Visit the River Walk in San Antonio, Texas ~ Fun Tourist Destination!


San Antonio River Walk

Next to The Alamo, San Antonio's famous Riverwalk in downtown is probably one of the most visited tourist destinations ever in that part of Texas...and for good reason. But it was not always the case.

From the age of 10, my husband grew up in San Antonio and can remember when the Riverwalk was a place to be avoided due to muggings and mayhem. It was not well patrolled by police, nor as scenic an area as it is today.

San Antonio houses several military bases and even the soldiers were advised to stay clear of that area!

All of that changed substantially for the better when HemisFair came to San Antonio.

Riverwalk in San Antonio, Texas

Boatride along San Antonio Riverwalk
Boatride along San Antonio Riverwalk | Source

San Antonio River Walk

Arneson River Theatre on the San Antonio River Walk

Arneson River Theatre on the San Antonio Riverwalk
Arneson River Theatre on the San Antonio Riverwalk | Source
Arneson River Theatre on the San Antonio Riverwalk
Arneson River Theatre on the San Antonio Riverwalk | Source

1968 World's Fair


In preparation for the World's Fair in 1968 city planners helped to spur endeavors to help clean up the downtown river area and help to show off the City of San Antonio to the many tourists from around the world who might be seeing it for the first time.


This of course happens in every town, city or country when events of great magnitude bring attention to a place along with tourists and their dollars.

Whether it is Olympics, World Fairs or other events, it generally encourages the host city to put on its best face for others to see.


Efforts to extend the river, both for HemisFair and since have served the city and its businesses well.


The Riverwalk is now well policed and people can feel safe whether strolling the sidewalks, taking a boat ride, shopping or dining at one of the many restaurants that line the scenic riverfront.

My single dating days...photo taken at the Sunken Garden in San Antonio...already an O.R. nurse at this point.
My single dating days...photo taken at the Sunken Garden in San Antonio...already an O.R. nurse at this point. | Source

San Antonio Holiday River Parade

River Walk in San Antonio, Texas

Crowd walking along the Riverwalk...probably for an Artfest event
Crowd walking along the Riverwalk...probably for an Artfest event | Source

HemisFair


HemisFair had already taken place when I was taking my psychiatric nursing course in San Antonio, so we students took full advantage of the scenery and action when we had some free time.

The "scenery" included all the attractive young men in soldier's uniforms who were found in abundance gracing the Riverwalk with their handsome youthful faces and firm bodies.

I don't think that any of my classmates found their "Mr. Right" among those Army and Air Force guys, but we certainly had some fun visiting, flirting, dining, dancing, singing and even one time went on a swimming date with a group of them. I vaguely remember a nice kiss or two or three or more.

Ah yes...those were the days!

Only one mishap occurred while coming down the steps of one of those stone bridges that links one side of the Riverwalk to the other. One of my heels broke off and fortunately I caught myself prior to tumbling down face forward.

It was common back then to wear high heels...so at first glance, it would have appeared to onlookers that I had a severe limp. No soldier's eye was caught that day! (Smile)

Lush foliage & pretty scenery along the San Antonio Riverwalk

Lush foliage & pretty scenery along the San Antonio Riverwalk
Lush foliage & pretty scenery along the San Antonio Riverwalk | Source

The Alamo: Preserving History...

Linocut of house in the King William District / San Antonio

My original linoleum cut art print (linocut) of a house in the King William district of San Antonio.
My original linoleum cut art print (linocut) of a house in the King William district of San Antonio. | Source

Spanish Governors Palace - San Antonio, TX

El Mercado (Market Square), San Antonio

HemisFair San Antonio - Part 1


Sites of Interest


With the Riverwalk in downtown San Antonio as well as many other great sites of interest in this city, any tourist is sure to head for that area if they want to depart with a true flavor of having visited San Antonio.



A sampling of sites that one can see in addition to the things along the waterway that are adjacent or nearby include some of the following...


The Alamo...Most people already know that this was the place of a historic mission where the famous battle took place between early Texans fighting for independence from Mexico.


La Villita...One of the first neighborhoods in San Antonio is adjacent to the Riverwalk. It has an interesting history and now houses an active arts community in the quaint architecturally styled buildings. If one is looking for a distinctively different and handmade object of art, perhaps as a souvenir, head for La Villita. A wide variety of choices will be offered to suit almost any one's interest or budget. (My husband's office for many years was furnished with some artwork that we acquired at La Villita.)


The Spanish Governor's Palace...Now a museum, this was the capitol building of the Spanish Texas in 1722. Although it has the name of King Ferdinand VI and the date of 1749 inscribed over the door, it was actually never inhabited by the Spanish king, but instead was the working residence of the local captain in the area. It is a beautiful building worth seeing and one can learn more history of the early days in the San Antonio region by visiting there.


