San Antonio Travel Guide


San Antonio Riverwalk

The San Antonio Riverwalk (also known as the Paseo del Rio) is an extensive network of walkways one story beneath the heart of the city, linking several major attractions. Lined by shops and restaurants, the Riverwalk is an important part of the city's urban fabric and a tourist attraction in its own right.

The Riverwalk was the idea of architect Robert Hugman in the late 1920s. As an alternative to paving over the troublesome river, Hugman drew out a plan he called "The Shops of Aragon and Romula" which allowed for both flood prevention and commercial development. Hugman maintained his office along the shallow San Antonio River, despite warnings that he would be "drowned like a rat", and despite its early reputation as a dangerous hole. The Riverwalk was declared even off-limits to military personnel at one point. Hugman persisted, and his office can still be found next door to another early presense on the Riverwalk, the landmark Casa Rio restaurant.

Crucial funding came in 1939 under the WPA and resulted in the initial construction of a network of some 17,000 linear feet of walkways, about 20 bridges, and extensive plantings including the live oaks whose branches are visible from street level.

Central business district

Central business district (CBD) and downtown are terms referring to the commercial heart of a city. Downtown is the usual term in North America. In the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand the "central business district" is used by geographers and sometimes by others, but the term city centre is much more common in everyday usage.

The CBD or downtown is the central district of a city, usually typified by a concentration of retail and commercial buildings. Although applicable to any city, both terms usually refer to larger cities.

The term city centre (or center city) is similar to CBD or downtown in that both serve the same purpose for the city, and both are seen by a higher-than-usual urban density as well as the often having the tallest buildings in a city. City centre differs from downtown in that downtown can be geographically located anywhere in a city, while city centre is located near the geographic heart of the city. Examples of a city centre can be found in Philadelphia, Houston, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Boston, London, Toronto, Sydney, and other cities.

HemisFair '68

HemisFair '68 was the first officially designated world's fair (or international exposition) held in the Southwest United States. San Antonio, Texas hosted the fair from April 6 through October 6, 1968. More than thirty nations hosted pavilions at the fair. The fair was held in conjunction with the 250th anniversary of the founding of San Antonio. The theme of the fair was "The Confluence of Civilizations in the Americas"

The official world's fair sanctioning body, the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) accredited HemisFair '68 on November 17, 1965. The venture, which had an announced cost of $156 million, was financed by a combination of public (United States, State of Texas and City of San Antonio) and private (Eastman Kodak, Ford Motor Company, General Electric, General Motors, Humble Oil (now Exxon Mobil), IBM, RCA, Southwestern Bell (now SBC Communications), Frito Lay, Pepsi-Cola, Coca-Cola and others) funding. The theme structure was the 622 foot (190 m) tall Tower of the Americas which remained after the fair closed. The top of the tower houses a revolving restaurant, a lounge, and an observation deck. The largest pavilion belonged to the State of Texas. It also remained after the fair closed and became the Institute of Texan Cultures which is operated as a museum and campus by the University of Texas at San Antonio. The city extended its famous River Walk (Paseo del Rio) one-quarter of a mile to link with the fairgrounds.

Attendance at the fair never matched estimates and the fair lost $7.5 million. The fair attracted 6.3 million visitors and brought international attention to San Antonio and Texas.

Tower of the Americas

Tower of the Americas is a 228.6 metre high observation tower with a restaurant at San Antonio, Texas. Tower of the Americas, designed by San Antonio architect O'Neil Ford, was built in 1968, as part of the HemisFair '68 exhibition.

Institute of Texan Cultures

The Institute of Texan Cultures is a museum and library located in HemisFair Park in central San Antonio, Texas. It serves as the state's primary center for multicultural education, with exhibits, programs, and events like the Texas Folklife Festival, an annual celebration of the many ethnicities that make up the population of Texas. The Folklife Festival has been held yearly since 1972.

The facility originally served as the Texas Pavilion at HemisFair '68 before being turned over the the University of Texas System. It is now part of the University of Texas at San Antonio.

Alamo Mission in San Antonio

The Alamo (Mission San Antonio de Valero) is the name of former mission and fortress compound, now a museum, in San Antonio, Texas. The compound, which originally comprised a church and surrounding buildings, was built by the Spanish Empire in the 18th century for the education of local Native Americans after their conversion to Christianity. After its later abandonment as a mission, it was used as a fortress in the 19th century and was the scene of several military actions, including most notably the 1836 Battle of the Alamo, one of the pivotal battles between the forces of the Republic of Texas and Mexico during the Texas Revolution.

Six Flags Fiesta Texas

Six Flags Fiesta Texas is a theme park located near San Antonio, Texas in a former rock quarry. It was originally developed by USAA, an insurance company specializing in coverages for members of the United States Armed Forces, and named "Fiesta Texas". At first, USAA intended to keep the development and manage it with the help of Gaylord Entertainment Company, a Nashville, Tennessee company which owns the Opryland Hotel and the Grand Ole Opry and at the time Opryland USA theme park. However, changing corporate philosophies at both businesses caused USAA to exit the theme park business and sell Fiesta Texas. Gaylord was later to close Opryland and leave the theme park business as well. Since 1996, the park is managed by the Six Flags organization, associated with Time Warner.

San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo

The San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo in San Antonio, Texas, USA is one of the largest Stock Shows in the country. The annual event occurs in February and lasts throughout the month. It is held on the grounds of the SBC Center, the home of the NBA's San Antonio Spurs and the AHL's San Antonio Rampage, both of whom vacate the building for the month to make way for the rodeo, and the adjacent Freeman Coliseum, the former venue of the main event.

Hard Rock Cafe

The Hard Rock Cafe restaurant chain was founded by Isaac Tigrett and Peter Morton, two Americans, on June 14, 1971. Their first Hard Rock Cafe opened on Piccadilly in London, in a former car showroom close to Hyde Park Corner, where they began to cover the walls with rock 'n' roll ephemera. It was reportedly named after side one of The Doors' 1970 album, Morrison Hotel, which was in turn named after a now closed bar in Los Angeles depicted on the back cover of Morrison Hotel. The Hard Rock Cafe's motto Love All, Serve All was adopted from Tigrett's guru Sathya Sai Baba.

Casa Navarro State Historical Park

Navarro HouseThe home site of Jose Antonio Navarro (1795-1871), a Texas legislator under Mexico, the Republic of Texas and the U.S. The site of Navarro’s furnished house, first residence, and store. Navarro’s life illustrates Texas’ rich Mexican history and heritage.

King William Historic Area

A 25-block area near downtown on the south bank of the San Antonio River. In the late 1800's the King William District was the most elegant residential area in the city. Prominent German merchants originally settled the area. It was zoned as the state's first historic district, and has once again become a fashionable neighborhood.

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