Located in the northern part of South Texas, San Antonio is the second-largest city in the state of Texas and the seventh-largest city in the United States with a population of approximately 1.3 million. The city is the seat of Bexar County. San Antonio was the fourth-fastest growing large city in the nation from 2000 to 2006 and the fifth-fastest-growing from 2007 to 2008.
San Antonio is famous for Spanish missions, the Alamo, the River Walk, the Tower of the Americas, the Alamo Bowl, Seaworld and Six Flags Fiesta Texas theme parks. The city is visited by approximately 26 million tourists per year.
San Antonio has a strong military presence. It is home to Fort Sam Houston, Lackland Air Force Base, Randolph Air Force Base, and Brooks City-Base, with Camp Bullis and Camp Stanley outside the city. San Antonio is home to five Fortune 500 companies and to the South Texas Medical Center, the only medical research and care provider in the South Texas region.
The San Antonio River Valley area was originally inhabited by Native Americans. In 1691, a group of Spanish explorers and missionaries came upon the river and Native American settlement on June 13, the feast day of Saint Anthony of Padova, Italy and named the place and river "San Antonio" in his honor.
In 1716, The Spanish Council of War approved a site on the San Antonio River for construction of a fort. The Domingo Ramón expedition established a presidio on the river. In 1718, Martin de Alarcón, then Governor of Texas, named the presidio San Antonio de Béjar in honor of the Duke of Béjar, in Spain, the viceroy's brother. The presidio, the villa it protected, and the mission comprised the municipality named San Antonio de los Llanos by Alarcón. Between 1720 and 1724 the presidio and the mission were moved to their present sites at the modern Plaza de Armas and Alamo Plaza. In 1726 the official settlement population was 200. In 1731, sixteen families from the Canary Islands arrived at the presidio. By royal decree they founded La Villa de San Fernando and established the first civil government in Texas.
San Antonio grew to become the largest Spanish settlement in Texas, and for most of its history, the capital of the Spanish, later Mexican, province of Tejas. When Antonio López de Santa Anna unilaterally rescinded the Mexican constitution of 1824 violence ensued in many provinces of Mexico. In a series of battles, Texans succeeded in forcing Mexican forces out of the settlement area northeast of San Antonio. Under the leadership of Ben Milam, in the Battle of Bexar, December, 1835, Texian forces captured San Antonio from forces commanded by General Martin Perfecto de Cos, Santa Anna's brother in law. In the spring of 1836 Santa Anna marched on San Antonio. A volunteer force under the joint command of William Barrett Travis and James Bowie occupied and fortified the deserted mission. The Battle of the Alamo took place from February 23 to March 6, 1836. The outnumbered Texan force was ultimately defeated.
In 1845 the United States annexed Texas and included it as a state in the Union. After incitement by United States troops along the Mexican border, this led to the Mexican-American War. Though the U.S. ultimately won, the war was devastating to San Antonio, and at its end the population of the city had been reduced by almost two thirds, to only 800 inhabitants.
After the Civil War, San Antonio prospered as a center of the cattle culture. During this period San Antonio remained a frontier city but its mixture of cultures gave it a reputation as being both beautiful and exotic.
In 1877 the first railroad reached San Antonio and the city began to enter the mainstream of American society. At the beginning of the 20th century the streets of downtown were widened to accommodate street cars and modern traffic.
Attractions and Activities
San Antonio is the place to be for fun with your family and friends! The city features it all, from music, to art, roller coasters and animals. Come experience some of San Antonio’s best attractions and don’t forget to bring your camera!
The San Antonio River Walk
The downtown San Antonio River Walk segment is about to be extended from 2 to thirteen miles, connecting many of San Antonio's museums and historic districts with the beautifully preserved Spanish-colonial missions to the south.
Rio San Antonio Cruises
Come take a tour with entertaining narratives of the rich history of the San Antonio River and helpful information to assist you and your family during your visit to the River Walk. Cruises are 35 to 40 minutes long and cover two and a half miles of the beautiful San Antonio River Walk. There are also dinner and cocktail cruises, which are phenomenal ways to enjoy the River Walk.
The San Antonio Museum of Art
The San Antonio Museum of Art reclaimed the historic Lone Star Brewery and turned the immense building into one of the most impressive art museums in Texas. Its permanent collection spans the continents. Asian art, European and American paintings, and antiquities from Greek and Roman eras attract art aficionados of all ages.
Six Flags Fiesta Texas
Come experience the best in thrilling rides, exciting live entertainment and a free water park all at Six Flags Fiesta Texas. Begin your adventure by facing your fears on the park's eighth roller coaster, Goliath. Continue the thrills by soaring high on the Superman Krypton Coaster, taking gut-wrenching turns on Tony Hawk's Big Spin and enjoying a daring free-fall down on Scream. Then soak up some family fun at White Water Bay, Fiesta Texas free water park.
SeaWorld San Antonio
SeaWorld San Antonio is the world's largest marine life park. After hanging out with Shamu or watching one of Sea World's shows, head over to the roller-coaster action with the Great White, which is Texas' first inverted steel roller-coaster or the Steel Eel for a bout of weightlessness. To cool off, ride Journey to Atlantis which is part roller-coaster, part water ride or dip into the Lost Lagoon.
San Antonio Zoo
The San Antonio Zoo is ranked as one of the best zoos in the nation exhibiting over 3,500 animals of 600 species. The Zoo encompasses 35 landscaped acres. There are many interaction exhibits, including Kronkosky's Tiny Tot Nature Spot, a mini-zoo designed specifically for children under 5, Butterflies! Caterpillar Flight School, a lush tropical habitat surrounded by hundreds of butterflies, Fun Farm Petting Zoo where everyone can pet African Pygmy goats, and Lory Landing, a rainbow of colorful birds flying about the canopy of an outdoor aviary, occasionally landing on visitors.
For a detailed list of Entertainment, please visit http://www.visitsanantonio.com/index.aspx
San Antonio is home to numerous great events that will entertain your whole family throughout the year. Come participate in Luminaria, the Poteet Strawberry Festival, Oktoberfest and much more. You won’t want to miss out on any of these opportunities to get out and enjoy San Antonio’s best!
Poteet Strawberry Festival
The Poteet Strawberry Festival is one of the oldest, most popular events in Texas. The festival is held annually in April and has fourteen areas of continuous entertainment featuring concerts with nationally known Country Western and Tejano stars, dancers, gunslingers, clowns, puppets, regional bands, various contests and rodeo performances. And of course, the Poteet Strawberry Festival features lots of berries grown right here in Poteet. And lastly, the festival wouldn’t be complete without a carnival, which is always a huge hit with the whole family.
July 4th: Fourth of July Celebration
Come enjoy festivals, concerts and fireworks at locations across San Antonio celebrating Independence Day. Some highlights include Freedom Fest at Market Square, an arts and crafts show along the River Walk and extravaganzas at local theme parks.
Oktoberfest San Antonio
Head over to the Beethoven Halle and Garden to celebrate the ultimate German festival. There will be music, food and dancing plus German specialties like bratwurst and beer!
Ford Holiday River Parade and Lighting Ceremony
On the day after Thanksgiving the switch is pulled to turn on over 122,000 lights that illuminate the River Walk until New Year's Day. Decorated floats wind through the river in one of the country's only nighttime river parades.
For a detailed lists of Community events, please visit http://www.visitsanantonio.com/visitors/plan/local-info/events-calendar/major-events--festivals/index.aspx
For more details about San Antonio, TX please visit: http://www.sanantonio.gov/