San Antonio, Texas

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"San Antonio" redirects here. For other uses, see San Antonio (disambiguation).
San Antonio, Texas
Image:San Antonio Texas Flag.png
Image:Sanantonioseal.jpeg
Flag Seal
Nickname: "Alamo City; River City"
Location in the state of Texas
Coordinates: 29°32′01.3″N, 98°28′11.2″W
Counties Bexar County
Mayor Phil Hardberger
Area  
 - City 1067.3 km²  (412.1 sq mi)
 - Land 1,055.6 km²  (407.6 sq mi)
 - Water 11.7 km² (4.5 sq mi)
Elevation 198 m  (650 ft)
Population  
 - City (2005) 1,256,509
 - Density 1,084.4/km² (2,808.5/sq mi)
 - Metro 1,889,797
Time zone Central (UTC-6)
 - Summer (DST) Central (UTC-5)
Website: www.sanantonio.gov

San Antonio is the second-most populous city in the state of Texas after Houston and seventh-most populated in the United States. As of the 2005 U.S. Census estimate, the city had a population of over 1.2 million. Its eight-county metropolitan area has a population of over 1.8 million, the twenty-ninth most-populated metro area in the United States. San Antonio, which is the county seat of Bexar County, covers over 400 square miles on the northern edge of the South Texas region and southeast of the Texas Hill Country.

San Antonio was named for the Portuguese Saint Anthony of Padua, whose feast day it was when a Spanish expedition stopped in the area in 1691. The city has a strong military presence—it is home to Fort Sam Houston, Lackland Air Force Base, Randolph Air Force Base, and Brooks City-Base. San Antonio is home to the South Texas Medical Center, the largest and only medical research and care provider in the South Texas region.

Famous for its River Walk, the Alamo, Tejano culture, and being home to SeaWorld and Six Flags Fiesta Texas theme parks, the city is visited by 20 million tourists per year. San Antonio is also home to the first museum of Modern Art in Texas—the Marion Koogler McNay Art Museum.[1]

Contents

[edit] History

Image:San antonio tex 1939.jpg
Aerial view of the city, circa 1939

American Indians originally lived along the San Antonio River in the San Pedro Springs area, calling the vicinity Yanaguana, meaning "refreshing waters."

In 1691, a group of Spanish explorers and missionaries came upon the river on the feast day of St. Anthony, hence naming the river after "San Antonio."

The actual founding of the city took place in 1718 by Father Antonio Olivares, upon establishing Mission San Antonio de Valero. Hence via the efforts of Spanish soldiers and Canary Islanders, San Antonio de Béxar soon transformed into an early Spanish settlement in the Americas.

The Battle of the Alamo took place nearby in 1836, and eventually the town would grow to encompass the embattled mission. This was where 189 defenders held the old mission against some 4,000 Mexican troops for 13 days. The cry "Remember the Alamo" became the rallying point of the Texan revolution against Mexico.

Today, the Alamo is a shrine and museum located in the heart of downtown, and is surrounded by many hotels and tourist attractions. It is clearly San Antonio's most well-known landmark, and is featured in its flag and seal and in the city's nickname, "Alamo City".

[edit] Geography and climate

According to the United States Census Bureau, in 2000 the city had a total area of 412.07 square miles (1,067.3 km²) — 407.56 square miles (1,055.6 km²) of it is land and 4.51 square miles (11.7 km²) of it is water. The city sits on the Balcones Escarpment.

San Antonio's weather is alternately dry or humid depending on prevailing winds, turning hot in the summer, mild to cool winters subject to descending northern cold fronts in the winter with cool nights, and comfortably warm and rainy in the spring and fall. Only a few freezes occur each year and snow is rare.

In San Antonio, July and August tie for the average warmest months with an average high of 95 degrees Fahrenheit (35°C). The highest temperature ever to be recorded was 111°F (43.8°C) on September 5, 2000. The average coolest month is January. The lowest recorded temperature ever was 0°F (-17.7°C) on January 31, 1949. May, June, and October have quite a bit of precipitation. For the last 135 years, the average annual precipitation has been 29.05 inches (73.79 cm), with a maximum of 52.28 inches (132.79 cm) and a minimum of 10.11 inches (25.68 cm) in one year.[2]

The primary source of drinking water for the city is the Edwards Aquifer. Impounded in 1962 and 1969, respectively, Victor Braunig Lake and Calaveras Lake were among the first reservoirs in the country built to use recycled treated wastewater for power plant cooling, reducing the amount of groundwater needed for electrical generation.

[edit] Demographics

According to the 2000 U.S. Census, the city had a population of 1,144,646 [3], ranking it the ninth-most populated city in the country. Due to San Antonio's lack of significant population surrounding the city limit, the metropolitan area ranked 30th in the U.S. with a population of 1,592,383. [4]

Subsequent population estimates have shown San Antonio continued its growth. The July 1, 2005, population estimate for the city was 1,256,509 [5], making it the second-most populated city in Texas and the seventh-most populated city in the U.S. The 2005 U.S. Census estimate for the eight-county (Atascosa, Bandera, Bexar, Comal, Guadalupe, Kendall, Medina, and Wilson Counties) San Antonio metropolitan statistical area (MSA) placed its population at 1,889,797 [6], making it the third-most populated metro area in Texas and the 29th-most populated metro area in the U.S.

There are 405,474 households, and 280,993 families residing in the city. The population density is 2,808.5 people per square mile (1,084.4 km²).

There are 433,122 housing units at an average density of 1,062.7 per square mile (410.3 km²). According to Texas.com, the current racial make up of San Antonio is: 32% non-Hispanic White, 7% African American, 2% Asian, 1% Native American; 58% of the population is of Hispanic origin and could be of any race.

