Built in 1929, the Majestic Theatre is the prime venue in the city for performing arts. The architecture reflects Baroque and Mediterranean influences. Elaborate ornamentation, colorful walls with creeping grape vines, statues, a tiled roof, and many other design elements make this venue a magical setting. It features a huge stage and grand lobbies, also plays host to private and corporate events.
Just a few minutes northeast of San Antonio lies a geological wonder that attracts tourists from around the globe. Natural Bridge Caverns, designated both a U.S. Natural Landmark as well as a Texas Historic Site, contains some of the most phenomenal cave formations in the country. Giant stalactites resembling enormous chandeliers and stalagmites that look like fried eggs are just a few of the more than 10,000 formations contained within this living cave. Special rates are available for groups of 25 or more.
Housed in what was once the Lone Star Brewery, this museum boasts fairly comprehensive collections of both ancient and Asian art. The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Latin American Art displays what is probably one of the most impressive collections of pre-Columbian, Spanish Colonial, and Latin American modern and folk art in the United States. On Sundays, the museum sponsors educational workshops for children, in which they can create their own pieces of art to display at home. The museum also plays host to touring exhibits such as one featuring Egyptian artifacts on loan from Boston's Museum of Fine Arts.
Although construction did not begin until 1749, this cathedral was established in 1731 by the Canary/Spanish Islanders, who sought to build their own place of worship. It is one of the oldest cathedral sanctuaries in the United States. The famous Alamo defender James Bowie was married here and during the siege of the Alamo Santa Anna used it as an observation post. Notable historic figures Bowie, William Travis and Davy Crockett are buried here. The cathedral still draws huge crowds for Mass and always welcomes visitors.
This Spanish-Mediterranean mansion, located in the heart of well-to-do Alamo Heights, houses impressive artworks from 19th and 20th Century America and Europe, in addition to one of the largest theater arts collections in the United States. Its grounds are as lovely as its collections, boasting fountains, streams, goldfish ponds and Japanese-style gardens. Recent touring exhibitions include works by Georgia O'Keefe, a collection of pop art and American Pictorial Photography. The auditorium and portions of the McNay Art Museum are available for private functions.
One of the city's largest parks, Brackenridge offers more family fun than one day can accommodate. Start with the musical carousel featuring 60 antique horses. Then try the Skyride, which consists of Swiss manufactured cable cars that lift visitors to enjoy the view of the park as well as the city skyline. If ground transportation is more your speed, opt for a ride on the miniature train that runs through a 3.5-mile (5.6-kilometer) stretch of the park. For water travel, cruise around the upper part of the San Antonio River in paddle boats. Other facilities include a municipal golf course, a driving range, bike trails and picnic areas.
A 300-year old colonial past laced with an unflinching freedom spirit pulsates through every inch of San Antonio's present-day fabric. One of the oldest European settlements in Texas, San Antonio continues to be a popular destination for tourists to the state. Originally inhabited by the Payaya tribe, the region was claimed by Spain in 1691 on St. Anthony of Padua's feast day, giving the area its name. A missionary by the name of Father Antonio de Olivares visited the site in 1709 and lobbied for a mission and settlement on the spot. After a lengthy planning process, Misión de San Antonio de Valero, more famously known as the Alamo, was finished in 1718. In 1836, American settlers clashed with the Mexican army, resulting in the famous Battle of the Alamo, which is commemorated today with an interactive museum within the old complex. San Antonio is one of Texas's most visited cities, both for this profoundly iconic building and for the lovely River Walk which takes pedestrians along the length of the San Antonio River.
The Spanish Governor's Palace is the "most beautiful building" in the city according to the National Geographic Society. This national historic landmark was originally the official residence of the Governor of the Spanish Province of Texas in the late 18th Century. Visiting the building is like taking a step back in time; it is replete with period furnishings, small rooms with low ceilings, and thick stucco walls. The cobblestone patio features beautiful foliage and a fountain. Most noteworthy is the original keystone over the entrance, which bears the carved, double-headed eagle from the Hapsburg coat of arms along with an inscription, in Spanish, reading "finished in 1749."