SAN ANTONIO ATTRACTIONS
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 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
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.