Unlike many other large cities, San Antonio has had few racial disturbances. Government integration of the military bases after World War II ended in 1945 spread peacefully into the schools and other facilities. <ref>Unknown, World Book Encyclopedia (2004) CD-Rom.</ref>

In the city the population is spread out with 28.5% under the age of 18, 10.8% from 18 to 24, 30.8% from 25 to 44, 19.4% from 45 to 64, and 10.4% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 32 years. In San Antonio, 48% of the population are Males, and 52% of the population are Females. For every 100 females there are 93.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 89.7 males.

The median income for a household in the city is $36,214, and the median income for a family is $41,331. Males have a median income of $30,061 versus $24,444 for females. The per capita income for the city is $17,487. 17.3% of the population and 14.0% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 24.3% of those under the age of 18 and 13.5% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line.

[edit] Economy

San Antonio has a diversified economy with four primary focuses: financial services, health care, national defense, and tourism.

Located northwest of the city center is the South Texas Medical Center, the largest medical research and care provider in South Texas, which is a conglomerate of numerous major hospitals, clinics, and research and higher educational institutions. The center is responsible for a $12 billion biomedical industry.[7][8] It employs some 27,000 persons with a combined total budget of $2.5 billion. San Antonio is the only city in the United States hosting three Level I Trauma Centers within the city limits (2 military, 1 civilian)

The city is also home to one of the largest military concentrations in the United States. Fort Sam Houston on the city's northeast side hosts Brooke Army Medical Center, focus of the U.S. Army's medical command and training functions. Lackland Air Force Base on the city's west side is one of the world's largest training complexes. While it is known for hosting the U.S. Air Force's basic military training, it also hosts follow-on technical training for many other Air Force specialties, as well as other operations. Randolph Air Force Base on the far northeastern outskirts is the headquarters of the Air Education and Training Command, headquarters for Air Force personnel management and also hosts pilot training. Additionally, Brooks City-Base on the city's south side and KellyUSA adjoining Lackland still have significant military presences as well as defense contractor businesses. Over 150,000 people, military and civilian, are employed in defense-related work.

Twenty million tourists visit the city and its attractions every year, contributing substantially to the city's economy.[9] The San Antonio Convention Center alone hosts more than 300 events each year with over 750,000 convention delegates from around the world.

San Antonio's corporate profile includes AT&T (formerly SBC), Clear Channel Communications, Frost National Bank, H-E-B, Rackspace Managed Hosting [10], Southwest Research Institute, Tesoro Petroleum Corp, USAA, Valero Energy Corp, and Zachry Construction, which are all headquartered in the city. Companies not headquartered in San Antonio but which have a strong presence in the city include Bank of America, The Capital Group Companies, Citibank, InfoNxx, QVC, NSA, Washington Mutual, and West Corporation. Other industries such as Toyota Motor Corporation are establishing plants in the area, as the city's economy continues to grow.

[edit] Growth

Like many American cities in the Southwest, San Antonio experiences healthy population growth. The city's population has nearly doubled in 35 years, from just over 650,000 in the 1970 census to an estimated 1.2 million in 2005.

The city has also grown substantially in area. Unlike most large cities in the U.S., San Antonio is not completely surrounded by independent suburban cities and under Texas law exercises extraterritorial jurisdiction (ETJ) over much of the surrounding unincorporated land, including directing growth and zoning.[11] It pursues an aggressive annexation policy and opposes the creation of other municipalities within its ETJ.[12] Nearly three-fourths of its current land area has been annexed since 1960.[13] In recent years, the city has annexed several long narrow corridors along major thoroughfares to facilitate eventual annexation of growth developing along the routes. The city plans to annex nearly forty additional square miles by 2009.[14]

[edit] People and culture

San Antonio has a vibrant art community that reflects the rich history and culture of the area. This unique city offers some of the best cultural institutions, events, restaurants and nightlife in South Texas that both natives and visitors enjoy.

[edit] Performing arts

  • The Alameda Theater [15] is one of the last grand movie palaces built in the U.S. (opening in 1949) and was the largest theater in the U.S. dedicated to Spanish-language entertainment. The theater is often referred to as the "Apollo Theater for Latinos" and is known for the house's extensive black lighted murals. Today the theater, in association with the Smithsonian Institution and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, is the performing arts component of the National Center for Latino Arts and Culture, which was formally organized in 2001. Upon completion of the theater's renovation, it will be a state-of-the-art facility capable of housing performing arts mediums such as television and full Broadway productions, theater, opera, dance, concerts and film.
  • The Lila Cockrell Theatre, opened in 1968, is a performing arts venue that hosts ballet, opera, theater and individual concert events. The building is on the banks of the River Walk, and being a part of the adjacent convention center it also hosts general assembly and multi-media presentation events. A unique feature of the building is the Juan O'Gorman mosaic mural located on the exterior facade entitled "Confluence of Civilizations in the Americas." The mural symbolizes the progress made by the confluence of civilizations in the Western Hemisphere starting with Adam and Eve in the center, with European civilization depicted to the right, and indigenous meso-American civilization to the left.
  • The Majestic Theatre [16] is home to the San Antonio Symphony, individual concerts and touring Broadway shows. The John Eberson theater, which opened in 1929 as a grand movie palace, is well known for its Mediterranean-style architecture and twinkling starlit sky (complete with projected clouds that creep across the ceiling). It is as a Recorded Texas Historic Landmark and was listed on the National Register of Historical Places in 1975.
  • The Charline McCombs Empire Theatre [17], which opened in 1913, is the sister theater to the Majestic and plays host to smaller productions, banquets, cabaret, chamber orchestras and touring plays. An extensive renovation of the Empire was completed in 1989 and combined backstage areas with the adjacent Majestic allowing for more flexibility between the two venues. The Empire was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1999.

