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Guidebook for San Antonio

Dan

Guidebook for San Antonio

Parks & Nature
The Mission Reach Ecosystem Restoration and Recreation Project has transformed an eight mile stretch of the San Antonio River into a quality riparian woodland ecosystem. Rent a bike or just walk and you can visit the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park and World Heritage Site to the south or the world-renowned Riverwalk amidst the classic limestone towers of downtown San Antonio to the north. You can even reach the Pearl District and the San Antonio Museum of Art, just by following the San Antonio river.
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Roosevelt Park
331 Roosevelt Ave
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The Mission Reach Ecosystem Restoration and Recreation Project has transformed an eight mile stretch of the San Antonio River into a quality riparian woodland ecosystem. Rent a bike or just walk and you can visit the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park and World Heritage Site to the south or the world-renowned Riverwalk amidst the classic limestone towers of downtown San Antonio to the north. You can even reach the Pearl District and the San Antonio Museum of Art, just by following the San Antonio river.
Kids and adults alike will find San Antonio’s HemisFair Park overflowing with fun activities and exciting adventures: A Magik Theater for kids, a playground built like a fortress, educational museums, and the centerpiece and one of San Antonio’s most famous attractions The Tower of Americas. All set in a beautifully landscaped surrounding, with large shade trees, flowering plants and cascading waterfalls. In 1968 HemisFair Park was built to host the 1968 Worlds Fair and to commemorate the 250th anniversary of the founding of San Antonio. From April 6th to October 6th of that year, six and a half million visitors from around the world came to experience the culture, cuisine and history of countries such as Bolivia, Brazil, Germany, China, Japan and many others. The park still embodies the original concept of the Worlds Fair, to showcase San Antonio's ethnically diverse culture and emphasize the city as a center for international trade and commerce. Originally the Texas Pavilion at the Fair, The University of Texas San Antonio's Institute of Texan Cultures now provides a wealth of cultural history, science, and technology. The museum celebrates Texas culture and ethnicity through hands on exhibits, including "The Texans One and All", "Creation and Cosmos" and "Living Texas". The ITC also houses more than 6,000 volumes of Texas history and some 40,000 historic photographs. "The ITC is a cultural experience museum," says Executive Director John Davis, "It's not a collection of history books or exhibits behind glass. These are immersive, interactive learning opportunities. We don't just tell the tale, we bring it to life". Meanwhile, The Magik Theater - which is housed in Beethoven Hall, Beethoven Mannerchor's original concert hall and the site of Laterna Magika during the Fair - is a wonderful place to take the kids for an entertaining and educational theater experience. Professional and affordable, these plays are presented to introduce a new generation of young people to the magic and mystery of theater through plays and musicals such as "The Nutcracker: A Comic Suite" and "Pocahontas, A Musical". Educational programs are available, including the Fairy Tale Theater, a touring program for pre-school, kindergarten, first and second graders; Shakespeare Speaks, a touring program for high school and middle school programs; Magik Theater Fall & Spring Academy, a twice-a-week program for kids of all ages that teaches the basic technique of theater; and, Shakespeare in the Park, a professionally-produced series set in the beauty of San Antonio's most scenic natural locations. Meanwhile, the Mexican Cultural Institute is an extension of the National University of Mexico. It promotes Mexican culture through art exhibits, photography, films, lectures, workshops, concerts, dance performances and theatre. The Institute was used as the Mexican Pavilion during the 1968 Worlds Fair, with the goal of preserving San Antonio's cultural and social bonds to Mexico. The Institute is usually located at HemisFair Park but, because of construction projects underway at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center, the Mexican Cultural Institute has moved to a temporary location on Main Street; the Casa Mexicana Gallery remains at HemisFair Park. Finally, the Tower of the Americas, looms over the history and the landscape of San Antonio and, today, still delights people with its retro architecture and spectacular views of South Texas from its observation deck 750 feet above downtown. The famed structure is also the home of a Chart House restaurant, which is legendary for its top-of-the-catch seafood, succulent steaks & decadent desserts. And, Bar 601, located in the restaurant, is the perfect spot to enjoy a refreshing adult beverage while the world literally passes you by.....
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Hemisfair
434 South Alamo Street
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Kids and adults alike will find San Antonio’s HemisFair Park overflowing with fun activities and exciting adventures: A Magik Theater for kids, a playground built like a fortress, educational museums, and the centerpiece and one of San Antonio’s most famous attractions The Tower of Americas. All set in a beautifully landscaped surrounding, with large shade trees, flowering plants and cascading waterfalls. In 1968 HemisFair Park was built to host the 1968 Worlds Fair and to commemorate the 250th anniversary of the founding of San Antonio. From April 6th to October 6th of that year, six and a half million visitors from around the world came to experience the culture, cuisine and history of countries such as Bolivia, Brazil, Germany, China, Japan and many others. The park still embodies the original concept of the Worlds Fair, to showcase San Antonio's ethnically diverse culture and emphasize the city as a center for international trade and commerce. Originally the Texas Pavilion at the Fair, The University of Texas San Antonio's Institute of Texan Cultures now provides a wealth of cultural history, science, and technology. The museum celebrates Texas culture and ethnicity through hands on exhibits, including "The Texans One and All", "Creation and Cosmos" and "Living Texas". The ITC also houses more than 6,000 volumes of Texas history and some 40,000 historic photographs. "The ITC is a cultural experience museum," says Executive Director John Davis, "It's not a collection of history books or exhibits behind glass. These are immersive, interactive learning opportunities. We don't just tell the tale, we bring it to life". Meanwhile, The Magik Theater - which is housed in Beethoven Hall, Beethoven Mannerchor's original concert hall and the site of Laterna Magika during the Fair - is a wonderful place to take the kids for an entertaining and educational theater experience. Professional and affordable, these plays are presented to introduce a new generation of young people to the magic and mystery of theater through plays and musicals such as "The Nutcracker: A Comic Suite" and "Pocahontas, A Musical". Educational programs are available, including the Fairy Tale Theater, a touring program for pre-school, kindergarten, first and second graders; Shakespeare Speaks, a touring program for high school and middle school programs; Magik Theater Fall & Spring Academy, a twice-a-week program for kids of all ages that teaches the basic technique of theater; and, Shakespeare in the Park, a professionally-produced series set in the beauty of San Antonio's most scenic natural locations. Meanwhile, the Mexican Cultural Institute is an extension of the National University of Mexico. It promotes Mexican culture through art exhibits, photography, films, lectures, workshops, concerts, dance performances and theatre. The Institute was used as the Mexican Pavilion during the 1968 Worlds Fair, with the goal of preserving San Antonio's cultural and social bonds to Mexico. The Institute is usually located at HemisFair Park but, because of construction projects underway at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center, the Mexican Cultural Institute has moved to a temporary location on Main Street; the Casa Mexicana Gallery remains at HemisFair Park. Finally, the Tower of the Americas, looms over the history and the landscape of San Antonio and, today, still delights people with its retro architecture and spectacular views of South Texas from its observation deck 750 feet above downtown. The famed structure is also the home of a Chart House restaurant, which is legendary for its top-of-the-catch seafood, succulent steaks & decadent desserts. And, Bar 601, located in the restaurant, is the perfect spot to enjoy a refreshing adult beverage while the world literally passes you by.....
Food Scene
Eccentric pizzeria serving some of the best sandwiches you'll ever eat and some of the most-eclectic brews you'll ever sip. Bi-located in a former gas station/garage, place your order out-back, where they lubed the engines, then step out-front to the former pump area to grab that brew and await culinary nirvana. The view of downtown and the Tower of the Americas is one of the best in the area - and the constant parade of locals and visitors transiting from their downtown hotels and apartments to all that Southtown offers is unparalleled.
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The Filling Station Tap Room
701 South Saint Mary's Street
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Eccentric pizzeria serving some of the best sandwiches you'll ever eat and some of the most-eclectic brews you'll ever sip. Bi-located in a former gas station/garage, place your order out-back, where they lubed the engines, then step out-front to the former pump area to grab that brew and await culinary nirvana. The view of downtown and the Tower of the Americas is one of the best in the area - and the constant parade of locals and visitors transiting from their downtown hotels and apartments to all that Southtown offers is unparalleled.
One of the things that we love about Southtown is the fact that everything...EVERYTHING - from the clubs and the restaurants and cool shops and the awesome people and the amazing historic homes - is so bloody cool! Heck, even the business' websites are cool. Especially Halcyon's: "HALCYON (hal-see-yon): Adj. – Peaceful, Carefree, Untroubled, Prosperous... Coffeehouse by day, bar & lounge by night where you can always relax and find your own personal “halcyon”. So what is your halcyon? Your favorite place to chill, hang out, meet-up with friends, or just be? Roasting marshmallows to make S’mores while sipping on a Chocolate Espresso Martini? Updating your Facebook profile with a glass of wine?Savoring the perfect cappuccino by day or by night? People-watching on the porch while enjoying a cigar and scotch? A romantic late-night coffee and Nutella crepe with your partner? Happy hour with friends and co-workers in a comfy Halcyon couch? Your “other” office that’s perfect for getting things done or meeting with clients? A quick turkey brie panini or gourmet salad for lunch? Dropping by on a Monday night for Live Jazz? Enjoying Sunday brunch with family or friends?" See what we mean??? Cool, huh???
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Halcyon Southtown
1414 South Alamo Street
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One of the things that we love about Southtown is the fact that everything...EVERYTHING - from the clubs and the restaurants and cool shops and the awesome people and the amazing historic homes - is so bloody cool! Heck, even the business' websites are cool. Especially Halcyon's: "HALCYON (hal-see-yon): Adj. – Peaceful, Carefree, Untroubled, Prosperous... Coffeehouse by day, bar & lounge by night where you can always relax and find your own personal “halcyon”. So what is your halcyon? Your favorite place to chill, hang out, meet-up with friends, or just be? Roasting marshmallows to make S’mores while sipping on a Chocolate Espresso Martini? Updating your Facebook profile with a glass of wine?Savoring the perfect cappuccino by day or by night? People-watching on the porch while enjoying a cigar and scotch? A romantic late-night coffee and Nutella crepe with your partner? Happy hour with friends and co-workers in a comfy Halcyon couch? Your “other” office that’s perfect for getting things done or meeting with clients? A quick turkey brie panini or gourmet salad for lunch? Dropping by on a Monday night for Live Jazz? Enjoying Sunday brunch with family or friends?" See what we mean??? Cool, huh???
From the SPH website: "Stella Public House’s “farm to pizza” concept is centered on farm to table food practices and the development of strong partnerships with local growers, ranchers and purveyors. The star of Stella‘s menu is Texas-sourced artisan wood-fired pizza baked in an Italian Modena oven using oak and pecan wood. Shared plates, house-made cheeses, fresh salads and comfort foods made with locally-sourced ingredients are also found on the seasonal menu. Our beer list consists of 20 rotating taps showcasing craft beers from across the nation as well as an approachable, internationally-curated wine list. SPH believes that to create good food it is essential to begin with fresh, local ingredients. At Stella we focus on seasonal offerings and simple preparations to let the ingredients shine. We are proud to support local, sustainable agriculture as well as responsible animal stewardship when possible." Couldn't have said it better, ourselves!
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Stella Public House
1414 South Alamo Street
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From the SPH website: "Stella Public House’s “farm to pizza” concept is centered on farm to table food practices and the development of strong partnerships with local growers, ranchers and purveyors. The star of Stella‘s menu is Texas-sourced artisan wood-fired pizza baked in an Italian Modena oven using oak and pecan wood. Shared plates, house-made cheeses, fresh salads and comfort foods made with locally-sourced ingredients are also found on the seasonal menu. Our beer list consists of 20 rotating taps showcasing craft beers from across the nation as well as an approachable, internationally-curated wine list. SPH believes that to create good food it is essential to begin with fresh, local ingredients. At Stella we focus on seasonal offerings and simple preparations to let the ingredients shine. We are proud to support local, sustainable agriculture as well as responsible animal stewardship when possible." Couldn't have said it better, ourselves!
