Posted 1/8/18 | © Photo by Bob Howen
Like most Texans, there's a special place in my heart reserved for the city of San Antonio. I was born there, but my family moved to Dallas when I was a toddler. Luckily, we still had relatives in the Alamo City, so our visits back were frequent, and memorable.
Even now, as a much-older adult, I seize every opportunity to visit this lovely city. It never ceases to educate, enchant and entertain with its fascinating history, winding river walk, and exotic mix of cultures. I've attended numerous festivals in this cradle of Texas history, ranging from the outdoor Texas Folklife Festival (largest cultural celebration in Texas) every summer to the magical Holiday River Parade.
Some of my favorite moments were spent alone, though, just soaking up the ambience of the place. As a college student, I read my Texas history book under the shade of an old oak tree on the Alamo Plaza. Years later, recovering from a broken heart, I walked along the river while the sounds of joyful mariachi music helped cheer my soul.
Other favorite memories include shopping for holiday bargains at the Mercado; eating delicious (Texas-style) Mexican/French/German/Italian food; watching my children play at the San Antonio Zoo, Fiesta Texas, and SeaWorld; and touring the old mission trail.
My husband and I spent a few days in San Antonio last fall, staying at the Marriott Riverwalk on Market Street across from the convention center. The San Antonio Auto & Truck Show was drawing crowds to marvel at the newest vehicles. We especially liked the gorgeous 2018 Lexus LC500, efficient hybrid/green cars, and rugged but stylish trucks like the 2018 Ram 1500 Hydro Blue Sport.
The thriving destination dining scene is reason alone to plan a trip to San Antonio. I recently met one of the city's celebrity chefs, Jason Dady, who was in Dallas. The innovative chef is also a restaurateur with numerous successful concepts: Tre Trattoria and Tre Enotea (flavors of Northern Italy); Texas pit-smoked meats at Two Bros BBQ Market; B&D Ice House featuring BBQ and draft beers; and The Bin, a tapas bar. His menu, including his famed grilled goat cheese sandwiches, is also served at the Paramour Bar. He's not slowing down, though; we hear Chef Dady's working on a few more ideas.
The oldest Hispanic settlement in Texas, San Antonio is now the seventh largest city in Texas and growing. Thankfully, it has maintained its charm in spite of the influx of people moving there on a daily basis.
It's difficult to decide on the best time to visit San Antonio. Just a glance at their event calendar proves my point, with such highlights as the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo Feb. 8-25; Remember the Alamo Weekend in March; Maverick Music Festival at La Villita plus Fiesta! San Antonio in April; Cinco de Mayo in May plus Fiesta Noche Del Rio on the River Walk; Texas Folklife Festival June 8-10; July 4th Celebrations including Freedom Fest; Ford River Race with over 90 canoe teams in August; World Heritage Festival, Oktoberfest San Antonio, and Six Flags Fiesta Texas Fright Fest in October; Wurstfest, Diwali San Antonio Festival of Lights, and Ford Holiday River Parade in November. In December, San Antonio is simply a must-see, with Ford Fiesta de las Luminarias featuring over 6,000 Luminarias along the banks of the San Antonio River.
With all the celebrations planned for their 300-year anniversary in 2018, this year is the perfect time to visit San Antonio. But whenever you decide to visit, one thing is certain - you'll immediately start planning for the next time.
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