attractions is the one and only Riverwalk San Antonio Texas, also known as Paseo del Rio. Located in the heart of downtown, the river flows along specialty shops and restaurants, 20 feet below street level.
Pictured below is the start of the Riverwalk taken from inside River Center Mall on the second floor. You can see the San Antonio River and a boat full of tourists as they cruise the Riverwalk. This is where it begins. It goes on for over two miles, while a tour guide gives you all sorts of fun facts during your cruise.
The absolute best time to visit our Riverwalk San Antonio is in December in the evening. Thousands of Christmas lights are strung in the trees above the water for a beautiful, shimmery effect.
Christmas carolers ride up and down the river. Other carolers stand on the banks and sing to passersby.
The first time I saw it was in December of 1996 and it was so magical. My children were in grade school and they loved it. We were visiting San Antonio at the time, on a Sunday.
The next Christmas, we attended a dinner for pastors and wives in a hotel right on the river and afterward, a group of us went down on the river and sang Christmas carols around 10pm. The place was filled with tourists and they loved the caroling. We did the same thing the next year at Christmas.
Below, are some photos of the Riverwalk lit up during the Christmas 2008 season. The Christmas lights are officially turned on the night after Thanksgiving, also known now as Black Friday. Thousands of locals and tourists show up as the mayor flips the switch and turns downtown San Antonio into a magical wonderland without snow. You will love it!
Recently, my husband, 17 year old son, 16 year old daughter, and I went down to the Christmas Riverwalk San Antonio had decorated for us. We spent the afternoon and evening down there, shopping, seeing the sites and lights, enjoying the water, and getting plenty of exercise. We walked for miles and had the best time we have ever had down there.
We ate at a great Mexican restaurant right there on the river. Mariachis came and entertained us while we ate. The lights hanging in the trees came on during our meal. Barges full of people went by waving to us. We watched visitors across the river fill up sidewalk cafes as it got later in the evening. We finally paid our check and began walking the now very crowded sidewalks.
Every restaurant, (and believe me, there are so many of them), was packed full of people, both inside and outside on the river. I was amazed at the variety of restaurants down there. Around 6pm, the crowds just come pouring down the stairs from the streets above to eat dinner. It was a little chilly as the dusk turned to night. People were snapping photos of each other and the lights everywhere.
The delicious smells were tempting and as we passed by each outdoor cafe on the sidewalk, a host or hostess was posted at each entrance, asking if we would like to eat there. Once we said yes, we were made to feel welcome and were taken good care of.
It was pleasant to sit there and watch the other visitors stroll or float by. There was an air of excitement as people hurried by with packages, trying to find the perfect place to eat after a long day of Christmas shopping.
That’s me in the photo above, with the river behind me, taken in December.
The Riverwalk is marked by the streets above it, so it is hard to get lost. If you are looking for a particular street, you can easily find it and go up the stairs at the sign and find what you need downtown.
You see, the Riverwalk San Antonio has designed is below the street level. You can walk by the river for miles, avoiding city traffic and enjoying the beauty of the water. This attraction is the number two tourist destination in the state of Texas, and, guess what? It is free to walk the river. The only charge is if you ride the barges. You will have a wonderful time.