to San Antonio and South Texas
Named for Saint Anthony of Padua, San Antonio is the seat of Bexar County in south Texas. It is about 75 miles southwest of Austin, Texas’ capital; 190 miles west of Houston; and 250 miles south of the Dallas/Fort Worth area. San Antonio is the seventh-largest city in the U.S. It encompasses more than 460 square miles, and more than 1.4 million people call the city home. Often called “Military City USA,” San Antonio has one of the nation’s largest active and retired military populations. Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston is one of the Army’s oldest installations and is home to many historic buildings.
The Alamo, San Antonio’s first mission, served as a way station between east Texas and Mexico for a century before it fell in the Battle of the Alamo. Fiesta, San Antonio’s signature event, is 11 days long in April. It originally commemorated the victory over the Mexican army in the Texas Revolution but has since grown to be inclusive of the diverse local cultures. Today, the Alamo is the Shrine of Texas Liberty — often considered a must-see for most visitors and newcomers. But the Alamo is only one of five historic missions in San Antonio.
At San Antonio Missions National Historic Park, south of downtown, visitors can catch a glimpse of colonial days and the Spanish influence in the early 1700s at one of the four other missions Spanish explorers established along the San Antonio River. Parishes within the missions remain active with church services, weddings and funerals connecting the past and the present.
With more than 300 days of sunshine annually, San Antonio boasts a mild climate year-round. Nearly 50 miles of developed greenway trails that connect parks along the Salado and Leon creeks and the San Antonio and Medina rivers offer residents a slew of outdoor recreation options. San Pedro Springs Park, the second-oldest municipal park in the nation, features the McFarlin Tennis Center and a pool surrounded by overhanging Cypress trees that provide ample shade. San Antonians play a lot of golf — there are more than 50 golf courses in the city.
San Antonio is on the southern edge of the Texas Hill Country. Many of the nearby towns were settled by German and Eastern European immigrants when Texas was freshly independent from Mexico. The Hill Country today has a unique culture that blends traditions, cuisine and architecture — from the old-world charm of New Braunfels to “Cowboy Capital of the World” Bandera.
From missions to museums, the local history, art, architecture, music and outdoor spaces display a blend of Mexican-American traditions, Spanish heritage and Texas pride that converge in modern San Antonio.