As an artisanal coffee roaster and coffee shop, WE Coffee Company is dedicated to offering coffees that will satisfy and intrigue all kinds of coffee enthusiasts. San Antonio's own Infra Jag quite literally qvells, writing on the emporium's FB page: 'Thoroughly impressed by this roasthouse's ambiance, custom machinery and knowledgable barista, Dorian!! Best coffee product I've come across in over a decade, highly recommend and DEFINATELY my new favorite rendezvous for business and pleasure! A treat for sore eyes and a yearning pallet as these guys actually respect the bean in every way and make sure you receive exactly what you ask for on every level!! Can't say enough about this shop as it is clearly anything BUT a white elephant-- these guys keep this up and they'll be a permanent staple of Texas!!!☕️' And, there you have it!
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White Elephant Coffee Company
1415 S Presa St
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As an artisanal coffee roaster and coffee shop, WE Coffee Company is dedicated to offering coffees that will satisfy and intrigue all kinds of coffee enthusiasts. San Antonio's own Infra Jag quite literally qvells, writing on the emporium's FB page: 'Thoroughly impressed by this roasthouse's ambiance, custom machinery and knowledgable barista, Dorian!! Best coffee product I've come across in over a decade, highly recommend and DEFINATELY my new favorite rendezvous for business and pleasure! A treat for sore eyes and a yearning pallet as these guys actually respect the bean in every way and make sure you receive exactly what you ask for on every level!! Can't say enough about this shop as it is clearly anything BUT a white elephant-- these guys keep this up and they'll be a permanent staple of Texas!!!☕️' And, there you have it!
This iconic and infamous corner of King William has been a customer-favorite for over a decade, thanks to its delicious array of breakfast, brunch and sandwich items. Boasting an eclectic and cozy interior, plus outdoor space from which to observe the sights and sounds of Southtown, the owners and staff boast that they're "all mad here!" ...which is definitely something to be proud of. High tea is a local favorite, for those that like both the high and the tea aspects of that event.
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Madhatters Tea House & Cafe
320 Beauregard Street
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This iconic and infamous corner of King William has been a customer-favorite for over a decade, thanks to its delicious array of breakfast, brunch and sandwich items. Boasting an eclectic and cozy interior, plus outdoor space from which to observe the sights and sounds of Southtown, the owners and staff boast that they're "all mad here!" ...which is definitely something to be proud of. High tea is a local favorite, for those that like both the high and the tea aspects of that event.
Don't let B&D's humble appearance fool you - B&D Ice House has been a Southtown institution since 1961, and it's now being reimagined for the 21st Century by a group of Bearded Bossmen that includes some of San Antonio's heavyweight restaurateurs. Quite simply, B&Ds, which means Beard & Dady or BBQ & Draft, depending on whom you ask, is the BEST sauce-drowned meat on the planet....and, the beer-infused bar and patio the coolest place on the block!
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B&D Ice House
1004 South Alamo Street
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Don't let B&D's humble appearance fool you - B&D Ice House has been a Southtown institution since 1961, and it's now being reimagined for the 21st Century by a group of Bearded Bossmen that includes some of San Antonio's heavyweight restaurateurs. Quite simply, B&Ds, which means Beard & Dady or BBQ & Draft, depending on whom you ask, is the BEST sauce-drowned meat on the planet....and, the beer-infused bar and patio the coolest place on the block!
When Mexican food aficionados go out to gnosh, they often don't get past the entrance to Southtown, at the crossroads of Alamo, St Mary's and Presa. Which is a pity because, nestled in the same location in the very heart of King William that it's been in for mumble-something years, sits this little piece of historic heaven that's been satisfying the gastronomic needs of Alamo City residents since the day it first opened its doors. From breakfast all the way through dinner, Tito's serves-up a delicious array of tempting Tex-Mex favorites, and the fully-stocked bar crafts the best-tasting variety of margaritas to be found outside Buffetland. From the amazing site, San Antonio Thrillist: "When you’re a Tex-Mex restaurant in San Antonio and your neighbor is Rosario’s you’re destined for the underrated moniker. Here’s the thing: Rosario’s is good, but Tito’s is really, really good. Sit on the patio, get a fat chamoy margarita, order the mole enchiladas and enjoy all of Southtown’s frenetic energy." Which definitely suggests that a visit is in order!
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Tito's Mexican Restaurant
955 South Alamo Street
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When Mexican food aficionados go out to gnosh, they often don't get past the entrance to Southtown, at the crossroads of Alamo, St Mary's and Presa. Which is a pity because, nestled in the same location in the very heart of King William that it's been in for mumble-something years, sits this little piece of historic heaven that's been satisfying the gastronomic needs of Alamo City residents since the day it first opened its doors. From breakfast all the way through dinner, Tito's serves-up a delicious array of tempting Tex-Mex favorites, and the fully-stocked bar crafts the best-tasting variety of margaritas to be found outside Buffetland. From the amazing site, San Antonio Thrillist: "When you’re a Tex-Mex restaurant in San Antonio and your neighbor is Rosario’s you’re destined for the underrated moniker. Here’s the thing: Rosario’s is good, but Tito’s is really, really good. Sit on the patio, get a fat chamoy margarita, order the mole enchiladas and enjoy all of Southtown’s frenetic energy." Which definitely suggests that a visit is in order!
Local food critics have consistently voted Rosario’s “Best Mexican Restaurant” in San Antonio, “Best Neighborhood Restaurant/Downtown-Southtown,” and Critics’ Choice for “Best Restaurant to Take Out-of-Town Guests" and, one might suppose, there's a reason. Since 1992, Rosario’s has served as the anchor business for the historic Southtown/King William area, serving up traditional south-of-the-border dishes with authentic house specialties, all prepared with a contemporary twist. Guest favorites include shrimp nachos, fish tacos, ceviche, tacos callejeros, parrillas and specialty margaritas. Proprietor Lisa Wong’s restaurant career began in 1981 when, at age 18, she took $7,000 of her college money and opened Lisa’s Mexican Restaurant to instant success. Now, more than three decades later, she's still delighting and satisfying the masses - as the constant crowds can attest to. So, if Mexican food is your thing, be sure to drop in for lunch or dinner....after you have a great breakfast taco at Tito's!
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Rosario's
910 South Alamo Street
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Local food critics have consistently voted Rosario’s “Best Mexican Restaurant” in San Antonio, “Best Neighborhood Restaurant/Downtown-Southtown,” and Critics’ Choice for “Best Restaurant to Take Out-of-Town Guests" and, one might suppose, there's a reason. Since 1992, Rosario’s has served as the anchor business for the historic Southtown/King William area, serving up traditional south-of-the-border dishes with authentic house specialties, all prepared with a contemporary twist. Guest favorites include shrimp nachos, fish tacos, ceviche, tacos callejeros, parrillas and specialty margaritas. Proprietor Lisa Wong’s restaurant career began in 1981 when, at age 18, she took $7,000 of her college money and opened Lisa’s Mexican Restaurant to instant success. Now, more than three decades later, she's still delighting and satisfying the masses - as the constant crowds can attest to. So, if Mexican food is your thing, be sure to drop in for lunch or dinner....after you have a great breakfast taco at Tito's!
A small 9 table restaurant known for fun, delicious food, funky cocktails, eclectic wines, and great service, this bordering-on-exclusive bite of poshness is the brainchild of Chilean expat, Lisa Astorga-Watel, whose recipe's tastes and portions are all influenced by her travels around the world. Think Paris' Spring and London's Iberica Marylebone and you'll be spot-on...and, based on the stellar and accurate reviews proffered by the eatery's legion of fans, equally as satisfied.
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Bite
1012 South Presa Street
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A small 9 table restaurant known for fun, delicious food, funky cocktails, eclectic wines, and great service, this bordering-on-exclusive bite of poshness is the brainchild of Chilean expat, Lisa Astorga-Watel, whose recipe's tastes and portions are all influenced by her travels around the world. Think Paris' Spring and London's Iberica Marylebone and you'll be spot-on...and, based on the stellar and accurate reviews proffered by the eatery's legion of fans, equally as satisfied.
Nestled along the banks of the San Antonio River and its renowned Riverwalk, in the equally-famed Blue Star Complex of galleries and museums and hotspots, is the semi-eponymous libation lounge that combines the best attributes of a brewery with the equally-perfect traits of an upscale pub. From sanantonio.com: "With a wide selection of beers brewed on site, the Blue Star Brewing Company is San Antonio's premier brewpub and draws a mixed crowd of artists, business people and local San Antonio college students that flock to the longtime favorite for its craft beverages and its full restaurant menu, which is perfect for those who head straight to the pub after work and also need a bite to eat. The second floor balcony has a view of the San Antonio River and allows drinkers and diners at the brewery to get a breath of fresh air." It's a great place to start and end your day, offering you both fine food and beverages and easy access to one of San Antonio's most-culturally significant destinations.
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Blue Star Brewing Company
1414 South Alamo Street
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Nestled along the banks of the San Antonio River and its renowned Riverwalk, in the equally-famed Blue Star Complex of galleries and museums and hotspots, is the semi-eponymous libation lounge that combines the best attributes of a brewery with the equally-perfect traits of an upscale pub. From sanantonio.com: "With a wide selection of beers brewed on site, the Blue Star Brewing Company is San Antonio's premier brewpub and draws a mixed crowd of artists, business people and local San Antonio college students that flock to the longtime favorite for its craft beverages and its full restaurant menu, which is perfect for those who head straight to the pub after work and also need a bite to eat. The second floor balcony has a view of the San Antonio River and allows drinkers and diners at the brewery to get a breath of fresh air." It's a great place to start and end your day, offering you both fine food and beverages and easy access to one of San Antonio's most-culturally significant destinations.
The 1960s, when we were living them, wasn't supposed to be cool. Nay, the 60's were about struggle and change and evolution and revolution...the fact that we managed to create and mass-produce some really awesome design styles in the midst of all of that struggle and revolution says a helluva lot about who we were. So, when we happen upon a trendy trattoria or a boffo beanery that evokes memories of that storied decade, we tend to get all tingly with fond memories. Sooooooo, when we found Feast....well, the joy was bounteous.... Not to be trite or cliché, but if there were a real James Bond - and, if he was portrayed in film by Sean Connery - he...and, presumably, Sean....would eat here. 'Cause, it's....well.....cool! From its Eero Saarinen, TWA Flight Center-flavored décor to its sustainable culinary food culture, it's just redolent with all of the fun fads and consciousness-raising thoughts that are the hallmark of the Me Generation. Feast opened their doors in September 2011, not long after chef Stefan Bowers and local entrepreneur, Andrew Goodman, met. Featuring New American cuisine with a Mediterranean flair in a variety of appetizers, entrees and "small plates," the King William kitchen has made the area a dining destination for just long enough that it's almost retro..... ...which is just uber-cool!
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Feast
1024 South Alamo Street
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The 1960s, when we were living them, wasn't supposed to be cool. Nay, the 60's were about struggle and change and evolution and revolution...the fact that we managed to create and mass-produce some really awesome design styles in the midst of all of that struggle and revolution says a helluva lot about who we were. So, when we happen upon a trendy trattoria or a boffo beanery that evokes memories of that storied decade, we tend to get all tingly with fond memories. Sooooooo, when we found Feast....well, the joy was bounteous.... Not to be trite or cliché, but if there were a real James Bond - and, if he was portrayed in film by Sean Connery - he...and, presumably, Sean....would eat here. 'Cause, it's....well.....cool! From its Eero Saarinen, TWA Flight Center-flavored décor to its sustainable culinary food culture, it's just redolent with all of the fun fads and consciousness-raising thoughts that are the hallmark of the Me Generation. Feast opened their doors in September 2011, not long after chef Stefan Bowers and local entrepreneur, Andrew Goodman, met. Featuring New American cuisine with a Mediterranean flair in a variety of appetizers, entrees and "small plates," the King William kitchen has made the area a dining destination for just long enough that it's almost retro..... ...which is just uber-cool!