[edit] Museums

  • Art Pace San Antonio [18] is a residency, educational and exhibition program that was opened in 1995. The foundation is housed in the renovated 1920's era Hudson Dealership building in downtown San Antonio. The organization promotes itself as a laboratory for the creation and advancement of international contemporary art. Its primary focus is its International Artist-in-Residence program which annually invites nine artists to live and work in San Antonio to conceive and create pivotal art projects that are exhibited three times a year. A guest curator will select three artists, one a Texan, one from elsewhere in the U.S. and one international to create new work while living at Art Pace. In addition to these nine artist exhibits, Art Pace has an additional four exhibitions a year.
  • The Blue Star Contemporary Art Center [19] was established as a grassroots response to the cancellation of a contemporary arts exhibit at the San Antonio Museum of Art in 1985. The effort established a vibrant venue for the incubation of and exhibition of contemporary and new art in San Antonio. The center is housed in an adapted 1920's era warehouse facility located on the banks of the San Antonio River. The organization, which was originally operated by artists and volunteers and is now run by artist and director Bill FitzGibbons, was formally organized with a professional director and staff in 1988. Today the center a primary destination for new art in South Texas and the center has over 20 exhibitions each year that showcase local, regional, national and international artists from the emerging to internationally renown. The facility in which the center is housed is now referred to as the Blue Star Complex and has been redeveloped as an arts-oriented mixed-use development that includes loft/studio apartments, galleries, retail, performance spaces, artists' work spaces, and design offices. The BSCAC is widely recognized as the catalyst for the gentrification of the South Alamo neighborhoods that surround the facility. In addition BSCAC is credited with the City of San Antonio's establishment of Contemporary Arts Month [20] held annually in July at over 70 venues throughout the city.
  • The Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center [21], founded in 1980, is a nonprofit organization established for the promotion of the art and culture of Chicano, Latino and Indigenous peoples. The GCAC is located in the heart of San Antonio's Latino West Side and is currently the largest community-based, multidisciplinary organization in the United States. The center's public and educational programming consists of varied programs in six disciplines: Dance, Literature, Media Arts, Theater Arts, Visual Arts and Xicano Music. Annual events include the San Antonio CineFestival and the Tejano Conjunto Festival en San Antonio.
  • The University of Texas Institute of Texan Cultures [22] opened as the Texas Pavilion at HemisFair '68, the 1968 World's Fair. The exhibit was well received and remained after the fair closed. Now a museum run by the University of Texas System, its mission is dedicated to enhancing the understanding of cultural history, science, and technology and their influence upon the people of Texas. The museum achieves its goal through permanent exhibits on 26 ethnic and cultural groups, touring exhibits, publications, a library focusing on ethnic and cultural history, a historical photo collection of over 3 million images, outreach and education programs, and the annual Texas Folklife Festival.
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The McNay Art Museum
  • The Marion Koogler McNay Art Museum [23], founded in 1950, is the first modern art museum in the State of Texas. The museum was created by Mrs. McNay's original bequest of most of her fortune, her important art collection and her 24-room Spanish Colonial Revival-style mansion that sits on 23 acres that are landscaped with fountains, broad lawns and a Japanese-inspired garden and a fishpond. The museum focuses primarily on 19th- and 20th-century European and American art by such artists as Paul Cézanne, Pablo Picasso, Paul Gauguin, Henri Matisse, Georgia O’Keeffe, Diego Rivera, Mary Cassatt, and Edward Hopper. The collection today consists of over 14,000 object and is one of the finest collections of Contemporary Art and Sculpture in the Southwestern United States. The museum also is home to the Tobin Collection of Theater Arts, which is one of the premiere collections of its kind in the U.S., and a research library with over 30,000 volumes.
  • Museo Americano is the visual arts and educational component of the National Center for Latino Arts and Culture and is an affiliate museum of the Smithsonian Institution. Located in the historic Market Square (or El Mercado) in downtown San Antonio, this new museum is scheduled to open in the Fall of 2006. The institutions mission is to tell the story of the Latino experience in America through visual arts exhibitions, education initiatives, performances and public programming. As an affiliate of the Smithsonian, the museum will have access to the world's leading cultural experts and the Institution's collection of over 142 million objects.
  • The San Antonio Cavalry Museum [24] features cavalry artifacts, exhibits, and Western and Native American art. This small but charming museum is located just a cross the street from the Alamo and beside the Emily Morgan Hotel. There is a visitor information center inside that features virtual tours of area attractions. Self-guided audio tours of the Alamo and Downtown San Antonio of the Wild West are available. The museum gift shop acts as a sutlery for local re-enactors, so don't be surprised to run into an Indian or Cavalryman when you visit.
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San Antonio Museum of Art
  • The San Antonio Museum of Art [25], which is rooted to the San Antonio Museum Association (dissolved in 1994), is housed in the historic 1884 Lone Star Brewery and was opened in 1981. The building's renovation and adaptive reuse, designed by the Cambridge Seven Associates, won several architectural awards. The building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1972. SAMA is the only comprehensive art museum in South Texas with over 20,000 objects in its permanent collection. The museum's maintains extensive collections of Asian, Latino and Ancient art. Since opening in 1981 the museum has had three major expansions in order to house these important collections. In 1989 the Halsell Wing for Ancient Art was completed and in 1998 the 30,000 square foot (2,800 m²) Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Latin American Art opened. The Lenora and Walter F. Brown Asian Art Wing opened in 2005. The museum's permanent collection also contains significant collections of American, European, Oceanic and Contemporary art. Artists included in the museum's collection are Andy Warhol, John Singleton Copley, Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, Wayne Thiebaud, Frank Stella, and Philip Guston.
  • The Southwest School of Art & Craft [26], one of the country's largest community-centered art schools (enrollment 4000+ annually), is housed on the former site of an Ursuline convent and girls school dating from 1848. The Ursuline campus, adjacent to the River Walk, is one of the finest surviving examples of early French-influenced architecture in South Texas and includes a rare two-story "pies de terre" (rammed-earth) building designed by Francois Giraud (later the first mayor of San Antonio), working with the French mason Jules Poinsard. The campus and grounds are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The school's Visitors Center Museum explores the 150-year history of the site. Contemporary exhibitions, about eight per year, are presented in the 3500-foot Russell Hill Rogers Gallery on the Navarro Campus and feature national, regional, and local artists whose work reflects the school's curriculum.
  • The Witte Museum [27], established in 1926 under the charter of the San Antonio Museum Association, is located adjacent to Brackenridge Park on the banks of the San Antonio River and is dedicated to the history, science, and culture of the region. The permanent collection represents ethnography (study of social and cultural change), decorative arts and textiles, and science. The primary focus of the museum is natural sciences with emphasis on South Texas and the history of Texas and the Southwest.

