While San Antonio, Texas is deservedly proud of its iconic landmark, The Alamo, the city offers a wide variety of attractions and activities for visitors of all ages. The recent expansion of the world-famous River Walk has also stimulated renovation projects of historical sites along its way, as well as new construction. A cultural tourism mecca, San Antonio's history can be seen today in its 18th century Missions and historic downtown, as well in its many outstanding museums. Recreational activities abound along the river and in the city's parks and neighborhoods. Colorful festivals year-round, a rich ethnic heritage, a vibrant dining scene, and a convention center expansion are just some of the reasons visitors continue to make their way to San Antonio for business and pleasure.
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Fall in San Antonio, with its warm days and cool nights, is an ideal time to enjoy the magic and adventure of this historic city. There is no better time to soak in the beauty of The Alamo than at sunset, when the glow of the Texas sun throws a magical cast on this hallowed monument. The Alamo was established in 1718 as San Antonio's first Mission. In March of 1836, this was the site where 189 Texans (including American folk hero Davy Crockett) bravely fought to their deaths against General Santa Ana's army of thousands. Audio and guided tours are offered.
An exhilarating and picturesque kayak ride is one of the many ways to enjoy the $384 million improvement project that lengthened the world-famous River Walk to 15 miles, stretching to the four Spanish colonial missions to the south and several museums to the north. In addition to kayaking, visitors can enjoy hike and bike trails, as well as portals leading to each of the missions in San Antonio Missions National Historic Park.
A visit to the San Antonio Missions National Historic Park is a trip back in time and history. Four magnificent missions, established by the Franciscan Order of the Catholic church in the 18th Century, feature a diversity of architectural styles and Spanish colonial art. The Mission Concepcion was dedicated in 1755 and holds the honor of being the oldest unrestored stone church in America. Remnants of colorful frescos are still visible in its interior.
Set among restored 19th century buildings once part of San Antonio's Pearl Brewery, the Culinary Institute of America is one of only three locations in the United States (the others are in Hyde Park, N.Y. and St. Helena, Napa). State-of-the-art kitchens create an ideal setting for learning--and honing--culinary skills. In addition to courses geared towards professional chefs, the college offers classes and workshops for the public at all levels.
If you enjoy strolling through historic old neighborhoods as part of your vacation experience, don't miss a visit to the King William historic district, located just a few blocks south of downtown San Antonio. Its streets are filled with magnificent residences from the 19th & early 20th centuries, some of which have been reincarnated into art galleries, museums, and cafes. Rent a bike through the citywide system and pedal your way through history.
Generous open space and ample diffused light is what makes the San Antonio Museum of Art a perfect place to feature works of art from antiquity to modern times. Located in the former home of the Lone Star Brewery, the museum boasts a diverse array of art and antiquities from the Greek and Roman era to Asian artifacts and American contemporary art.
The River Walk is a perennial San Antonio favorite, but come Fiesta time each April, it's also the best place to sit back and enjoy the Texas Cavaliers River Parade. Considered one of the most unusual parades in America, this event lights up the city with more than 40 decorated floats and barges. This one-of-a-kind parade started in 1941 after a group of Texas Cavaliers witnessed boats decorated with flowers in Mexico City, and decided to bring this unique experience to San Antonio.
Marvel at the artwork, sculptures, photography and artifacts of the Old West at the Briscoe Western Art Museum, opened in 2013. Housed in San Antonio's first library, the museum is located on the River Walk and offers visitors a glimpse back in time to a history the West calls its own. Also plan to visit the fascinating Witte Museum, also on the River Walk, for an astounding tour of the history, science and culture of South Texas.
San Antonio is filled with eclectic dining opportunities. It's no wonder, as it is home to the Culinary Arts Institute, no less. The restaurant Cured recently opened in the revitalized administration building of the 1904 Pearl Brewery. Once you've savored their marvelous menu of dishes, the servers will be happy to give you a history of all the architectural features surrounding you, much of it reclaimed and repurposed from the old brewery.
While San Antonio's River Walk is enchanting at any time of day, it takes on a special glow in the evening when the city's lights are reflected in the water. Dine al fresco, hop on a river tour or taxi, or simply stroll to your heart's content for an undeniably romantic experience to top off a perfect day in San Antonio.