The King William District...This is now a historic district where mansions mingle with more modest abodes. One of the first neighborhoods established in this region of Texas, it was first settled by immigrant Germans. Located on the south side of the San Antonio River, one can take hourly tours through this district or walk the streets or even stay in one of the Bed and Breakfast establishments in this beautiful area. ( I created a linocut inspired by one of the columned homes seen there and titled it "Classically Adorned." This is just one of several limited edition linocuts created with the buildings in San Antonio as inspiration for my artwork.


El Mercado...An authentic old Spanish marketplace adds interest to this downtown area.


HemisFair Plaza...Among many remaining buildings from the 1968 World's Fair is the 750 foot Tower of the Americas set in an area of 92 acres. If one wants a bird's eye view of San Antonio from the top of the tower in a setting of waterfalls, a great children's playground, museums, etc., head on over to this plaza.



There are many other buildings and sites of interest near the downtown Riverwalk, but perhaps this will give a tourist a starting place in which to think about making some plans if visiting this scenic city in the future.....not to mention the outlying areas of interest.

Kangaroo Court on Riverwalk in San Antonio, Texas

One of our favorite places along the Riverwalk...looking down at the Kangaroo Court
One of our favorite places along the Riverwalk...looking down at the Kangaroo Court | Source

Dinner at the Casa Rio

Enjoy a boatride on the San Antonio River and see the Riverwalk from that perspective...

Through the years when my mother-in-law still lived in San Antonio, my husband and I spent many a happy hour strolling along the Riverwalk and taking in the sites.

We have dined at a number of the restaurants while seated under the brightly colored umbrella tables outdoors and at the same time were able to watch the boats take tourists up and down the San Antonio River. One of our favorite restaurants was Casa Rio.

This is a great area for people watching!

Now that I am older...those young soldiers that still frequent this downtown location look like fresh faced babies to me. What happened?

Of course, as I look in the mirror, I believe Father Time has been adjusting the mirrors because they no longer reflect what I feel like inside. He has a mischievous sense of humor! At least, so far, he has left my memories pretty much intact. He had better not mess with those!

Vintage postcard of San Antonio's Riverwalk

Old postcard picked up by my grandparents who traveled to San Antonio many years ago.
Old postcard picked up by my grandparents who traveled to San Antonio many years ago. | Source

Old vintage postcard...

On the back of the vintage postcard (shown above) that my grandparents had acquired many years ago while visiting San Antonio the following can be read:

CASA RIO MEXICAN FOODS

Catering in the Old Mexico Atmosphere on the Beautiful Patio at the Bank of the winding San Antonio River. 100 W. Commerce.

NATURAL COLOR by Mike Roberts, BERKLEY 2, CALIF.

Distributed by C.F. Searls & Son, 2015 E. Houston St., San Antonio, Texas.

A. F. BEYER - JOHNSON SMITH Owners & Operators

Recap...


In this post I merely tried to give one an impression of the downtown area along the San Antonio River and it is by no means exhaustive of what there is to do and see in this great city.

There is much, much more to this charming inland metropolis that could keep one entertained for weeks at a time.

San Antonio, Texas provides a fun tourist destination for out-of-towners with its many historic buildings, Spanish culture and flavor, with venues like the Riverwalk. Come, explore and enjoy!

Have you ever visited San Antonio's Riverwalk area?

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© 2009 Peggy Woods

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Comments are most welcome! 56 comments

Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 20 months ago from Houston, Texas Author

Hi Patricia,

Some friends of mine have mentioned that I should write books or have my own website. I am working on the latter idea. Glad you enjoy these hubs and thanks for the share. Hope your family does get well. Am keeping them in my thoughts and prayers.


pstraubie48 profile image

pstraubie48 20 months ago from sunny Florida

Hi Peggy

You know that I am composing a travel brochure from your hubs to use when I do get to Texas (if I can ever get my family well enough so I can come).

Thank you for all of the great tips.

And I also will gladly share this

Voted up shared and pinned to Awesome HubPages ps


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 20 months ago from Houston, Texas Author

Hi poetryman6969,

Some parts of the River Walk in San Antonio are better to walk along than others. The boat rides certainly go further now than they did when they were first started. Nice that you have personally experienced both. As to my photo...that was many moons ago! :)


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 20 months ago from Houston, Texas Author

Hi Don,

I think cities with rivers running through them are all considering making them a focal point. Some of them got started in featuring them as an asset earlier than others.

Happy for you that even with that last snowfall, Spring is bound to win the battle against Mr. Winter sometime soon weather wise no matter what the calendar shows. This is bluebonnet season in these parts and although we have not yet taken a country drive, we see patches of them in Houston now. Thanks for the share.


poetryman6969 profile image

poetryman6969 20 months ago

I definitely prefer the guided boat tour to actually walking the river walk. Someone had a infant who did not care for the sun and all the people our last trip but we enjoyed the ride anyway.

You looked nice by the Sunken Garden.


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