[edit] Annual festivals

  • Celebrate San Antonio is the city's New Year's Eve celebration held on South Alamo Street adjacent to HemisFair Park. The festival has several stages with musical entertainment, food, family activities and more. The evening culminates at midnight with a spectacular fireworks show that welcomes in the New Year. The fireworks are shot from the top house of the Tower of the Americas as well as from other locations on the ground.
  • Cinco de Mayo is a celebration held in commemoration of Mexico's independence from France on May 5, 1862. The festivities take place in El Mercado or Market Square.
  • Fiesta [28] is an annual 10-day city-wide festival held in April to honor the memory of the heroes of the Battle of the Alamo and the Battle of San Jacinto. Over 100 events take place during the anniversary of Texas' independence from Mexico. The festival's beginnings date back to 1891 when a group of ladies decorated horse-drawn carriages, paraded in front of the Alamo, and pelted each other with flower blossoms. By 1895 the parade had developed into a week-long celebration and today this event, now referred to as the Battle of Flowers Parade, is the centerpiece of the annual celebration. Other major events that take place during Fiesta are Texas Cavaliers River Parade (the parade literally floats down the River Walk rather than city streets), Fiesta Flambeau Night Parade, Night in Old San Antonio (foods from around the world in historic La Villita), the King William Street Fair, the St. Mary's University's Fiesta Oyster Bake, Fiesta Arts Fair, and Cornyation.
  • Fiesta de las Luminarias takes place on the River Walk where the river is lined with 7,000 luminarias (candle-lit, sand-filled bags) to light Mary and Joseph's path as they search for shelter on the night before Jesus' birth. The procession is a Mexican-American tradition and takes place on nine nights in December. The festival procession has been held on the River Walk for over 40 years.
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Downtown San Antonio at Christmas Time.
  • The Holiday River Parade and Lighting Ceremony is presented by the Paseo del Rio Association and the City of San Antonio the day after Thanksgiving when the switch is pulled to turn on over 122,000 lights that illuminate the River Walk for the holiday season. To cap off the celebration, decorated floats wind down the river ending with a float featuring Santa Claus and his Latin counterpart, Pancho Claus.
  • The Passion Play held at the Cathedral of San Fernando, the oldest Catholic cathedral in the U.S., portrays the story of Jesus Christ's crucifixion every Good Friday. The play has been held here for over 250 years.
  • The Michelob ULTRA River Walk Mud Festival is a festival to commemorate the yearly maintenance and draining of the channeled portion of the River Walk. Held in January since 1986, the festival coronates a Mud King and Queen, holds an art festival, Mud Parade and Pub Crawl.
  • The San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo, established in 1950, is a 16-day event held in February at the AT&T Center. There are 20 PRCA rodeo performances held in conjunction with musical entertainment from country, rock ’n’ roll and Latin artists, livestock auctions, carnival rides and retail outlets at the event. The volunteer organization raises funds for its scholarship program with proceeds from this event.
  • In June, Shakespeare in the Park produces a Shakespeare play that is free to the public. The play is held at the San Antonio Botanical Garden.
  • The Texas Folklife Festival (TFF) held in June is a four-day cultural festival that brings more than 40 of Texas' ethnic groups together in one place to showcase their authentic food, music, folk dancing and authentic crafts. The first TFF was held in 1972 and was modeled after the Smithsonian Institution's Folklife Festival held in 1968 in Washington, D.C.

[edit] Nightlife

  • The River Walk, or Paseo del Rio as it's known in Spanish, is the city's central entertainment district. It is home to several nightclubs, pubs, bars and restaurants. Among them are Hard Rock Cafe, Biga on the Banks, Jim Cullum's Landing, On The Half Shell Oyster Bar, Durty Nelly's, Mad Dogs on the River Walk, Casa Rio, County Line BBQ, Howl at the Moon, Rainforest Cafe and Dick's Last Resort.
  • Also in Downtown, the street scene includes several lounges, restaurants and bars. Among them The Palm, Mi Tierra Cafe Y Panaderia, Coyote Ugly, The Bonham Exchange (the city's most popular gay bar), Rivercenter Comedy Club, Schilo's Deli, Zinc Wine and Champagne Bar, Steers and Beers Saloon, Morton's, The Steakhouse, Swig Martini Bar, Zen Bar, Suede Lounge and Davenport.
  • Mid-town (north of downtown) houses a concentration of bars catering to the gay and lesbian community. Located on Main Street near San Antonio College, bars in the area include The Electric Company, The Saint, The Silver Dollar Saloon and Heat. Also on Main St. is The Sanctuary, a small club that caters to the goth community as well as lovers of synth-pop and music from the 1980s.
  • Another area popular with college students is the Saint Mary's Strip. On this strip, several bars and restaurants can be found such as Paparay's, Joey's, The Mix, White Rabbit, Hardbodies, Demo's Greek Food, La Bikina, Jac's Lounge, Tycoon Flats (a local favorite), Lime Light, and The Candlelight Cafe. The area is also home to the Josephine Theater, which since 1995 has been home to a non-profit resident theater group, the Josephine Theatrical Company, Inc. The theater originally opened in 1947 as an art-deco style neighborhood movie house.

