Mission San José — Photo courtesy of City of San Antonio
With an endless number of things to do in San Antonio, you should seize the opportunity to explore the city’s rich heritage.
Start your cultural excursion by visiting the San José Mission, largest of the San Antonio Spanish missions and known as the "Queen of the Missions.” You'll even experience what it must have looked like over 250 years ago, as it was almost fully restored to its original design in the 1930s.
The Spanish missions–not churches but communities based around the church–were developed on the frontier, so portions of natural habitat provide plenty of opportunities for bird watching. Be sure to also check out the grist mill while you’re visiting, as well as the 270-year old espada acequia, an ancient irrigation system made of a dam and aqueduct.
El Mercado — Photo courtesy of Nile Guide
Next, head downtown to San Antonio’s historic Market Square, a fabulous place to shop and eat and a perfect launch spot for the rest of your day. The locals know this popular shopping spot as "El Mercado," and it's a fantastic place to pick up some trinkets for friends and family back home. Try to plan your excursion for the first Saturday of the month so you can take advantage of the live local entertainment, arts and crafts, special activities for kids, and food booths.
Enjoy a wonderful meal where you’ll feel like you’ve actually been transported to Mexico at the Mi Tierra Café y Panadería, conveniently located at the Market Square, for some amazing enchiladas and giant margaritas! This family-owned restaurant has been in business since 1941 and is open 24 hours a day. They provide an incomparably festive atmosphere with roving Mariachi singers, Christmas lights all year and even a bakery with traditional Mexican treats such as cinnamon-laced Mexican hot chocolate and fresh pan dulce.
After a long, luxurious lunch, it’s time for a little cultural education at Casa Rosa, formerly known as the "Museo Alameda," one of the largest Latino museums in the U.S.. Recently acquired by Texas A&M, the appropriately named pink building retains the mission of telling the story of the Latino experience in the United States. Since over half of San Antonio is Hispanic, visiting the Casa Rosa is a great way to get a sense of the local culture and learn about Hispanic interests and traditions.
An inimitable cultural experience, this excursion in San Antonio is sure to be unforgettable.