San Antonio, in south-central Texas, is at the headwaters of the San Antonio River. One of the largest cities in Texas, San Antonio was founded May 1, 1718 by a Spanish military expedition from Mexico on west bank of the river. By 1731 settlers from the Canary Islands laid out a town near the Spanish fort, and together, with the Mission San Antonio de Valero, also established in 1718, they became known as San Antonio de Béjar.
The Mission San Antonio de Valero, later called The Alamo, served as home to missionaries and their Indian converts for nearly seventy years. With the siege of the Alamo in 1836, this edifice became hallowed ground and the Shrine of Texas Indepencence.
During the latter part of the 19th century, San Antonio became a major cattle center where cattle was rounded up and driven overland to the railheads in Kansas.
Military installations had accounted for San Antonio's rapid growth after WW II. Fort Sam Houston is the headquarters of the 5th Army and the home of the Academy of Health Sciences. The Air Force's Aerospace Medical Center is nearby. Other military installations are: Lackland and Kelly Air Force Bases, Randolph Air Force Base which is headquarters of the Air Training Command, and Brooks Air Force Base which is 7 miles south of San Antonio.
The city is home to: St. Mary's University, Trinity University, Incarnate Word College, Our Lady of the Lake University, San Antonio College, and the University of Texas at San Antonio.
Population: city, 945,670, Greater Metropolitan San Antonio, 1,560,809.
Land Area: 407.6 square miles.
San Antonio has a very temperate climate with mild to warm winters but hot and humid summers. Days of sunshine: 300 days, Annual precipitation: 29.5 inches.
Average Daily High/Low Temperature:
March - May: 80°f / 59°f, 27°c / 15°c
June - Aug.: 95°f / 74°f, 35°c / 23°f
Sept. - Nov.: 82°f / 59°f, 28°c / 15°c
Dec. - Feb.: 60° / 39°f, 17°c / 4°c
Click for a current weather forecast for San Antonio.
San Antonio International Airport: 13 miles from the downtown. (210) 207-3411
VIA, MetropolitianTransith (www.viainfo.net) Bus and downtown streetcar routes go to the major tourist attraction and the central business district. Fare: 75¢. VIA's Downtown Information Center, 112 Soledad. (210) 362-2071. Open Monday-Saturday: 7 am-5 pm, Sunday: 8 am-5 pm.
Rio San Antonio Cruises (www.riosanantonio.com): Rio Trans, a water transit service, makes 9 stops along the San Antonio River. Rio San Antonio Cruises also offer cruise tours. Ticket outlets along the river or call: 210 244-5700 or 800-417-4139
The Alamo: 300 Alamo Plaza. 189 defenders died on March 6, 1836 at the hands of Mexican General Santa Anna’s army. Mission San Antonio de Valero (The Alamo) was established in 1718 as the city’s first mission. The chapel and the Long Barrack are what remains of The Alamo.
9 a.m.-5:30 p.m., Mon.-Sat.; 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Sunday. Closed December 24 and 25. Restricted hours March 6. $5 per person after 5:30 p.m. Buckhorn Saloon and Museum (/BuckhornSaloon.com): 318 E. Houston. (210) 247-4000. Live entertainment daily in the Buckhorn Saloon plus a museum (wax plus curios), arcade and exhibition halls where you will find over 3,300 artifacts and 520 different species. Open daily at 10 am.
Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center: 325 South Salado, (210) 271-0379. Exhibitions for six art disciplines: visual arts, media arts, theatre arts, literature, dance, and music.
Majestic Theatre: 224 E. Houston. A State and National Historic Landmark. Historic vintage vaudeville palace and home to the San Antonio Symphony. Individual concerts and events also showcased. (210) 226-5700.
San Antonio Symphony (www.sasymphony.org): 222 E. Houston St., #200 San Antonio. Information 210 554-1000.
