Market and museum
Vibrant culture isn’t just a relic of history in San Antonio; several places around town give visitors opportunities to experience cultural flair in a modern setting.
In Mexico, most cities and towns feature a large central marketplace that serves as a gathering place for locals. That tradition lives on in San Antonio’s Market Square, a must-visit site for any group seeking to experience the area’s culture.
“This is the largest Mexican market in the world outside of Mexico,” Price said. “The market has great shopping and wonderful Mexican arts, jewelry and clothing that people can buy.”
The market complex is also home to a number of famous attractions and eateries. A restaurant called Mi Tierra has come to symbolize traditional Mexican food in San Antonio. Open 24 hours every day of the year, the restaurant has never closed since it opened in the 1940s.
In addition to well-known Mexican dishes, diners at Mi Tierra will find traditional “sweetbread” pastries baked on-site, as well as cinnamon-spiced Mexican hot cocoa.
Museum-lovers will want to stop at the Museo Alameda in Market Square. This Smithsonian-affiliated institution is the largest Latino museum in the nation, telling the story of the Latino experience in America with artwork that ranges from pre-Colombian times to modern painting and sculpture.
Pride on parade
Most of San Antonio’s cultural attractions are open year-round, but groups looking to maximize their experiences in town can get an extra dose of excitement during several of the city’s signature annual events.
In January, San Antonio hosts the largest Martin Luther King Jr. Day march in the country, accompanied by a weeklong series of celebrations.
February brings the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo, a 20-day extravaganza of Western traditions and activities. In addition to rodeo, the event features a carnival and headlining country music performers.
In March, Luminaria is San Antonio’s citywide celebration of arts and artists. A food and wine event called Culinaria takes place over five days in May, giving visitors a taste of both traditional local foods and high-end fare created by the best chefs in town.
San Antonio’s most iconic event, though, is Fiesta. This April celebration brings the city’s cultural heritage into the spotlight.
“It follows the anniversary of the battle of Alamo and rolls into an 11-day celebration with over 100 events,” Price said. “It has history and culinary experiences for all of the different heritages. The celebration has parades, carnivals, art fairs and concerts, and over 3.5 million people attend it.”
One of Fiesta’s festivities is Night in Old San Antonio, a four-night event in La Villita that highlights the area’s diversity with food and entertainment from 15 distinct ethnic groups.
Groups that come to Fiesta should also plan to attend the River Parade. This nighttime event takes place downtown on the River Walk, the most beautiful part of San Antonio, and features music, food and elaborately decorated river floats.
“More than 30 floats come down the river, and people line the River Walk downtown to see them,” Price said. “It’s a major parade, like you would usually have on the street, but it takes place on the water. It’s the signature event of Fiesta.”
For travelers who love to experience local flavors, Fiesta and the River Parade are the shining jewels in San Antonio’s impressive cultural crown.
San Antonio Convention and Visitors Bureau