Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center began weaving itself into the fabric of San Antonio’s arts and theater scene more than three decades ago to share the richness of Chicano, Latino, and Native American art forms. Now a cornerstone of the community, the nonprofit touches the lives of more than 100,000 people each year with theater and dance performances, cultural festivals, and creative classes. The center passes down traditional forms of expression, such as Mexican Folklórico dance and cactus juggling while also embracing contemporary art forms such as photography.
Each year, Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center’s festivals welcome large crowds of adults, kids, and multiple Waldos. Foremost among them are CineFestival, the Tejano Conjunto music festival, and Hecho A Mano, a holiday crafts and arts festival. For its members, the center organizes a wealth of educational programming, teaching everything from oil painting and guitar to karate.
Houston St. Bistro sits just a playbill?s toss from the Majestic Theatre, welcoming post-show patrons with tables dressed smartly in black and white linens. The dinner menu ranges from classic steaks and chops drizzled with savory marsala wine sauce to inventive modern dishes such as the wasabi-crusted ahi tuna served atop cilantro sweet-corn rice. During the afternoon, the bistro whips up lunchtime fare such as paninis and burgers amid an ambience as relaxed as a business-casual coronation ceremony. At any time of day, patrons can peruse a list of 43 international wines available by the glass, bottle, or half-bottle.:m]]
ARTS San Antonio, a nonprofit organization, strives to bring a diverse, globally significant realm of performing arts to the children and grownups of the San Antonio community. Performances take place in venues throughout the city, ranging from the Lila Cockrell Theatre and the Majestic Theatre to the San Antonio River and El Tropicano Riverwalk Hotel. Recent artists who've paid a visit to San Antonio through ARTS San Antonio include Anthony Bourdain, the Shaolin Warriors, William Shatner, and Mejia Ballet International.
Named San Antonio's Best Museum in the 2010 Nickelodeon Parents' Choice Awards, San Antonio Children's Museum has ushered more than two million guests through its educational wonderland since opening in 1995. Tykes can explore permanent exhibits such as Science City, with hands-on exhibits covering physics, engineering, and how to extract highlighter ink from lightning bugs. In PowerBall Hall, children man simple machines to send orbs up to a lofty cage until the chamber fills and unleashes a spherical torrent down upon the delighted little ones. Other exhibits impart lessons of financial responsibility and proper nutrition in a make-believe bank and market. Membership is calibrated for any permutation of the family unit, and grants amenities including unlimited visits for a year, a subscription to the museum newsletter “Spark!,” and access to more than 40 classes where kids can submit theses on baking-soda volcanoes for peer review.
Albert Friedrich poured the first foamer at The Buckhorn Saloon in 1881. Early in his bartending days, Friedrich began accepting horns and antlers in exchange for whiskey and beer, leading to a unique collection now exhibited in The Buckhorn Museum. The historic tavern claims that Teddy Roosevelt once recruited Rough Riders from among its patrons, and it is also rumored as the place where Pancho Villa plotted the Mexican Revolution. An original handcrafted marble-and-cherry-wood back bar and other historic furnishings still reside in the saloon, where guests now swig locally brewed beers and challenge each other to taser duels. Visitors come face to face with the taxidermal heads and other artifacts from more than 520 species, including a 1,056-pound black marlin and a prehistoric irish-elk skull and antlers. The museum also lays claims to a preserved whitetail deer and the rattlesnake rattle artwork of Friedrich’s wife, which guests can show to their own pet snakes as a cautionary example of what happens to misbehaving reptiles.
Adjacent to The Buckhorn Museum, The Texas Ranger Museum houses Texas Ranger paraphernalia such as sawed-off shotguns, badges, and photographs. At Ranger Town, young whippersnappers delight in glimpses of life during turn-of-the-century San Antonio, as depicted by a re-created jail, smith, and telegraph office, as well as the Bonnie and Clyde exhibit, where a '34 Ford V8 Deluxe sits anxiously awaiting its next adventure. On their way out, visitors can drop in at a museum gift shop that traces its own origins to 1920, when it was a curios store.
“It’s the rare visitor who won't discover here that his or her ethnic group has contributed to the history of Texas,” noted the New York Times in its description of the Institute of Texan Cultures. The 26 different ethnic and cultural groups represented at the educational center incline one to agree with the Times. The article went on to list the institute as a top San Antonio attraction due to its “imaginative, hands-on displays” and kid-friendly features, including an adobe home and one-room schoolhouse. Along with heritage festivals and other events, the institute features both long-term and rotating exhibits, as well as a photo archive with more than three million images.