With its long and rich history and scenic beauty, San Antonio is one of Texas’ highlights. The former Comanche settlement, idyllically situated on a river, attracted the attention of the Spanish missionaries early on. Finally, in 1718, they founded the Mission San Antonio de Valero – it was named after Saint Anthony of Padua.
Soon after, the site, eventually renamed the Alamo, became important as a military outpost. Fort Alamo was the site of a significant episode of the Texas Revolutionary War. “Don’t forget the Alamo!” was the battle cry of the Texans in the Mexican War of Independence (1835/36). The 189 Americans who lost their lives in the bloody siege are still remembered today. The Republic of Texas was formed soon after the siege ended.
According to topschoolsintheusa, San Antonio has around 1.4 million inhabitants, making it the second largest city in the state after Houston . Today it is the economic center of south Texas. The University of Texas at San Antonio (second largest university in the University of Texas area) is also based here. There are also some important military facilities.
San Antonio is very popular as a travel and excursion destination. Major attractions include the Marion Koogler McNay Art Museum—the oldest modern art museum in Texas—as well as SeaWorld and Six Flags Fiesta Texas theme parks. Also worth seeing are the San Fernando Cathedral, the former Spanish Missions, the former Spanish Governor’s Palace, the Tower of the Americas and of course the River Walk along the San Antonio River with its promenade. San Antonio is also known for its successful basketball team, the San Antonio Spurs, who play their home games at the AT&T Center. The team has been NBA champions a number of times.
Location and Size
San Antonio is the second largest city in Texas and is located in the south-central part of the state. San Antonio is approximately 80 miles from Austin, 195 miles from Houston, 270 miles from Ft. Worth and 445 km from Dallas.
Approximately 1.5 million people live within the city limits and approximately 2.3 million in the metropolitan area of San Antonio. The city is one of the fastest growing cities in the USA.
Austin is Central Standard Time, ie minus 7 hours to CET and from March 8th to October 31st it is minus 6 hours.
San Antonio International Airport ( SAT ) is located in uptown San Antonio, about eight miles north of downtown, and is the sixth busiest airport in the country.
The Greyhound Bus Station is just north of downtown at 500 N St Marys St, San Antonio. The Mega Bus is a great option when traveling from cities like Austin, Houston and Dallas/Fort Worth. The express buses run at regular intervals, 7 days a week. Reasonably priced, the comfortable buses with free Wi-Fi and picture windows are a great choice for traveling between major cities within Texas.
Amtrak Rail’s “Texas Eagle” offers daily service between Chicago and San Antonio, stopping in Austin, Dallas and other major cities.
There are 300 days of sunshine per year and the average temperature in fall/winter is between 10° and 17°C and in spring/summer between 25° and 35°C. San Antonio’s climate is a humid subtropical with hot summers and relatively mild temperatures winters. Rainfall is fairly evenly distributed throughout the year, with most rain falling in May and September. Snow falls about every three to four years in winter.
|Average temperatures in San Antonio, Texas in °C|
Attractions in San Antonio
The Alamo Mission (called “the Alamo” for short) is located downtown and is not only the top attraction in the city, but in the entire state.
The five missions of the city of Alamo, San Jose, San Juan, Espada and Conception – summarized as San Antonio Missions National Historical Park – were declared the first UNESCO World Heritage Site in the state of Texas on July 5, 2015. The historical park, which covers a total of around 330 hectares, is without a doubt one of the most important sights around San Antonio. Incidentally, the churches are still functioning as Catholic parish churches. Incidentally, the most beautiful is San Jose with the artistically decorated rose window next to the sacristy.
The River Walk (Paseo del Rio), which winds its way through the city’s downtown region, is also one of the city’s top attractions. The tree-lined boardwalk along the San Antonio River was built as a levee during the New Deal era, earning the city the nickname “River City.” In the years 2009 to 2013, the walk was extended by another 20 km and now extends from “Museum Reach” at the Historic Pearl Brewery through Downtown (“Downtown Reach”), past the art forum Blue Star’s “Eagleland” and ends at Loop 410 South after the Mission of San Juan Capistrano .
There are numerous museums, shops, bars and restaurants along the river, as well as the Arneson River Theater , an open-air stage in the middle of the river. Large events are also held here during the Christmas and New Year holidays. During the summer months, the now famous Fiesta Noche del Rio is celebrated here .
In the downtown area there are other sights such as the Roman Catholic San Fernando Cathedral, the Majestic Theater opened in 1929 and HemisFair Park – site of the 1968 World’s Fair – with the 230 m high ” Tower of the Americas “. Also worth seeing is the sprawling Institute of Texan Cultures museum , which details the past and present of 27 ethnic groups and cultures that live in Texas.
A visit to “ La Villita ” (small village) from the 19th century is also attractive. The place is steeped in history, as this is where the Mexicans officially surrendered to the freedom-seeking Texans. Today, the village with its numerous stone and mudbrick buildings is a popular tourist destination that attracts visitors with small handicraft workshops and shops.
Downtown attractions also include the historic Market Square with its shops, restaurants and eateries, as well as the 1722 Spanish Governor’s Palace and the historic Menger Hotel . On the north side of the Alamo complex, next to the Emily Morgan Hotel, is the San Antonio Cavalry Museum, which features various displays of military history.
The Fairmount Hotel , dating from 1906, is San Antonio’s second oldest hotel. The house has secured an entry in the Guinness Book of World Records. Since the entire building was wanted to be in a different location due to urban planning changes, but did not want to be demolished, it was quickly loaded onto a low-loader in 1985 and unloaded at a different location. This makes it the “heaviest building in the world ever transported on wheels”.
San Antonio is also home to the oldest modern art museum in Texas – the McNay Art Museum . Other art museums include ArtPace, Blue Star Contemporary Art Center , the Briscoe Western Art Museum , and the San Antonio Museum of Art , housed in a former brewery.
Those who enjoy looking at Wild West memorabilia should pay a visit to the Buckhorn Saloon & Museum . Visitors can also learn about cowboy culture here. Railroad enthusiasts will love the Texas Transportation Museum , which tells the story of the ‘Steel Steam Horse’, but also features historic road and farm vehicles.
The nature and science show in the Witte Museum offers exciting things for young and old . Especially for kids is the San Antonios DoSeum . Those looking for peace and relaxation in the garden can visit either the San Antonio Botanical Garden or Brackenridge Park .
In a few years, the former Hot Wells Hotel & Spa on the San Antonio River is set to blossom into new life. Since 2015, work has been underway to reopen the glorious luxury hotel that radiated glitz and glamor from 1894 to 1920 and was home to numerous stars and politicians. The Victorian-style hotel offered its guests hot sulfur baths and all-round luxury. It remains unclear whether the house will reopen as a hotel or as a modern spa. Only parts of the spa remain from its former glory. The hotel building is largely destroyed.
Fun Parks and Other Attractions
SeaWorld , 16 miles west of downtown San Antonio, is in the Westover Hills district and is one of the city’s top attractions. In the immediate vicinity is the equally popular Six Flags Fiesta Texas with its famous roller coasters.
Other very popular theme parks are Splashtown water park and Morgan’s Wonderland , a park that also caters for children with disabilities. Kiddie Park is the oldest children’s amusement park in the United States. It was founded in 1925 and is still one of the most popular fun parks for children.