San Antonio

For other places with the same name, see San Antonio (disambiguation).

San Antonio is the third largest city in the state of Texas and the 7th largest in the United States. It's the 24th largest metropolitan area in the country. Visited by more than 31 million annual visitors, San Antonio is a beautiful city at the axis of three different geological terrains: Hill Country, South Texas Plains and Prairie and Lakes. There's a lot to do in this city: fine art museums, historical missions and plenty of amusement parks in addition to great dining and lots of drinking. The culture and people are vibrant and interesting. San Antonio's downtown is one of the most lively in the nation.

Downtown San Antonio from the Tower of the Americas

Understand

San Antonio is considered to be the cradle of Texan liberty. Its most well-known landmark is the Alamo, the site of the famous battle (1836) where Davy Crockett and Jim Bowie were killed. Though it must be said that when most visitors see the Alamo for the first time, their common reaction is "Hm, I thought it would be bigger."

No other city in Texas reflects the state's Spanish and Mexican heritage better than San Antonio. Hispanics make up a considerable fraction of the population though and it shows in most places. The Hispanic atmosphere of San Antonio makes it a truly unique U.S. city. This becomes most evident during Fiesta week, a yearly celebration that attracts 3.5 million people to its 110 plus events from all over to enjoy parades, music, festivals, fairs and food and drink in the charming downtown streets of the city.

San Antonio, with a population upward of 1.5 million, and a metro population of nearly 2.4 million, still enjoys a small-town feel despite the hustle and bustle. Its people are friendly, open and bicultural, and the concentration of population around its center makes it easy to get just about anywhere within a 30-40 minute drive.

Climate

 Climate Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
 
Daily highs (°F) 63 67 74 81 87 92 95 96 90 82 72 64
Nightly lows (°F) 41 44 51 58 67 73 75 75 69 60 50 42
Precipitation (in) 1.8 1.8 2.3 2.1 4.0 4.1 2.7 2.1 3.0 4.1 2.3 1.9

   Data from NOAA (1981-2010)

During the summer it can get hot, and sometimes humid. Temperatures in the 90's and 100's are typical from May to September, though there are some days that stay cooler. April and October have also been known to get into the 90's even 100's, and during the winter it typically is cool and rainy. Carry a light sweater, you never know when the weather may change in San Antonio.

Visitor Centers

Get in

By plane

By train

By car

Most visitors to San Antonio arrive by either I-35, I-10, I-37 or US 281. I-10 comes from El Paso to the west and Houston to the east. I-35 comes from Austin to the north and Laredo to the south. May be reached by automobile in about 1 hour from Austin, 4 hour 15 minutes from Dallas/Fort Worth or less than 3 hours from Houston.

By bus

By boat

San Antonio is in the middle of Texas. Therefore, it is not accessible by boat. Although there are many tubing opportunities around San Antonio, thanks to the huge abundance of rivers in the area. The River Walk, in downtown San Antonio, does offer a River Taxi that shuttles people to hotels, restaurants and shops along its banks.

Get around

Public Transit

San Antonio's bus system is known as the VIA Metropolitan Transit. It also runs the downtown trolley service (actually a bus) for a small fare. Bus fares range from about $1.10 to $2.50 depending on the service with a one-day $4 pass (for purchase at some retail outlets see VIA's Website under Fare information) for all routes. There are 4 different types of routes: Express, Skip, Frequent, and Metro. The Express routes usually run from the sub-urban areas (mostly Park and Rides) to downtown.Most of them run about once every 30 minutes. Skip service usually runs along the streets with high traffic, they are called Skip routes because they usually Skip bus stops that are serviced by the frequent routes. Skip routes also usually run about every 30 minutes. Frequent routes can also be found on high traffic roads and as the name implies, the stops are very frequent. Although Frequent routes come by about once every 15 minutes, it is usually faster to wait a little longer and take the skip routes if you are going a long distance,for example on San Pedro ave, it is usually quicker to wait for the #3(Skip) as opposed to the #4 (Frequent) if you wanted to get from downtown to North Star Mall. Metro service is usually found in neighborhoods around the city, frequency varies with each route, but they usually run about once an hour. Discount fares are available to children between the ages of 5 and 11, senior citizens 62 and older, Medicare recipients, persons with disabilities and students. A reduced fee ID is required for reduced fares and can be acquired from VIA Information Centers (students may get the necessary forms from their campus administration). Bus schedules and route information can be found at VIA's website , by calling the VIA information line 210-362-2020 or for the hearing impaired at 210-362-2019, or at the San Antonio Visitor Information Center.