Bliss Restaurant is a chef-owned and -operated restaurant located just south of downtown San Antonio. Said chef and owner is none other than Mark Bliss, a native of Northern California who began his culinary career after moving to Texas in 1981. With stints at Polo's at The Fairmount, Bruce Auden's famed Biga and the equally-notable Silo, his list of awards and citations is almost as long as some of his menus - and just as just as tasty! He opened Bliss in the winter of 2012, and its 52-seat dining room has been packed ever since - mostly because its upscale and contemporary American cuisine, fine selection of charcuterie, artisanal cheeses and breads and eclectic array of beers and wines are designed to suit a variety of preferences, tastes and budgets. All of which pretty much guarantees that its customers are going to enjoy a unique dining experience in a relaxed, yet elegant, environment. Bliss's (both the restaurant's and the chef's) mission is to be consistently among San Antonio's best restaurants and to express excellence in the most inclusive, genuine and hospitable way by delivering superior customer service based on their belief that “People may forget what you say, and they may forget what you do, but they will always remember how you made them feel.”
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Bliss
926 South Presa Street
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Bliss Restaurant is a chef-owned and -operated restaurant located just south of downtown San Antonio. Said chef and owner is none other than Mark Bliss, a native of Northern California who began his culinary career after moving to Texas in 1981. With stints at Polo's at The Fairmount, Bruce Auden's famed Biga and the equally-notable Silo, his list of awards and citations is almost as long as some of his menus - and just as just as tasty! He opened Bliss in the winter of 2012, and its 52-seat dining room has been packed ever since - mostly because its upscale and contemporary American cuisine, fine selection of charcuterie, artisanal cheeses and breads and eclectic array of beers and wines are designed to suit a variety of preferences, tastes and budgets. All of which pretty much guarantees that its customers are going to enjoy a unique dining experience in a relaxed, yet elegant, environment. Bliss's (both the restaurant's and the chef's) mission is to be consistently among San Antonio's best restaurants and to express excellence in the most inclusive, genuine and hospitable way by delivering superior customer service based on their belief that “People may forget what you say, and they may forget what you do, but they will always remember how you made them feel.”
There are other vegetarian and even vegan restaurants in San Antonio, but there's just no place like Senor Veggie! Organic, made-when-you-order-it dishes that will make even the most die-hard carnivore question the need to ingest animal products, the food is simply outstanding. Housed in an old auto repair shop from the 1930's, this now-legendary Southtown eatery doubles as a gallery for a monthly rotation of artwork, and triples as a performance space for local bands and open mic nights that are as good as anything you'll see in Austin or Nashville. And, starting a new tradition, SV now hosts a Saturday brunch that is attended by virtually all of the south side's glitterati, each of whom is as fond of the animal-free meals as Elsie the cow is. As good as all that is, though, it's really the food that ya gotta get your yoga pant-encased derriere in for....it's just simply that good!”
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Señor Veggie
620 South Presa Street
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There are other vegetarian and even vegan restaurants in San Antonio, but there's just no place like Senor Veggie! Organic, made-when-you-order-it dishes that will make even the most die-hard carnivore question the need to ingest animal products, the food is simply outstanding. Housed in an old auto repair shop from the 1930's, this now-legendary Southtown eatery doubles as a gallery for a monthly rotation of artwork, and triples as a performance space for local bands and open mic nights that are as good as anything you'll see in Austin or Nashville. And, starting a new tradition, SV now hosts a Saturday brunch that is attended by virtually all of the south side's glitterati, each of whom is as fond of the animal-free meals as Elsie the cow is. As good as all that is, though, it's really the food that ya gotta get your yoga pant-encased derriere in for....it's just simply that good!”
Housed in an uber-kewl brick-and-mortar site across from Tito's and next door to both Feast and B & D Ice House is Southtown's answer to San Francisco's San Tung - a place where that bar staple, the lowly chicken wing, is elevated to the highest of culinary delights. The brainchild of Star Chef's Rising Star Chef of 2012, Quealy Watson - who catapulted Hot Joy onto the local scene as a successful pop-up at the now-shuttered Monterey, where he was previously chef - Hot Joy serves Watson's take on Asian food with a decidedly Texas twist. More importantly to Southies, however, is the fact that HJ also boasts the neighborhood's coolest bar decorated in the hippest style with the bestest views of the Alamo strip. So, while being named Bon Appetite's Best New Restaurant of 2014 is a really awesome thing, it really all comes down to the fact that Hot Joy, like all of Southtown, is just THE place to be.
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Hot Joy
1014 South Alamo Street
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سكان محليون يوصون بهذا
Housed in an uber-kewl brick-and-mortar site across from Tito's and next door to both Feast and B & D Ice House is Southtown's answer to San Francisco's San Tung - a place where that bar staple, the lowly chicken wing, is elevated to the highest of culinary delights. The brainchild of Star Chef's Rising Star Chef of 2012, Quealy Watson - who catapulted Hot Joy onto the local scene as a successful pop-up at the now-shuttered Monterey, where he was previously chef - Hot Joy serves Watson's take on Asian food with a decidedly Texas twist. More importantly to Southies, however, is the fact that HJ also boasts the neighborhood's coolest bar decorated in the hippest style with the bestest views of the Alamo strip. So, while being named Bon Appetite's Best New Restaurant of 2014 is a really awesome thing, it really all comes down to the fact that Hot Joy, like all of Southtown, is just THE place to be.
La Focaccia Italian Grill is a family owned and operated classic Italian restaurant that has been delighting Southtown residents and San Antonio visitors since 1996. Helmed by Luigi and Dolores Ciccarelli, the original proprietors of the former Luigi's Italian Restaurant on San Pedro, La Focaccia continues a tradition of quality service, culinary excellence, and value that Alamo City residents have been enjoying since 1972. Authentic family recipes and contemporary culinary expertise blend to produce a unique Italian dining experience based on an appetizing array of seafood, veal, steak, and pasta dishes that include house specialties such as Linguine Pescatora, Veal Saltimbocca Focaccia, and Lingine with Clams. There's even La Focaccia’s classic Italian style pizza and traditional focaccia bread baked in a wood-fired oven to tempt you - and it's all served-up in a warm and inviting atmosphere that's suitable for any occasion - whether it's a casual lunch with family, a romantic dinner for two, a formal banquet, or just enjoying a drink and some appetizers at the bar with friends . Quite simply, La Focaccia Italian Grill is the place to be!
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La Focaccia Italian Grill
800 S Alamo St
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La Focaccia Italian Grill is a family owned and operated classic Italian restaurant that has been delighting Southtown residents and San Antonio visitors since 1996. Helmed by Luigi and Dolores Ciccarelli, the original proprietors of the former Luigi's Italian Restaurant on San Pedro, La Focaccia continues a tradition of quality service, culinary excellence, and value that Alamo City residents have been enjoying since 1972. Authentic family recipes and contemporary culinary expertise blend to produce a unique Italian dining experience based on an appetizing array of seafood, veal, steak, and pasta dishes that include house specialties such as Linguine Pescatora, Veal Saltimbocca Focaccia, and Lingine with Clams. There's even La Focaccia’s classic Italian style pizza and traditional focaccia bread baked in a wood-fired oven to tempt you - and it's all served-up in a warm and inviting atmosphere that's suitable for any occasion - whether it's a casual lunch with family, a romantic dinner for two, a formal banquet, or just enjoying a drink and some appetizers at the bar with friends . Quite simply, La Focaccia Italian Grill is the place to be!
Austin has always been a trendy, happenin' kinda place. Katz' Deli was a true trendsetter, providing Kosher-quality deli fair long before people realized they didn't HAVE to go to NYC to get a decent gnosh. So, when the local trendy folks there turned their eyes away from the bagel and to the humble hot dog to spark the next happenin' trend, it was only natural that the name would be ridiculously obvious - Frank - and that said humble hot dog would be aggrandized to artisan sausage. Well, Austinites ate that stuff up (pardon the trite pun!) Being the generous souls that they are, it was only a matter of time before they decided to share their new-found salchichas with the masses and, hence, the artisan sausage arrived in San Antonio. Wanting to maintain their trendy tradition, they decided that the "normal" storefront simply wasn't for them, and opted to plant themselves right smackdab in the basement of the old Alamo Methodist Church, a King William neighborhood architectural landmark since it was built in 1912. A live music venue and bar - Casbeers - and a Tex-Mex restaurant since its congregation disbanded, the church has always been a local favorite because of its central location and design, so it really made mucho sense for Frank's founders to set-up shop there. And, so, amidst the Beards and the Babes and the musicians and the artists and the suburbanites looking for more than a Dave & Buster's, hipster hot dogs with monikers like The Notorious P.I.G. and Fico Anatra vie for attention with Chili Cheese Waffle Fries and Portobello Cheesesteak...all combined with dozens of craft beers and select spirits such as The Whole Enchilada Michelada and the Holy Smoke. So, if the idea of artisan sausages and beers in a holy setting make ya wanna holler, Frank is the place for you!
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سكان محليون يوصون بهذا
Frank
1150 S Alamo St
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سكان محليون يوصون بهذا
Austin has always been a trendy, happenin' kinda place. Katz' Deli was a true trendsetter, providing Kosher-quality deli fair long before people realized they didn't HAVE to go to NYC to get a decent gnosh. So, when the local trendy folks there turned their eyes away from the bagel and to the humble hot dog to spark the next happenin' trend, it was only natural that the name would be ridiculously obvious - Frank - and that said humble hot dog would be aggrandized to artisan sausage. Well, Austinites ate that stuff up (pardon the trite pun!) Being the generous souls that they are, it was only a matter of time before they decided to share their new-found salchichas with the masses and, hence, the artisan sausage arrived in San Antonio. Wanting to maintain their trendy tradition, they decided that the "normal" storefront simply wasn't for them, and opted to plant themselves right smackdab in the basement of the old Alamo Methodist Church, a King William neighborhood architectural landmark since it was built in 1912. A live music venue and bar - Casbeers - and a Tex-Mex restaurant since its congregation disbanded, the church has always been a local favorite because of its central location and design, so it really made mucho sense for Frank's founders to set-up shop there. And, so, amidst the Beards and the Babes and the musicians and the artists and the suburbanites looking for more than a Dave & Buster's, hipster hot dogs with monikers like The Notorious P.I.G. and Fico Anatra vie for attention with Chili Cheese Waffle Fries and Portobello Cheesesteak...all combined with dozens of craft beers and select spirits such as The Whole Enchilada Michelada and the Holy Smoke. So, if the idea of artisan sausages and beers in a holy setting make ya wanna holler, Frank is the place for you!
Sometimes, ya just want a basic Mexican plate without all the frills and circumstance AND higher prices. For those instances, you definitely want to hit this place up! Located directly across the street from Brackenridge High School, and oh-so-convenient to this house, Las Tap serves-up really awesome and authentic Tex-Mex indoors and through their drive-thru, and does it at prices that will still allow you to take the kids to Sea World. Friendly staff, simple service and unpretentious surroundings make it an easy choice for a quick bite or a full meal, and the fact that a hefty percentage of the local population dines here means it's gotta be good!
Las Tapatias De Jalisco
1506 South Saint Mary's Street
Sometimes, ya just want a basic Mexican plate without all the frills and circumstance AND higher prices. For those instances, you definitely want to hit this place up! Located directly across the street from Brackenridge High School, and oh-so-convenient to this house, Las Tap serves-up really awesome and authentic Tex-Mex indoors and through their drive-thru, and does it at prices that will still allow you to take the kids to Sea World. Friendly staff, simple service and unpretentious surroundings make it an easy choice for a quick bite or a full meal, and the fact that a hefty percentage of the local population dines here means it's gotta be good!
Enjoy San Antonio’s first Urban Gourmet Food Truck Park, where food diversity hits Southtown in a big way. Located at The Historic Acapulco Drive Inn, Alamo Street Eat Bar provides gourmet eats - like Jason Dady's Duk Truck and Zum Sushi - and San Antonio draft favorites, from St Arnold Lawnmower and Independence Stash to Shiner 103 Wild Hare and Victoria....all in the shadow of HemisFair’s Tower of the Americas and an easy walk to all your favorite Downtown locations.
