The food, arts, culture, and ambiance of the Riverwalk give the city a modern vibe all its own. Whether it’s the featured item or a side trip during your stay in Texas, San Antonio truly has a bit of everything and more than enough to keep you fed, entertained, and happy.
San Antonio’s Market Square
For those who start their day with the sticky sweet goodness of a warm pastry and coffee from Mi Tierra, the world-famous bakery and restaurant in the heart of Market Square, the day comes alive with a vivid splash of color from hundreds of piñatas and the history of old San Antonio writ large in the black and white photos that cover the walls. Mi Tierra is not a tourist kitch. It is a unique blend of history, fabulous baked goods, and the glowing festive spirit that flows through San Antonio as easily as the river at its heart.
From morning pastries at the world-famous Mi Tierra, it’s just a few steps down Produce Row past colorful vendors and shops to the Museo Alameda (one of a rare few Smithsonian affiliate museums). Here, Latino history and culture come to life in art and artifact.
Tucked in a corner off of Regalo (the Museo Alameda gift shop) there is a unique exhibit consisting of Casa Mireles, a reproduction of a traditional botanica, a small local store offering homeopathic remedies, traditional cures, fragrances, and religious icons. It’s a small exhibit, but it speaks to the heart and soul of Latino history and culture.
For anyone with even a passing interest in history, Mission San Antonio de Valero is a must-see. Popularly known as the Alamo, this mission was the location of the fateful battle in the Texas Revolution. If you like your vacations on the active side, try visiting all four of the Missions on the San Antonio Mission Trail. Walk, bike, or drive the six miles from Mission Conception to Mission de Espada detouring briefly to visit all of the historic sites along the way.
Arts & Culture
Beyond just seeing the missions, visitors to San Antonio can take advantage of numerous off-the-beaten-path arts and culture offerings. Some of these include the San Antonio Botanical Gardens, Market Square, La Villita Historic District, the Air Force History and Traditions Museum, the Army Medical Museum, the Buckhorn Saloon and Museum, the Mexican Cultural Institute, and the McNay Art Museum.
For those lucky enough to visit in April, the city hosts Fiesta San Antonio, a ten-day, citywide celebration of the city’s cultural history. It’s a music, food, arts, and culture-filled party that takes over downtown San Antonio and offers up a taste of all the good things to see and do in San Antonio.
Resorts, Relaxation & the River Walk in San Antonio
When you’ve had your fill of museums, missions, and impossibly good food, and just want to relax, Westin’s La Cantera Resort provides the perfect end to a glorious day. But you’ may be forced to choose between either a world-class spa treatment, a round of golf on one of two courses (one designed by Arnold Palmer), or a dip in one of several pools.
In the evening if you are taken with the idea of sitting next to a cool river under a shaded canopy, umbrella drink in hand, and plate overflowing with Tex-Mex, then San Antonio’s River Walk is the place for you. A manmade river in the heart of the city, River Walk offers dozens of restaurants and shops along the banks and in the surrounding neighborhoods.
Whether it’s as a starting point, or as the focal point itself, River Walk is the heart and soul of downtown San Antonio’s nightlife. If you desire something even slower, consider booking a carriage ride or a riverboat cruise through the Riverwalk area.
Today’s San Antonio invokes visions of the cool green expanse of Texas Hill Country, a lazy cruise through the Riverwalk area, and the sublime sweet burn of gourmet Tex-Mex. San Antonio surprises you with all of the ways that it is not typically Texas, but a vibrant cosmopolitan city all its own, built on a foundation of uniquely blended arts, cuisine, and history from many cultures.