[edit] San Antonio notables

Further information: Notables of San Antonio, Texas

[edit] Attractions

Image:Alamo TX.jpg
The Alamo is one of the most popular cultural attractions in Texas

San Antonio is a popular tourist destination. The jewel of the city is the Paseo del Rio, or River Walk, which meanders through the downtown area. Lined with numerous shops, bars, restaurants, as well as the Arneson River Theater, this attraction is transformed into an impressive festival of lights during the Christmas and New Year holiday period. (The Alamo is Texas' top tourist attraction, while the River Walk is the second most visited attraction.)

The downtown area also features HemisFair Park (home of the Tower of the Americas and the Institute of Texan Cultures), La Villita, El Mercado, the Alamo, the city's most widely recognized landmark, and the historic Menger Hotel. On the northern side of the Alamo complex, beside the Emily Morgan Hotel, is the San Antonio Cavalry Museum [29], which features cavalry artifacts and exhibits and is frequented by local re-enactors.

The Fairmont Hotel, built in 1906, is in the Guinness Book of World Records as one of the heaviest buildings ever moved intact. It was placed in its new location, three blocks south of the Alamo, over four days in 1985, and cost $650,000 to move. The Fairmont houses the "Sage Ristorante e Bar."

Other places of interest include Brackenridge Park (home of the San Antonio Zoo), the missions of the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park, the Witte Museum, the McNay Art Museum, SeaWorld San Antonio, Six Flags Fiesta Texas theme park, and Splashtown San Antonio. Visitors can also experience something of the cowboy culture year round, they can see the 40-foot (12 m) tall cowboy boots at North Star Mall.

Beyond taking in the sights and sounds of San Antonio, tourists can sample some of its world famous Tex-Mex cuisine at the many fine restaurants located throughout the city. San Antonio is (to residents, former residents, and many visitors) the undisputed home of authentic Tex-Mex. Mexican restaurants are abundant in virtually all parts of town, and most — except for those in the "nouveau riche" Far North and some of the Uptown enclaves like Alamo Heights — are relatively inexpensive. Jacala Restaurant on West Avenue, Los Barrios on Blanco Road, and Karam's and Salsa Mora Restaurant on the West Side are just a few examples of the outstanding Tex-Mex eateries San Antonio offers. San Antonio also has establishments offering Texas style barbecue, and for the truly intrepid barbecue aficionado, a day trip to some of the more renowned barbecue pits and smokehouses of South Texas is both necessary and easily manageable.

[edit] Zones - Districts - Communities

Because of its status as a historic urban center, the architecture and layout of San Antonio are more traditionally urban than other cities in Texas, such as Dallas and Austin, which have developed in the last half century.

  • Central Loop
Image:Joskespostcard1.jpg
Joske's flagship store at Alamo and Commerce streets in downtown San Antonio. This postcard is believed to depict the store before its 1909 expansion.

The Central Loop consists of three numerical freeways, Interstates 35, 37, and U.S. Highway 90. Together the three highways create a rectangular loop around the downtown area of San Antonio: I-35 to the north and west, I-37 to the east, and US-90 to the south.

The Central Loop is home to many districts including the Alamo District, Alamodome District, Central Business District, Convention Center District, Historic Civic District, Houston Street District, King Williams District, La Villita District, Market Square District, North Downtown, North River District, River Bend District, SoSo (South of Southtown), Southtown, and the University District.

The Central Business District is home to Rivercenter, anchored by Dillard's and Macy's. The five-level Art Deco Dillard's, at the corner of Alamo and Commerce streets, opened in 1887 as Joske's. Joske's flagship store was 551,000 square feet in floor space until Dillard's bought the Joske's chain in 1987. Today, Dillard's only occupies a fraction of the original building.

  • Midtown

Midtown is known as Laurel Heights and is bordered by Hildebrand Avenue to the north, New Braunfels Avenue to the east, I-35 to the south, and I-10 to the west. Laurel Heights had been used for decades by San Antonians in the 1800s as a retreat from the busy life of downtown. The persistent threat of Native American attacks made permanent settlement of the area impossible. After the capture of Geronimo and the threat of attacks diminished in San Antonio, the area of town was opened in the 1880s for settlement.

Midtown is one of the most historic areas of metro San Antonio, home to the Monte Vista Historical District as well as Temple Beth-El, Trinity University, and neighborhoods such as Alta Vista, Tobin Hills, and University Hill.

  • Uptown Central

Uptown Central is bordered to the south by Hildebrand Avenue, to the north by Loop 410, to the east by New Braunfels Avenue, and to the west by West Avenue.

Uptown Central consists of a very large area separated by two segments.

Uptown Broadway - Uptown Loop
Uptown Broadway is home to a concentrated area of "old money" bedroom communities. These communities are Alamo Heights, Olmos Park, and Terrell Hills. Combined the total population of these three communities is almost 16,000 people on 4.2 square miles (10.9 km²). That is a density of nearly 4,000 people per square mile (1,500 km²).

