24 Facts About San Antonio To Get You To The Lone Star State
So, it’s a Happy 300th Birthday to San Antonio. Yup, the crown jewel of Texas is celebrating its tri-centennial with huge celebrations planned throughout the year, thus the opportunity for us to revel in the festivities and know a bit more about this lively town, day or night. Let’s go, y’all!
1. San Antonio was the first official city of Texas.
Founded as a mission outpost in 1718 in honor of St. Anthony, the town was the first ever registered city in Texas when clerics performing evangelization duties wandered further north of Monterrey and located an ideal spot.
2. The Cathedral of Saint Frenando is a must-see.
Typical of the cities founded by Spanish monks, San Antonio features a prominent cathedral, St. Fernando, with an esplanade in front of the building. Nowadays, it still keeps much of the religious structures as a reminder of the origins.
3. If you are in the area, you have to check out San Antonio Missions National Historical Park.
Although named since 1691 by the first explorers, the mission didn’t commence construction until 1718 after resolving disputes among the religious and civil authorities regarding the possible incursion of French settlers coming from Louisiana into the newly colonized lands.
4. San Antonio started with just 400 families from Spanish-speaking parts of the world.
By an edict of the King of Spain, it was determined that about 400 families would settle in the new mission site. They came from Cuba, Galicia and Canary Islands, although they would take another 10 years or so before arriving to their new homes.
5. San Antonio was originally called “Tejas” or shingles.
San Antonio became the largest Spanish settlement in the lands known as “Tejas”, or shingles, like the ones you put on your roof. And truly, Texas was the roof of the New Spain, or later Mexico. But these lands were so detached from the central government, that trouble ensued.
6. Once San Antonio was free of Spain’s rule, something started to change.
Once Mexico gained independence from Spain, it allowed the settlement of Europeans near the Texas-US border near Nacogdoches. But these people had different visions for their new dwellings and challenged the Mexican rule for Texas.
7. It wasn’t long until Texas became part of the United States.
Not to cause any political issues, as Texas seceded from Mexico, was enjoined to the USA, San Antonio began occupying in rightful place in history. Beyond the battle of The Alamo, the city’s landmark, its population dwindled to less than a thousand. It was not looking good.
8. Juan Seguin went from San Antonio’s first mayor to a man in hiding.
Patriot Juan Seguin, a key player for Texas’ independence, was mayor of San Antonio until political issues threatened his life and rather decided to lay low.
9. San Antonio was a thriving city during the Civil War rivaling New Orleans in size and culture.
During the start of the Civil War, San Antonio had prospered and thrived to a busy city of 15 thousand, becoming a cattle center and with a cultural mix only rivaled by New Orleans, as described by developers and wanderers.
10. By end of the 1900s, San Antonio was becoming a major modern city.
The final years of the 20th century was decisive in giving San Antonio a push towards modernity. Population skyrocketed to over a million, and the city turned into a mecca for conventions and trade shows with its mix of tradition and amenities.
11. San Antonio is a must-stop destination for concerts and other big events.
The city draws big ticket events with its year-round nice weather, business know-how and top-class venues.
12. Oh yeah. You have to go to the Riverwalk, obviously.
The heart of San Antonio is the Riverwalk, a creek meandering the downtown area riddled with all sorts of cuisine, libations and a vibe that is extremely hard to find anywhere else. You do not even need to get a table somewhere, just stroll around and that’s more than enough.
13. And The Alamo is the one tourist trap everyone should get lost in.
A crucial part of San Antonio’s history, of course, is The Alamo. A rather somber reminder of the struggles this land had for its own way of life. But the downtown is also plethoric with historical buildings from the 1800s and beyond, giving a glimpse of simpler, maybe better, days.
14. It is one of the U.S. cities that is decidedly Latino.
Recent census found that San Antonio’s population is decidedly Hispanic, around 60 percent, with a significant African-American population and non-Hispanic Whites rounding out the tally with close to 27 percent. Of course, all ethnicities are represented in a city as vibrant as this.
15. Millions of people visiting San Antonio every year can’t be wrong.
When more than 20 million tourists visit the city annually, you know for sure something’s good going on. And of course, with major theme parks, Riverwalk, convention facilities and a thriving business scene, San Antonio is one booming city.
16. San Antonio is a major business hub for the U.S.
Speaking of business, at least 6 of the top companies in America according to Forbes, have their corporate HQ in San Antonio, including the likes of Valero Energy and USAA. Also, the city has been ranked as one of the top 15 for job growth in the nation. Not bad at all.
17. The military is a major part of this city’s identity.
With several active military bases around town, San Antonio has seen a surge in the earnings it provides to the city. There’s two Air Force bases along with an Army Medical Center and Fort Sam Houston, a staple in South Texas.
18. As well as golfing.
If golf is your thing, leave a few hours of the bustling activity in San Antonio to hit the links and fairways of close to 50 courses around town. A few are of championship caliber, but there’s also plenty of options for ball-losing hackers, like most of us are.
19. If you are looking for family fun, San Antonio has you covered.
Sports is well covered in San Antonio since the opening of the Alamodome, right off the Interstate, a splendid structure that hosts the UTSA college football team, and has been venue for championship boxing, major soccer games and many concerts by the best of the best.
20. And if you are looking for fun with your kids, San Antonio has the right stuff.
Amusement parks are another of the city’s tourist draws: Six Flags Fiesta Texas and Sea World share the greatest attraction of out-of-town folks seeking thrills and excitement, whether for themselves or their kids.
21. Get romantic with the love of your life in a horse-drawn carriage.
Once the nighttime falls, it’s such a romantic setting to stroll around downtown in a horse-drawn buggy and the ones in San Antonio are decked in fancy lights and such a nostalgic set that you might just end up going for another ride.
22. Again, Riverwalk provides all the bars and food you could desire.
The bar hopping scene has its epicenter at the River Walk, with an eclectic assortment of, well, just about anything and everything: from Irish to Mexican and all in between. Music, libations and lots of fun are sure to allure all.
23. And the Riverwalk really shows off during Christmas.
Oh, and if you’re ever in town during the Christmas season, River Walk cannot be missed. Already beautiful in itself, the creek is adorned with festive lighting and caroling all throughout the walkways. It’s a one in a lifetime experience.
24. And, of course, the food just can’t be beat.
And San Antonio’s restaurants are simply superb! From fusion to BBQ, there’s something for y’all. Get your boots and Stetson ready and join us down in South Texas for a charming get together that’ll forever live in your memory. See ya’ soon!