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.
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.
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.
For lovers of history, architecture and antiques, this home is a must-see. Built in 1876, this three-story, French Second Empire-style home belonged to prominent citizen Edward Steves. The interior is decorated with original pieces from the era. Incidentally, the one-story River House behind the home housed the first indoor swimming pool in the city. Since 1954, the San Antonio Conservation Society has maintained the homestead as a historic house museum.
The Southtown Art District is a unique cultural neighborhood in downtown San Antonio which has helped keep the performing and visual arts alive in the form of concerts, exhibitions and other events that are arranged all year around. A melting pot of races, nationalities, cuisines and more, this area is one that can't afford to be missed. Live music, food festivals and walks are a regular occurrence so check out the website for more on what this cultural precinct has to offer visitors.
Head here for a tour of the fine brewery at Alamo Beer Company. This brewery produces good quality beers that are served in the adjoining tasting room. Alamo Pilsner, Holiday IPA and Alamo Golden Ale are some exciting brews that must be tried. There is a large patio where one can enjoy the sunshine. what's more, you can also bring your furry friends along.
A popular dining place, Southerleigh Fine Food & Brewery has established a place for itself in the minds of diners due to its fabulous food and creative brews that are prepared onsite. Take a quick tour of the brewery and then sit back and enjoy the food put together by Chef Jeff Balfour. Each of the beers created by Les Locke has a distinct flavor that stands out from the others. A special favorite is the Smoke on the Water that is recommended to be enjoyed along with Boiled Shrimp and Pork Jowl. Plenty of outside-seating also allows diners to enjoy the fine weather.