Visiting San Antonio
2018 marks the three hundredth anniversary of San Antonio’s founding. Opportunities abound for those who want to take time around or between AMS/SMT activities to learn about San Antonio’s history: from special exhibits at some of the city’s most beloved museums to the five unforgettable historical missions (remember the Alamo?), collectively named a UNESCO world heritage site in 2015.
Ground Transportation around San Antonio
Public ground transportation is available: VIA Metropolitan Transit.
The Riverwalk – our Meeting hotel is on the Riverwalk, which is a city park lined with a series of restaurants, shops, and activities. It is one of the top reasons people visit San Antonio as it spreads through historic parts of the city. At night, it can be crowded with locals and tourists. Consider taking a riverboat tour where you can hear a guide speak about San Antonio’s history or relive adventures from the 1984 film “Cloak & Dagger.”
La Villita – this “little village” is 300 years old and half a mile from the hotel. There are historic buildings, shopping, restaurants, and notable Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) celebration (10/31–11/2).
UTSA’s Institute of Texan Cultures – explore the unique beauty and diversity of the many cultures that came to Texas. This is a wonderful and accessible museum that is .7 miles from the hotel. The walk is quite scenic as you can take the Riverwalk through Hemisfair Park and finally to the campus of the Convention Center, Institute, and Tower of the Americas (which has a rotating restaurant 750 feet above the city. You can take a tour to the top, experience fine dining, or stop in for a beverage on the next-to-top floor to soak in some stellar views).
King William Historic District, sometimes referred to as South Town, is a beautiful historic neighborhood for food/drinks/historic neighborhood walking about a one-mile walk (or two-mile drive) from the conference. Two great places for a medium-large group to enjoy food and beverages are The Friendly Spot and The Liberty Bar, or a more upscale American eatery.
No visit to San Antonio is complete without seeing the Alamo! It’s located about one half mile from the hotel conference. Touring the mission and its beautiful grounds are free. There are four other Missions (Concepción, San José, San Juan and Espada) south of the city. See the Missions National Historic Park site for bike trails and tour information.
The Pearl is a culinary, shopping, and architectural destination about two miles from the hotel. Home of the late 1800s Pearl Beer Brewery, it has been renovated to accommodate high-end living. There are many great restaurants, coffee houses, and hotels, as well as a popular Farmers’ market on the weekend and live jazz venue. It is a bit out of the way, but worth the walk/drive/riverboat ride.
Museums and Parks
If you have extra time in the city, you migh like to one of the city's forty-nine museums:
- The Institute of Texan Cultures is, as the name implies, an excellent place to learn about the many societies and cultures that have been part of Texas history.
- The Spanish “Governor’s Palace” is a short walk and gives an interesting glimpse of pre-U.S. times in a home where the commandant of the Presidio lived.
- The San Antonio Museum of Art began with an emphasis on pre-Columbian, Spanish, and Latin American art, but has evolved over the years to become an important collection of art from around the world.
Here's a list from Trip Advisor of other top-ranked area museums:
- The San Antonio Fire Museum
- The McNay Art Museum (modern art)
- The Brisco Western Art Museum
- Caliente Hot Glass (glass blowing and glass art)
- The Witte Museum (nature, science, art)
- The Guenther House Museum (nineteenth-century Texan life)
- The Buckhorn Saloon/museum and Texas Ranger Museum
Those traveling with children might also consult this top 20 list of children's activities in the city.