"Remember the Alamo!" And clearly we do, because around four million people a year visit the site of this famous battle of 1836. But they leave San Antonio having seen a lot more because this is no one-horse town. It's a thriving metropolis, the seventh largest in the USA with a population of over 1.4 million. It's got arts and culture, Seaworld, Spanish mission history, and, to remind you you’re in Texas, one of the country's largest annual Stock Show and Rodeos.
Day 1: Get a Feel for San Antonio
Start your stay in San Antonio by seeing what you came here for: the Alamo. The Long Barracks contains a small museum with paintings, weapons and other artifacts and there is a diorama showing the mission as it was back in 1836. Catch the hop on-hop off trolley there and feel free to hop back on and continue around the rest of San Antonio’s major sites when you’re done with the Alamo. There are the other Spanish missions: Mission San Jose and Mission Concepcion, as well as the lively Market Square filled with Mexican arts and crafts, the Institute of Texan Cultures, the San Fernando Cathedral dating from 1738, and La Villita, the oldest neighborhood in town dating from the 1750s and now full of artists and craftspeople, shops and restaurants. For an overview of the city, head up the Tower of the Americas to the observation deck.
Day 2: River Walk
One of the most special things about San Antonio is its River Walk. Also known as Paseo del Rio, it’s a network of walkways along the San Antonio River. The paths connect some of the city’s major tourist attractions including the Alamo, the Ameson River Theater, La Villita neighbourhood, and the San Antonio Museum of Art. Running along both sides of the river, the pedestrian zones are lined with shops and restaurants. You can spend the whole day exploring this network, stopping off at the major attractions and wondering what lurks beneath the surface of the muddy river itself. You can even take a riverboat cruise.
Day 3: Out of Town
Of course, Texas is about more than just history, shopping, and arts and crafts. It’s also about cattle. And plenty of them. Head out of the city and see for yourself. Visit Stonewall, birthplace of LBJ, Lyndon Baines Johnson, 36th President of the United States. You can also go to Fredericksburg, where brave German settlers settled on the frontier in the 1800s; the town still has quite a distinct German flavor, especially in some of its fine restaurants.
You might have arrived shouting ‘Remember the Alamo!’ but I’m sure you’ll be leaving yelling ‘Wow, San Antonio!’ And probably with a suitcase full of Mexican arts and crafts.