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Overview of San Antonio,  Texas

"Some information from Wikipedia"


San Antonio Texas Overview

San Antonio, Texas

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

San Antonio is the second-most populated city in the state of Texas and seventh-most populated in the United States. As of the 2005 U.S. Census estimate, the city had a population of over 1.2 million. Its eight-county metropolitan area has a population of over 1.8 million, the twenty-ninth most-populated metro area in the United States. San Antonio, which is the county seat of Bexar County, covers over 400 square miles on the northern edge of the South Texas region and southeast of the Texas Hill Country.

San Antonio was named for the Portuguese Saint Anthony of Padua, whose feast day it was when a Spanish expedition stopped in the area in 1691. The city has a strong military presence-it is home to Fort Sam Houston, Lackland Air Force Base, Randolph Air Force Base, and Brooks City Base. San Antonio is home to the South Texas Medical Center, the largest and only medical research and care provider in the South Texas region.

Famous for its River Walk, the Alamo, Tejano culture, and being home to SeaWorld and Six Flags Fiesta Texas theme parks, the city is visited by 20 million tourists per year. San Antonio is also home to the first museum of Modern Art in Texas-the Marion Koogler McNay Art Museum.[

History

Native American Indians originally lived along the San Antonio River in the San Pedro Springs area, calling the vicinity Yanaguana, meaning "refreshing waters."

In 1691, a group of Spanish explorers and missionaries came upon the river on the feast day of St. Anthony, hence naming the river after "San Antonio."

The actual founding of the city took place in 1718 by Father Antonio Olivares, upon establishing Mission San Antonio de Valero. Hence via the efforts of Spanish soldiers and Canary Islanders, San Antonio de Béxar soon transformed into an early Spanish settlement in the Americas.

The Battle of the Alamo took place nearby in 1836, and eventually the town would grow to encompass the embattled mission. This was where 189 defenders held the old mission against some 4,000 Mexican troops for 13 days. The cry "Remember the Alamo" became the rallying point of the Texan revolution against Mexico.

Today, the Alamo is a shrine and museum located in the heart of downtown, and is surrounded by many hotels and tourist attractions. It is clearly San Antonio's most well-known landmark, and is featured in its flag and seal and in the city's nickname, "Alamo City".

Geography and climate

The city sits on the Balcones Escarpment. San Antonio's weather is alternately dry or humid depending on prevailing winds, turning hot in the summer, mild to cool winters subject to descending northern cold fronts in the winter with cool nights, and comfortably warm and rainy in the spring and fall. Only a few freezes occur each year and snow is rare.

In San Antonio, July and August tie for the average warmest months with an average high of 95 degrees Fahrenheit (35C). The highest temperature ever to be recorded was 111F (43.8C) on September 5, 2000. The average coolest month is January. The lowest recorded temperature ever was 0F (-17.7C) on January 31, 1949. May, June, and October have quite a bit of precipitation. For the last 135 years, the average annual precipitation has been 29.05 inches (73.79 cm), with a maximum of 52.28 inches (132.79 cm) and a minimum of 10.11 inches (25.68 cm) in one year.

The primary source of drinking water for the city is the Edwards Aquifer. Impounded in 1962 and 1969, respectively, Victor Braunig Lake and Calaveras Lake were among the first reservoirs in the country built to use recycled treated wastewater for power plant cooling, reducing the amount of groundwater needed for electrical generation.

Attractions

San Antonio is a popular tourist destination. The jewel of the city is the Paseo del Rio, or River Walk, which meanders through the downtown area. Lined with numerous shops, bars, restaurants, as well as the Arneson River Theater, this attraction is transformed into an impressive festival of lights during the Christmas and New Year holiday period. (The Alamo is Texas' top tourist attraction, while the River Walk is the second most visited attraction.)

The downtown area also features HemisFair Park (home of the Tower of the Americas and the Institute of Texan Cultures), La Villita, El Mercado, the Alamo, the city's most widely recognized landmark, and the historic Menger Hotel. On the northern side of the Alamo complex, beside the Emily Morgan Hotel, is the San Antonio Cavalry Museum, which features cavalry artifacts and exhibits and is frequented by local re-enactors.

The Fairmont Hotel, built in 1906, is in the Guinness Book of World Records as one of the heaviest buildings ever moved intact. It was placed in its new location, three blocks south of the Alamo, over four days in 1985, and cost $650,000 to move. The Fairmont houses the "Sage Ristorante e Bar."

Other places of interest include Brackenridge Park (home of the San Antonio Zoo), the missions of the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park, the Witte Museum, the McNay Art Museum, SeaWorld San Antonio, Six Flags Fiesta Texas theme park, and Splashtown San Antonio. Visitors can also experience something of the cowboy culture year round, they can see the 40-foot (12 m) tall cowboy boots at North Star Mall.

Beyond taking in the sights and sounds of San Antonio, tourists can sample some of its world famous Tex-Mex cuisine at the many fine restaurants located throughout the city. San Antonio is (to residents, former residents, and many visitors) the undisputed home of authentic Tex-Mex. Mexican restaurants are abundant in virtually all parts of town, and most - except for those in the "nouveau riche" Far North and some of the Uptown enclaves like Alamo Heights - are relatively inexpensive. Jacala Restaurant on West Avenue, Los Barrios on Blanco Road, Karam's on the West Side, and Mario's on Fredericksburg Road are just a few examples of the outstanding Tex-Mex eateries San Antonio offers. San Antonio also has establishments offering Texas style barbecue, and for the truly intrepid barbecue aficionado, a day trip to some of the more renowned barbecue pits and smokehouses of South Texas is both necessary and easily manageable.
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