Downtown San Antonio Attractions: Five Fun Things to Do
Five fun educational and artistic family activities!
San Antonio is a huge and historic city with a rich culture and fascinating past---here's five ways to explore that! All of these outings and activities can be enjoyed by the whole family, including the wee ones.
One can't speak of the Lone Star State without thinking of the famous Alamo Mission, site of the 1836 Battle of the Alamo during the Texas Revolution. The structures from this monumental event that have been preserved include the church, the long barracks, barracks courtyard, and, of course, the Alamo Hall itself. There are also numerous artifacts from Texas history on display, as well as a gift shop/museum, verdant gardens, an outdoor ceramic wall that serves as a timeline of Alamo history from the 1700s to today, and a plaza with a marble tomb to memorialize the fallen heroes of the past who fought here. Volunteers, who are recognizable by the red vests they wear, patrol the grounds and are available for any questions that visitors might have for them about the Alamo Mission. The guided audio tour is a recommended choice for truly appreciating the significance of this seemingly humble building. Owing to the renowned nature of this attraction, it's quite a busy one and there can often be lines, but it's a must-see for any history buff to visit, or for those looking to learn while on their vacation.
The River Walk
Beneath the automobile-dominated streets of Downtown San Antonio lies a fifteen-mile network of walkways by the side of the San Antonio River. These paths are for use only by pedestrians, and are filled with shops and restaurants as well as towering cypress trees growing beside the urban buildings. There's numerous informative signs and plaques along the walk that mark every historical structure and site so that you won't miss a single one. It's not only a leisurely stroll, it's an educational one! Of course, the stroll itself need not be on foot, horse-drawn carriage rides and boat tours are available as well. Attractions that can be found along the way include The Guenther House restaurant, the Pearl brewery complex, the Omni La Mansion del Rio Hotel, and the Southwest School of Art. Be warned that there are no railings along the river, so be careful with any pets or children who are walking at your side with you.
The Majestic Theatre
Built in the last year of the Roaring Twenties, the Majestic Theatre is quite aptly named. It is built in what is known as the Spanish Mediterranean style, with Baroque and Spanish Mission influences, making it one of the most beautiful examples of historical architecture in the city of San Antonio. The lusciously decorated inside of the theater has over two thousand seats available, and three balconies from which to oversee the stage in style. It is the current home of Broadway in San Antonio, as well as host to numerous concerts, plays, and other performances. There is technically no official dress code, as what is appropriate will vary from performance to performance. For instance, the attire befitting a fine opera versus a rock concert; if it in doubt, business casual style is suggested. It is also suggested by their web site that children under the age of six only be brought to performances and events meant specifically for children. These probably don't include the full service bar that is offered at most performances!
Tower of the Americas
At seven hundred and fifty feet in the air, it seems like you can see the whole state from the Flags Over Texas Observation Deck at the Tower of the Americas. But there's more to the Tower than just the expansive view. There's the Chart House Restaurant, where you can gaze out over the sky while enjoying an extravagant dinner of dishes like quail and lobster bisque. It's a bit on the pricey side, but well worth the experience, and can't be beat for a romantic date spot. Before you sit down to eat, however, be sure to check out the Skies Over Texas 4D Theater Ride. This simulated tour of Texas takes visitors on a journey that shows them every side of the state from wild horses and rattlesnakes to flamenco dancers and football. Every Friday during June through October, there's a free concert and party every night in the Tower plaza that will feature refreshments, a bouncy house, local music, and more. Naturally, there is a gift shop there as well, just in case you need a place to stop by for all your souvenir needs!
The San Antonio Museum of Art
Though the San Antonio Museum of Art can be found on the previously-mentioned River Walk, it truly deserves a special mention all its own. It's an enormous building with an equally enormous collection, featuring galleries filled with collections of American, Latin American, Asian, European, Ancient Mediterranean, Islamic, Oceanic, and contemporary art. Be sure to wear comfy shoes, you'll be doing a lot of walking from exhibit to exhibit, and set aside several hours so as to have time to fully explore every exhibit. Not only is the museum awe-inspiring and educational, but the cost of admission is quite low. The most expensive ticket price is a mere $10 for adults, and it's free during certain hours on Tuesday and Sunday. These times are listed on their website, as are their current and upcoming exhibitions. Various free activities are also offered for children on Sundays. Guided tours are available and there are frequent lectures, performances, and films hosted there as well, which are also available on their website.
Now you know why San Antonio is also known as both Alamo City and River City---time to go experience it for yourself!
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