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Das Alamo in San Antonio, Bild: Dean Fikar / shutterstock

San Antonio – the oldest and culturally diverse metropolis in Texas

San Antonio, the second largest city in the state of Texas, not only has enormous economic importance, but is also characterized by its cultural diversity. The former border settlement of the Wild West now presents itself as a modern metropolis and yet the historic city of the Alamos has not lost its charm. Picturesquely situated on the river of the same name, the city has skyscrapers as well as idyllic nature, excellent shopping opportunities and numerous sights to offer.

Founded in 1718, San Antonio is the oldest city in the state. At the time of its founding, the city was part of the Spanish colonial empire and so Spanish, Mexican and Anglo-American culture has left unmistakable traces. But the German immigrants were also increasingly drawn to San Antonio and so the German culture is also reflected in many places in the city.

Sights – the Spanish heritage of San Antonio

Riverwalk San Antonio
The Riverwalk, city park in San Antonio, Image: Sean Pavone / shutterstock

With its unique cultural mix that combines Spanish, German and American elements, San Antonio is a very special destination. Founded under Spanish rule, San Antonio has some sights from the time of its origin. But Spanish and Mexican culture is also still formative for the city today.

An absolute highlight is the Alamos in the heart of the city. The mission station, with which the city’s history began, can now also be found on the UNESCO World Heritage List. There are a total of five Spanish missions in San Antonio, which are extremely worthwhile to visit due to the architectural features alone.

If you want to get to know the original San Antonio, you should definitely take time to visit “La Villita”. One of the first settlements was built here in the founding days and the historic Mexican Village looks back on a history spanning over 200 years and has been extensively reconstructed. Today, you can spend a lot of time in the National Historic District in the heart of the city, as numerous shops and craft workshops invite you to browse.

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No less worth seeing is the King William Historic District on the south bank of the river. Here you will find dreamlike villas from the Victorian era, which were once inhabited by German traders. Before the settlement was built, the area was used as farmland by the Alamos Mission. In 1793, the land was handed over to the population in an auction and from 1860 onwards the current district was created. Due to the numerous Germans who settled here, the district also bore the name Sauerkrautschleife.

The city’s Spanish and Mexican heritage can be seen not only in historic buildings and settlements, but also in facilities such as El Mercado, the largest Mexican market outside of Mexico. If you go shopping here, you will quickly forget that you are in one of the largest cities in Texas , among clothing, jewelry, leather goods, art galleries and piñatas.

The most German city in the USA

Skyline San Antonio
San Antonio, Image: f11photo / shutterstock

Traces of German settlers can be found in many cities in the USA , but San Antonio plays a special role. No other city in the USA has such a rich cultural German heritage as San Antonio. Restaurants with Bavarian cosiness attract visitors and typical Bavarian beer gardens are a popular meeting place. It is also not surprising that German or at least a mixture of German and American is still spoken in many places and so it is no problem to shop in San Antonio at the German baker or German butcher. Numerous breweries in the city brew according to the German art of brewing, children learn German folk songs in schools and women in dirndl and men in lederhosen are not a rare sight in San Antonio. Where once German merchants embarked on an adventure in the “New World” in Victorian villas, their descendants now cultivate German traditions in almost all districts of San Antonio, enriching the city with German craftsmanship.

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San Antonio’s little oases

San Antonio is a lively city that has a lot to offer. If you are in the mood for relaxation, you can not only visit the numerous amusement parks at the gates of the city, but also find quiet places in the city that are ideal for a little break. Peace and relaxation are offered by the Riverwalk, which is now one of the most important areas of the city. Here you will not only find a promenade with shops, galleries and cozy cafés, but you can also enjoy a boat tour or a walk along the green bank on the river.

One of the most popular parks in the city is HemisFair Park in Downtown. In 1968, the site hosted the World’s Fair, and today the park offers wonderful resting places, play facilities for children, and the Tower of the Americans offers a fantastic view over the city with its observation deck.

Woodlawn Lake Park is also an absolute recommendation. The lake in the city area is ideal for canoeing and fishing, and the park offers numerous sports facilities, picnic tables and much more. Especially enjoying the sunset on the lake is an absolute highlight.

San Antonio also has a magnificent botanical garden that is well worth a visit. However, if you want to immerse yourself in another world, you should plan a visit to the Japanese Tea Garden, which is an absolute oasis of well-being with shady walkways, a waterfall, ponds full of koi and a particularly calming atmosphere.