San Antonio was founded by Spaniards, ruled by Mexico, settled by Germans, and influenced by ethnicities from around the world. Celebrating its 300th anniversary in 2018, the city thrives today as a 21st-century metropolis with intertwining cultures that create living traditions.
Explore the tapestry of ideas, cultural expression, and history that gives us our enduring spirit and plan your trip at VisitSanAntonio.com.
5 Ways to Get Inspired in San Antonio
- The Witte Museum
- March 3, 2018-January 6, 2019: Confluence and Culture: 300 Years of San Antonio History
- May 26-September 3, 2018: Predators vs Prey: Dinosaurs on the Land Before Texas
- February 17-September 3, 2018: Connecting Texas: 300 Years of Trails, Rails, and Roads
- July 21-September 30, 2018: Portraits of Courage
- McNay Art Museum
- May 3-July 29, 2018: HemisFair ’68: San Antonio’s World’s Fair
- June 7-September 2, 2018: Immersed: Local to Global Art Sensations
- May 17-September 2, 2018: Manuel Carrillo: Mi Querido México (My Beloved Mexico)
- May 8-September 9, 2018: Fragments of a Dream
- June 28-September 23, 2018: Dario Robleto: Ancient Beacons Long for Notice
- San Antonio Museum of Art
- June 23-September 16, 2018: Spain: 500 Years of Spanish Painting from the Museums of Madrid
- August 24-November 11, 2018: Marilyn Lanfear
- October 26-January 20, 2018: Becoming John Marin: Modernist at Work
- Southwest School of Art
- May 31-July 29, 2018: James Smolleck | Transmissions From the Blue Egg
- May 31-July 29, 2018: Mari Hernandez | What Remains
- May 31-August 19, 2018: ASTROBLACK | Xavier Gilmore
- Blue Star Contemporary
- October 2016-October 2019: Plexus c18, Gabriel Dawe (San Antonio International Airport, Terminal A)
- June 7-September 9, 2018: Veo Mis Huesos
- June 7-September 9, 2018: As Far As The Eye Can See
- June 7-September 9, 2018: A Manhattan Beach Memoir
- June 7-September 9, 2018: From Underfoot: Breaking Through Surface and Ground
Nature’s Creations Inspired Our Own
Peeling back the layers of history
Where four Texas ecological zones intersect, so too do our roots in innovation, discovery and adventure. While found artifacts date back over 10,000 years, the recorded history of our city began in 1693, when it was named San Antonio de Padua by a Spanish Franciscan priest. In 1718, the founding of Mission San Antonio de Valero (which was relocated and later called the Alamo) and a military presidio on the riverbank marked the official birth of this city that would endure and grow for hundreds of years.
Progress continued to swell the riverbanks through 1920 when the San Antonio Conservation Society created a space for parks, shops, restaurants, offices and hotels that became the River Walk as we know it today. San Antonio celebrated its 250th anniversary by hosting the 1968 World’s Fair, which the city accommodated with a lengthened River Walk, opening it to river barges and setting the stage for national attention that’s made the Paseo del Rio one of the state’s top visitor destinations.
Welcoming San Antonio’s Missions to the world
The construction of San Antonio’s five missions laid a cultural foundation along the river in the 1700s. Along with Mission San Antonio de Valero, Missions San José, Concepción, San Juan and Espada served the native people by teaching them skills, trades, religion and the Spanish language. Today, the missions remain active church parishes for their surrounding communities and serve as an inspiration to the world as a recently designated UNESCO World Heritage Site, only the 23rd such site in the U.S.
A Bold Heritage Deserves a Vibrant Twist
Ingenuity finds a home indoors & out
As ceramists, singers, dancers, poets, historians, naturalists, cowboys, folklorists and more arrived and thrived, drawing from the city’s vibrant living history, spaces to serve these creative influencers were carved into the heart of the city. In 2009, the Museum Reach section was built to extend the River Walk and provide a place where San Antonio’s now vibrant creative and natural culture could flourish.
The Museum Reach showcases public art, has a special events stage and features a lock and dam complex for sightseeing barges. Also located here is the San Antonio Museum of Art, an institution housed in a former brewery, shaping a compact experience shaping a compact experience of the best San Antonio’s creative culture has to offer.
A timeless character built with our hands
It wasn’t just what nature built that made San Antonio great. San Antonio’s architecture is layered with history and innovation, showing its growth from a frontier town to one of Texas’ most architecturally historic cities. Shaping the landscape today are multiple diverse architectural styles preserved to celebrate our history and repurposed to endure.
Unique Foundations for The Future
Created to inspire, made to endure
A past rich with natural beauty and elegant history isn’t complete without modern flair. Rapid economic growth since the mid-20th century has led to iconic, contemporary architecture designed by some of the most highly respected architects in the U.S. and unlike any other in the world.
Our Culture is a Living Work of Art
The contributions of San Antonio’s many talented artists over the course of 300 years are evident throughout the city. The rich Spanish and Mexican heritage, with its tradition of embracing art and artists, has seeped into all facets of the San Antonio story, from cowboy poetry and folkloric dance to public art, blockbuster exhibitions and multimedia theater productions.
Inspired by the melting pot of cultures and ideas around them, San Antonio’s artists constantly intertwine influences. Local poets sprinkle their works with Spanish phrases, Conjunto music joins the city’s German and Mexican roots, and experimental flamenco flourishes. Learn about San Antonio’s cultural heritage at the Institute of Texan Cultures. Watch San Antonio’s culture come to life at the Majestic and Charline McCombs Empire Theatres, Tobin Center, Beethoven Halle and numerous other theaters, concert halls and public places.
Plates as vivid as our paintings
San Antonio’s richness doesn’t end with what you see and hear. Our city is bold with flavor too. One of only three worldwide branches of the Culinary Institute of America is in San Antonio, providing a platform for special expertise in Latin American cuisines. In addition to Nao, the school’s acclaimed restaurant, the growing crop of pop-ups, food trucks, farmers markets and festivals are the perfect opportunities to experience the fresh and innovative food that is becoming part of San Antonio’s legacy.