143 Richland Hills Drive, San Antonio, TX, US, 78245
- Phone: (210) 670-2500
- Fax: (210) 670-2501
Although construction did not begin until 1749, this cathedral was established in 1731 by the Canary/Spanish Islanders, who sought to build their own place of worship. It is the oldest cathedral sanctuary in the United States. The famous Alamo defender James Bowie was married here and during the siege of the Alamo Santa Anna used it as an observation post. Notable historic figures Bowie, William Travis and Davy Crockett are buried here. The cathedral still draws huge crowds for Mass and always welcomes visitors.
Spanish Governor's Palace is the "most beautiful building" in the city according to the National Geographic Society. This national historic landmark was originally the official residence of the Governor of the Spanish Province of Texas in the late 18th century. The building is like a step back in time, replete with period furnishings, small rooms with low ceilings and thick stucco walls. The cobblestone patio features beautiful foliage and a fountain supposedly haunted by a former resident. Most noteworthy is the original keystone over the entrance, which bears the carved, double-headed eagle from the Hapsburg coat of arms along with an inscription, in Spanish, reading "finished in 1749."
This former home of Jose Antonio Navarro is now one of the best, but least known, gems of the city's history. Navarro was a prominent rancher and statesman and was one of only two native Texans of Mexican nationality to sign Texas' declaration of independence from Mexico. Built in 1848, the home was preserved by the San Antonio Conservation Society and now operates as a small museum conducting informative, interactive tours. Special activities are available for children as well.
Located in the heart of downtown San Antonio, across from Travis Park, this beautiful church was home to the first United Methodist congregation in the city. Built in the mid-19th century, Travis Park United Methodist Church features a double-aisled sanctuary, finely detailed stained glass windows and majestic spires. Served by an ordained minister, Travis Park United Methodist Church welcomes people of all faiths for Sunday worship.
Hop aboard one of the city's river barges and take a 40-minute cruise around the 2.5-mile stretch of the San Antonio River known as the River Walk. Narrated cruises emphasize the history of the area and depart hourly from three "ports." Don't be shy about waving to passersby, as there's something about you being on a boat that will make them want to wave to you, too. Barges are available for private tours, dining charters and custom cruises. River taxis are available for groups, as well. Reservations are accepted for seating on general public narrated cruises.
A veritable relaxation zone after a tiring day, Travis Park is abode to all that calm and nice. Head to this quaint park and sprawl on the verdant green grass or lounge on one of the benches here. Perfect for a lazy afternoon, you can also set up family picnics here. Come here during the Jazz'SAlive festival, dedicated entirely to this free-style music genre, featuring acts from around the locality, region, state and nation, and go home charmed. A bevy of local and cultural events greet you and make you want to come back time and again.
The historical center and heart of the city's Mexican culture, the square is the largest Mexican marketplace outside of Mexico. Here you can dine on Mexican food at one of several cafes, enjoy the lively sounds of Mariachi bands and buy wonderful blankets, clothes, leather and metal goods and much more, imported from just south of the border. The square plays host to many cultural events and fairs throughout the year, including Fiesta del Mercado (Party of the Market) in April and Dia De Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) in November.
Established on March 2, 1879, this church forms an integral part of the history of La Villita. No particular denomination met here consistently, but it continues to exist, and is the favorite local wedding venue. The church also supports and hosts the Starving Artist Art Gallery's annual show—so whether you wish to wed or enter your art-work in the event, call to register!
Not that the famed River Walk area needs more reasons to visit it, but this popular feast-fest has quickly become one of the more anticipated events of the year. Over 20 restaurants open their kitchens along the River Walk creating a giant, scenic buffet with a weekend-like party atmosphere. In years past food items have included ribs, fajitas and innovative soups. An admission ticket grants access to all the food and drinks, as well as transportation to the event via the River Barge.
The cornerstone of St. Mark's was laid in 1859, but the onset of the Civil War delayed construction. Work resumed in 1873 and the first service was held on Easter Sunday in 1875. An interesting note about St. Mark's Episcopal Church is that Lyndon Baines Johnson and Claudia "Lady Bird" Taylor were wed at this location on November 17, 1934. This was also the first Episcopal Cathedral built west of the Mississippi River. The first Sunday service is the 7:45a Holy Eucharist. At 8a, breakfast is offered for a small charge, while another Holy Eucharist is offered at 9a. The children's chapel is also in service at 9a. At 10:10a, an all-age-group Sunday School is offered. The third Holy Eucharist takes place at 11a and is followed by 'Tea Under the Trees'. If you are looking for a traditional Episcopalian service in a very historical church, this may be just the place for you to visit.
Would you like to glide through the streets of San Antonio? This city tour is conducted not on a bus, but on Segways—each tourist gets their own Segway HT! For those of you who aren't in the know, a Segway is a self-balancing two-wheeler that can transport you anywhere much faster than your own two feet. Take joy in riding it as you pass by Houston Street, Riverwalk, King William District, La Villita and finally, Alamo. Training is a part of the deal and costs around USD65 per person. Don't wait—make reservations as early as possible, or else, you may have to wait in queue. What's more? Gift certificates are available too! Check the website for timings.
Originally home to the Ursuline Academy School for Girls in the 19th century, this historic property was purchased in 1965 by the San Antonio Conservation Society. The Society feared demolition and decided to save the 10 acres. With reflections of French design, the conglomeration of small buildings is beautiful, especially the small chapel adorned with amazing stained glass. Today the center is where creative adult and child artisans of all skill levels learn and teach. With expert instructors, this is the place to learn traditional and contemporary arts and crafts. Even if you are not interested in taking a class, stroll through the grounds and visit the art gallery, the chapel and the Copper Kitchen Restaurant.