Between the Mexican border and the Texan capital
Austin, sits historic San Antonio. It is the second-most populated city in the
Lone Star State and one of America’s top travel destinations. San Antonio sprung up around 18th-century
bell towers of the Spanish missions. Today, the city’s popular Riverwalk connects
these, and many other, iconic local attractions.
Walk in the footsteps of the heroes of the
Texas Revolution, enjoy a festive atmosphere and experience
the Latin culture. To give your feet a rest, cruise around in
a river taxi or hop on and off vintage buses and trolleys. Linger on caf terraces to try Tex-Mex or
European food in between rides. A must-see is the Alamo, once a modest Franciscan mission and now a symbol of patriotism and defiance.
In 1836 it became a fortress manned by a few
hundred volunteers who bravely tried to hold back an invading
army of thousands of Mexicans. They didn’t die in vain: The Texans won independence that same year,
shouting: “Remember the Alamo!” The nearby Institute Of Texan Cultures takes you even further back in time. See how America’s first peoples lived and learn why the state has attracted immigrants from all over the globe ever since. Step inside the simple dwellings to catch a glimpse of early life in the Southwest.
Catch the river taxi to the former 19th-century
brewery that is now the San Antonio Museum of Art. This impressive building houses everything from the Egyptian goddess Sekhmet, and other
ancient statues, to depictions of local history on canvas. Back in the city center, there is always something going on in bustling
Market Square. Listen to a heartfelt song, browse the stalls, or simply soak up the atmosphere.
Take a short detour to the Botanical Gardens with plants flourishing
in the dry Texan desert. A far more lush experience is a stroll in
the nearby Japanese Tea Gardens, with its amazing stone structures and the
Jingu Tea House. This exotic attraction, just north of downtown
in Brackenridge Park, is an oasis in this otherwise arid corner
of the Southwest. In the same park is the Witte Museum.
Let the children play before browsing the
paintings and relics of San Antonio’s past. Your passport to adventure is the nearby San
Antonio Zoo, good for some exciting wildlife encounters. Just a half-hour drive from here, the residents in the Natural Bridge Wildlife
Ranch have it made. The prairie and savannah animals here get
to roam free within the park’s boundaries.
You can even feed some of the animals out
of your hand during a self-drive safari. On a hot summer’s day, there is nothing cooler than descending into
the Natural Bridge Caverns just down the road. Follow the guide to a subterranean landscape
of dripping stalactites and cathedral-like rock formations. Outside, the playground for kids AND adults
is something for the truly brave.
Find your way back to the Riverwalk and explore
La Villita, visit the craft markets around the old fountain, or see a band in a riverside amphitheater. At the end of the day, ride the elevator to the top of the Tower
Of The Americas, for a view you’ll always remember. From the observation deck, San Antonio looks like a sparkling diamond
under the night’s sky….