The city of San Antonio began its journey 300 years ago. In 1718, it was founded as San Antonio de Valero. After the Battle of the Alamo in 1836, San Antonio grew into a place of opportunity, community, and adventure. Along the way it’s become the second-most-populous city in Texas – and it’s alwys popular with visitors.
Right in the heart of downtown San Antonio, the Hilton Palacio del Rio boasts a rich history that few realize. It was built in 1968 especially for the World’s Fair – just across from Hemisphere Park. This grand 500-room hotel was constructed in just 202 days! At the time, it was a milestone for the modular construction industry. The hotel’s room modules were fully decorated, including a TV, beds, carpeting and even a coffeemaker before arriving to the construction site!
Since the hotel located right on the River Walk, guests find themselves just steps away from various restaurant and shopping options. It’s also just a short walk to La Villita Historic Arts Village — one of San Antonio’s first neighborhoods. Local art galleries offer a way to explore the city’s culture, history, and distinctive qualities.
And just a few blocks down is The Battle for Texas Experience. It’s tucked into the bottom floor of Rivercenter Mall. On display are over 250 historic artifacts together for the first time, honoring the 184 defenders who died at The Alamo. The museum also offers multimedia re-enactments and a unique event called Night at the Museum. During a lantern-lit tour, conducted by the museum’s security guard, visitors can experience the history of San Antonio as mannequins come to life to tell stories. Another fun part of The Battle for Texas Experience is the character breakfast held at Republic of Texas Restaurant. At this hearty breakfast of home style biscuits and gravy and scrambled eggs with sausage, you’ll listen to tall tales from characters like Davy Crockett.
Just down the block from the museum, you can catch a ride on the City Bus Tour. The double-decker bus will show you many sites downtown with a big dose of culture and history to boot! Learn about the first brewery in Texas at the Menger Hotel, an 1859 hotel that’s said to be haunted. Learn about how Fiesta, the town’s big annual celebration, began in 1891 to honor the defenders of the Alamo. You’ll also learn where to find the largest chandelier in Texas and the oldest bar on the River Walk.
When you’re hungry, stop by Two Brothers BBQ. USA Today voted it “San Antonio’s Best Barbecue” in 2017. The restaurant features classic Texas barbecue with a “down-home” twist. One twist is the pinto beans with peaches mixed in. And don’t leave without treating yourself to their banana pudding.
San Antonio is a city full of history and pride, 300 years in the making. Offering a weekend of Mexican-American culture, historical museums, great food, and even better people, the experience is nothing short of exceptional.
You can learn more about these and other Texas destinations in the travel issue of Texas Lifestyle magazine.