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When you think of San Antonio, two things automatically come to mind: the Alamo and the River Walk. The River Walk was conceived in 1929. Downtown had serious flood problems, and Robert Hugman suggested that the city turn the San Antonio River into an asset rather than a hindrance. Hugman's brainchild has since become the essence of the city. The city's most popular attraction, it is often crowded and filled with children, partygoers, tourists and locals. In the heart of the River Walk is an area filled with restaurants, shops and nightclubs, punctuated by fountains and towering Cypress trees. The River Walk is particularly lively during Fiesta.
The historical center and heart of the city's Mexican culture, the square is the largest Mexican marketplace outside of Mexico. Here you can dine on Mexican food at one of several cafes, enjoy the lively sounds of Mariachi bands and buy wonderful blankets, clothes, leather and metal goods and much more, imported from just south of the border. The square plays host to many cultural events and fairs throughout the year, including Fiesta del Mercado (Party of the Market) in April and Dia De Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) in November.
If you intend to spend a fun day with your family, La Villita, the historical arts village is just perfect for you. There are so many things to do that your day will end in no time. If you are an art freak, the galleries here will interest you, as well as the River Art Show in October. There are many restaurants so you can just pick one that suites your taste. A must visit for all guests is the church with beautiful stained glass windows and the museum in building nine. If you plan on taking some souvenirs back home, don't forget to visit the gift shops.
Located directly across from the Alamo, this museum displays shocking wax mannequins so similar to the heroes, celebrities and fictional characters they represent, that it's almost creepy. You'll see Jim Carrey, Charlton Heston, Frankenstein, Dracula and many more. You'll feel like you got your money's worth in this odd museum. The weird items should be safe for kids, but if you have a squeamish little one, don't go into the cellar.
Originally the Mission San Antonio de Valero, the Alamo is by far the most famous historical site in Texas, playing a significant role in Texas' quest for independence from Mexico. Under the command of Col. William Travis, 189 Texan soldiers bravely defended this fort for 13 days before finally succumbing to Santa Anna's massive Mexican army in early 1836. The chapel and the Long Barrack are all that remains of the fort. Saved from civilian apathy by the Daughters of the Republic of Texas, the mission is now a museum containing relics from the era. Narrated tours are available.