By Arturo  De Los Santos, Archdiocese Of San Antonio

Many people may not realize that San Antonio is now the eighth largest city in the United States. A city rich in history and tradition, it carries the flavor of Native Americans, Old Mexico, Germans, The Wild West, African Americans and the Deep South. Large corporations such as AT&T, Clear Channel Communications, and USAA are headquartered here. Toyota also recently opened an assembly plant here.

San Antonio averages over 300 days of sunshine annually and has an average daily temperature of 68.8 degrees. This type of weather offers visitors and locals alike opportunities to indulge in outdoor activities. Golf is a popular sport in the city. Located just one hour north of Downtown is the Texas Hill Country where rivers provide venues for canoeing, tubing and white water rafting. Area lakes always attract fishermen and ranches throughout central and south Texas are available for hunting wild game. If you like hiking, there are plenty of state parks that off er opportunities to hike in the Hill Countries rugged terrain.

Just a short walk from the hotel is one of San Antonio’s Jewels, the Paseo del Rio, better known as the Riverwalk. There is a little of everything here from quiet walks to other areas that are full of activity with sidewalk cafes, excellent dinning of all types, and nightclubs. You can even take a short boat ride for a quick informative tour of the river walk.

If you like to shop, there are plenty of opportunities the Rivercenter mall is a three-level glass shopping, dining and entertainment complex. And Market Square is the largest Mexican Market Place outside Mexico.

And finally for sports enthusiasts, how can I not mention our 4 time NBA Champion San Antonio Spurs! We are proud of our Spurs and the “Big Three” of Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, and Manu Ginobilli. They are sure to provide entertainment on any given night.

Texas History 101 (provided by the San Antonio convention and visitors bureau) For history buff s, San Antonio is a Mecca. Native Americans fi rst lived along the San Antonio River, calling the area “Yanaguana,” which means “refreshing waters,” or “clear waters.” A band of Spanish explorers and missionaries came upon the river in 1691, and because it was the feast day of St. Anthony, they named the river “San Antonio.” The actual founding of the city came in 1718 by Father Antonio Olivares, when he established Mission San Antonio de Valero, which became permanently etched in the annals of history in 1836 as “The Alamo” 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. Located in the heart of downtown, today The Alamo is a shrine and museum. A tour of downtown San Antonio will uncover centuries of history, including: ·

  • La Villita, one of the original settlements was comprised of Spanish soldiers and their families.
  • the Spanish Governor’s Palace – the seat of government when San Antonio was the capital of the Spanish Province of Texas.
  • the San Fernando Cathedral. Construction was started in 1731 by Canary Islanders.
  • the Jose Antonio Navarro State Historical Park – home of Navarro, a central figure in the formation of Texas .
  • the Steves Homestead – a mansion open to the public in the King William Historic District.
  • a short drive to the historic missions. Start your adventure at the Visitors Center at Mission San Jose and explore the other jewels of San Antonio’s mission period.

I encourage you to look at the links below as they will provide you with de tailed information about the San Antonio area. We look forward to seeing you “Deep in the Heart of Texas” for DISC 2008!