A bus line of interest to the visitor is line #7 SIGHTSEER SPECIAL, which runs hourly daily ($1.10 one way) and links the various museums and attractions north of downtown (e.g., Botanical Garden, Witte Museum, San Antonio Zoo, San Antonio Museum of Art) with Downtown. There are also three (Red, Yellow, Blue) downtown Streetcar lines , which run about every 10 minutes ($1 one way) from Alamo Plaza to the Market Square area, Alamodome, HemisFair Park, and the King William Historic area.

Taxi

Cabs are available to be hailed downtown, at the airport, or at military bases. In other areas you should reserve a cab in advance.

See

The Alamo
River Walk Tour Boat

Museums and galleries

Do

Events

Amusement Parks

Sports

Tours

Theaters

San Antonio is home to several historic vaudeville theatres; The Empire, Aztec, Alameda, and the Majestic. There are also many live music venues including, Sunset Station, White Rabbit, Scout Bar, Blue Star Arts complex, Pearl Brewery, Cowboys, La Tuna's, Randy's Rock Bottom Tattoo Bar, and The Ten Eleven and many great local bands.

Buy

San Antonio is home to a variety of shopping venues with a wide selection of shops and stores. With ten major shopping malls within an hour drive of downtown as well as La Villita and Market Square in the heart of downtown San Antonio.

Farmers Market

The Pearl Brewery (now an urban development) hosts a farmers market on Saturdays from 9AM to 1PM and Wednesdays from 4PM to 7PM. On Saturdays the market is right next to the San Antonio River which forms an excellent green area, you can walk or take the river shuttle up from your hotel downtown.

Eat

This page uses the following price ranges for a typical meal for one, including soft drink:
Budget Under $10
Mid-range $10 - $20
Splurge Over $20

Budget

Mid-range

Splurge

Drink

San Antonio's downtown is the hub of the city's nightlife, with hundreds of dining options, bars and clubs mostly on the Riveralk and throughout street level. Other major nightlife locales, include Southtown Arts District, home to First Friday Art Walk, a large art block party with crowds upward of 20,000 along Alamo St. Scores of dining, galleries, theatres and lodging options, that include more than 10 historic 19th century B&B's adjacent to the Riverwalk. Wander down through the River Walk and take your choice of bars and eateries. You can't go wrong. There are also several bars/restaurants in the Mercado block of tourist shops.

Sleep

Budget

Mid-range

Splurge

Stay safe

San Antonio is a relatively safe city. As long as you take elementary precautions, you'll have a great time. Even when there are crowds for such events like the Alamo Bowl, it is still relatively safe. Just remember that the River Walk always has something going on, but if you're in one of the quieter spots at night, exercise some caution. Inner city neighborhoods, particularly on the West and South Sides, should be avoided at night, though they are of little interest to tourists. In San Antonio, if it looks iffy, don't go there at night.

Cope

Consulates

Go next

To leave San Antonio, use US 281 south to get to Brownsville, I-10 east to get to Houston, I-10 west to get to El Paso, I-35 north to get to Austin, Waco, and Dallas/Fort Worth, I-37/US 181 south to get to Corpus Christi and Floresville, SH 16 north to get to Bandera, SH 16 south to get to Poteet, or US 281 north to get to Blanco and Johnson City. An alternate route to Austin is to use US 281 north and US 290 east. I-410 and SH 151 do not leave the city. However, Loop 1604 does go to small towns in the county.

Routes through San Antonio

Tucson Del Rio  W  E  Houston New Orleans
Tucson Del Rio  W  NE  San Marcos Dallas
El Paso Boerne  W  E  Seguin Houston
Austin New Braunfels  NE  SW  Laredo END
END  N  S  Corpus Christi
Fredericksburg Boerne  N  S  Cuero Port Lavaca
Del Rio Castroville  W  E  Seguin Houston
Wichita Falls Blanco  N  S  Alice McAllen


This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Friday, February 26, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.