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Alamo Street Eat Bar
609 South Alamo Street
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Enjoy San Antonio’s first Urban Gourmet Food Truck Park, where food diversity hits Southtown in a big way. Located at The Historic Acapulco Drive Inn, Alamo Street Eat Bar provides gourmet eats - like Jason Dady's Duk Truck and Zum Sushi - and San Antonio draft favorites, from St Arnold Lawnmower and Independence Stash to Shiner 103 Wild Hare and Victoria....all in the shadow of HemisFair’s Tower of the Americas and an easy walk to all your favorite Downtown locations.
Azuca, the first Nuevo Latino Restaurant in San Antonio, was inspired by a desire to unite the cuisine, service and atmosphere of the Caribbean, Central and Latin America, with all of its glamour and vitality, in one place. And this it does by consistently providing guests with an enjoyable and unique dining experience through exceptional service, a unique Nuevo Latino Cuisine and a diverse palette of entertainment. The amazing folks at this really awesome space are committed to offering fresh ingredients, coupled with the most authentic Latin-American products and wines available, and they work closely with local farmers, markets and vendors to bring the highest quality of Latin recipes, created with a new approach to presentation and flavor. Basically, what they've done is to take ingredients used in South and Central America, Spain, as well as the Caribbean and México, and add their own unique and contemporary flair to create delectable, mouth-watering dishes. Add to that a really great full-service bar, huge windows overlooking the hustle and bustle of Southtown's Main Street and an awesome patio and you've got just about everything you need for a sensational Southtown soiree. AND you've got staff and management that remains dedicated to their patrons and a long-held philosophy that everybody that enters their doors leaves with a smile!
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Azuca Nuevo Latino
709 South Alamo Street
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Azuca, the first Nuevo Latino Restaurant in San Antonio, was inspired by a desire to unite the cuisine, service and atmosphere of the Caribbean, Central and Latin America, with all of its glamour and vitality, in one place. And this it does by consistently providing guests with an enjoyable and unique dining experience through exceptional service, a unique Nuevo Latino Cuisine and a diverse palette of entertainment. The amazing folks at this really awesome space are committed to offering fresh ingredients, coupled with the most authentic Latin-American products and wines available, and they work closely with local farmers, markets and vendors to bring the highest quality of Latin recipes, created with a new approach to presentation and flavor. Basically, what they've done is to take ingredients used in South and Central America, Spain, as well as the Caribbean and México, and add their own unique and contemporary flair to create delectable, mouth-watering dishes. Add to that a really great full-service bar, huge windows overlooking the hustle and bustle of Southtown's Main Street and an awesome patio and you've got just about everything you need for a sensational Southtown soiree. AND you've got staff and management that remains dedicated to their patrons and a long-held philosophy that everybody that enters their doors leaves with a smile!
Okay, so we've recommended Asian, Mexican, Nuevo Latino, Nuvelle American, Italian, BBQ, Pizza and Sandwiches but, for those of you that are really good at organizing and sorting, you may have noticed that we've left-off French/Belgian...purely unintentional, we assure you. Especially since the undeniably and absolutely best French/Belgian bistro in all of San Antonio is right here in Southtown. La Frite manages - through an amazing menu, attentive owners, perfect location and accommodating staff - to maintain stupendous reviews and a devoted clientele, despite the plethora of options, available locally and throughout the city, vying for diners' attention. From seafood and steaks to veggies and the best darned frites you'll find outside of Paris or Brussels, it's a true culinary delight for Francophiles of all nationalities.
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La Frite Belgian Bistro
728 South Alamo Street
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Okay, so we've recommended Asian, Mexican, Nuevo Latino, Nuvelle American, Italian, BBQ, Pizza and Sandwiches but, for those of you that are really good at organizing and sorting, you may have noticed that we've left-off French/Belgian...purely unintentional, we assure you. Especially since the undeniably and absolutely best French/Belgian bistro in all of San Antonio is right here in Southtown. La Frite manages - through an amazing menu, attentive owners, perfect location and accommodating staff - to maintain stupendous reviews and a devoted clientele, despite the plethora of options, available locally and throughout the city, vying for diners' attention. From seafood and steaks to veggies and the best darned frites you'll find outside of Paris or Brussels, it's a true culinary delight for Francophiles of all nationalities.
From their very own website: "We admit to being fiercely focused on the art and science behind an excellent cup of coffee. That obsessive tendency led us to renovate an old warehouse on San Antonio’s Southside to create a premium coffee roasting facility, Merit Coffee Roasting Co. It’s about control — how we source the beans, the temperature and duration of the roasting and the subsequent quality of the coffee in your cup. We personally source many of the batches of beans we roast, literally traveling to the growers to sample their coffee, negotiate a fair price and arrange shipment to San Antonio. Many of our specialty beans come from a single farm or even from a specific area on the farm (micro-terroir), so they are limited in quantity and superior in quality. We work to establish strong, long-term relationships based on good coffee and fair prices. Once the beans reach us, we roast test batches, cup, taste, adjust, test some more and finally establish the perfect roast for the beans. We package the whole beans fresh from the roaster — rich, aromatic, at the peak of perfection." Which is probably why this hidden gem is one of the most popular java joints in town!
Merit Roasting Co.
2001 S Presa St
From their very own website: "We admit to being fiercely focused on the art and science behind an excellent cup of coffee. That obsessive tendency led us to renovate an old warehouse on San Antonio’s Southside to create a premium coffee roasting facility, Merit Coffee Roasting Co. It’s about control — how we source the beans, the temperature and duration of the roasting and the subsequent quality of the coffee in your cup. We personally source many of the batches of beans we roast, literally traveling to the growers to sample their coffee, negotiate a fair price and arrange shipment to San Antonio. Many of our specialty beans come from a single farm or even from a specific area on the farm (micro-terroir), so they are limited in quantity and superior in quality. We work to establish strong, long-term relationships based on good coffee and fair prices. Once the beans reach us, we roast test batches, cup, taste, adjust, test some more and finally establish the perfect roast for the beans. We package the whole beans fresh from the roaster — rich, aromatic, at the peak of perfection." Which is probably why this hidden gem is one of the most popular java joints in town!
We've provided information on a lot of Mexican restaurants because....well....it's San Antonio, and there's a Mexican restaurant on virtually every block in town. But, there's not a good Mexican restaurant on every block, and El Mirador is definitely one of the best. Esquire magazine's food editor literally gushed over the place, stating that the restaurant has "set a standard with some of the most vividly authentic Mexican food this side of the Rio Grande. Locals line-up for [their] magnificent chile-laced chicken and vegetable soups - which are considered as restorative to the body as Saturday confession is to the soul." And we all know that, when ya bring religion into the equation, you're talking epic! Freshly remodeled and boasting a new patio, El Mirador also features the Puro Social Club, a private setting within the restaurant that members (or, anyone that buys a cigar) can visit to enjoy their favorite tobacco or socialize with friends. And, it also provides space for weddings and other larger functions just next door, in the beautifully-restored King William Garden House, a 150 year-old classic Texas structure that is the pride and joy of the neighborhood.
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El Mirador
722 South Saint Mary's Street
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We've provided information on a lot of Mexican restaurants because....well....it's San Antonio, and there's a Mexican restaurant on virtually every block in town. But, there's not a good Mexican restaurant on every block, and El Mirador is definitely one of the best. Esquire magazine's food editor literally gushed over the place, stating that the restaurant has "set a standard with some of the most vividly authentic Mexican food this side of the Rio Grande. Locals line-up for [their] magnificent chile-laced chicken and vegetable soups - which are considered as restorative to the body as Saturday confession is to the soul." And we all know that, when ya bring religion into the equation, you're talking epic! Freshly remodeled and boasting a new patio, El Mirador also features the Puro Social Club, a private setting within the restaurant that members (or, anyone that buys a cigar) can visit to enjoy their favorite tobacco or socialize with friends. And, it also provides space for weddings and other larger functions just next door, in the beautifully-restored King William Garden House, a 150 year-old classic Texas structure that is the pride and joy of the neighborhood.
Located across the tracks from the Blue Star District, La Tuna Grill has made a popular name for itself within San Antonio’s Southtown culinary scene. Specializing in food you’re going to love, each item on the menu is a delicious fusion of Tex-Mex and American classics. From weekly soup specials and fresh salads, to savory burgers and sandwiches with all the fixings, these are the type of meals that you'll remember long after you've removed the spots from your T-shirt. All this and an amazing staff ready to welcome you and make you feel at home. A family-friendly place to grab a bite before venturing out to First Friday and any other popular Southtown events. So sit back, relax, and order those fried mushrooms for the table....you know you want to.
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La Tuna
100 Probandt
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Located across the tracks from the Blue Star District, La Tuna Grill has made a popular name for itself within San Antonio’s Southtown culinary scene. Specializing in food you’re going to love, each item on the menu is a delicious fusion of Tex-Mex and American classics. From weekly soup specials and fresh salads, to savory burgers and sandwiches with all the fixings, these are the type of meals that you'll remember long after you've removed the spots from your T-shirt. All this and an amazing staff ready to welcome you and make you feel at home. A family-friendly place to grab a bite before venturing out to First Friday and any other popular Southtown events. So sit back, relax, and order those fried mushrooms for the table....you know you want to.
Okay, so you'll notice a huge, really big number of Mexican restaurants in our list because, after all, this is San Antonio. But, truth be told, this place is the only place you need to go to for really, REALLY epic authentic Mexican food at a reasonable price in a quaint and charming atmosphere. Period.
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Cascabel Mexican Patio
1000 South Saint Mary's Street
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Okay, so you'll notice a huge, really big number of Mexican restaurants in our list because, after all, this is San Antonio. But, truth be told, this place is the only place you need to go to for really, REALLY epic authentic Mexican food at a reasonable price in a quaint and charming atmosphere. Period.
Drinks & Nightlife
It's a pipe/cigar purveyor; a place for a brew or can o'wine; an up-and-coming live music venue; AND, a really cool place to hang to people-watch the locals and tourists that make Southtown such a happenin' place to be! Tell Eric we sent you.
THE PIPE CORNER
727 S Alamo St
It's a pipe/cigar purveyor; a place for a brew or can o'wine; an up-and-coming live music venue; AND, a really cool place to hang to people-watch the locals and tourists that make Southtown such a happenin' place to be! Tell Eric we sent you.
Lunch & Supper 7 days a week, Weekend Brunch, Serious Food, Live Music and the "Best Coffee in the Known Universe" all combine to make the Lib your one-stop, go-to place for a night filled with Beauty and Charm. They even bake their own pies!
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Liberty Bar
1111 South Alamo Street
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Lunch & Supper 7 days a week, Weekend Brunch, Serious Food, Live Music and the "Best Coffee in the Known Universe" all combine to make the Lib your one-stop, go-to place for a night filled with Beauty and Charm. They even bake their own pies!
Bar America started off as Café America in 1942 and, through four significant changes to its location and operations, has managed to remain one of San Antonio's most-historic and -visited bars. The bar's current location was built over 80 years ago and is located a little over a half-mile away from the Alamo. Allegedly, spirits of the other-worldly variety mix with the more-expected type...but, that could just be the booze talking. Whatever the genesis of your apparitions or aperitif, enjoy your drink, follow the house rules, and leave your bigotry and disrespect at the door - or you may be asked not to return.
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Bar America
723 S Alamo St
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Bar America started off as Café America in 1942 and, through four significant changes to its location and operations, has managed to remain one of San Antonio's most-historic and -visited bars. The bar's current location was built over 80 years ago and is located a little over a half-mile away from the Alamo. Allegedly, spirits of the other-worldly variety mix with the more-expected type...but, that could just be the booze talking. Whatever the genesis of your apparitions or aperitif, enjoy your drink, follow the house rules, and leave your bigotry and disrespect at the door - or you may be asked not to return.
