So, whats an addict to do when they need to curb their habit for awhile and stay home? How do you quench the thirst for travel when you can't actually travel? I am all about finding ways to satisfy my craving. Thinking outside the box is my FAVORITE place to think. I like to be unconventional and creative. If I don't have the resources to travel away from home, I will find a way to travel AT HOME. Time and Money are the two biggest obstacles of travel. Because I live in an AWESOME city with lots of tourist attractions (many of them free), this is an easy fix! If I can't go to other countries right now, I will bring other countries to ME! We have lots of visitors exploring our city every day and I can interact with them. I love being a tourist in my own backyard and showing people why San Antonio is such a great place to live or visit. Here are my Top 5 Reasons for naming San Antonio the CITY THAT SHINES.
1. Climate. San Antonio boasts about 300 days of sunshine a year. Our average temperature is 70 degrees and winters are short and sweet. This picture was taken the first week of January. It was in the upper 60's and beautiful. No jacket required!
2. Cuisine. I don't know about you, but I LOVE Food. Mexican Food is one of my favorites. The only thing I love more is TEXAS Mexican Food. That's right, Tex Mex! In keeping with our "Everything is bigger in Texas" reputation, food portions are generous. The food is not only delicious, there is plenty of it. You can easily share a meal or save leftovers for the next day. Prices are below average for dinner entrees and lunch with drink and dessert can always be found for under $10. One of my favorite local dishes is breakfast tacos. It is basically scrambled eggs, bacon and cheese wrapped in a soft flour tortilla. Add some salsa or pico and you are set! There are other varieties offered, including chorizo, potato and bean and cheese. If you're not a fan of Mexican Food or Tex Mex, don't fret. You won't go hungry in our city! From fancy steak houses to Barbecue, Sushi to Italian, romantic settings for two to quick deli and bakery, we have it ALL. What is better than all these dining options? Being able to eat outside ALL YEAR LONG, on the beautiful RiverWalk. Add #1 Climate to #2 Cuisine and you get Delightful Dining Experience:
4. Culture. This one is BIG and covers a lot of territory. Between the historical attractions, the museums, the annual events celebrating different cultures and the Arts, we have something for EVERYONE. The beautiful Majestic Theatre hosts the touring Broadway Across America shows as well as other artists throughout the year. We have seen everything from amazing concerts (Earth, Wind, and Fire to the Irish Tenors), to Dance productions and Comedians. The Theatre is so gorgeous inside that it honestly doesn't matter who is on the stage. I've been to Broadway shows in Chicago, New York, Virginia, Florida and California. NONE of them top the experience of The Majestic. In addition to this beautiful venue, The Tobin Center for Performing Arts will be unveiled in September. It will boast a main performance hall with over 1700 seats. An additional studio theater with seating for 250, and an outdoor River Walk Plaza for 600. Variety will be the key with Symphony, Ballet, and Opera. A wonderful feature will be the Water Taxi access from the River Walk. If you prefer a smaller venue with lower ticket prices, we have several little theaters to choose from (over 20). You can see what's playing at all of them by going to the San Antonio Theatre Coalition (SATCO) website.
When it comes to historical attractions, museums and other FUN things to do in the city, the best ALL IN ONE stop for researching your options is Visit San Antonio. I could spend the next hour talking about just the highlights, including Sea World and Six Flags Fiesta Texas. I don't want to take all the fun out of it for you, so just hop over to that website and start dreaming and planning your trip! You really need to spend a full week here to see all the city sights and explore the Hill Country. The least crowded time to come would be January and February. March brings the Wildflowers and Tourists start arriving to see the beauty along our roads. Summer is really hot and not the time I would recommend (crowded and HOT--did I say that already?). If you must come in Summer, be prepared and have plenty of sunscreen and water with you on your days out. Plan to do the outside sights earlier in the day and head indoors in the afternoon (or to one of the pools, rivers or waterparks). Fall is wonderful and not crowded and you will have sunny days in the 70's through November (and usually even December). This brings me to my favorite time of year to have visitors come. It is also the last reason on my Top 5 list of why San Antonio is the City that Shines.
5. Holidays on the RiverWalk. From the weekend after Thanksgiving till just after New Years, the RiverWalk is lit up with beautiful, sparkling Christmas lights. "Tis the Season in Texas" kicks off the day after Thanksgiving with the River Parade and lighting of the RiverWalk. We typically go downtown the first Saturday and often spend the night to make it a full date weekend. Being on the RiverWalk at night, and then enjoying a quiet walk in the morning is the best way to kick off our Holiday Season. Taking a stroll along the RiverWalk adorned with lights is magical. The only thing better is to take the narrated boat ride and cruise along the river under the trees. Rio San Antonio Cruises is the best deal in town. For under $10 you get a 45 minute boat trip with lots of history and interesting tidbits about San Antonio. I take it every year and learn something new each time I go. When the weather is nice (which is usually the case), its great to go downtown a little early and eat dinner first. Then you can take a short stroll afterwards and ride the boat to finish off your night. If you are not in the Christmas Spirit by the time the night is over, you are beyond hope! Some people need snow to feel like Christmas. I need the RiverWalk and the Beautiful Alamo with the Christmas Tree next to it.
When you look up the word "shine" in the dictionary, there are several definitions.
-to emit rays of light
-to be bright by reflection of light
-to be distinguished
-to perform extremely well
-to have a bright glowing appearance
When you consider all the things San Antonio has to offer, its easy to see why it is The City that SHINES. I recently became a Certified Tourism Ambassador (CTA). Nothing makes me prouder than to share my love of Texas with visitors, tourists, and locals. So instead of being sad about the travel I won't be doing outside of my city, I am going to RADIATE SUNSHINE all over my hometown! If you happen to visit San Antonio this year, look for me. I'll be the one glowing :-)