Famous people that reside in Uptown Broadway include Thomas Gibson (Terrell Hills), Tommy Lee Jones (Terrell Hills), and many others. This area is home to quite a few high-rise residential buildings, with more planned. Uptown Broadway is also home to many trendy boutiques as well as the University of the Incarnate Word and two very prominent museums, the McNay Art Museum and the Witte Museum.

Uptown Loop is what one might call a retail and office Mecca. With nearly five million square feet (465,000 m²) of retail and nearly 20 million square feet (1.86 million m²) of office space. Retail in Uptown Loop consists of North Star Mall, San Pedro Towne Center, and the soon to be Park North Plaza at site of what was once Central Park Mall. North Star Mall is anchored by Dillard's, Macy's, Mervyn's, and Saks Fifth Avenue. In the summer of 2007, a J.C. Penney will move into the mall as its fifth anchor.

  • North Central

North Central is home to many suburban-ish small cities landlocked within the city of San Antonio. Some of these cities are Castle Hills, Hill Country Village, Hollywood Park, and Shavano Park.

  • Far North Central

Far North Central is home to many of San Antonio's most luxurious homes and one could call this area the "new money" of San Antonio. Such upscale master-planned communities in this area include The Dominion, Scenic Oaks, Sonterra and Stone Oak [30].

Celebrities that live in this area include "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, Bruce Bowen, Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, Joe Horn, Eva Longoria, Max Lucado, Shawn Michaels, Tony Parker, Gregg Popovich, David Robinson, Malik Rose, and George Strait.

  • Northwest

The northwest side of San Antonio is home to the South Texas Medical Center; the campus of the University of Texas at San Antonio; Six Flags Fiesta Texas; the upscale open air shopping center The Shops at La Cantera, anchored by Dillard's, Macy's, Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom; and the 3-million-square-foot retail center The Rim, anchored by Bass Pro Shops' Outdoor World, the largest Bass Pro store in Texas and fourth largest in the country, and a 19-screen movie theater with an IMAX screen, the city's second IMAX and the country's only community theater with an IMAX screen.

Image:Medview.jpg
Full view of the South Texas Medical Center skyline some 11 miles northwest of downtown San Antonio
  • Other northern cities include Windcrest, a northeastern suburb known for its extravagant Christmas light displays.
  • The southeastern suburb of China Grove is located along U.S. 87 and really is of little note except for the fact that the Doobie Brothers wrote a song about it entitled "China Grove," of little artistic merit, but insanely catchy.
  • The West Side is known for its wonderful Mexican culture, which is showcased in places like the Guadalupe Street commercial and entertainment district and the Shrine of the Little Flower Catholic church.
  • The South Side is located south of downtown. Here you will find historical San Antonio missions and a large, close-knit Hispanic community; many of whose families have lived on the South Side for decades. You will also find S.W. Military Drive, a great hang out for all ages; it includes South Park Mall, Brooks City-Base, City-Base Landing retail center, specialty stores, and dozens of restaurants.
  • West Port

The West Port neighborhood is located between U.S. Highway 90 and Port San Antonio, with the Union Pacific railroad tracks and Lackland AFB servings as its east and west boundaries, respectively. The area is the gateway to Port San Antonio and was developed primarily during the 1950s and 60s and features an extensive collection of Ranch-style homes and has some of the most affordable real estate in the city. Newer devlopments include the Los Jardines & Jesusita neighborhoods.

Employers in the area include: Boeing, Lockheed Martin, EG&G, General Electric and Gore Design.

Separated from the rest of the Edgewood ISD by U.S. Highway 90, the area is the newer and slightly wealthier portion of the district. The neighborhood recently suffered a large loss with the closure of Regina Hoelscher Elementary due to declining enrollment.

The area is home to John F. Kennedy High School, Brentwood Middle School, and Winston Elementary. Rocky's Taco House and Tellez Tamales are the areas two most popular restaurants and draw people from across San Antonio. The area features two parks — Lindbergh Park on the grounds of Port San Antonio and Kennedy Park, which features baseball fields regularly used for little league and adult league games. The proposed Austin–San Antonio Commuter Rail will terminate with a station south of the neighborhood at Port San Antonio.

[edit] Government and politics

San Antonio operates on the council-manager form of government. Voters elect 11 representatives. This includes 10 district representatives and 1 mayor to pass laws and establish policies for the city. All positions are elected on non-partisan ballots (as required by Texas law). Representatives are paid $20 a meeting, while the Mayor earns $4,000 a year. The council hires a City Manager to serve as the City's chief administrator.

The current mayor is Phil Hardberger, who is a supporter of the Democratic Party. Before he took office as San Antonio's mayor, he served as Chief Justice on the Texas Fourth Court of Appeals.

The city is represented in Congress by Hispanic Democrat Charlie Gonzalez.

[edit] Transportation

Image:San Antonio Intersection.JPG
A VIA bus stopped at a downtown intersection
The San Antonio International Airport is located in north central San Antonio, approximately eight miles from downtown. It has two terminals and is served by 11 airlines serving 28 destinations including two in Mexico. An extensive bus and trolley system is provided by the city's metropolitan transit system, VIA Metropolitan Transit. VIA offers 78 regular bus routes and four trolley routes, including express routes from downtown to the theme parks. VIA also offers a special service to city events, including Spurs games and city parades, from its Park and Ride locations.