When we were younger...okay, not as mature....we didn't have a clue what-in-the-hell brew pubs and craft beers were. So, when we returned to San Antonio after world-travels and faux retirement, we really....truly didn't understand what the whole Pearl District and Burleson Beer Garden thing were all about. Soooooooo, when we moved into Southtown and kept driving by Freetail thinking it was just the "factory" where the stuff that we drank at Senor Veggie was "made," we....um...just didn't get it. A brewery with movie nights? A brewpub where they practiced yoga? Dogs and cats, living together??? But, that's Freetail for ya: A "factory" where really good brews are "made" in a building that hosts movies and yoga AND has food. We just don't understand it.....
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Freetail Brewing Co.
2000 South Presa Street
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When we were younger...okay, not as mature....we didn't have a clue what-in-the-hell brew pubs and craft beers were. So, when we returned to San Antonio after world-travels and faux retirement, we really....truly didn't understand what the whole Pearl District and Burleson Beer Garden thing were all about. Soooooooo, when we moved into Southtown and kept driving by Freetail thinking it was just the "factory" where the stuff that we drank at Senor Veggie was "made," we....um...just didn't get it. A brewery with movie nights? A brewpub where they practiced yoga? Dogs and cats, living together??? But, that's Freetail for ya: A "factory" where really good brews are "made" in a building that hosts movies and yoga AND has food. We just don't understand it.....
If you happened to read our comments about Freetail Brewery first, then you may already know that we're not always the brightest bulb in the chandelier when it comes to understanding nuances in the beer world. As another shining example of that dimness, we thought that the Beethoven Maennerchor that we pass all the time on our way to the Blue Star complex was just a really cool beer garden - like, a REAL really cool beer garden...'cause, there's like beer and a garden and all. But what it really is is a non-profit, volunteer organization which purpose is to preserve German song, music, and language. And, it's also one of the oldest German singing societies in Texas. You see, the Beethoven Maennerchor has stood as a beacon of culture and heritage since its founding in July of 1867, and it features the men's choir, Maennerchor, women's choir, Damenchor, kid's choir, Kinderchor, and dance and concert bands. Not only that, but Beethoven Maennerchor is filled with members dedicated to not only preserving Beethoven's legacy, but also working toward its future success. So, in addition to serving-up some really great brews and basic food stuff; and, to being a really awesome venue for local and touring musicians and bands, the Halle und Garten is also the home base for a group of really inspiring men and women that are doing their darndest to continue the tradition of German participation in the community that is San Antonio...a tradition that has contributed so much to the tapestry that is the Alamo City.
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Beethoven Maennerchor
422 Pereida Street
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If you happened to read our comments about Freetail Brewery first, then you may already know that we're not always the brightest bulb in the chandelier when it comes to understanding nuances in the beer world. As another shining example of that dimness, we thought that the Beethoven Maennerchor that we pass all the time on our way to the Blue Star complex was just a really cool beer garden - like, a REAL really cool beer garden...'cause, there's like beer and a garden and all. But what it really is is a non-profit, volunteer organization which purpose is to preserve German song, music, and language. And, it's also one of the oldest German singing societies in Texas. You see, the Beethoven Maennerchor has stood as a beacon of culture and heritage since its founding in July of 1867, and it features the men's choir, Maennerchor, women's choir, Damenchor, kid's choir, Kinderchor, and dance and concert bands. Not only that, but Beethoven Maennerchor is filled with members dedicated to not only preserving Beethoven's legacy, but also working toward its future success. So, in addition to serving-up some really great brews and basic food stuff; and, to being a really awesome venue for local and touring musicians and bands, the Halle und Garten is also the home base for a group of really inspiring men and women that are doing their darndest to continue the tradition of German participation in the community that is San Antonio...a tradition that has contributed so much to the tapestry that is the Alamo City.
One of the things that made us decide to leave the 'burbs and move to Southtown was the Friendly Spot. After a long day or night at the job, it was the perfect place to relax with co-workers over a brew, and the constant parade of Southies and frequent films and sporting events on the big screen a great diversion from the rigors of everyday life. Amazingly-friendly staff (hence the moniker) and a just really-cool vibe make it a no-brainer as a destination, though ya sure wanna wear waders after a significant rain event....
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The Friendly Spot Ice House
943 South Alamo Street
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One of the things that made us decide to leave the 'burbs and move to Southtown was the Friendly Spot. After a long day or night at the job, it was the perfect place to relax with co-workers over a brew, and the constant parade of Southies and frequent films and sporting events on the big screen a great diversion from the rigors of everyday life. Amazingly-friendly staff (hence the moniker) and a just really-cool vibe make it a no-brainer as a destination, though ya sure wanna wear waders after a significant rain event....
We've mentioned a couple of times how our views of places and things are sometimes waaaaaay off, and that's pretty much true about our initial impression of Southtown 101. Based on absolutely no actual experience, just hearsay, we thought it was a local dive for hospitality employees and really nowhere that you'd want to actually go for a refreshing adult beverage. So, we didn't make much of an effort to schedule it on our schedule of imbibing....until one of our best gal-pals and we were "doing" First Friday and ended-up there on a lark. Suddenly, our eyes were opened and the words of all those Geeks Who Drink that they post on their website started to ring true. Gushing and fawning and even kvelling are the words that, to me, most aptly apply to the stuff these guys and goals post about the libation lounge and, again proving the inaccuracies of our opinions, we found ourselves gushing and fawning, too. Can't really explain why we dig the place....could it be its proximity to downtown, in the heart of Southtown? Could it be the great prices on a huge variety of local and "imported" brews? The amazing and friendly staff? The awesome live music that pops-up on occasion? Patio? TV screens? Cool-factor? Trivia and Karaoke nights? Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes and yes!
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Southtown 101
101 Pereida Street
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We've mentioned a couple of times how our views of places and things are sometimes waaaaaay off, and that's pretty much true about our initial impression of Southtown 101. Based on absolutely no actual experience, just hearsay, we thought it was a local dive for hospitality employees and really nowhere that you'd want to actually go for a refreshing adult beverage. So, we didn't make much of an effort to schedule it on our schedule of imbibing....until one of our best gal-pals and we were "doing" First Friday and ended-up there on a lark. Suddenly, our eyes were opened and the words of all those Geeks Who Drink that they post on their website started to ring true. Gushing and fawning and even kvelling are the words that, to me, most aptly apply to the stuff these guys and goals post about the libation lounge and, again proving the inaccuracies of our opinions, we found ourselves gushing and fawning, too. Can't really explain why we dig the place....could it be its proximity to downtown, in the heart of Southtown? Could it be the great prices on a huge variety of local and "imported" brews? The amazing and friendly staff? The awesome live music that pops-up on occasion? Patio? TV screens? Cool-factor? Trivia and Karaoke nights? Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes and yes!
Waaaaaaay back in 1926, when MGM and Warner Brothers and Paramount and 20th Century Fox not only made movies, they distributed them, too, ginormous picture palaces, like the Aztec, sprung-up in cities across the United States so that the studios were guaranteed exhibition spaces for their products. No expense was spared to make the venues the poshest and the most glamorous in an effort to lure movie-goers into their gilded portals. Through the years, anti-trust legislation and television changed the film industry, and the great and ornate palaces became second-rate movie theaters, some even showing adult films in an effort to fill the seats. But, everything has a season and, once again, these oracles of opulence are back in fashion. In its early years, the Aztec Theatre featured stage shows (including chorus girls, a 26-piece orchestra and an 11-rank Robert Morton theatre pipe organ), red carpet events and numerous motion picture premiers. Though the theater remained extremely popular for many decades, by the 1970's it was falling on hard times. Later on, the theatre was cut into three auditoriums and billed as the Aztec Triplex, but that only slowed the eventual decline. By 1984, the years of neglect and urban decay led to the theatre's closure. The San Antonio Conservation Society rescued the Aztec from demolition in 1989 and the theatre was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1992. Considered by many as a Meso-American architectural work of art, the Aztec boasts a dramatic combination of authentic columns, reliefs and artifacts. From its stunning lobby and mezzanine to the glorious theatre and balcony, the Aztec Theatre is an experience unlike any other. After an extensive and costly remodeling by PHH Entertainment Ventures that included the construction of a tiered platform structure and the introduction of a state-of-the-art sound system, the Aztec has returned to its place of prominence in San Antonio's entertainment scene as the ultimate concert experience, with as many as 15 musical events booked each month.
The Aztec Theatre
104 N St Mary's St
Waaaaaaay back in 1926, when MGM and Warner Brothers and Paramount and 20th Century Fox not only made movies, they distributed them, too, ginormous picture palaces, like the Aztec, sprung-up in cities across the United States so that the studios were guaranteed exhibition spaces for their products. No expense was spared to make the venues the poshest and the most glamorous in an effort to lure movie-goers into their gilded portals. Through the years, anti-trust legislation and television changed the film industry, and the great and ornate palaces became second-rate movie theaters, some even showing adult films in an effort to fill the seats. But, everything has a season and, once again, these oracles of opulence are back in fashion. In its early years, the Aztec Theatre featured stage shows (including chorus girls, a 26-piece orchestra and an 11-rank Robert Morton theatre pipe organ), red carpet events and numerous motion picture premiers. Though the theater remained extremely popular for many decades, by the 1970's it was falling on hard times. Later on, the theatre was cut into three auditoriums and billed as the Aztec Triplex, but that only slowed the eventual decline. By 1984, the years of neglect and urban decay led to the theatre's closure. The San Antonio Conservation Society rescued the Aztec from demolition in 1989 and the theatre was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1992. Considered by many as a Meso-American architectural work of art, the Aztec boasts a dramatic combination of authentic columns, reliefs and artifacts. From its stunning lobby and mezzanine to the glorious theatre and balcony, the Aztec Theatre is an experience unlike any other. After an extensive and costly remodeling by PHH Entertainment Ventures that included the construction of a tiered platform structure and the introduction of a state-of-the-art sound system, the Aztec has returned to its place of prominence in San Antonio's entertainment scene as the ultimate concert experience, with as many as 15 musical events booked each month.
Owner R. Michael Berrier designed it, but he's not putting on airs about the wood-framed, corrugated tin structure he and co-owner Michael Looney put up in 1992. The materials came from Home Depot and Guido Lumber. It was a good spot with a good patio and its own story of Spanish gold. The idea to open an ice house came while Berrier was drinking a beer at the old Acapulco Drive-In. He decided opening bottles was something he could get good at. Twenty-one years later, the ice house and neighboring La Tuna Grill have worked to become something of a San Antonio landmark. “No pretension,” he said of the operation. “I think funky is probably a good describer.”
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La Tuna
100 Probandt
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Owner R. Michael Berrier designed it, but he's not putting on airs about the wood-framed, corrugated tin structure he and co-owner Michael Looney put up in 1992. The materials came from Home Depot and Guido Lumber. It was a good spot with a good patio and its own story of Spanish gold. The idea to open an ice house came while Berrier was drinking a beer at the old Acapulco Drive-In. He decided opening bottles was something he could get good at. Twenty-one years later, the ice house and neighboring La Tuna Grill have worked to become something of a San Antonio landmark. “No pretension,” he said of the operation. “I think funky is probably a good describer.”
Shopping
With Macy's as its anchor and popular trendy chain stores such as H&M, Aeropostale, American Eagle and Victoria's Secret - as well as a variety of local venues including Life in the Alamo City and Texas Treasures - you're bound to find the perfect gift or souvenir to commemorate your visit to the Alamo City. The mall also houses the Improv Comedy Club, an Imax theater, an AMC multiplex, a Dave & Busters and a host of incredible dining options - from Fogo de Chao and Morton's Steakhouse to Hooters and Margaritaville - that are bound to satisfy virtually everyone's palette!
