The city of San Antonio is located in southern Texas. It is one of the fastest growing major cities in the USA. The city is named after Saint Anthony of Padua, a Catholic priest from Portugal. San Antonio is a major tourist destination in southern USA, attracting 32 million tourists every year. Attractions in the city range from historical sites to museums and parks. It is also home to several theme parks. San Antonio is ideal for a visit with the whole family. Plan for at least a weekend when visiting this city if you want to explore its major attractions. Here is a list to help you plan better.
- Cathedral of San Fernando
The Cathedral of Our Lady of Candelaria and Guadalupe, or simply the Cathedral of San Fernando, is a Roman cathedral located in the downtown neighborhood of San Antonio. The dome of this church which faces the Main Plaza, is the geographical center of the city. The Cathedral of San Fernando gains prominence as being one of the oldest cathedrals in the USA. The groundbreaking of this church was in 1738 and it was completed sometime in the mid-19th century. The Gothic influence of the church along with the stained glass windows were later additions to the church.
- Natural Bridge Caverns
The Natural Bridge Caverns is the largest commercial cavern in the USA. It is located about 30 miles north east from downtown San Antonio. It was first discovered in 1960 and has since been explored several times, with hundreds of feet being added as recently as 2005. There is a natural bridge which will take you to the entrance of this limestone cavern. Once at the cavern, you can opt for a tour which lasts about an hour. Other attractions at the site include zip lines and the Canopy Challenge – a platform and ladder course 60 feet above ground level.
- Marker Square
Market Square is an outdoor plaza that stretches 3 blocks in the downtown neighborhood of San Antonio. It is considered to be the largest Mexican market in the USA. The plaza is divided into 2 sections – the El Mercado section has 32 specialty shops. The Farmers Marker Plaza, which was now been made into an air-conditioned plaza, has 80 shops. The market is also home to several restaurants including the popular La Margarita Mexican Restaurant and Oyster Bar and the Mi Tierra Café Y Panderia. The Market Square is also popular as the venue of the Cinco de Mayo festival, as well as many other fiestas throughout the year.
- McNay Art Museum
The McNay Art Museum was the first modern art museum in the state of Texas when it was founded in 1954. It is named after Marion Koogler McNay, an American painter who willed her fortune and collections for the creation of this museum. The museum is housed in her former residence, which is an attraction in itself. Sitting in a 23 acre-landscaped estate with fountains and Japanese styled gardens, it is a mansion which has 24 rooms and was built in a Spanish Colonial Revival style of architecture. The collections of this museum focuses on European and American art from the 19th and 20th centuries. Artists whose works are on display include Paul Cezanne, Paul Gauguin, Henri Matisse, and Pablo Picasso.
- Tower of the Americas
The Tower of the Americas is a 750 foot tall observation tower that is located in downtown San Antonio. It was completed in 1968 and remained the tallest observation tower in the USA until the building of the Las Vegas Stratosphere Tower in 1996. Other than the observation deck, there is also a lounge and a revolving restaurant on the tower which offer stunning sweeping views of the city. The Tower of the Americas was constructed as the theme structure for the World’s fair of 1968 and today stands in the HemisFair Park. Even if you do not plan to eat at the restaurant, you can take the elevator for a small fee to enjoy panoramic views of San Antonio.
- San Antonio Zoo
The San Antonio Zoo is located in Brackenridge Park in the Midtown neighborhood of the city. It was opened to the public in 1914 and presently spreads over 35 acres. The zoo has over 3500 animals belonging to 750 different species. With over a million annual visitors, the San Antonio Zoo is one of the most popular attractions in the city. The zoo is divided into several sections like the Amazonia, Cranes of the World, Cat Grotto, Hixon Bird House, and the Richard Friedrich Aquarium. You can take a ride on the San Antonio Zoo Eagle Train Ride – a narrow-gauge train ride that covers the whole Brackenridge Park.
- San Antonio Missions National Historical Park
The San Antonio Missions National Historical Park is part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is home to 4 of the 5 historical Spanish missions in San Antonio. These missions were set up by the Spanish Catholics as a part of their colonization to educate the American Indians who had converted to Christianity. If you are walking southward along the San Antonio River, then the 4 missions you will see are the Mission Concepcion, Mission San Jose, Mission San Juan, and Mission Espada. Interestingly, The Alamo, the 5th mission of the city, is the most popular but is not part of this National Historical Park.
- SeaWorld San Antonio
SeaWorld San Antonio is one of the major tourist attractions in the city of San Antonio. It is the largest marine-life theme park in the world and is located in the Westover Hills District, about 16 miles west of downtown. This oceanarium and marine park was opened in 1988 and presently spreads over 250 acres. It has several fun rides, including 5 roller coasters. It also has a number of shows throughout the day. Some of the most popular being the Killer Whales: Up Close, Sea Lions at Play, and the Sea Lion High.
- San Antonio River Walk
The San Antonio River Walk, or simply the River Walk, is one of the most prominent attractions of the city. It is also known as the Paseo del Rio. The Walk is a network of walkways that have been built along the San Antonio River. It is a pedestrian street that was built a level lower than the automobile street. It is lined with numerous restaurants, bars, cafes, shops, and art galleries. The bridges and the trees add to the serene beauty of the place. You can either walk along the walkway or take a slow-boat cruise to explore this must-visit attraction.
- The Alamo
The Alamo Mission, or simple The Alamo, is the most popular tourist attraction of Texas. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is a Roman Catholic mission that was built in the mid 18th century. It is also designated as a US National Historic Landmark. The mission has been witness to several historic events including the Battle of the Alamo in 1836. Presently, the mission has been transformed into a museum. The mission was originally built to educate the converted American Indians on Christianity. It was secularized after a few years and later used as a fortress and a garrison. With over 4 million visitors every year, The Alamo is one of the top 5 historical attractions in the USA.
Originally posted 2017-07-18 06:35:43.