Market Square, El Mercado: 514 W. Commerce. Browse through the 32 shops at "El Mercado, an authentic Mexican market. Also visit 80 specialty shops in Farmers Market Plaza. Market Square is the scene of many Hispanic festivals where food and beverage blend with the mariachi music and Mexican dances. 10 a.m.-8 p.m., summer; 10 am-6 pm, winter. (210) 207-8600.
Mission Trails (www.nps.gov/saan/): 2202 Roosevelt Ave. A chain of missions, established along the San Antonio River in the 18th century, were actual settlements on the Spanish Colonial frontier that soon became educational and economic enterprises involved in regional trade. Architecturally significant structures: Missions Concepcion, San Jose, San Juan and Espada plus the Espada Dam and Aqueduct, acequia (irrigation) system and the Rancho de las Cabras. Open daily 9 am-5 pm. (210) 534-8833.
Paseo Del Rio: 454 Soledad, River Ste. 2 The Paseo del Rio, in the center of downtown. Three miles of unique retail shops, restaurants and nightclubs that compete with lush foliage and peaceful parklands along the banks of this horseshoe shaped historic area. River cruisers and water taxis available. Yanaguana Cruises, Inc. sarivercruise.com
San Antonio Botanical Gardens (www.sabot.org): 555 Funston Pl. (210) 207-3255. 33-acre garden that is a miniature model of Texas landscape.
Zoological Gardens & Aquarium (www.sazoo-aq.org): 3903 N. St. Mary’s ,Brackenridge Park. One of the best zoos in the nation exhibiting over 3,000 animals of 600 species on 25 landscaped acres. Open daily 9 am-5 pm from Labor Day to Memorial Day; 9 am-6 pm, Memorial Day to Labor Day. Admission: Adults-$7; Seniors & Children-$5; Children 2 & under free. (210) 734-7183.
Sea World (www.seaworld.com): 16 miles northwest of downtown at Ellison Drive and Westover Hills Blvd. Highway 151. 210 523-3611. The world's largest marine life adventure park March 11–Oct. 29; open weekends and some weekdays in early spring and late fall.
Spanish Governor's Palace: 105 Plaza De Armas. The most beautiful building in San Antonio & a national historic landmark that once housed the officials of the Spanish Province of Texas. Open 9 am-5 pm, Monday-Saturday; 10 am-5 pm, Sunday. Admission: General-$1, Children-50 cents. (210) 224-0601.
Tower of the Americas: 600 HemisFair Park The 750 ft tower offers a panoramic view of the San Antonio area. It was the theme structure for HemisFair in 1968 and symbolizes the different cultures of the Western Hemisphere. Observation Deck, 9 am-10 pm Sunday–Thursday; 9 am-11 pm, Friday–Saturday. Elevator fees: adults-$3; children-$1; seniors-$2. (210) 223-3101.
Institute of Texan Cultures (www.texancultures.utsa.edu): i801 South Bowie Street San Antonio, TX. University educational center and museum dedicated to understanding the diverse cultures of Texas. (210) 458-2300
McNay Art Museum (www.mcnayart.org): 6000 North New Braunfels San Antonio, TX. The first museum of modern art in Texas, featuring works of Picasso, Matisse, Gaugin, Cézanne, Hopper, Rodin and O’Keefe. (210) 824-5368
San Antonio Museum of Art (www.sa-museum.org): 200 West Jones Avenue San Antonio, TX (210) 978-8158. Featuring Greek and Roman antiquities, Latin American art, Asian art, contemporary art and touring exhibitions. Open Wednesday–Saturday 10 am–5 pm, Sunday 12 pm–5 pm, Tuesday 10 am–9 p.m.
Witte Museum (www.wittemuseum.org): 3801 Broadway San Antonio, TX. This educational institution's mission is to motivate public interest in art, history, science and the humanities through collections, exhibits, publications and educational programs.
10 am–5 pm Monday,Wednesday,Saturday; noon–5 pm, Sunday; 10 am–9 pm, Tuesday free to the public 3 pm–9 pm. Open until 6 p.m. from Memorial Day–Labor Day. (210) 357-1900