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!

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Mexico Wants American Tourists Despite Ongoing Covid Pandemic

Culture

Mexico Wants American Tourists Despite Ongoing Covid Pandemic

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Covid-19 has ended a lot of stuff for a lot of people. The most obvious change has been to international travel, especially for Americans. As the virus has spread widely across the U.S. countries have put a halt to allowing American tourist within their border, but not Mexico.

Covid-19 has severly depreciated the American passport.

Once capable of unlocking so many countries, the U.S. passport is no longer helping Americans travel abroad. Instead, the American passport has now become a hindrance for global travelers. Most countries have placed restrictions on American tourists making the U.S. passport one of the weakest.

The countries banning the U.S. are doing so because of the state of the virus in the country.

There have been more than 7 million cases of Covid-19 and more than 200,000 deaths from the virus. The U.S. remains the worst hit country and the global epicenter of the deadly virus. Many blame the lack of a national strategy to properly close down, test citizens, and contact trace those who have been exposed as the reason the virus has been so devastating in the U.S.

The various travel bans have kept families apart.

Other nations went into mush stricter lockdowns that the U.S. and got a handle of the virus. European countries have gotten the virus under control after months and the U.S. continues to see a large number of new cases daily.

One of the countries allowing Americans to visit is Mexico.

Mexico is heavily reliant on the money made from the tourism industry. According to official statistics, the tourism industry is the third-largest contributor to the country’s GDP. Major tourist destinations like Cabo and Cancún saw dramatic dips in tourism leading to national and local figures to sound the alarm. According to The Washington Post, the questions was posed about when to allow the tourists from the U.S. back, not should they.

Los Cabos is one of the hardest-hit tourist destinations.

The tourist destination saw a severe decline in tourists during one of the busiest times of the year. According to The Washington Post, the resort city has lost 80 percent of its revenue because of Covid-19. The virus has brought financial devastation to people across the world and the cities they live in aren’t immune to failing themselves.

“It’s life or death for us,” Rodrigo Esponda, the head of the Los Cabos tourism board, told The Washington Post. “There’s nothing else here. No industrial production. No farming or commercial fishing. It’s tourism or nothing.”

Yet, Los Cabos should be a warning sign to the rest of Mexico.

Cases in Baja California, the state where Los Cabos is located, saw new Covid case numbers triple from 50 a day to 150. The increase in infections is to be expected as the state rolled out the welcome mat for Americans coming to visit the resort town.

“There are some residents who say, ‘Why put my family’s life in danger by inviting more visitors, restarting more flights?’” Luis Humberto Araiza López, tourism minister of Baja California Sur, told The Washington Post. “It’s a delicate line between trying to support public health and economic growth.”

Despite this, there are some countries that Americans can travel to.

The countries Americans can travel to without Covid restrictions are Albania, Belarus, Brazil, Dominican Republic, Mexico, North Macedonia, Serbia, Turkey, and Zambia. As the world continues to open up, Americans who travel abroad are waiting for the U.S. government to get the virus under control. Until then, the U.S. passport is not the same it used to be.

READ: The U.S. Passport Was Once The World’s Strongest, It’s Fallen To 25th Place Thanks To Failed Leadership Amid Coronavirus

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You Can Visit Frida Kahlo’s Casa Azul Right Now With This Incredible 360º Tour

Culture

You Can Visit Frida Kahlo’s Casa Azul Right Now With This Incredible 360º Tour

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Thanks to Coronavirus, you’re likely not hopping on a plane any time soon to go and visit one of the world’s top destinations – Mexico City. Most of us are still following stay-at-home orders and the rest of the world is pretty much off limits to us all right now. But thankfully, we do have access to the World Wide Web, right?

Sure, we could pass the time binge watching our favorite TV shows, but why not take a little time to go on a little museum tour of one of the most famous Mexicans of all time?

Thanks to some super cool tech – and the magic of Google – Frida Kahlo’s famed Casa Azul Museum is at your finger tips. You can pay a visit from your living room, bedroom, patio – where ever you wanna be.

Frida’s Casa Azul is one of the most popular attractions in Mexico.

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Before the pandemic, la Ciudad de México had become one of the world’s top destinations. With it’s rich mix of foods and cultures and tons of attractions and museums (the city reportedly has the highest count of museums in the world!), it was at the top of tourist’s lists.

And at the top of the recommended sights to take in – the famous Casa Azul. Located a bit south of the central city in the beautiful colonia of Coyoacán, is the house where Frida Kahlo was born and spent much of her life.

People would often wait in line for several hours to pay a visit to this venerated museum and garden complex. In fact, it was rated by Salma Hayek as one of her favorite things to do in the city, in an interview with Vanity Fair. But now, Google is bringing the museum to you and it’s incredible. You can follow along with the following tour using this link.

With this virtual tour, you get the chance to pop into the artist’s famed studio.

Credit: Google Arts & Culture

Inside Frida’s studio, you can truly visualize her experience as an artist. The space is filled with giant windows letting in all sorts of natural light. There’s also a large collection of books and prints that likely provided her with inspiration for her pieces.

Visitors also get a glimpse of her workstation, filled with paints, brushes, canvases and other supplies.

You can visit her kitchen…

Credit: Google Arts & Culture

Easily one of my favorite parts of the house, is the cocina – which is beautifully decorated in traditional Mexican style. It’s home to a large collection of pottery and woodworking which lends it a very cozy feeling.

Take a look at the thousands of art pieces that are located inside the museum.

Credit: Google Arts & Culture

Several rooms of the house and its hallways, are now dedicated to displaying thousands of Frida Kahlo’s works. In fact, Casa Azul is home to the largest collection of Kahlo pieces in the world – which makes sense since this was her actual home.

From photographs and writings, to famed paintings and sketches, a Frida Kahlo fan could easily spend hours walking through these galleries.

Along with many of her iconic fashion looks.

Credit: Google Arts & Culture

Perhaps one of the most popular exhibits at the museum, is the dress vault. This gallery is home to some of the artist’s most famous looks. And let’s face it: Frida Kahlo is a fashion icon in so many ways.

The museum often rotates the clothing that is on display so visitors are often treated to new looks.

And the museum is well-known for its gardens, which you also get the chance to visit.

Credit: Google Arts & Culture

Casa Azul is also well-known for it’s beautiful gardens. Often home to roaming peacocks, it’s a tranquil setting in the midst of the bustling city and likely one of the top draws for visitors.

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