Saturday, May 7, 2016

San Antonio's River Walk

Other cities have tried to copy San Antonio's River Walk, but it is unmistakably matchless, a masterpiece of urban design.  There's no better place for a leisurely stroll or dinner al fresco.  Seated at a patio table, you can sip your margarita, throw off your cares and watch the world go by.

Tim and I loved its walkways, its atmosphere, the variety of restaurants and the wildlife, both feathered and human.

The Briscoe Museum of Western Art, located right on the River Walk, has free admission on Tuesdays until 9:00 p.m.  That gave us a pretentious reason for heading downtown; River Walk gave us a lively reason to linger and to return for three more evenings.

Robert H. H. Hegman

Architect Robert H. H. Hegman, acknowledged as the "father" of the River Walk, presented the mayor with his vision to transform the meandering San Antonio River with Spanish-inspired stone stairs, walkways, bridges and river-level shops and restaurants.  

For ten years, the Depression and local politics delayed the project which was to be constructed one story below the streets of downtown San Antonio, but, in 1939, construction finally began.  

Works Progress Administration crews labored for two years to build the River Walk which was finally dedicated on April 21, 1941.  The River Walk has captured the imagination and dollars of tourists ever since.

People-watching at the River Walk was not the only evening activity we found to do, however.  

My travel guidebook said that San Antonio's Majestic Theater was a sight not to be missed.  With an endorsement like that, how could we pass it up?  Further sweetening the deal, the Broadway musical, Motown, was performing at the Majestic, an ornate 2,311-seat, downtown theater built in 1929.

A review on said, "It is virtually impossible to sit still during "Motown the Musical," much less resist the temptation to sing along.  After all, the music of Motown--including such smash hits as "My Girl," "I Can't Get Next to You," "I Heard It Through the Grapevine," and "Stop in the Name of Love"--are practically woven into the DNA of listeners around the globe."  We certainly found it so!

At 9:00 p.m. on our final night downtown, we joined the throng of people in front of San Fernando de Bexar Cathedral on the Main Plaza, waiting for the laser light show to begin.  

We'd heard--and doubted--that it would cover the history of the city from its founding to the present.  We were wrong to be so skeptical.  

One captivating scene after another was spotlighted on the front facade of cathedral, keeping the crowd oohing and ahing until the last beam faded away.  It was magical!  And repeated at 9:30 and 10:30 p.m. every Tuesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday evening.

Can you tell?  Downtown after dark dazzled the two of us!

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