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Shops at Rivercenter
849 E Commerce St
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With Macy's as its anchor and popular trendy chain stores such as H&M, Aeropostale, American Eagle and Victoria's Secret - as well as a variety of local venues including Life in the Alamo City and Texas Treasures - you're bound to find the perfect gift or souvenir to commemorate your visit to the Alamo City. The mall also houses the Improv Comedy Club, an Imax theater, an AMC multiplex, a Dave & Busters and a host of incredible dining options - from Fogo de Chao and Morton's Steakhouse to Hooters and Margaritaville - that are bound to satisfy virtually everyone's palette!
Your newest obsession in the world of vinyl records in San Antonio, this welcome addition to the Southtown shopping scene specializes in Vinyl, CDs, Audio Accessories, DJ Gear, & Sonic Toys and has become a fixture in the growing SoFlo district because of its amazing, knowledgeable and friendly staff and the really cool dog that hangs out there to greet all of the customers.
Southtown Vinyl
1010 S Flores St
Your newest obsession in the world of vinyl records in San Antonio, this welcome addition to the Southtown shopping scene specializes in Vinyl, CDs, Audio Accessories, DJ Gear, & Sonic Toys and has become a fixture in the growing SoFlo district because of its amazing, knowledgeable and friendly staff and the really cool dog that hangs out there to greet all of the customers.
Getting Around
BCycle isn't just a trend anymore...it's a lifestyle choice. And more and more locals and visitors are taking advantage of this incredible service to both get from point A to point B and to see all the sights and sounds that make San Antonio such a special and unique place - without ever having to turn the key in the ignition or sit in traffic! There are more than 30 BCycle stations located throughout central San Antonio - from Brackenridge Park to Southtown - the closest to the house of which are located at Freetail Brewery at 2000 South Presa and in Roosevelt Park at 42 Mission Road.
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San Antonio BCycle
600 Hemisfair Plaza Way
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BCycle isn't just a trend anymore...it's a lifestyle choice. And more and more locals and visitors are taking advantage of this incredible service to both get from point A to point B and to see all the sights and sounds that make San Antonio such a special and unique place - without ever having to turn the key in the ignition or sit in traffic! There are more than 30 BCycle stations located throughout central San Antonio - from Brackenridge Park to Southtown - the closest to the house of which are located at Freetail Brewery at 2000 South Presa and in Roosevelt Park at 42 Mission Road.
Right in the heart of Southtown....talk about convenient!
Enterprise Rent-A-Car
808 South Saint Mary's Street
Right in the heart of Southtown....talk about convenient!
Bus #36 stops just a block away from the house, on South Presa Street. Take it north through Southtown to Downtown and the main branch of the San Antonio Public Library, or south to the big-box stores and restaurants along SE Military Drive. $1.30 for the regular fare, 15 cents for a transfer and exact change is not required - you'll receive change in the form of an e-fare change card if change due is more than $1.
VIA Metropolitan Transit - Downtown Information Center
211 W Commerce St
Bus #36 stops just a block away from the house, on South Presa Street. Take it north through Southtown to Downtown and the main branch of the San Antonio Public Library, or south to the big-box stores and restaurants along SE Military Drive. $1.30 for the regular fare, 15 cents for a transfer and exact change is not required - you'll receive change in the form of an e-fare change card if change due is more than $1.
Arts & Culture
Gallery 2020 was founded in the Spring of 2015 and features the works of a host of contemporary Texas artists specializing in painting, drawing, sculpture, photography and pottery. It resides in a beautiful mixed-use mid-rise at the northern edge of the SoFlo Arts District, and is convenient to both King William and the Blue Star Complex....which means that, on Southtown's famed First Fridays - or, anytime, really - it's a perfect stop when you're making your artistic rounds.
Gallery20/20
1010 S Flores St
Gallery 2020 was founded in the Spring of 2015 and features the works of a host of contemporary Texas artists specializing in painting, drawing, sculpture, photography and pottery. It resides in a beautiful mixed-use mid-rise at the northern edge of the SoFlo Arts District, and is convenient to both King William and the Blue Star Complex....which means that, on Southtown's famed First Fridays - or, anytime, really - it's a perfect stop when you're making your artistic rounds.
One of the things that made us decide that living in Southtown, instead of Live Oak, would be much more to our tastes was this incredible corner of the universe, Mercury Project. When we imagine live/work space combos - something we do with great frequency - MP is exactly what we see in our minds' eye! Multi-level, multi-environment and multi Bueno, our friends Antonia and Warren have created a destination location that epitomizes everything that the arts community of Southtown is all about: a thriving arterial network of studios, learning spaces and galleries built to harvest and foster independent contemporary arts. The space, a renovated factory, drums with the pulse of old San Antonio while stirring a sense of sophisticated modernity in everyone who moves through it. With a flexible layout, multiple artists enjoy the studio spaces at once, creating an epicenter of creativity and energy. And, that's what it's all about...creativity and energy!
Mercury Project
538 Roosevelt Ave
One of the things that made us decide that living in Southtown, instead of Live Oak, would be much more to our tastes was this incredible corner of the universe, Mercury Project. When we imagine live/work space combos - something we do with great frequency - MP is exactly what we see in our minds' eye! Multi-level, multi-environment and multi Bueno, our friends Antonia and Warren have created a destination location that epitomizes everything that the arts community of Southtown is all about: a thriving arterial network of studios, learning spaces and galleries built to harvest and foster independent contemporary arts. The space, a renovated factory, drums with the pulse of old San Antonio while stirring a sense of sophisticated modernity in everyone who moves through it. With a flexible layout, multiple artists enjoy the studio spaces at once, creating an epicenter of creativity and energy. And, that's what it's all about...creativity and energy!
"To inspire the creative genius in us all by nurturing artists in an innovative contemporary art setting." That's the mission statement of an institution that changed not only the Southtown neighborhood in which it resides, but the city of San Antonio, as well. Developed from a grassroots event in July of 1986, Blue Star Contemporary is the first and longest-running venue for contemporary art in San Antonio. The establishment of Blue Star as an exhibition space arose from the need to provide a platform for the work and ideas of local contemporary artists. In the years since its inception, Blue Star has grown with the community, instigating positive change in both the art community and the community at large. The development of Blue Star's exhibitions and educational programming has resulted in the social and economic revitalization of the surrounding King William and Southtown neighborhoods, and the event that started it all in the summer of 1986, has developed into Contemporary Art Month, an event that now includes over fifty collaborating organizations, cultural centers, museums, and alternative spaces. Now in its thirtieth year, Blue Star continues to be an incubator for contemporary art in San Antonio, hosting over twenty exhibitions each year within its four on-site galleries and multiple offsite locations within the community. These exhibitions feature both emerging and world-renowned artists who hail both from the Alamo City and across the globe. Over 300,000 visitors each year experience contemporary art at Blue Star through exhibitions, the MOSAIC after-school education program, and community events, which is why Blue Star stands firm in its commitment to inspire the creative genius in us all.
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Blue Star Contemporary
116 Blue Star
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"To inspire the creative genius in us all by nurturing artists in an innovative contemporary art setting." That's the mission statement of an institution that changed not only the Southtown neighborhood in which it resides, but the city of San Antonio, as well. Developed from a grassroots event in July of 1986, Blue Star Contemporary is the first and longest-running venue for contemporary art in San Antonio. The establishment of Blue Star as an exhibition space arose from the need to provide a platform for the work and ideas of local contemporary artists. In the years since its inception, Blue Star has grown with the community, instigating positive change in both the art community and the community at large. The development of Blue Star's exhibitions and educational programming has resulted in the social and economic revitalization of the surrounding King William and Southtown neighborhoods, and the event that started it all in the summer of 1986, has developed into Contemporary Art Month, an event that now includes over fifty collaborating organizations, cultural centers, museums, and alternative spaces. Now in its thirtieth year, Blue Star continues to be an incubator for contemporary art in San Antonio, hosting over twenty exhibitions each year within its four on-site galleries and multiple offsite locations within the community. These exhibitions feature both emerging and world-renowned artists who hail both from the Alamo City and across the globe. Over 300,000 visitors each year experience contemporary art at Blue Star through exhibitions, the MOSAIC after-school education program, and community events, which is why Blue Star stands firm in its commitment to inspire the creative genius in us all.
Located in the Blue Star Complex at the western edge of Southtown, FL!GHT consistently ranks as one of the city's favorite art spaces, both because of its captivating collections and its amazing and knowledgeable staff. Ed is our personal favorite (it's a Beard thing,) but everyone associated with the space is beyond fantastic. And, the exhibits are simply scintillating...and, it's at Blue Star....and you're gonna be there for something anyway!
FL!GHT Gallery
134 Blue Star
Located in the Blue Star Complex at the western edge of Southtown, FL!GHT consistently ranks as one of the city's favorite art spaces, both because of its captivating collections and its amazing and knowledgeable staff. Ed is our personal favorite (it's a Beard thing,) but everyone associated with the space is beyond fantastic. And, the exhibits are simply scintillating...and, it's at Blue Star....and you're gonna be there for something anyway!
Sightseeing
When we first came to San Antonio, shortly after Daniel Boone lost his coonskin cap, we just assumed that the city's most-famous landmark would be out in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by brush and tumbleweed and arrowhead fossils...'cause that's what it looks like in all of those John Wayne, shoot-'em-ups, after all. So, when we arrived at the Plaza, in the middle of downtown....next to the old Joske's department store and across the street from a bunch of T-shirt shops and souvenir emporiums....well, we were disappointed. But, there's a McDonalds on the Champs Elysees and a KFC just a stone's throw from the Forbidden City, so we gave it a chance. And, it was pretty cool. Being such an important landmark, it's naturally well-maintained and has some genuinely-interesting exhibits. Most importantly, it's a tradition....and, a World Heritage site....and, it's located downtown...near all the great restaurants and bars and shopping that have made San Antonio one of the most-popular destinations in the world. And, you can probably even find a coonskin cap.....
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San Antonio, TX 78205
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When we first came to San Antonio, shortly after Daniel Boone lost his coonskin cap, we just assumed that the city's most-famous landmark would be out in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by brush and tumbleweed and arrowhead fossils...'cause that's what it looks like in all of those John Wayne, shoot-'em-ups, after all. So, when we arrived at the Plaza, in the middle of downtown....next to the old Joske's department store and across the street from a bunch of T-shirt shops and souvenir emporiums....well, we were disappointed. But, there's a McDonalds on the Champs Elysees and a KFC just a stone's throw from the Forbidden City, so we gave it a chance. And, it was pretty cool. Being such an important landmark, it's naturally well-maintained and has some genuinely-interesting exhibits. Most importantly, it's a tradition....and, a World Heritage site....and, it's located downtown...near all the great restaurants and bars and shopping that have made San Antonio one of the most-popular destinations in the world. And, you can probably even find a coonskin cap.....
Known as the "Queen of the Missions", Mission San José y San Miguel de Aguayo is the largest of the missions that comprise the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park. It is also a New World Heritage site, and was almost fully-restored to its original design in the 1930s by the WPA (Works Projects Administration). Spanish missions were not churches, but communities with the church the focus and, today, they are a vital part of our city. Mission San Jose is one of four distinct visitor areas, each between 2-3 miles from the previous one. Starting 3 miles south of downtown San Antonio is Mission Concepción, with Mission San Jose and the park's Visitor Center another 2½ miles further. Three miles beyond Mission San José is Mission San Juan and the Spanish colonial demonstration farm, and the last - and farthest south - is Mission Espada. Connecting them all is the Mission Trails Hike and Bike Trail, an extension of the San Antonio Riverwalk, so you can enjoy the Missions and downtown SA all in one day!
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Mission San Jose
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Known as the "Queen of the Missions", Mission San José y San Miguel de Aguayo is the largest of the missions that comprise the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park. It is also a New World Heritage site, and was almost fully-restored to its original design in the 1930s by the WPA (Works Projects Administration). Spanish missions were not churches, but communities with the church the focus and, today, they are a vital part of our city. Mission San Jose is one of four distinct visitor areas, each between 2-3 miles from the previous one. Starting 3 miles south of downtown San Antonio is Mission Concepción, with Mission San Jose and the park's Visitor Center another 2½ miles further. Three miles beyond Mission San José is Mission San Juan and the Spanish colonial demonstration farm, and the last - and farthest south - is Mission Espada. Connecting them all is the Mission Trails Hike and Bike Trail, an extension of the San Antonio Riverwalk, so you can enjoy the Missions and downtown SA all in one day!
