San Antonio Has History, Diversity and Modern Attractions

By Runice, Jacky | Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), June 8, 2003 | Go to article overview

San Antonio Has History, Diversity and Modern Attractions


Runice, Jacky, Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)


Byline: Jacky Runice Daily Herald Correspondent

If you wanted to treat your family to a trip to the quintessential all-American city, where would you go?

It should be a place rich with American history, yet offer modern fun that's attractive to children. Wouldn't it be nice if it had a hip shopping and people-watching area to captivate teenagers, professional sports teams and great golf for those so inclined? Let's not forget museums, art enclaves, fabulous food from cheap to upscale, a multicultural atmosphere to get a sense of our nation's melting pot, lots of family-friendly festivals and at least 300 days of sunshine annually.

Eureka! It's San Antonio.

Everyone feels at home in Alamo city. If the United States is a colossal melting pot of cultures and ethnicity, San Antonio is the poster city of diversity that works. Whereas many North Americans think of the nation's ninth-largest city as essentially Hispanic, it is that, but also German, Polish, Czech, French, English, Indian, Irish, Jewish, Italian, Japanese and Chinese.

Pencil in a stop at the University of Texas Institute of Texan Cultures, which has exhibits depicting the lives and contributions of more than 25 cultural groups. Better yet, plan a trip during one of the town's many festivals that highlight the multitude of cultures. Fiesta San Antonio is a 10-day ultra-family-friendly celebration held every April that includes parades, fireworks, carnivals and feasts. When the four-day Texas Folklife Festival appears in June, some 45 ethnic and cultural groups offer stories, music, dance and food. Winter brings Las Posadas, the re-enactment of the Christmas story, 122,000 lights illuminating the River Walk and one of the nation's only evening river parades.

San Antonio offers a wealth of attractions that engage all ages. In addition to the shrine and museum known as the Alamo, located in the heart of downtown, San Antonio is home to historic missions that are active parish churches. Four missions in San Antonio National Missions Park provide park interpreters with opportunities to explain one or more aspects of mission history. It might be a good idea to take in the film "Alamo - The Price of Freedom" at the San Antonio IMAX Theater at Rivercenter. The 45-minute docudrama, shown on an immense screen with a captivating stereo sound system, will help kids understand the 13-day siege and fall of the Alamo.

There's nary a tourist that hasn't been enthralled by the Paseo del Rio, or River Walk, that's sequestered 20 feet below street level. Cobblestone paths border both sides of the San Antonio River and sidewalk cafes, funky shops, nightclubs and hotels ring the 2 1/2-mile stretch. …

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