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CityTips Guide to San Antonio

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San Antonio is the hotbed of history and tourism in Texas. Home to the Alamo, the River Walk, the Mission Trail, the Spurs, and scores of other attractions, San Antonio welcomes thousands of fun-seeking visitors every year.

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Local Overview

San Antonio is Texas' second largest city, and is rich in its diverse cultural offerings. Famous as the location of the Alamo and the River Walk area, San Antonio is a vibrant city that is growing rapidly.

River Walk/Downtown

The heart of the city's tourism business beats along the River Walk and in the downtown area. Densely packed with hotels, attractions, restaurants and bars, a visitor could conceivably spend their entire trip right here. The area bustles with activity nearly every night of the week and almost all year long, with locals and tourists alike enjoying mouth-watering cuisine at Boudro's or Paesano's River Walk, singing their hearts out at Howl at the Moon, or dancing the night away at Polly Esther's. Not your average tourist trap, the River Walk entices many locals to brave the crowds and enjoy their city.

King William/Southtown

If San Antonio gets funky, this is where it happens. Once primarily residential and neglected, the area has seen a resurgence of interest and an infusion of capital. Urban professionals are snatching up historical homes and refurbishing them, entrepreneurs are launching hip new businesses, and the locals are taking notice. Wander just a few blocks from downtown and discover Espuma Tea & Coffee Emporium and Rosario's. If you can, check out the area during a First Friday celebration. This community-wide celebration held the first Friday of each month draws crowds from all over the city for art openings, theater productions, dining and shopping.

Alamo Heights

One of the original suburbs of San Antonio, Alamo Heights harbors some of the city's finest dining establishments and upscale shopping opportunities. And with good reason, as a huge portion of the city's wealth resides in this neighborhood. For dinner, locals flock to Paloma Blanca or Cappy's. Beer and pool preside at the Broadway 50/50. For a gift for that special someone, you can't go wrong at Sloan-Hall. At Twin Sisters, pull up a chair and get your daily dose of neighborhood gossip over breakfast or lunch.

Monte Vista/Olmos Park

Neighboring Alamo Heights, this area is home to some of the most exquisite mansions in the city. At the very least it is worth driving through just to gawk. You will find some wonderful neighborhood secrets, such as the thick chocolate shakes at Olmos Pharmacy or superb take-out at WD Deli.

North East/North Central

Shopping centers, housing developments and highways are popping up all over North East and North Central San Antonio as many new residents move in, both from out of town and from within the city's more central neighborhoods. This kind of rapid growth seems to require predictability, as is evidenced in the plethora of restaurant and shopping chains. If you want to shop at Old Navy, use the phone book. Otherwise, be a rebel and shop at a place like James Avery Craftsman. Likewise with dining, enjoy the down home cooking at Casey's Bar-B-Q.

Northwest/Medical Center

The medical industry is big business in San Antonio, so this area continues to grow at a steady pace. Sort of a hodgepodge of strip shopping centers, restaurants, residences and office complexes, the atmosphere of the neighborhood seems a bit disjointed. Still, you can find great dining at Jacala Mexican Restaurant, Texas Land & Cattle Steak House and Bob's Smokehouse. Shopping is somewhat limited to chain stores. For a fun night out in this part of town, you can't beat the Fox & Hound English Pub & Grille.

Far Northwest

When big money folks are tired of paying city taxes, they flee outside the city limits. Locals that feel the need to escape the city head out this way to dine at Rudy's BBQ and then dance the night away at Leon Springs Dance Hall. The next day, shop at all the antique stores in Boerne or spend the day at Six Flags Fiesta Texas or Sea World.

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