Mission San Francisco de la Espada, the first mission built in Texas, was moved to the San Antonio River Valley from East Texas in 1731 along with Mission San Juan and Mission Concepción. Originally founded as Mission San Francisco de los Tejas near Augusta, Texas, like the other East Texas missions it was founded to convert the local indigenous tribes to Christianity and to protect the Spanish frontier from French incursions. Today it represents the most complete mission complex of all of the San Antonio Missions. The Espada Acequia has run continuously since at least 1745 when Fray Ortiz described the Espada Acequia and successful farm fields. The Espada Dam is located 2.1 miles (3.4 km) north of the mission and diverts water from the San Antonio River into the gravity driven acequia which flows parallel to the river until it crosses over Six Mile (Piedras) Creek on the Espada Aqueduct. The Aqueduct, a Civil Engineering Landmark, lifts the acequia over the much stronger creek utilizing natural rock in the creek to help create a bulwark that directs water into both of the aqueducts arches to prevent the stronger creek from destroying the aqueduct itself. The acequia passes through the Espada farmlands that retain the pattern of their original laterals and returns to the San Antonio River south of the mission compound itself. In addition to the acequia and farmlands, 25 miles south of the mission compound lies one hundred acres of the original Espada ranchlands including the ruins of the stone compound for the mission ranch, Rancho de las Cabras. This ranch was unique because - due to its distance from Mission Espada - a stone compound was constructed to house the vaqueros and their families as well as perhaps serve as a community gathering place for those private ranches along the San Antonio River that became increasingly prevalent in the late 18th century. Ortiz states that by 1745 Mission Espada had 52 families and 214 individuals from diverse nations or clans. There was a two story convento with missionary quarters on the second floor and workrooms on the first floor. The sacristy of the main church was completed in 1745 and served as the church for many years as the larger structure was incomplete. By the 1760s, the walled compound with indigenous quarters were complete. The compound was expanded in the 1770s, and includes an expansion of the walled compound to the north and east, the construction of granary along the south wall, while an earlier granary was converted to a church. The current church was originally a sacristy for a larger church that was never constructed. This sacristy was modified by Antonio Salazar and an espadaña similar to one added at Mission San Juan, was added at the same time period (ca. 1790) thus converting the structure into the church we see today. There is a similar expansion of the compound at Rancho de las Cabras to include four rooms and a chapel, perhaps in recognition of the ranchos prominence in the growing secular ranching community of the San Antonio River valley. This late 18th century expansion appears to reflect the increased role of the mission as both a place to teach skills to indigenous people to become Spanish citizens but also increasingly the role of community center for the people both indigenous and other Spanish citizens of various identities to come together for the common goals of agriculture and crafts skills necessary to maintain a frontier settlement. Preservation of Mission Espada’s heritage began in the later 19th century when diocesan priest Father Francis Bouchu repaired much of the existing church adding the church’s transepts thus converting the once temporary chapel/sacristy into its current cruciform layout. The bastion structure in the southeast side of the compound was modified during this period of time and became a school house for both the Espada and San Juan communities in the later 19th through the mid 20th centuries. Today Mission San Francisco de la Espada remains a very active parish. The convento was rehabilitated by the archdiocese in modern times and now serves as workshops and temporary quarters for the Franciscan priests and brothers who returned in the 1930s to still serve their local community as they originally had when the mission was founded.
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Mission Espada
10328 Espada Road
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Mission San Francisco de la Espada, the first mission built in Texas, was moved to the San Antonio River Valley from East Texas in 1731 along with Mission San Juan and Mission Concepción. Originally founded as Mission San Francisco de los Tejas near Augusta, Texas, like the other East Texas missions it was founded to convert the local indigenous tribes to Christianity and to protect the Spanish frontier from French incursions. Today it represents the most complete mission complex of all of the San Antonio Missions. The Espada Acequia has run continuously since at least 1745 when Fray Ortiz described the Espada Acequia and successful farm fields. The Espada Dam is located 2.1 miles (3.4 km) north of the mission and diverts water from the San Antonio River into the gravity driven acequia which flows parallel to the river until it crosses over Six Mile (Piedras) Creek on the Espada Aqueduct. The Aqueduct, a Civil Engineering Landmark, lifts the acequia over the much stronger creek utilizing natural rock in the creek to help create a bulwark that directs water into both of the aqueducts arches to prevent the stronger creek from destroying the aqueduct itself. The acequia passes through the Espada farmlands that retain the pattern of their original laterals and returns to the San Antonio River south of the mission compound itself. In addition to the acequia and farmlands, 25 miles south of the mission compound lies one hundred acres of the original Espada ranchlands including the ruins of the stone compound for the mission ranch, Rancho de las Cabras. This ranch was unique because - due to its distance from Mission Espada - a stone compound was constructed to house the vaqueros and their families as well as perhaps serve as a community gathering place for those private ranches along the San Antonio River that became increasingly prevalent in the late 18th century. Ortiz states that by 1745 Mission Espada had 52 families and 214 individuals from diverse nations or clans. There was a two story convento with missionary quarters on the second floor and workrooms on the first floor. The sacristy of the main church was completed in 1745 and served as the church for many years as the larger structure was incomplete. By the 1760s, the walled compound with indigenous quarters were complete. The compound was expanded in the 1770s, and includes an expansion of the walled compound to the north and east, the construction of granary along the south wall, while an earlier granary was converted to a church. The current church was originally a sacristy for a larger church that was never constructed. This sacristy was modified by Antonio Salazar and an espadaña similar to one added at Mission San Juan, was added at the same time period (ca. 1790) thus converting the structure into the church we see today. There is a similar expansion of the compound at Rancho de las Cabras to include four rooms and a chapel, perhaps in recognition of the ranchos prominence in the growing secular ranching community of the San Antonio River valley. This late 18th century expansion appears to reflect the increased role of the mission as both a place to teach skills to indigenous people to become Spanish citizens but also increasingly the role of community center for the people both indigenous and other Spanish citizens of various identities to come together for the common goals of agriculture and crafts skills necessary to maintain a frontier settlement. Preservation of Mission Espada’s heritage began in the later 19th century when diocesan priest Father Francis Bouchu repaired much of the existing church adding the church’s transepts thus converting the once temporary chapel/sacristy into its current cruciform layout. The bastion structure in the southeast side of the compound was modified during this period of time and became a school house for both the Espada and San Juan communities in the later 19th through the mid 20th centuries. Today Mission San Francisco de la Espada remains a very active parish. The convento was rehabilitated by the archdiocese in modern times and now serves as workshops and temporary quarters for the Franciscan priests and brothers who returned in the 1930s to still serve their local community as they originally had when the mission was founded.
Franciscan friars established Mission Nuestra Señora de la Purísima Concepción de Acuña (also Mission Concepcion) in 1716 as Nuestra Señora de la Purísima Concepción de los Hainais in East Texas. The mission was originally meant to be a base for converting the Hasinai to Catholicism and teaching them what they needed to know to become Spanish citizens. The friars moved the mission in 1731 to San Antonio. After its relocation most of the people in the mission were Pajalats who spoke a Coahuiltecan language. Catholic Mass is still held every Sunday. On October 28, 1835, Mexican troops under Colonel Domingo Ugartechea and Texian insurgents led by James Bowie and James Fannin fought the Battle of Concepción here. Historian J.R. Edmondson describes the 30-minute engagement as "the first major engagement of the Texas Revolution." Mission Concepcion consists of a sanctuary, nave, convento, and granary. When originally built, brightly painted frescos decorated both the exterior and interior of the building. Traces of the frescoes still exist on the weathered facade of the building. Experts restored some of the artwork on the interior ceilings and walls of the convento in 1988. The Archdiocese of San Antonio completed another restoration of the mission's interior in 2010 which exposed more frescoes in the sanctuary and nave. Located at 807 Mission Road, Concepción is the best preserved of the Texas missions. It was designated a National Historic Landmark on April 15, 1970 and is part of San Antonio Missions National Historical Park. In 2015, the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) designated Concepción and four other San Antonio missions, including The Alamo, as a World Heritage Site, the first in Texas and one of twenty-three such establishments in the United States.
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Mission Concepción
807 Mission Road
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Franciscan friars established Mission Nuestra Señora de la Purísima Concepción de Acuña (also Mission Concepcion) in 1716 as Nuestra Señora de la Purísima Concepción de los Hainais in East Texas. The mission was originally meant to be a base for converting the Hasinai to Catholicism and teaching them what they needed to know to become Spanish citizens. The friars moved the mission in 1731 to San Antonio. After its relocation most of the people in the mission were Pajalats who spoke a Coahuiltecan language. Catholic Mass is still held every Sunday. On October 28, 1835, Mexican troops under Colonel Domingo Ugartechea and Texian insurgents led by James Bowie and James Fannin fought the Battle of Concepción here. Historian J.R. Edmondson describes the 30-minute engagement as "the first major engagement of the Texas Revolution." Mission Concepcion consists of a sanctuary, nave, convento, and granary. When originally built, brightly painted frescos decorated both the exterior and interior of the building. Traces of the frescoes still exist on the weathered facade of the building. Experts restored some of the artwork on the interior ceilings and walls of the convento in 1988. The Archdiocese of San Antonio completed another restoration of the mission's interior in 2010 which exposed more frescoes in the sanctuary and nave. Located at 807 Mission Road, Concepción is the best preserved of the Texas missions. It was designated a National Historic Landmark on April 15, 1970 and is part of San Antonio Missions National Historical Park. In 2015, the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) designated Concepción and four other San Antonio missions, including The Alamo, as a World Heritage Site, the first in Texas and one of twenty-three such establishments in the United States.
Mission San Juan Capistrano is one of three missions that were moved from East Texas in 1731. First established in 1716 as Mission San José de los Nazonis in present day Nacogdoches County, the mission attempted to convert the Nasoni Indians to Christianity and protected the boundaries of New Spain from French incursion. However, the mission failed to thrive and was relocated to a more sustainable position in the San Antonio River Valley. According to Father Ortiz in 1745, the San Antonio River Valley was selected due to the high quality of the arable lands. Rededicated as Mission San Juan Capistrano in 1731, the mission began attracting and recruiting local indigenous people. By 1745 there were 41 families consisting of 163 people living at Mission San Juan and 515 individuals had been baptized. The acequia (irrigation system) was complete and functioning with successful crop yields. The church and the indigenous quarters were still jacal structures, but a two-room stone convento, storeroom, and granary had been completed. The compound continued to expand to include additional workrooms for weaving, a walled enclosure with indigenous quarters along that wall (similar to Mission San José y San Miguel de Aguayo), and other structures. In the 1770s, the compound was expanded to its modern size with additional indigenous quarters, soldiers quarters and perimeter wall. Some scholars suggest that this expansion was due to a changing role of the southern missions to accommodate not only the indigenous community but the expanding group of Spanish citizens from a variety of ethnic backgrounds that were coming into the area from other parts of New Spain and beyond. The current church which has undergone a long stabilization project, is the fourth church of the mission and was completed ca. 1790. Construction for a larger more elaborate church began on the east side of the compound in ca. 1772 and went through three master mason/architects before the project was ultimately abandoned. The third architect, Antonio Salazar, finally gave up on the building due to the difficulties of obtaining the proper skilled labor for the vaulted roof. The “unfinished church” still stands in ruins today. While never completed, it was consecrated as a cemetery in 1779 when the second architect, Joseph Padron, died. He had requested to be buried in the church in his will. The current church was built out of the rubble of perhaps as many as three earlier structures (including a granary) in this location. Recent stabilization efforts have revealed deep foundations that are tied to the foundations of earlier structures in that location. Mission San Juan Capistrano is perhaps the most intensively investigated of all of the mission sites with a series of excavations by Mardith Schuetz Miller from 1967-1972 and additional extensive excavations by UTSA-CAR in conjunction with the recent stabilization project. These investigations have reinforced the inventories and other documents that suggest the continual building and re-building nature of these mission sites which would have required a substantial labor pool. Mission San Juan was both an agricultural and weaving center during Spanish Colonial times. Crops such as corn, beans, sugar cane, and watermelon were grown very successfully. In 2012, water was restored to the historic San Juan Acequia and in 2013 the first crop will be sown on the original labores or farm fields. Mission San Juan was partially secularized in 1794 and completely secularized after Mexican Independence in 1824. People continued to live amongst the ruins of the mission for many years, including the post-Colonial structure that was built along the ruins of the east wall ca. 1850 and continued to be occupied in to the 1950s. Mission San Juan Capistrano has an active parish and a large number of mission descendants that remain involved in the community.
