Phil Hardberger Park is the amazing creation of San Antonio's Mayor Hardberger, who has an eye for beauty, art and community projects. This classy park, if there is such a thing, is a relatively new 311-acre park located on either side of Wurzbach Parkway between N.W. Military Highway and Blanco Road. Visitors will enjoy the trails, brand new playscapes for the kids, dog parks, picnic facilities and basketball courts. Construction is also underway on a state-of-the-art Urban Ecology Center. It's worth a visit just to see the Makin' Hay Art Exhibit â" giant, fanciful characters made of hay that sit in the center of the park.
If you're visiting San Antonio for the first time or have not been before, Hemisfair Park is a must see destination spot. Recently renovated, this lush, beautifully landscaped neighborhood park, located in the center of downtown, was originally created for the World's Fair in 1968. Walking this park will not only give you a good workout, but will lead you to some of the best destinations in San Antonio, including the Tower of the Americas, the Institute of Texan Cultures and the Magik Children's Theatre, just for starters. The park is also located directly across the street from La Villita, the historic arts village which is great for shopping!
San Antonio's Japanese Tea Gardens feels like a set straight out of a movie, something like What Dreams May Come or Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. The point is, it's a magical and enchanting place, perfect for declarations of love and sonnet writing. The restored garden is a beautiful destination all year long and features a verdant garden and floral display with shaded walkways, stone bridges, a 60-foot waterfall and ponds filled with fat and happy Koi. A whimsically winding walkway encompasses the garden and makes for nice after dinner stroll. If you visit just one of San Antonio's landmarks, be sure to make it this one!
One of five missions established in the early 1700's, the Alamo is nearly 300 years old. It is perhaps the most cherished landmark in San Antonio. If you ask around, you will find that all children here and in surrounding towns take at least one field trip to the Alamo as part of their education. Visitors to the Alamo stroll inside and view artifacts preserved in the onsite museum. Texans feel emotion imagining the defenders waking to General Santa Anna's army that fatal morning. The Battle of the Alamo on March 6, 1836 became the turning point in the Texas Revolution. Due to the stories of cruelty, many were inspired to join the Texian army. Just over one month later, the Mexican army met defeat at the Battle of San Jacinto. Go back in time, take a few photos and Remember the Alamo.
The Briscoe Western Art Museum is a collections-based institution building upon art and artifacts that tell the vast and multifaceted story of the American West. Located on San Antonio's famed riverwalk, the institution is housed in San Antonio's first Public Library and newly constructed pavilion. The Briscoe Campus consists of the historic Museum building, the Jack Guenther Pavilion and the adjacent McNutt Courtyard and Sculpture Garden. The Briscoe Western Art Museum, named in honor of the late Texas Governor, Dolph Briscoe, Jr. and his wife, Janey, preserves and interprets the art, history, and culture of the American West through engaging exhibitions, educational programs, and public events reflective of the region's rich traditions and shared heritage. Their unique collections include Santa Anna's Sword, Visions of Change bronze sculpture by John Coleman, Pancho Villa's Saddle of leather and silver, a replica of a Western mail stagecoach and much more!
Comanche Lookout Park is a 96-acre public park with an almost five-mile nature hiking trail. The park includes the fourth highest point in Bexar County with an elevation of 1,340 feet. Vegetation includes native ash juniper, Texas and Mexican buckeye, chinaberry, graneno, Lindheimer hackberry and honey mesquite, to name a few. Comanche Lookout is a historic park that was so named because Native Americans used the hill as a vantage point during war or for hunting. The Apache were the first to control the area, followed by the Comanche Indians, who hunted along waterways, including nearby Cibolo Creek. Ruins of a medieval-style stone tower, built by a retired Army Colonel in the 1920's, can still be seen. The park also sports a few picnic tables, but the highlight is the great hill and history of this landmark.
If you're a thrill seeker, you cannot visit San Antonio without stopping off at Fiesta Texas, one of the best entertainment parks in the country. Located on 200 acres of what used to be a rock quarry, this theme park features teeth-chattering rides, great shows, and incredible attractions, plus White Water Bay water park for cooling off during the hot summer months. Although Fiesta Texas used to be geared more towards the Looney Tunes characters like Bugs Bunny, Fiesta Texas has now become the place to go for thrill rides. They have some of the most spine-tingling roller coasters you'll ever ride, including the Rattler and Superman Krypton Coaster.
If you only visit one museum in San Antonio, make sure it's the McNay. Not only do they have a superb art collection, the museum itself is a work of art. This 24-room, Spanish colonial revival-style mansion and its own sizable collection was donated by Marion Koogler McNay, an American painter and art teacher. The museum focuses primarily on 19th and 20th century European and American art and has some impressive pieces by artists such as Paul Cezanne, Pablo Picasso, Paul Gauguin, Henri Matisse, Georgia O'Keeffe, Diego Rivera, Mary Cassatt and Edward Hopper. Also, be sure to visit the absolutely stunning interior courtyard, complete with a Japanese-inspired garden and fishpond. It's a nice place to sit and ponder.
Just 90 miles from San Antonio lies the second largest batholith in the United States. Enchanted Rock has seen human activity up to 11,000 years ago. You'll enjoy fun and enriching activities like backpacking, camping (primitive also), hiking, rappelling and rock climbing, bird watching, and the stars at night are absolutely amazing! Local legend has it that the Tonkawa Indians named Enchanted Rock because of the sounds they heard coming from the rocks at night. They believed the formation was enchanted. This is one of the most beautiful natural areas in Texas. There is also a cave towards the top of the formation - but beware if you are claustrophobic, it is very cramped and at times you find yourself crawling. Flashlights are a must!
There's something quite magical about Jazz, TX with its stellar live music, cool speakeasy vibe, out-of-this-world cocktails and incredible food. It simply hits on every note! Located in the basement of the once bottling plant, now a food hall, at the Pearl Brewery, stepping into this jazz joint is like stepping back and forward in time all at once. There's nothing else like it in San Antonio, perhaps, in the entire state of Texas. Doc Watkins is the star of this show - a jazz artist, pianist and singer. When he takes the stage, he lights up the room and sings an array of classic tunes across genres. You can also find some travelling acts here, but there's a primary focus on local, very talented, musicians. Jazz, TX is the purest definition of "dinner and a show!"