I am originally from Atlanta, Ga. but as a child we lived in San Antonio for a few years. When we had the opportunity for a transfer to San Antonio 6 months ago, my husband and I were both quite excited. I wanted to see my old stomping grounds and he…. well he just wanted to get the heck out of Atlanta.
After just a few weeks of San Antonio life, I was ready to pack up and go home immediately. I blamed that one on homesickness, which is not all that unusual.It seemed like a foreign place compared to the way I remembered it as a child. After being here 6 months, I still miss my hometown, but I do have to say that San Antonio has really grown on me in alot of ways. Why? Read on and you will see why I think San Antonio truly is a wonderful and underrated city.
Ahh, there is nothing like southern hospitality. While most think that southern hospitality prevails among all the southern states, I must say I have encountered quite a few “not so friendly” southerners in the metro Atlanta area. I can’t say this about the folks here in good ole’ San Antonio. I have yet to come across one rude person, which is really unusual for any big city whether in the south or not. There is a laid back vibe that permeates throughout the city, and just makes me feel at ease. I’ve seen countless people stopping to help others with car problems, and I am almost always greeted with a yes ma’am, thank you, or have a great day when I am out and about. Even though San Antonio is an extremely huge city ( (the 9th largest city in America with over 1 million residents), it maintains almost a “down home” atmosphere, like you see in alot of the smaller towns. San Antonio has a very diverse ethnic background with a large emphasis on spanish heritage. I can usually find some kind of fiesta going on, and everyone is always more than welcome.
I hope you have a while. There are so many attractions in San Antonio, I probably could never list them all in just one review. However, I will start with the most popular ones that I am familiar with.
1) The Alamo : If anyone has heard of San Antonio, I am willing to bet one of the first things that comes to mind is the Alamo. In my opinion, this has to be the most popular attraction San Antonio has and will ever have. As far as little history, in 1691 a spanish missionary expedition took off and wandered upon San Antonio. They all agreed it was beautiful, named it San Antoni De padua beacuse the date was June 13, which is the day of the feast if St. Anthony. Years later, missions were built and civilation came to San Antonio. By 1758, there were five missions all 9 miles apart. One mission, Nuestra Senora De la Purisima Concepcion, was the site of the 1836 battle. Years leter, Mexico began battling for their independence, and spanish troops from San JosÃƒ y Santiago del Alamo de Parras moved into this mission and stayed for many years. This generated the name the “Alamo”.
Now although I had been to the Alamo years ago, I was really surprised at how small it was. Though it was a smaller than I thought, that did not take anything away from the impression I got. First let me say though, that the Alamo looks like it has been reconstructed and there is alot of development around it. It doesn’t really feel like you are going back to that time from the outside. Once inside though, there is so much memorabilia preserved well. You will battle weapons, flags, statues, rooms, and the old holes are even left in the wall. On most days, a guide will be there to show you around and answer any questions. You will learn all you ever need to know about the battle. It’s all here. The gift shop is wonderful too. It has reasonbly priced and a wide variety of collectibles and gifts. The best thing though, is that the Alamo is free ( parking is another story).
Contact Information for The Alamo:
300 Alamo Plaza
San Antonio, Tx. 78205
2) The RiverWalk .. To me, this is the prettiest place in San Antonio. The riverwalk is located downtown, and of course there is a river that runs through downtown with lines of shops, restaraunts, gift shops, and the like on each side of the river. Tour boats are on the river daily and for $6 per person, you can take a ride, get a nice view and some great information about the Riverwalk and its history. The river water is almost a murky green, but it’s actually very pretty. Also, although called a river, it’s pretty small, almost the size of a creek, which makes it more appealing to me. The shrunbs, trees, and attractions are so close you can almost touch them. The Riverwalk stays pretty packed almost all the time. The restaruants are always filled, and get get pretty pricey. You will be given a map, and you can decide where you would like to get off if you so please. You can stroll around and look at the site, then have the boat ( which holds roughly 40 people) drop you off near your hotel or your next destination.
Contact Information for The Riverwalk:
San Antonio, Tx. 78205
3) Sea World and Six Flags Fiesta .. I have actually yet to go to these two attractions, but since they are such an important part of San Antonio, I didn’t want to leave them out. Both are located on the Northwest side of San Antonio, off of Loop 1604. Tickets for Sea World are 41.99 for adults, 31.99 for children, and under the age two are always free. You will have to pay $7 for parking as well. Fiesta Six Flags tickets are a bit cheaper at 35.99 for adults 17.99 for children. A $7 parking applies here too. I wish I could say more but I just didn’t want to leave these two sites out of review. I have heard you can expect everything you WOULD expect from Sea World and Six Flags however, and if you loves these attractions, you will not be disappointed in the ones in San Antonio.
