San Antonio is a proud city of 1.5 million residents with a history that most people can at least scantly remember from history class.
What started as a Native American village grew when Mission San Antonio de Valero (the Alamo) was founded by Friar Antonio de San Buenaventura Olivares in May 1718. Four more missions were built along the river during the next 13 years.
In 1836, 189 Texans gathered at the Alamo for a 13-day standoff against General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, the president of Mexico, and his 5,000 men. Almost all the Texans died, but the battle was a turning point in the Texas Revolution.
And while the city revisits that time through landmarks and museum exhibits around town, San Antonio also keeps its eyes firmly focused on the future with regards to its hospitality, cuisine, entertainment and business.
The best time to visit San Antonio
Though you can find something to do in San Antonio almost any time because of its 300 days of sunshine, it’s pretty hard to beat the city in late April.
Even if you don’t take into account springtime along the famed River Walk or Spurs playoff basketball, there’s Fiesta, a Mardi Gras-like celebration — without all of the lascivious overtones, of course — that revolves around the April 21 anniversary of the Battle of San Jacinto back in 1836.
With 11 days full of family-friendly festivals, pin trading, food and parades (including the gigantic Battle of the Roses Parade and dazzling nighttime Fiesta Flambeau Parade), Fiesta shows San Antonio in all of its culture-rich splendor.
What to pack for a trip to San Antonio
If there’s one thing you should know about San Antonio, it’s that the sun shines a lot. That being said, there are a few things you really shouldn’t leave home without. As a city chock-full of history, culture and entertainment, you’ll discover plenty of activities that you won’t want to forget.
Here’s our packing list for a trip to San Antonio:
Sunglasses. With more than 80 percent of the year being sunny, you’ll certainly want your shades on you at all times. The majority of the attractions in the Alamo City are outside, so there’s no escaping that bright Texas sun.
Shorts. Even during the 65 days that the sun isn’t shining in San Antonio, it is still a very warm city. The winters are mild and the summers are hot, so you’ll want to wear shorts to stay cool(er).
Bathing suit. Water activities abound here. Float in the nearby Comal and Guadalupe rivers or make a splash at SeaWorld San Antonio. Regardless of your choice, you’ll want to have your swimsuit, even if it’s just to enjoy the rooftop pool at your hotel.
Sneakers. San Antonio involves a lot of walking. From hiking the eight-mile Mission Trail to exploring the Alamo, you’ll be on your feet most of the time.
The best way to get around San Antonio
San Antonio International Airport is but 8.5 miles from the downtown business district, a rarity for a big city. Via Metropolitan Transit is the city’s public transportation service providing rides from the airport to the heart of the city.
Once you’re downtown, you’ll discover Viva by Via Services connecting tourists and locals along three routes: Viva Culture, Viva Missions and Viva Centro.
If you’d like to expand beyond from that trio of popular routes, renting a car or grabbing a Lyft may make the most sense. But no matter how you choose to get around San Antonio, you’ll immediately notice how friendly the downtown area is to pedestrians.
Of course, should your stroll along the famed River Walk grow tiring, you can always hop on a river taxi to get wherever else you need to go.