Culture

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

The Trump Administration Took Another Swipe At Cuba By Banning Almost All Flights To The Island

Things That Matter

The Trump Administration Took Another Swipe At Cuba By Banning Almost All Flights To The Island

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From Day One the Trump Administration made it clear that they wouldn’t be continuing the same diplomatic efforts with Cuba that the Obama Administration had started. Trump has indicated he is not a fan of the current Cuban regime nor Obama’s rapprochement and there were plenty of right-leaning Cuban-Americans who have supported his plans.

However, Trump’s latest move against the island risks not only angering American tourists who wish to visit the Communist island nation but also those same Cuban-Americans who wish to visit their family members still living on the island.

A new rule bans all flights to Cuba outside of the capital of Havana.

The Trump administration is banning U.S. flights to all Cuban cities but Havana in the latest move to roll back the Obama-era easing of relations.

The State Department said JetBlue flights to Santa Clara in central Cuba and the eastern cities of Holguin, Camaguey would be banned starting in December. American Airlines flights to Camaguey, Holguin and Santa Clara, the beach resort of Varadero and the eastern city of Santiago are also being banned.

Flights to Havana, which account for the great majority of U.S. flights to Cuba, will remain legal.

The stated reason for the move is to prevent tourism to Cuba, which is banned by U.S. law. But it is not clear how many people take the flights for tourism purposes. Many are used by Cuban-Americans visiting relatives in cities far from Havana by road.

“This action will prevent the Castro regime from profiting from U.S. air travel and using the revenues to repress the Cuban people,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Twitter. Raul Castro stepped down as president last year but remains head of the Communist Party, the country’s highest authority. 

The ban, which goes into effect on Dec. 10, was announced Friday by the Department of Transportation.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a letter to Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao that the flights are being suspended indefinitely because of Cuba’s repression of its people and support for Venezuela’s President Nicolás Maduro.

An excerpt of the letter said the move was to “further the administration’s policy of strengthening the economic consequences to the Cuban regime for its ongoing repression of the Cuban people and its support” for Maduro.

Two major US-based airlines and travelers with tickets already purchased with them will be affected by this latest crackdown.

American Airlines and JetBlue both fly routes to cities in Cuba other than Havana and will have to end those routes in accordance with the new regulations.

JetBlue said in a statement Friday that it plans to operate in full compliance with the new policy.

“We are beginning to work with our various government and commercial partners to understand the full impact of this change on our customers and operations in Camagüey, Holguín and Santa Clara,” the airline said.

American Airlines said it was also working to comply. American said it currently operates 11 daily flights in Cuba, six of which are in Havana.

“We are reviewing today’s announcement regarding service to non-Havana airports in Cuba,” the airline said in a statement. “We will continue to comply with federal law, work with the administration, and update our policies and procedures regarding travel to Cuba as necessary.”

The White House’s restrictions are yet another roll back of the friendlier relationship President Obama began with Cuba before the end of his administration.

In June the Department of the Treasury and the State Departmentsaid group educational or cultural trips to Cuba, or “people-to-people” travel, would no longer be permitted.

“Veiled tourism has served to line the pockets of the Cuban military, the very same people supporting Nicolás Maduro in Venezuela and repressing the Cuban people on the island,” the Department of State said in a statement at the time.

Last year the State Department added 26 tourist attractions to a long list of restricted sites Americans are barred from visiting in Cuba, including hotels, marinas and shops.

It is still legal for Americans to visit Cuba, though the increased sanctions and restrictions on travel have dampened interest and reduced tourism dramatically.

Lisa Frank And Hotels.com Created An Apartment That Looks Like The Inside Of Your 3rd Grade Backpack

Culture

Lisa Frank And Hotels.com Created An Apartment That Looks Like The Inside Of Your 3rd Grade Backpack

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Calling all ’90s kids. Was there ever a better feeling in the world than getting a new shimmery, colorful Lisa Frank binder? We all know that one person who had the whole kit; pencils, erasers, notebooks, stickers. Maybe that person was you or maybe they were someone you were always just a little jealous of, whether you admit it or not. It was a rainbow-colored explosion in every elementary and middle school in the ’90s. Yet, Lisa Frank stationery wants to make the experience immersive. You now have a chance to stay in an apartment decorated in the signature rainbow-colored and slightly psychedelic style of the ’90s brand.