Contact Information for Sea World:
10500 Sea World Drive
San Antonio, TX 78251-3002
Contact Information for Six Flags Fiesta:
17000 IH-10 West
San Antonio, TX 78527
Phone: (210) 697-5050
4) Kiddie Park .. This was a BIG must for our family. I was probably more excited than my daughter to see San Antonio’s famous Kiddie Park. Kiddie Park is America’s very first kiddie park ever opened. It still has the original rides, including a beautiful carousel smack in the middle of the park. Rides includes mini boat rides, a mini roller coaster, mini airplane ride, helicopters, flying saucers, and a vintage duck ( the kind you sit on a put a quarter in) that looked like it came from the 1920s. Then again, the Kiddie Park was created in 1925. The carousel impressed me the most. There are 36 hand carved jumping horses, and buggy seats on a vintage carousel. We rode the carousel over 5 times. My daughter could not get enough of it. The park itself is small, and has nor more than 20 rides, but they have a photo booth and a mini restaraunts for food and refreshments. For $8, your little one can ride all day long unlimited. No adults are allowed to ride on any rides ( boo hoo) except the Carousel. Kiddie Park is located in downtown San Antonio right off of Broadway, and not too far from the San Antonio Zoo.
Contact Information for Kiddie Park :
San Antonio, Tx. 78209
Phone: (210) 824-4356
VARIOUS OTHER ATTRACTIONS WORTH CHECKING OUT
Although I will not go into as much detail about these attractions, they are definately worth checking out. First, the IMAX Theatre. This theatre is everything an IMAX theatre should be, and is almost always playing the ALAMO movie along with others. Ripley’s Believe or Not in the heart of Downtown is a must see. I was surprised by the some of the things in there, and next time my daughter will not coming along ( not really good for children under 5). Next door is the WAX Museum. Statues ranging from Michael Jackson to Kirk Douglas fill the halls of the museum. There are several missions that are worth seeing including San Jose, San Juan, Concepcion, and Espada. If you are in the mood to check out the sky, try the Towers of America, which will bring you 750 feet into the air for a panoramic view of the city. The list goes on and on of the things to see and do in San Antonio. If anyone ever plans to come for a weekend, don’t bet on seeing everything the city has to offer.
Right now, in late October, the weather is a pleasant 65 degrees. This is extremely unusual. Just last week the weather was at almost 90 degrees at high. If you like the heat, you will like San Antonio. If you LOVE heat, you should probably move to San Antonio. The highs can get well into the 100s in the summer and you can plan warm weather almost year round. It does cool off during the winter ( usually in the 50s), but the temperatures rise sooner and stay around a long long time. The weather can also get sticky, but this is something I used to living in the south. If you aren’t used to extreme heat, this may be very hard on you.
San Antonio has some of the best mexican and barbeque I’ve ever tasted in my life,. Two of my absolute favorites are The Alamo Cafe ( on the Northeast side of the city of of 281) and Mama’s Cafe ( same area).The Alamo Cafe makes homemade tortillas that will make your mouth water. The menu is stocked full with tex mex dishes. Mama’s Cafe is southern style restaraunt with fabulous barbque. Both place are kid friendly providing a sand pit for the kids to play in on the back patios ( where parents can sit as well). One fast food restaraunt I must say something about is Whataburger. Whataburger is headquartered in Texas, but does exist in a few other states ( mainly Texas though). Their menu consists of everything you would normally expect at a fast food joint, but the difference is the taste and size. When they say WhataBurger, they really mean. The burgers are huge and filled with mustard, lettuce, pickles, and cheese. The onion rings, fries, and shakes taste homemade. After I had a brreakfast taquito there, MCdonalds breakfast will never get my service again!
MY FINAL THOUGHTS
I may not live in San Antonio forever. I still miss my hometown. However, I would not be miserable if I did. This is a wonderful place to visit or to live. The quality of life, lost cost of living, and sense of community appeals to just about everyone who comes here. If you merely looking for a fun vacation, you will NOT go wrong with the Alamo city.