The San Antonio River Walk is considered by many an oasis in the City of San Antonio, Texas. It is one of the most visited tourist attractions in San Antonio, regarded by locals and visitors as one of the landmarks of Texas. Delineated by cypresses, the Walk is some 15 miles long and leads the visitors to historic places, restaurants, stores and lush gardens that make for a really refreshing experience in the hustle and bustle of a big city.
Boat tours are a frequent way to stroll down the Riverwalk, which is set below street level. It is an urban walkway to experience pristine views of the San Antonio River, explore a multitude of shops, restaurants, open-air venues and visit a seasonal farmers’ market. Although some visitors say that it is just a pretty place, nothing more, the Walk is visited by millions of tourists every year who, by and large, feel it was worth their time.
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The River Walk has a long history that goes back to the 1700s. In 1736 the Spanish authorities began the construction of the first bridge to span the San Antonio River, connecting the Presidio (a fort) with Mission San Antonio, a Catholic Church mission, at the site of the present Commerce Street Bridge.
By 1925, the people of San Antonio started to fully realize the aesthetic potential of the river. A group of citizens, headed by Jack White, manager of the White Plaza Hotel, pushed for development of the river. Between 1925 and 1936, by the time of the Texas Centennial, some efforts were made by Jack White, to improve the area along the river. He visited City Hall to urge for a clean-up and beautification of the river. Because of White´s endeavors, ‘A Venetian Night’ on the river, the first river parade, was staged.
After many years of developments, demolitions, and construction in the area the park opened, in 2011, a walkway connecting King William through Alamo Street Dam to Eagleland.
In June of that year the Secretary of the Interior, Ken Salazar, dedicated Phases I & II of Mission Reach project. When San Antonio River Improvements project finishes, it will link up 2020 acres of public lands with a river running through it. This will be the largest public park in the USA. It will be larger than the 3 most popular public parks in the country: Central Park, NYC, 843 acres; Golden Gate Park, SF, 1017 acres, and the Chicago lakeside parks, 1440 acres.
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The area is a safe place for people to visit and enjoy. As it is usual in large cities, some precautions are advised such as not walking at night in areas that are not well lit or where there are few people.
THINGS TO DO
The Walk is full of attractions to satisfy the most demanding tastes. Tourists can visit the Alamo, the location of the Battle of the Alamo and go shopping to Market Square, a place full of Mexican-style restaurants, stalls, music and stores of different kinds.
Pearl Brewery, RiverCenter Mall, and San Antonio Museum of Art are only a few of the many other places visitors can enjoy which are within sort walking distance from the River Walk.
Mision Concepcion is one of the oldest missions established in 1731 by the Catholic Church in Texas.