Sometimes it’s easy to forget that “we” Tony & Angie and the BlogCatalog team and yes, you’ve guessed it, part of The Boowaha team, as well, live in a pretty popular tourist city.
Most of our city’s income is from tourism, it can be difficult sometimes to accept that decisions from elected officials are based on the needs of people who on the average usually spend only a total of 72 hours in our town.
We forget that there are aspects of our city that draw thousands of sightseers every year to San Antonio. To most, these landmarks are common places, but to a visitor, especially one who might come from somewhere that has few historical and cultural artifacts, it really is worth saving up money for a good three days of sightseeing in what’s known as our Big, Bold and Beautiful Alamo City.
Living in San Antonio visitors do come and go every single day but since the Alamo City is so spread out, you can go months without ever running into a tourist. It is very easy to stay in your bubble and not be a part of the wonderful city, where we live. But when you actually think about all the things there are to do here, you begin to realize exactly why this city is so beautiful.
The River Walk, runs right through the heart of downtown San Antonio and is a major tourist attraction. Built in the early 40s to help prevent flooding, the River Walk began to see an influx of commercial interest and is now lined with numerous restaurants, shops and bars. While visitors might enjoy the experience, as someone who lives here it is definitely a place to avoid in high tourist season (which for some reason is July and August). I’m guessing it’s due to kids being out of school during this time of year. Personally, I would say its best to visit during late fall through mid-spring or even during the holidays as it’s no secret Texas is well known for its “very hot” summers. The water doesn’t smell and is often colored to give it that Mexican fiesta look and feel to it. There’s no danger of falling in off of crowded sidewalks.
And now, the River Walk has become so popular that the city decided to expand it further north and south of Downtown. The new expansion is less commercialized and much more family (and dog) friendly – definitely a must for locals looking for a scenic walk and can be very romantic at night with that special someone.
For a taste of San Antonio nightlife, walk back up to the surface and head down a few blocks to South town. This up and coming artist’s neighborhood is full of quirky, friendly joints serving authentic Mexican food and frozen Margaritas and cold beers. Most of the highlights are conveniently located on South Alamo Street (yep- you heard that right, south of the Alamo) between Durango and Probandt.
Its no wonder that San Antonio, Texas has been listed #5 on the overall Top Cities to live in. Austin, Texas, only a hop skip and a jump away aka an hour drive, has been listed #3. Though it does make me wonder why we didn’t make the list for overall most friendly cities to live in? Who the hell wrote that? Someone get a rope!
Speaking of the Alamo itself, it’s kind of strange to think that one of the most famous battles in the world happened in my own back yard. More often than not, the time I see “The Alamo” is when driving past it to go somewhere else; and even then it’s pretty rare.
However when you take the time to get out of your car and visit the Alamo, it feels like you are traveling back in history. Yes, it’s small and sure, you’ll hear cars and busses driving by. You’ll also ee kids running around playing. Not much of a battle scene, I know. But to be walking on a battlefield that people all over the world have read about, and other's gave their lives for is something to behold. Coming face-to-face with history can trigger that part of us that makes you want to learn more and learn more about the events that took place. It awakens a part of our curiosity.
Of course the Alamo was just one of several missions set up in San Antonio during Spanish rule. The other missions including Concepcion, Espada, San Juan Capistrano, and San Jose were all established in the 18th century to convert local natives to Catholicism.
I tend to take for granted the historical significance, of this place, and the lives that were lost. on the ground of the Alamo. Downtown San Antonio features some truly amazing architecture, including the Emily Morgan Hotel, the Clifford Building, the Tower Life Building, and a few others architecture beauties such as the AT&T building.
The main tourist spots aren’t the only places to get a sense of San Antonio's culture. Museums such as the McNay Art Museum, nestled in a north-side neighborhood away from the hustle and bustle of Downtown, has a world-class collection of modern and early art, with one of the best collections of drawings and prints in the Southwest. The museum truly takes you back in time as the core of the collection is housed in the original 24-room Spanish Colonial Revival house, built by Mrs. Marion McNay. Wander around the spacious and always-green grounds (a somewhat rare sight in balmy San Antonio), but watch out to avoid getting caught in the background of a photo shoot for a quincenera or wedding as they take advantage of the beautiful backdrop of modern sculptures and relaxing greenery.
I recommend that at least once a year, no matter where you live, make a point to have your own tourist day in your own city. Stop by a visitor’s center, grab some brochures and see what your own city has to offer. Whether it’s a tour of your city’s famous landmarks, museums or festivals, spending a day like a tourist will give your greater appreciation for the place you call home. And of course, you are always welcome to come by San Antonio and the Broo team will take some time to show you around.
Anyone find that rope yet?