The San Antonio Botanical Garden has 33 acres (4046 square meters) of lush foliage and colorful flowers. A wonderful attraction, the garden is an exquisite year-round, with something always in bloom. A conservatory, formal gardens, "old-fashioned" gardens and native plant areas provide a variety of interests. This is definitely a must-see for both botany experts and garden-variety folks. If you're visiting in the spring, don't forget your antihistamines. The garden center features a luncheon cafe, a gift shop, guided tours, and adults' and children's classes. It is also available for private parties.
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.
This mission, located at the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park, was founded in 1720 by Father Antonio Margil de Jesús. It was the largest mission and the main center for cultural and social activities. Hence it was labeled as the ‘Queen of Missions'. A large part of the church was destroyed over the years. The existing Rose Window is one of the finer pieces of architecture belonging to the Spanish colonial era. Some of the few remnants include the arches that once gave shelter to the missionaries, the Convento area and a part of the irrigation ditch, which is visible outside the compound. The church still functions and visitors are permitted to attend the Sunday mass.
What a sight to behold - glass-walled elevators ascend more than 500 feet (152.4 meters) to the observation deck, providing panoramic views of the city. Standing a total of 750 feet (228.6 meters) tall, the tower was constructed for HemisFair, the 1968 World's Fair and symbolizes the progress made by the people of the Western Hemisphere. Soaring as if calling out to the skies, this imposing tower watches over San Antonio's dynamic cityscape. The tower greatly frames the contemporary tenor of downtown San Antonio and is crowned by an observation deck and a revolving restaurant. A stunning embodiment of architectural magnificence, the Tower of the Americas is an indelible present-day landmark of the country.
In 1915, the city requested a Japanese immigrant and his wife to transform an old rock quarry into a Japanese-styled garden, and a man named Mr. Kimi Eizo Jingu agreed to the task. He started with a rock house, which still stands today and is surrounded by winding pebble walkways, stone bridges, a waterfall and tranquil pools. His work transformed the old rock quarry into a garden filled with lily ponds and lush green vegetation. With the onset of World War II and the growing anti-Japanese sentiment that surrounded it, the city council changed the garden's name to "Chinese Sunken Garden." In 1983, the original name was finally restored.
This is a fascinating museum honoring the heritages of the settlers who created Texas. Twenty-seven cultural and ethnic groups are represented in detailed exhibits featuring religious artifacts, household items, clothing, tools and more. The multi-screen video presentation shouldn't be missed, as it enhances the experience. As part of the University of Texas system, the museum offers educational programs, special exhibits, entertainment and symposia.
Saint Paul's square provides a glimpse into San Antonio's rich past dating back to 1877. This historic district once played host to nightlife and other entertainment activities and featured artists like Louis Armstrong. The venue where culture and cuisine meet—Sunset Station—is nestled here. This district has a close association with the African American community.
The St Joseph Catholic Church is located in the Downtown San Antonio. Built in the 19th century, the church was preceded by another site of faith. This Roman Catholic Church is an active institute of faith. The church is built in the Gothic Revival style of architecture and is a spectacle of grandeur. An erstwhile religious site for German immigrants, it currently serves a diverse community of worshipers. The regular services are conducted in English, accompanied by mariachi music and occasional singing performance by the San Antonio Liederkranz. Check the website for information on mass timings and services.
Located in northwest San Antonio, Eisenhower Park is a great place to go to get away from the noise and hurried pace of city life. The park spans 318 acres and offers approximately five miles of well-marked trails for hikers of all abilities. One of the trails is even paved, and is therefore friendly to those in wheelchairs who still want to experience the great outdoors. Because this is such a high volume park, and also due to the scorching South Texas summers, the best time to see the wildlife here is either early in the morning or near dusk. Visitors may spot white-tailed deer, armadillos, raccoons and skunks, as well as many unique insects. Not the biggest or the best, Eisenhower Park is still a good place to visit, it is very busy at times and the observation tower does offer a grand view of the city when the conditions are right. This park is open to public on all days of the week from 6 a.m onwards.
Take a peek into the past of San Antonio. This charming district, which was originally farmland, is located on the eastern side of San Antonio River and has found a place in the National Register of Historic Districts. A few buildings, including The Guenther House and The Edward Steves Homestead, are open to public. The Guenther House houses a restaurant, museum and a store while The Steves Homestead is a museum. Self-guided walking tours can be taken so that you can leisurely stroll along the pretty lanes or drop into a restaurant or art gallery. Several events like the King William Fair and Spring Garden Tour are conducted during the year.
The Laurel Heights United Methodist Church is located in the Monte Vista district and is the religious center of the faithful that belongs to the Methodist church. The church has daily prayer services, weekly fellowships, and also frequently breaks bread together at the church. This church is a boon to the residents of the city and a great place to spend some time in prayer.
This mission is located within the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park. It is one of the few missions along the San Antonio River that had tried to convert the local people into Catholics. The original 200 year old stone church still stands in the premises. It is a good example of Spanish Colonial Architecture. One also gets to see beautiful Moorish designs, wall and ceiling paintings, and other interesting design details. The pretty geometrical designs that once adorned its surface have faded away over time.