Think of places in Texas and undoubtedly what come to mind are Dallas, Houston and Austin, the capital. But, did you know that San Antonio is actually the second largest in Texas, just behind big sis, Houston? And it’s also the 7th most populous city in the USA! This must therefore mean that there are some brilliant attractions in San Antonio that visitors to the Lone Star State shouldn’t miss.
The Alamo is one of the crown jewels of Texas, and one of the most historically significant things to do while in San Antonio. The struggle at the Alamo is one of the most notable battles in the history of the United States. Built in 1718, it would gain notoriety more than 100 years later in 1836 as the site where Mexican General Santa Anna and his army of thousands attacked the fort and its 182 defenders, holding him off for 13 days after they refused to surrender. The surviving buildings in the complex are remarkable preserved and serve as a testament to the American spirit.
This 33-acre botanical showplace houses not only plants from Texas but from around the world. Its four major areas include Watersaver Garden/Watersaver Lane, Display Gardens, Texas Native Trail, and the Lucile Halsell Conservatory. In the Watersaver showcase you’ll learn about water-conservative gardening, such as drip irrigation. The Display Gardens are updated seasonally to showcase a variety of colors and textures. The 11-mile Texas Native Trail includes over 250 species of plants, and the amazing glass tower of the Lucile Halsell Conservatory is only matched in beauty by the rich array of vegetation it protects.
Like all Sea World locations, the San Antonio location dazzles with a full array of ocean-based experiences. Most come to see the sea life, such as alligators, dolphins, penguins, belugas, sharks, and sea lions. But somewhere along the way, most people walk away feeling more enlightened, especially with wonderful exhibits such as the coral reefs display or the Beluga Interaction Program. You can also enjoy the theme park, with roller coasters, water rides and other fun that both kids and adults can enjoy.
It’s not really a visit if you don’t take a stroll on San Antonio’s famous River Walk. The river itself flows 240 miles from downtown San Antonio to the Gulf of Mexico, but its passage through San Antonio is perhaps the most celebrated. Tourists can ride boats through the city, visit ships, markets, theaters and restaurants and enjoy the lush foliage. At night,I’s one of the most charming of the attractions of San Antonio with bridges along the way illuminated and trees draped with colorful lights.
This is a good place to visit while visiting the Alamo. Just a short distance from the famed landmark, the other 4 missions run along a 9 mile course. Mission Concepcion, Mission San Jose, Mission San Juan and Mission Espada were all part of attempts by Catholics to spread Christianity to the Natives. Mission Concepcion is the best preserved of the four, the other three missions are only remnants of their former selves. These picturesque marvels will impart the sense of history that is an indelible part of the Texas landscape.
As is often true concerning Texas monuments, The San Fernando de Bexar Cathedral is historically significant. Begun in 1738, this Roman Catholic Church is one of the oldest active cathedrals in the U.S. Recently restored; the building offers a fascinating combination of colonial and gothic architecture. Part of the restoration included lighting that creates the illusion of an inner glow. Inside, you can find the burial tomb of Davy Crockett, William Travis, and Jim Bowie; heroes in the Alamo fight. There is some controversy as to the veracity of those claims, but it’s a great way to connect with important historical events in any case.
Built in 1929, this theater is the oldest in San Antonio as well as its largest. With over 2,300 seats, it’s the perfect venue for anything from a great movie to an opera. The fantastic detail of the stage is only matched by the numerous lovely details on the ceiling, on the walls, in the lobby, in the lighting and even at the ticket window. The theater itself has as much interest as the shows performed there.
Of all the cities in Texas, San Antonio is top of my list to visit. Which is yours?
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