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Mission San Juan Capistrano
9101 Graf Road
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Mission San Juan Capistrano is one of three missions that were moved from East Texas in 1731. First established in 1716 as Mission San José de los Nazonis in present day Nacogdoches County, the mission attempted to convert the Nasoni Indians to Christianity and protected the boundaries of New Spain from French incursion. However, the mission failed to thrive and was relocated to a more sustainable position in the San Antonio River Valley. According to Father Ortiz in 1745, the San Antonio River Valley was selected due to the high quality of the arable lands. Rededicated as Mission San Juan Capistrano in 1731, the mission began attracting and recruiting local indigenous people. By 1745 there were 41 families consisting of 163 people living at Mission San Juan and 515 individuals had been baptized. The acequia (irrigation system) was complete and functioning with successful crop yields. The church and the indigenous quarters were still jacal structures, but a two-room stone convento, storeroom, and granary had been completed. The compound continued to expand to include additional workrooms for weaving, a walled enclosure with indigenous quarters along that wall (similar to Mission San José y San Miguel de Aguayo), and other structures. In the 1770s, the compound was expanded to its modern size with additional indigenous quarters, soldiers quarters and perimeter wall. Some scholars suggest that this expansion was due to a changing role of the southern missions to accommodate not only the indigenous community but the expanding group of Spanish citizens from a variety of ethnic backgrounds that were coming into the area from other parts of New Spain and beyond. The current church which has undergone a long stabilization project, is the fourth church of the mission and was completed ca. 1790. Construction for a larger more elaborate church began on the east side of the compound in ca. 1772 and went through three master mason/architects before the project was ultimately abandoned. The third architect, Antonio Salazar, finally gave up on the building due to the difficulties of obtaining the proper skilled labor for the vaulted roof. The “unfinished church” still stands in ruins today. While never completed, it was consecrated as a cemetery in 1779 when the second architect, Joseph Padron, died. He had requested to be buried in the church in his will. The current church was built out of the rubble of perhaps as many as three earlier structures (including a granary) in this location. Recent stabilization efforts have revealed deep foundations that are tied to the foundations of earlier structures in that location. Mission San Juan Capistrano is perhaps the most intensively investigated of all of the mission sites with a series of excavations by Mardith Schuetz Miller from 1967-1972 and additional extensive excavations by UTSA-CAR in conjunction with the recent stabilization project. These investigations have reinforced the inventories and other documents that suggest the continual building and re-building nature of these mission sites which would have required a substantial labor pool. Mission San Juan was both an agricultural and weaving center during Spanish Colonial times. Crops such as corn, beans, sugar cane, and watermelon were grown very successfully. In 2012, water was restored to the historic San Juan Acequia and in 2013 the first crop will be sown on the original labores or farm fields. Mission San Juan was partially secularized in 1794 and completely secularized after Mexican Independence in 1824. People continued to live amongst the ruins of the mission for many years, including the post-Colonial structure that was built along the ruins of the east wall ca. 1850 and continued to be occupied in to the 1950s. Mission San Juan Capistrano has an active parish and a large number of mission descendants that remain involved in the community.
Southtown is just south of downtown San Antonio, Texas, where three unique areas unite: The King William Historic District, Blue Star Arts Complex and Lavaca, San Antonio's oldest existing neighborhood. It's an incredible array of galleries and shops, restaurants and clubs, history and future-facing that has drawn an eclectic assortment of movers and shakers and doers and thinkers that make the art scene more artsy, the music scene more musical and the literary world more literal....San Antonio entices travelers from around the world with splashy attractions like the River Walk and SeaWorld, as well as such popular sites as the Alamo and the historic mission trail. But what many visitors—even native Texans—don’t realize is that San Antonio shelters a thriving bohemian district just beyond downtown. Three overlapping neighborhoods harbor a welcoming vibe that dovetails centuries of history with modern art-house culture. Bounded loosely by South Flores and South Presa on the west and east, Durango and Lone Star to the north and south, Southtown is rich with galleries, coffeehouses, hipster dive bars, artists’ compounds, vintage clothing stores, crafts ateliers, family-run taco joints, and chic new bistros. All draw loyal customers, as do longtime favorites Rosario’s, El Mirador, and the stately Guenther House. The result: a vibrant “arts underground” that invites exploration. Southtown is sophisticated, welcoming, and sprawling: A day-long walking tour isn’t enough to see it all. So, unless you have the legs of Lance Armstrong, it’s wise to employ a combination of transport modes: perhaps a pedicab for King William, the 150-year-old National Historic District founded by German émigrés; your own vehicle for St. Mary’s and South Alamo; and a tram or taxi from downtown to enjoy South Flores. In the King William Historic District, pick up a walking-tour map from the San Antonio Conservation Society headquarters at 107 King William Street. Southtown encompasses King William, a diverse residential collection of Victorian architecture, and the South Alamo Street/South St. Mary’s Street Historic District, dotted with more modest, late-19th- and early-20th-Century houses. The development of this area parallels San Antonio’s 19th-Century growth, and these days, many structures are beautifully restored and carefully maintained, with styles ranging from Italianate, Neoclassical, and red-tiled-roof Spanish Revival to classic Victorian and Central Texas limestone. Some houses, such as the Ogé House, built in 1857 by Texas Ranger/cattle rancher Louis Ogé, double as bed and breakfasts. If you’re not up for walking the whole way, hail one of the human-powered pedicabs that circulate in this area. After visiting The Guenther House restaurant/museum, we forged a diagonal path across South Alamo to the Blue Star Arts Complex. In addition to the namesake gallery, Blue Star Contemporary Art Center (local, national, and international exhibits—always thought-provoking), the renovated warehouses house artist studios, a microbrewery, galleries, lofts, a bike shop, print shops, sundry arty retailers and non-profits, along with JumpStart Performance Co., a groundbreaking theater company that has produced more than 500 performances for 300,000 visitors since it was founded in 1985. As Hank Lee, owner of the San Angel Folk Art Gallery, says, “The whole Southtown area is the quintessential old, small-town San Antonio. Out-of-towners who stay on the River Walk can get a whole other sense of San Antonio down here. The trolley is only 50 cents, and there’s a stop right at Blue Star.” Lee adds that the area’s bohemian feel is amplified “by locally owned establishments, like Jive Vintage, MadHatters, and La Tuna. You won’t find chain stores or franchise operations down here.” Many thanks to Shermakaye Bass for the wonderful information, and be sure to check-out the below-referenced article for even more rave reviews of our beloved Southtown! www.texasmonthly.com/travel/southtown-and-down/
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Southtown
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Southtown is just south of downtown San Antonio, Texas, where three unique areas unite: The King William Historic District, Blue Star Arts Complex and Lavaca, San Antonio's oldest existing neighborhood. It's an incredible array of galleries and shops, restaurants and clubs, history and future-facing that has drawn an eclectic assortment of movers and shakers and doers and thinkers that make the art scene more artsy, the music scene more musical and the literary world more literal....San Antonio entices travelers from around the world with splashy attractions like the River Walk and SeaWorld, as well as such popular sites as the Alamo and the historic mission trail. But what many visitors—even native Texans—don’t realize is that San Antonio shelters a thriving bohemian district just beyond downtown. Three overlapping neighborhoods harbor a welcoming vibe that dovetails centuries of history with modern art-house culture. Bounded loosely by South Flores and South Presa on the west and east, Durango and Lone Star to the north and south, Southtown is rich with galleries, coffeehouses, hipster dive bars, artists’ compounds, vintage clothing stores, crafts ateliers, family-run taco joints, and chic new bistros. All draw loyal customers, as do longtime favorites Rosario’s, El Mirador, and the stately Guenther House. The result: a vibrant “arts underground” that invites exploration. Southtown is sophisticated, welcoming, and sprawling: A day-long walking tour isn’t enough to see it all. So, unless you have the legs of Lance Armstrong, it’s wise to employ a combination of transport modes: perhaps a pedicab for King William, the 150-year-old National Historic District founded by German émigrés; your own vehicle for St. Mary’s and South Alamo; and a tram or taxi from downtown to enjoy South Flores. In the King William Historic District, pick up a walking-tour map from the San Antonio Conservation Society headquarters at 107 King William Street. Southtown encompasses King William, a diverse residential collection of Victorian architecture, and the South Alamo Street/South St. Mary’s Street Historic District, dotted with more modest, late-19th- and early-20th-Century houses. The development of this area parallels San Antonio’s 19th-Century growth, and these days, many structures are beautifully restored and carefully maintained, with styles ranging from Italianate, Neoclassical, and red-tiled-roof Spanish Revival to classic Victorian and Central Texas limestone. Some houses, such as the Ogé House, built in 1857 by Texas Ranger/cattle rancher Louis Ogé, double as bed and breakfasts. If you’re not up for walking the whole way, hail one of the human-powered pedicabs that circulate in this area. After visiting The Guenther House restaurant/museum, we forged a diagonal path across South Alamo to the Blue Star Arts Complex. In addition to the namesake gallery, Blue Star Contemporary Art Center (local, national, and international exhibits—always thought-provoking), the renovated warehouses house artist studios, a microbrewery, galleries, lofts, a bike shop, print shops, sundry arty retailers and non-profits, along with JumpStart Performance Co., a groundbreaking theater company that has produced more than 500 performances for 300,000 visitors since it was founded in 1985. As Hank Lee, owner of the San Angel Folk Art Gallery, says, “The whole Southtown area is the quintessential old, small-town San Antonio. Out-of-towners who stay on the River Walk can get a whole other sense of San Antonio down here. The trolley is only 50 cents, and there’s a stop right at Blue Star.” Lee adds that the area’s bohemian feel is amplified “by locally owned establishments, like Jive Vintage, MadHatters, and La Tuna. You won’t find chain stores or franchise operations down here.” Many thanks to Shermakaye Bass for the wonderful information, and be sure to check-out the below-referenced article for even more rave reviews of our beloved Southtown! www.texasmonthly.com/travel/southtown-and-down/
As one of the oldest cathedrals in the United States (the original cathedral was built between 1738 and 1750 and its walls form the sanctuary of today's structure,) the Church of Nuestra Sonora de la Candelaria y Guadalupe is both the seat of the Archbishop of San Antonio and an important cultural landmark, listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It is also in the heart of downtown, between Market Square (with its shops and, more importantly, the permanent Christmas light display, margaritas and renowned Tex-Mex fare of Mi Tierra's) and Big Red, the historic Bexar County Courthouse on Main Plaza. It's also just a block off the River Walk, so a pleasant and easy diversion
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San Fernando Cathedral
231 W Commerce St
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As one of the oldest cathedrals in the United States (the original cathedral was built between 1738 and 1750 and its walls form the sanctuary of today's structure,) the Church of Nuestra Sonora de la Candelaria y Guadalupe is both the seat of the Archbishop of San Antonio and an important cultural landmark, listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It is also in the heart of downtown, between Market Square (with its shops and, more importantly, the permanent Christmas light display, margaritas and renowned Tex-Mex fare of Mi Tierra's) and Big Red, the historic Bexar County Courthouse on Main Plaza. It's also just a block off the River Walk, so a pleasant and easy diversion