The Lisa Frank apartment, a collaboration between Lisa Frank and Hotels.com, screams nostalgia.

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Lisa Frank teamed up with Hotels.com to bring your ’90s backpack to life. Hospitality company Barsala, which specializes in delivering the best value for price to their customers. A lucky few fans will be transported to the wonderful world of fluffy rainbows, unicorns, golden retrievers, and technicolor dolphins. The Lisa Frank-themed penthouse is in the Los Angeles Fashion District in downtown. But if you want to stay there, you better hurry. The room is only available for a couple of weeks this month only.

“We wanted to design a room that celebrates all things ’90s, and nothing screams childhood nostalgia more than these iconic designs,” Adam Jay, president of Hotels.com told Curbed LA.

The bed has Lisa Frank sheets and duvet and there are pillows with the trademark colorful kitties and puppies of the brand.

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The bedroom features a hot-pink four-poster bed with a light-up canopy outfitted with Lisa Frank’s signature chromatic bedding and rainbow-hued curtains. There’s a wall-sized mural featuring some of Lisa Frank’s most iconic designs like the rainbows coming out of fluffy clouds, the bear dressed like an Elton John-styled magician, and all of the animals and characters we remember.

The bathroom is an underwater technicolor oasis with all of the Lisa Frank nautical designs we all recognize.

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The bathroom walls are decorated with Lisa Frank’s underwater scenes that graced out school folders for years. Heart-shaped bubbles, rainbow colored tropical fish, and the famous pink and blue dolphins cover the bathroom walls. It is everything you ever wanted your parents to do for your bedroom and bathroom growing up.

Of course, Lisa Frank’s chromatic animal print collection is on full display in the kitchen. 

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You’ll find a true rainbow color spectrum in this kitchen from bright pink to pale blue and all the colors in between. Lisa Frank’s iconic animal prints come to life on the cupboards. Yellow zebra print, a red leopard print that fades to orange. The best part? The kitchen comes fully stocked with the most iconic vibrant-colored candy from your childhood —like Gushers, Pop-Tarts, Pixy Stix, and Planters Cheez Balls.

Get in touch with your inner pop artist with all the stationery and Lisa Frank goodies you can take home.

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If all the rainbows and colors are making you inspired, next to the lounge area, there’s an office space complete with all the cutesy rainbow Lisa Frank stationery you could ever want. The desk comes supplied with pencils, post-its, notepads and stickers. If ever we wanted to smuggle something out of a hotel room, this is it. 

Guests even get limited edition robes, slippers, and sleep-masks.

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With your booking, you get to take all of the goodies you like. The candy, the stationery, the Lisa Frank-embroidered robes, and slippers, all yours for the rate of $199 a night.

Yes, Lisa Frank is a real person, but the art was a collaborative effort.

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The Lisa Frank brand first rose to prominence in the 1980s and ’90s as purveyors of hyper-bright, animal-centric school supplies, including Trapper Keepers, pencil bags, backpacks, stickers, and stationery. Lisa Frank is a real person and started the company while she was still in college. However, many artists collaborated to design the illustrations. 

“The artwork was a collaborative effort, but it all began with me putting it on paper as a marker rendering,” Rondi Kutz, who was Lisa Frank Inc.’s Senior Designer and Product Development Leader told HelloGiggles. “The concepts came from Lisa, James (her husband), or me, so I can say that some of the characters were my idea and original design. But by the time it went on to an illustrator to redraw it, adding detail, then to a computer artist who rendered it on the computer (which entailed hundreds of hours of work), it had many artists’ stamps on it.” Kutz went on to work at the company until 2002.

Other notable themed properties available to rent (not on Hotels.com) include Bella Swan’s house from “Twilight,” a “Taco Bell inn” pop-up and the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile. Stays at the Lisa Frank Apartment are available only from October 11 through 27. The cost per night is $199 and the room can only be booked through Hotels.com.

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