San Antonio ranks as one of the top ten largest U.S. cities by population. It may best be known for the Alamo, the city’s most famous mission, where a small band of Texans held out for 13 days against Mexican General Santa Anna’s army in 1836. The Alamo ultimately fell, but stands as a symbol of courage and sacrifice. Also visit the Mission San Jose, which dates back to 1720, and attend the mariachi Mass held there. The River Walk is popular with families for its numerous attractions, restaurants, and hotels. Check into the Hotel Valencia, located conveniently right on the River Walk.
At Natural Bridge Caverns, home to the largest sluice in Texas, you can pan for precious gems (and keep the ones you find!). Thrill-seekers can take the “Adventure Tour” of the caverns, using ropes and headlamps. The San Antonio Zoo is home to over 3,000 animals, from the Amazon to Africa’s plains. Watch the prairie dogs peek out from their tunnels, and visit the Hixon Bird House where the birds fly freely. At the Guinness World Records Museum—complete with interactive exhibits—learn about record-holders in various categories, including sports and science. For a different take on the city, head to the top of the Tower of the Americas, for a view from 750 feet (229 meters).
To fully appreciate our solar system, head to the Scobee Planetarium at San Antonio College on Friday nights. Their public programs include shows and telescope viewings. (Note: Currently undergoing renovation with hopeful completion near Autumn of 2013.)
For the Alamo’s visitor information, go to www.thealamo.org.
Find more information about San Antonio’s missions at www.nps.gov/saan.
Based on articles from National Geographic Traveler and compiled by Stephanie Robichaux