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This beautiful old city has been under the rule of six flags: France, Spain, Mexico, the Republic of Texas, the Confederate States of America and the United States of America. The many different influences are still felt today. With a river carving through the city and some of the Lone Star State’s greatest history, San Antonio is overflowing with awesome attractions. Here’s our list of the best things to see and do in San Antonio:
1. Stroll along the river. The two-mile River Walk runs along the meandering San Antonio River and is lined with shops, galleries, hotels, popular nightspots and many sidewalk cafés. As the city’s main tourist draw, the River Walk is often bustling with mariachi bands, river taxis and tours and outdoor dining. Other stretches of the path are quiet and peaceful with public benches. The stone paths are a full story below street level so the River Walk is a fantastic way to feel removed from the commotion of the city.
2. Remember the Alamo. This San Antonio attraction has come to symbolize courage for the cause of liberty. Here, a small band of Texans, including legendary figures such as James Bowie, Davy Crockett and William B. Travis, held out for 13 days against the centrist army of Gen. Santa Anna. Although the Alamo fell on the morning of March 6, 1836, the legacy of the courageous Alamo Defenders lives on with its rally cry, “Remember the Alamo!” Today, there are more than 2.5 million people who visit each year. Located on Alamo Plaza in downtown San Antonio, its three buildings span 300 years of history.
3. Explore Cascade Caverns Park. Located on a 105-acre park is a water-formed underground cavern with spectacular rock formations. Discover the exciting features of this natural wonder, such as its 100-foot underground waterfall. Take the 45-minute tour of the caverns, which appropriately ends with the grand finale of the waterfall.
4. Stop at Market Square. Dating to the late 1890s, San Antonio’s Market Square is a colorful, three-block district of shops, restaurants and art galleries, including El Mercado, the largest Mexican market in the U.S. Browse more than 80 stores offering Southwestern arts and crafts and worldwide imports. And stop for lunch at the Square’s best-known restaurant Mi Tierra, famous since the 1940s for its authentic Mexican cuisine.
5. Bike through the missions. San Antonio has four Spanish-colonial missions: Concepción, Espada, San José and San Juan. Trek from mission to mission on the eight-mile Missions Bike and Hike Trail. Explore the oldest unrestored stone mission church in the country in Mission Concepción, then make your way to Mission Espada to check out the newly restored friary and chapel. Admire the carvings and masonry in Mission San José before venturing to Mission San Juan, which was once the center of this self-sufficient community.