Amtrak, the national passenger rail service, provides service to San Antonio at San Antonio Amtrak Station, operating its Texas Eagle daily between San Antonio and Chicago's Union Station. Amtrak also operates its Sunset Limited three times a week in each direction through San Antonio between Los Angeles and Orlando, Florida (currently truncated to New Orleans due to the effects of Hurricane Katrina). The Texas Eagle section travels between San Antonio and Los Angeles as part of the Sunset Limited. The old Sunset Station is now an entertainment venue owned by VIA and neighbored by the current station and the Alamodome.

San Antonio is served by these major freeways:

Other highways include:

  • U.S. Highway 87 - Southbound to Victoria along Rigsby Ave. Perplexes with Interstate 10 for 52 miles where it goes to San Angelo northbound.
  • U.S. Highway 181 - Starts 1/2 mile south from Loop 410/I-37/U.S. 281 JCT and goes to Beeville and Corpus Christi
  • State Highway 16 - From Freer, it perplexes with Loop 410 for 17 miles along southwest San Antonio, over to Bandera Road to Bandera, Texas
  • State Highway Loop 345 - Formerly U.S. Highway 87. Goes along Fredericksburg Road, where it meets with I-10/U.S. 87 both ways.
  • State Highway Loop 368 - Formerly U.S. Highway 81. North section goes along Broadway to Austin Highway. South section goes along Nogalitos to New Laredo Highway.

[edit] Education and scientific research

[edit] Colleges, universities, and research institutes

San Antonio hosts several institutions of higher education offering associate's degrees or higher, including:

[edit] Public schools and libraries

San Antonio and Bexar County are served by 15 separate independent school districts, largest among these are Northside Independent School District with an estimated total enrollment of 78,104 (6th largest in Texas), North East Independent School District with an enrollment of 60,451, and San Antonio Independent School District with an estimated enrollment of 57,500. Other districts that serve portions of the city of San Antonio include Alamo Heights, East Central, Edgewood, Fort Sam Houston, Harlandale, Judson, Lackland, Randolph Field, Shertz-Cibolo-Universal City, South San Antonio, and Southwest.

The city is served by the San Antonio Public Library.

[edit] Private schools

San Antonio has many private schools, notably Antonian College Preparatory High School [46] (the largest Catholic high school in San Antonio), Central Catholic Marianist High School (the oldest all-boy's school in Texas), Christian Academy of San Antonio (CASA), Harvest Academy, Holy Cross High School, Incarnate Word High School, the Keystone School (the only non-sectarian private school in San Antonio), Lutheran High School of San Antonio, Providence High School, Saint Mary's Hall, San Antonio Academy, San Antonio Christian Schools, St. Anthony Catholic High School [47], St. Gerard Catholic High School (the city's first co-educational high school) and T.M.I.: The Episcopal School of Texas.

[edit] Sports

Image:P1010005.JPG
The AT&T Center is home to the 1999, 2003, & 2005 NBA champions, the San Antonio Spurs.

The city's only top-level professional sports team, and consequently the team most San Antonians follow, is the San Antonio Spurs of the NBA. The Spurs have been playing in San Antonio since 1973 and have won three NBA Championships (1999, 2003, 2005). Previously, the Spurs played at the Alamodome, which was built for football, and before that the HemisFair Arena, but the Spurs built and moved into the SBC Center in 2002, since renamed the AT&T Center, following the merge of giants SBC and AT&T. The AT&T Center is also home to the San Antonio Rampage of the American Hockey League and the San Antonio Silver Stars of the WNBA, both owned by the Spurs. San Antonio is also home to the Double-A Minor League affiliate of the Seattle Mariners, the San Antonio Missions who play at Nelson Wolff Stadium on the west side of the city. San Antonio also hosts the NCAA football Alamo Bowl each December.

The city was also a temporary home for the New Orleans Saints for the 2005 NFL season due to the effects of Hurricane Katrina. The Saints set up practice facilities in San Antonio for the season, and played a split home schedule between the Alamodome and Baton Rouge, Louisiana's Tiger Stadium during the 2005 season. After the final game in San Antonio, the Saints committed to moving back to New Orleans for the 2006 season. City officials are said to be attempting to lure the NFL permanently to San Antonio and have also said that a strong showing at the Alamodome for the three local Saints games was vital to showing that San Antonio can support an NFL franchise. NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue stated San Antonio was successful in hosting the team, and that the city would be on the short list for any future NFL expansions. The city has also hosted the Dallas Cowboys and Houston Oilers preseason camps in the past, and they have signed a contract with the Cowboys in which the Cowboys will practice in San Antonio through 2011. [48] Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has acknowledged his support for the city's efforts to become home to an NFL franchise.[49] Despite this, San Antonio remains the largest metropolis in the United States with neither an NFL franchise nor a Division I college football team.

In March 2006, the city also made an offer to build a stadium for the struggling Florida Marlins baseball franchise. However, the Marlins and Major League Baseball, while indicating San Antonio would be a viable relocation option if things did not work out in Florida, have declined the offer and appear to be focused on keeping the franchise in South Florida.

Some current names in professional sports from the city of San Antonio's high school sports programs include Golden State Warriors guard Devin Brown, Minnesota Vikings 2006 second-round draft pick Cedric Griffin, Kansas City Chiefs running back Priest Holmes, Houston Texans defensive end N.D. Kalu, Florida Marlins pitcher Logan Kensing, WWE Supestar Shawn Michaels, Miami Heat center Shaquille O'Neal, and Olympic gold medalist Darold Williamson.

[edit] Media and entertainment

[edit] Print

San Antonio has one major newspaper, the San Antonio Express-News [50], which has served the area since 1865. The Express-News currently circulates as the largest newspaper service in South Texas. The Hearst Corporation, which owned a second newspaper, the San Antonio Light, purchased the Express-News from News Corp. in 1992 and shut down the Light after failing to find a buyer. The San Antonio Current [51] is the "alternative" paper with weekly listings of events and nightlife around town. In addition, the San Antonio Business Journal [52] covers general business news. La Prensa [53], a bilingual publication, also has a long history in San Antonio.

