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Welcome to San Antonio

San Antonio

San Antonio has the friendly, welcoming atmosphere of a small town despite being the seventh largest city in the United States. Attractions such the Alamo, where Davy Crocket famously took his last stand, and the restaurant-lined Riverwalk ensure that San Antonio is one of the most popular destinations in the country, drawing 26 million visitors per year. The city has a unique combination of Spanish colonial plazas, downtown Germanic architecture, and vibrant Tex-Mex culture. Its music scene combines Mexican and Texan country and western strands, and its cuisine reflects tortillas and T-bones in interesting combinations. San Antonio's Fiesta week, in late April, recently celebrated its 50th anniversary and now ranks as one the biggest community events in the nation. The city is easily navigable on foot, particularly the Riverwalk, which winds its way along the San Antonio River, past cafes, restaurants, shaded groves and perfectly preserved colonial buildings. The Riverwalk is the heart of this charming city, linking its key attractions together and providing sanctuary from the heat of summer.

Information & Facts


San Antonio weather is characterised by a humid subtropical climate with cool winters and hot summers. The weather varies between dry and humid, depending on prevailing winds. Fall and spring are warm with a fair amount of rainfall. In San Antonio, July and August are the hottest months and travellers planning on visiting should brace themselves for extreme temperatures reaching as high as 95F (35C), while January is the coldest month. The average coolest month is January with temperatures dropping as low as 39F (4C).

Eating Out

Welcome to the birthplace of Tex-Mex cuisine. This city on the cusp of Mexican and Texan cultures has create a wonderful fusion of spicy Latino influences, hearty Lone Star beef and Germanic influences. There are plenty of other cuisines available across hundreds of different restaurants, but it would be a shame to miss out on the world's finest Tex Mex during your visit to San Antonio. Explore the central market and look out for the time honoured chilli ladies. And for breakfast, don't miss the amazing breakfast tacos made from fresh tortillas with an egg, cheese, fried potato and chorizo filling. For more details including specific restaurants listings, check out

Getting Around

A great feature of visiting San Antonio is that the best of the city can be navigated on foot for free, although in the peak summer months temperatures can get dangerously hot for pedestrians. Driving is not recommended as there are numerous one way streets, congestions and insufficient public parking. Visitors can also get around town in the charming streetcars, which are authentic reproductions of the same models that traveled these streets 50 years ago. There are four streetcar routes stopping at all the major tourist attractions, shopping districts and the Convention Centre. A one-day pass costs $4. The River Taxi covers nine main locations along the River Walk. A one way route ticket costs $4, a 24-hour pass $10 or a 3-day pass $25. The Sightseer Special (Bus #7) runs throughout the day linking all the main tourist attractions. Metered taxis are also available throughout the city.

English is the most common language but Spanish is often spoken in south-western states.

The US Dollar (USD) is the unit of currency and is divided into 100 cents. Only major banks exchange foreign currency. ATMs are widespread and credit cards and travellers cheques are widely accepted. Travellers cheques should be taken in US Dollars to avoid hassles. Banking hours are Monday to Friday 9am to 3pm.

Reanimating the spirit of the wild west, the Buckhorn saloon contains over 8,000 wildlife exhibits, wax effigies, horns and other western memorabilia. There is also a shooting gallery, an arcade and a wonderfully eclectic shop, dubbed the "World's Oddest Store". The Buckhorn has been open for over 120 years and has rich and ribald history populated by cowboys, baddies, card sharks and plenty of cattle. The original brass foot rail still lines the bar.

Corpus Christi is a resplendent South Texas coastal city, with a small population and a laid-back atmosphere. Just 143 miles (230km) from San Antonio on Interstate 37, and boasting its own international airport, travellers to Texas would be sorely remiss to pass up the soft sea breezes and perfectly blue skies that characterise this 'sparkling city by the sea'. Over and above the beaches, visitors can enjoy the cultural sights on offer in the city's museum district (including the USS Lexington Museum on the Bay), birding trails that wind through impressive botanical gardens, and the bustling promenade, with its vibrant nightlife. The Padre Island National Seashore, the longest undeveloped stretch of barrier islands in the world, is easily accessible from Corpus Christi, and should not be missed.

The centre of San Antonio's shopping and dining district, the Riverwalk winds its way for 3 miles (5km) along the banks of the San Antonio River. Visitors can explore the Rivercenter Mall along the way and take a stroll around La Villita Historic District. An equally good way to enjoy the lush landscaping and scenic variety of the Riverwalk is take a narrated cruise or dinner cruise with one of the many river boats. The cobbled walkways are a full level below the city's streets lending the Riverwalk a secluded, peaceful atmosphere, and cooling atmosphere during the summer heat.

The city's biggest theme park keeps raising the bar with the recently added water rides to enhance its theme park rides, roller coasters and musical shows. Avoid eating a large meal before embarking on the Superman Krypton Roller Coaster, looping Boomerang coaster, or the Scream, which entails 20-story free fall. The park has won Amusement Today's award for The Best Theme Park Shows in the Country for 10 years in a row. Xcelleration, a BMW-themed skills show is guaranteed to impress the teenagers.

Described by National Graphic as the most beautiful building in San Antonio, the diminutive palace once served as the headquarters for the Spanish rulers of this region. The lovely building is filled with treasures and historical relics from the 18th century ad the patio flows onto a relaxing garden that is perfect for contemplating the glory of times past. On the last Sunday of every month a living history group visits in period costume and shares information and reenactments with visitors.

The rolling, rugged hills that begin on the northern outskirts of San Antonio are known as the Texas Hill Country. The region is known for its natural beauty, carpets of flowers in spring, and abundant woodlands. Key attractions include Enchanted Rock, an enormous granite dome located 15 miles (24 km) from Fredericksburg, the town of Blanco, famous for its Lavender, and the water sports of San Marco. The New York Times declared this region "the No. 1 vacation spot in the nation" and its many attractions have been responsible for making Texas second only to Florida as a retirement destination.

The Alamo has assumed mythological significance in American culture. Davy Crocket and his small party held out for 13 days against a 2,500-strong Mexican army before finally being overrun and executed. The Alamo is now described as the cradle of Texan liberty and for years after the siege Texans would cry "Remember the Alamo" during battle. The actual Alamo building is smaller than most visitors expect, and its gravitas slightly undermined by tacky amusement park rides and souvenir shops. That doesn't daunt millions of annual visitors who make a pilgrimage here, often without really knowing why.

Hemisphere Park was built for the 1968 World's Fair and the soaring Tower of the Americas' was its centerpiece. Visitors can take a 500ft elevator ride to the observation level and revolving restaurant to enjoy astounding views of the city below. From base to top, the tower is 750 feet high, taller than the Washington Monument and Seattle's Space Needle, and ranks as the United States' second tallest freestanding structure.

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