San Antonio (Spanish for “Saint Anthony”), officially the City of San Antonio, is the seventh most populated city in the United States of America and the second most populated city in the state of Texas, with a population of 1,409,019. It was the fastest growing of the top 10 largest cities in the United Statesfrom 2000 to 2010, and the second from 1990 to 2000. The city is located in the American Southwest, the south–central part of Texas, and the southwestern corner of an urban region known as the Texas Triangle.
San Antonio serves as the seat of Bexar County. Recent annexations have extended the city’s boundaries into Medina County and, though for only a very tiny area near the city of Garden Ridge, into Comal County. The city has characteristics of other western urban centers in which there are sparsely populated areas and a low density rate outside of the city limits. San Antonio is the center of the San Antonio–New Braunfels Metropolitan Statistical Area. Commonly referred to as Greater San Antonio, the metropolitan area has a population of over 2.3 million based on the 2014 US Census estimate, making it the 25th-largest metropolitan area in the United States and third-largest in the state of Texas. Growth along the Interstate 35 and Interstate 10 corridors to the north, west and east make it likely that the metropolitan area will continue to expand.
San Antonio was named for Saint Anthony of Padua, whose feast day is on June 13, by a 1691 Spanish expedition in the area. It is notable for Spanish colonial missions, the Alamo, the River Walk, the Tower of the Americas, the Alamo Bowl, and Marriage Island. Commercial entertainment includes SeaWorld and Six Flags Fiesta Texas theme parks, and according to the San Antonio Convention and Visitors Bureau, the city is visited by about 26 million tourists a year. The city is home to the five-time NBA champion San Antonio Spurs and hosts the annual San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo, one of the largest such events in the country.
The US armed forces have numerous facilities in San Antonio: Fort Sam Houston, Lackland Air Force Base, Randolph Air Force Base (which constitute Joint Base San Antonio), and Lackland AFB/Kelly Field Annex, with Camp Bullis and Camp Stanley located outside the city. Kelly Air Force Base operated out of San Antonio until 2001, when the airfield was transferred to Lackland AFB. The remaining portions of the base were developed as Port San Antonio, an industrial/business park. San Antonio is home to six Fortune 500 companies and the South Texas Medical Center, the only medical research and care provider in the South Texas region.
The missions of the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park along with the Alamo, became part of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites on July 5, 2015. The San Antonio Missions became the 23rd U.S. site on the World Heritage List, which includes the Grand Canyon and the Statue of Liberty.
On the east side of Alamo Plaza is the most famous spot in Texas where 189 defenders fell on March 6, 1836, after repeated attacks by Mexican General Santa Anna’s army. Mission San Antonio de Valero (The Alamo) was established in 1718 as the city’s first mission. The chapel, one of the most photographed facades in the nation, and the Long Barracks are all that remain of the original fort. Long Barracks Museum and Library are near the chapel. The museum contains relics and mementos from the Republic of Texas and offers narration on the fall of the Alamo. The Alamo is located in the heart of the city, inside beautifully landscaped grounds.
Tower of America
Located in downtown San Antonio near the Hemisfair Park, the 750-foot-tall Tower of the Americas provides guests the most spectacular view of the Alamo City. Enjoy the gorgeous panorama from the Tower’s revolving Chart House Restaurant, take in the scenery from the Observation Deck or experience the thrilling 4D Theater Ride. For a taste of the best dining and fun that San Antonio Riverwalk restaurants have to offer, come take a flight with the Tower of the Americas.
San Antonio Missions
San Antonio Missions National Historical Park preserves four of the five Spanish frontier missions in San Antonio, Texas, USA. These outposts were established by Catholic religious orders to spread Christianity among the local natives. These missions formed part of a colonization system that stretched across the Spanish Southwest in the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries.
San Antonio Riverwalk
The San Antonio River Walk is a public park open 365 days a year, lined with individual businesses composed of restaurants, hotels, attractions and more. The San Antonio River Walk has been described as “The American Venice”. The sights, sounds and flavors of Native America, Old Mexico and the Wild West blend effortlessly blend with the hustle and bustle of a modern city. The Riverwalk offers boat tours, exceptional shopping opportunities, world-class restaurants and robust night-life.
Institute of Texan Cultures
The Institute of Texan Cultures (ITC) is located in downtown San Antonio on the UTSA HemisFair Park Campus, a short walk from the Alamo and the River Walk. The 182,000-square-foot complex features 65,000 square feet of exhibits and displays that tell the stories of Texans. Through its research, collections, exhibits and programs, ITC serves as the forum for the understanding and appreciation of Texas. The museum is a component of The University of Texas at San Antonio. It plays a role in the university’s community engagement initiatives by developing quality, accessible resources for educators and lifelong learners on topics of cultural heritage. It strives to develop a rich and vibrant culture in the arts and humanities that will expand the community’s awareness and appreciation of Texas through an engaging series of exhibits, programs, and special events.
Open weekends in May, Fiesta Texas is a large amusement park that is only about 2 miles from the Hilton Garden Inn at the Rim. There are a number of thrill rides and amusement park attractions for all members of the family.