[edit] Television

While the city is one of the ten largest in the United States, its television market is only the 37th in the United States, according to Nielsen [54]. This is primarily due to the lack of suburbs; most of the population has been or is being annexed into San Antonio proper. The San Antonio market has 65 percent cable TV penetration.


Broadcast television in the San Antonio market  (Nielsen DMA #37)

KCWX 2 (The CW) - WOAI 4 (NBC) - KENS 5 (CBS) - KLRN 9 (PBS) - KSAT 12 (ABC) - K14LM 14 (3ABN) - KNIC-CA 17 (TFU) - KHCE 23 (TBN) - KPXL 26 (i) - KABB 29 (Fox) - KVDF-CA 31 (AZA) - KMYS 35 (MNTV) (The Tube on DT2) - KWEX 41 (UNI) - KQVE-LP 46 (DS) - K52EA 52 (Multimedios) - KVDA 60 (TEL)

See also, Broadcast television in Del Rio / Eagle Pass

[edit] Radio

FM: 28 AM: 20

About 50 radio stations can be heard in the San Antonio area — 30 of them are actually located in San Antonio. The first radio station to broadcast in South Texas was KTSA AM-550 in 1922. Another significant station is WOAI AM-1200 (the flagship of Clear Channel Worldwide), which is the radio home of the San Antonio Spurs and one of the country's leading radio news/talk stations. The National Public Radio station is KSTX 89.1, which broadcasts "Riverwalk Jazz", featuring Jim Cullum Jazz Band at The Landing, a fixture on the River Walk since 1963.

Most Latin stations in the area play Regional Mexican, Tejano or Contemporary Pop. But on January 12, 2006, Univision-owned KCOR FM "La Kalle 95.1" changed its format from Reggaeton/Hispanic-Rhythmic Contemporary Hits to Spanish Oldies, now named "Recuerdo 95.1". However, Univision announced on November 10, 2006, that it flipped KLTO Tejano 97.7's format to Reggaeton in an attempt to reintroduce the format to San Antonio again. KLTO was acquired earlier in the year and operated as a simulcast of KXTN Tejano 107.5. San Antonio has quickly diversified in recent years, with the influx of non-Tejano Latinos, mostly from the East Coast, who are serving in the city's various military bases, as well as immigrants from Mexico. Therefore, just like in the rest of the country, radio station conglomerates have been changing formats in San Antonio to reflect shifting demographics.

Another station is KRIO-FM Digital 104.1, a Border Media Partners-owned station that started broadcasting in 2004. It bills itself as Pop en Español but mostly mimics the format of the former Amor (the previous, now-defunct format on KCOR) along with some Latin dance hits. On late Saturday nights, it runs a weekly syndicated show called "Digital Dance Revolution".


San Antonio, Texas FM radio stations (Arbitron #29)

 KPAC 88.3 | K204DX 88.7/K218CF 91.5 | KSTX 89.1 | KWCB 89.7 | KTSW 89.9 | KSYM 90.1 | KYFS 90.9 | KZLV 91.3 | KRTU 91.7 | KNBT 92.1 | KRPT 92.5 | KROM 92.9 | KTFM 94.1 | KCOR 95.1 | KLEY 95.7 | KXXM 96.1 | KAJA 97.3 | KLTO 97.7 | KVET 98.1 | KBBT 98.5 | KLMO 98.9/K227BH 93.3 | KISS 99.5 | KCYY 100.3 | KASE 100.7 | KONO 101.1 | KQXT 101.9 | KJXK 102.7 | KTXX 103.1 | KRIO 104.1 | KZEP 104.5 | KSMG 105.3 | KMFR 105.9/K279AB 103.7 | KMLR 106.3 | KPWT 106.7 | KXTN 107.5 


See also: SA (FM) (AM)

Texas Markets

<center>Abilene · Amarillo · Austin (AM) (FM) · Beaumont-Port Arthur · College Station · Corpus Christi · Dallas/Fort Worth (AM) (FM) · El Paso (AM) (FM) · Houston (AM) (FM) · Killeen Temple</center> <center>Laredo · Lubbock · Lufkin-Nacogdoches · McAllen · Odessa-Midland · San Angelo · San Antonio (AM) (FM) · Tyler-Longview · Texarkana · Waco · Wichita Falls </center>

See also: List of radio stations in Texas and List of United States radio markets

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San Antonio, Texas AM radio stations (Arbitron #29)

 KTSA 550 | KSLR 630 | KKYX 680 | KSAH 720 | KTKR 760 | KSJL 810 | KONO 860 | KLUP 930 | KBIB 1000 | KDRY 1100 | KRDY 1160 | WOAI 1200 | KZDC 1250 | KAHL 1310 | KCOR 1350 | KGNB 1420 | KCHL 1480 | KEDA 1540 | KWED 1580 


See also: SA (FM) (AM)

Texas Markets

<center>Abilene · Amarillo · Austin (AM) (FM) · Beaumont-Port Arthur · College Station · Corpus Christi · Dallas/Fort Worth (AM) (FM) · El Paso (AM) (FM) · Houston (AM) (FM) · Killeen Temple</center> <center>Laredo · Lubbock · Lufkin-Nacogdoches · McAllen · Odessa-Midland · San Angelo · San Antonio (AM) (FM) · Tyler-Longview · Texarkana · Waco · Wichita Falls </center>

See also: List of radio stations in Texas and List of United States radio markets

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See also: Broadcast media in San Antonio

[edit] Sister cities

[edit] External links


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