:: San Antonio
For a listing of our Fall 2014 & Spring 2015 5-night programs, please visit our San Antonio Programs page
San Antonio captures the spirit of Texas. Now the seventh largest city in the United States, the city has retained its sense of history and tradition, while carefully blending in cosmopolitan progress. The city has always been a crossroads and a meeting place. Sounds and flavors of Native Americans, Old Mexico, Germans, the Wild West, African-Americans and the Deep South mingle and merge.
San Antonio History 101
For history buffs, San Antonio is a mecca. Native Americans first lived along the San Antonio River, calling the area “Yanaguana,” which means “refreshing waters,” or “clear waters.” A band of Spanish explorers and missionaries came upon the river in 1691, and because it was the feast day of St. Anthony, they named the river “San Antonio.” The actual founding of the city came in 1718 by Father Antonio Olivares, when he established Mission San Antonio de Valero, which became permanently etched in the annals of history in 1836 as The Alamo where 189 defenders held the old mission against some 4,000 Mexican troops for 13 days. The cry “Remember the Alamo” became the rallying point of the Texan revolution against Mexico. Located in the heart of downtown, today The Alamo is a shrine and museum.
An Urban Masterpiece
Amidst the daily hubbub of the busy metropolitan downtown, sequestered 20 feet below street level, lies one of San Antonio’s jewels - the Paseo del Rio. Better known as the “River Walk” these cobblestone and flagstone paths border both sides of the San Antonio River as it winds its way through the middle of the business district. The River Walk has multiple personalities - quiet and park-like in some stretches, while other areas are full of activity with European-style sidewalk cafes, specialty boutiques, and high-rise hotels. Rio San Antonio Cruises, the river’s floating transportation system, provides a novel method of sightseeing and people-watching in downtown San Antonio.
San Antonio has two impressive art museums. The McNay Art Museum is set in a Mediterranean-style mansion and has wide-ranging collections, including post-impressionist and modern art, theater art, Medieval art, Native American art and more.
The San Antonio Museum of Art (SAMA) is housed in the castle-like former headquarters of the Lone Star Brewery. This museum is noted for its antiquities collections, Mexican folk art, modern art, pre-Columbian art, Spanish colonial art, and the 30,000 square foot Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Latin American Arts.