San Antonio is city with many sides. Located in south central Texas, it holds the distinction of being the 7th most populated city in the US. However, it feels a little differently than your typical metropolitan area might. Things are just bigger in Texas, so San Antonio is a bit more spread out and less densely populated than many other major hubs in the US. The town has a rich history. It was first named by Spanish explorers in the late 1600s in honor of its namesake, Saint Anthony of Padua. I traveled there this past year for the first time and I’ll admit, I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect when I disembarked the plane. The only preconceived notions I had of Texas were of 10 gallon hats, big belt buckles, cattle ranches, and the like. However, I found San Antonio to be a bastion of culture, filled with rich history and interesting locales.
I was lucky enough to enjoy a stay near Riverwalk, which is a huge center for tourism, dining, shopping, and entertainment. Encircled by a winding river, the quaint cobblestone streets are tucked under the busy downtown traffic, providing a cool oasis and a scenic place to stroll. The first impression San Antonio gave was most certainly the food! It’s the definition of authentic Tex-Mex and each restaurant is sure to put their own spin on the flavor, so you won’t have the same meal twice. The drinks are nothing to shake a stick at either – from prickly pear margaritas to more traditional fare, this is absolutely a town that knows how to eat and drink in style. Even the tucked-away holes in the wall that were well outside of the tourist district did not disappoint, and the prices were surprisingly reasonable for a city of this size.
My visit happened to coincide with their annual jazz festival, which was a site to behold. Throughout the week, I saw signs of several other planned events and festivals. It became quickly apparent that there isn’t any shortage of things to do here. If you’re looking for a culture experience during your visit to San Antonio, it shouldn’t be difficult to find an event that fits the bill. San Antonio blends a lot of culture and history into one town, so expect their festivals to be equally diverse and exciting. Because of the reasonably temperate climate allowing them to operate almost year-round, San Antonio is able to offer more outdoor festivals than many other cities.
If you’re looking for a trip full of rich history, great food and drinks, and plenty of stimulating cultural activities, then San Antonio should be high on your list of places to visit. There are famous historical sites, like The Alamo, that have proven to be timeless tourist favorites. There is certainly a lot of the traditional Texas in this city, but I found San Antonio to be diverse and different, with interesting and unexpected twists almost everywhere you go. From the tourist district to the hidden gems that reside off the beaten path, San Antonio is far more than typical.
Thank you to travel writer Emma Sledge.