San Antonio, Texas: Historic Missions near Picturesque River Walk
In the late 1920s, architect Robert H. H. Hugman designed an urban park around the San Antonio River—a space he envisioned as an American version of Venice, where people could shop and dine along the waterfront. Completed in 1941, the 2.5-mile river walk still serves as a vital artery in the heart of San Antonio as it wends its way past cafés, hotels, bars, and shops.
Located one story below street level, the waterway is flanked on either side by stone pathways, quiet waterfalls, and towering cypress trees. The winding river-walk path reveals little surprises along the way, such as picturesque restaurants, public art installations, and cardboard cutouts of Davy Crockett. A new extension connects the river walk to the four-story San Antonio Museum of Art, where you'll find more than 25,000 sculptures and paintings that range from Roman antiquities to contemporary art.
Also neighboring the river walk is the Alamo. Thanks to the 1836 battle that made it a symbol of Texas independence, the Alamo has become the most visited tourist site in the state. It's actually one of five historic Spanish missions clustered around the San Antonio River. The largest, Mission San José, lies just 5 miles south of downtown. Its famed rose window is once again on display following an extensive renovation.