San Antonio Texas A City of Cultures
San Antonio Texas is a city with a unique and colorful history. Located in south-central Texas and 150 miles from the Mexican border at Laredo, it combines a rich Spanish colonial heritage with a vibrant contemporary life and embraces its many cultures and influences.
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A city of cultures, the cultural identity of San Antonio has been influenced by European, Mexican, African, Native American, and Asian influences. The result is a colorful, vibrant city that is also a major tourism destination and a hub of business, health care, education, and culture.
Historic and modern architecture are prominent features of San Antonio’s urban landscape. A landmark pedestrian promenade, River Walk, runs along the city’s banks and features dozens of restaurants, cafes, and shops.
The Alamo, an 18th-century Spanish mission preserved as a museum, marks the site of an infamous battle for Texan independence from Mexico in 1836. Other significant historic sites include Pearl, La Villita, Market Square, and the Spanish Governor’s Palace.
World War II further defined and underscored San Antonio’s importance as a military hub to the United States. Fort Sam Houston and airfields Kelly, Brooks, Randolph (which had opened in 1930), and Lackland drew a new generation of servicemen and women to the area for military training.
Today, the largest employer in the city is the Department of Defense, with an estimated 80,000 employees. In addition, it is home to several Fortune 1000 companies.
Restaurants in San Antonio offer a range of cuisine, from Southern comfort foods to fusions and unique local fare. It is also known for its chili, which was declared the official state dish in 1977.
The culinary scene in San Antonio is one of the most diverse in Texas, with many award-winning chefs and restaurants. Try your hand at some authentic barbecue, or explore new dishes with a twist from international chefs.
Sports and recreation are important parts of the community, with a number of leagues, collegiate teams, and arenas offering opportunities to athletes, both amateur and professional. Other forms of recreation include swimming, golf, and racquetball.
Performing arts are an important part of the city’s culture, with venues such as the Majestic Theatre and HemisFair Park hosting performances by local, national, and international artists. Other notable venues include the theaters at UTSA and the Guadalupe Theatre.
Religiously, San Antonio has a variety of denominations. Baptists, Methodists, and Pentecostals form the major Christian groups.
The majority of people in the city are Hispanic, with Mexican ancestry making up about three-fifths of the population. The city also includes a sizable number of non-Hispanic Whites, who make up about a third of the population.
In the late 20th century, the city experienced a period of economic growth, particularly in the aerospace industry. The city became a major manufacturing center for high-tech products, including aircraft, electronics, and industrial machinery. It also has a strong agricultural economy, with significant production of cotton, cattle, peanuts, vegetables, and greenhouse plants.
The city’s downtown area features a number of large museums, as well as historic sites such as the Cathedral of San Fernando. Other popular attractions include the Tower of the Americas and UTSA’s Institute of Texan Cultures.