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Discover San Antonio

Weekend Getaway

Big, Bold and Beautiful
Historic Texas

The San Jose y San Miguel de Aguayo mission in San Antonio is one of the best preserved missions in the state
San José y San Miguel de Aguayo


Start the morning with a walking tour of the 25-block King William Historic District, located about ten minutes on foot from our recommended hotels. Named after Prussia's King Wilhelm I (it's one of the oldest historic districts in Texas), the district offers glimpses of dozens of imposing 19th-century homes. But, remembering that we suggested a rental car for today, here's a thought: drive to the Guenther House and Pioneer Flour Mills across the river from King William and leave your car in the parking lot. The house, built by German immigrant Carl Hilmar Guenther in the 1860s, was renovated in 1988 and opened to visitors as a restaurant, store and museum. In the parlor, you'll still find the original piano as well as Victorian furnishings. You can breakfast here on fluffy biscuits and Southern sweet cream waffles in the Art-Nouveau-style dining room to prepare for a more strenuous tour of the missions. After you're done walking through the district, make sure not to miss the newly opened Villa Finale, the first National Trust Historic Site in Texas.

Grab some breakfast at the Guenther House in San Antonio
Guenther House

From 1747 to 1775, the Spanish missions played an integral role in the foundation of the city, but their importance slowly diminished until they were secularized in 1824. Of the four missions established along the San Antonio River in the 18th-century, the San José y San Miguel de Aguayo mission is probably the one to visit if you have limited time; it's about a ten-minute drive from King William on the well-marked Mission Road circuit. Known as "The Queen of the Missions," it was built with native limestone and decorated with brightly painted stucco (vestiges of which remain). Soon thereafter, it became a symbol for the mission organization as well as a major social center. Don't miss San Jose's new visitors' center with its impressive displays, film presentations and selection of local history books.

We now suggest returning downtown (or just north of it to be precise) for lunch in the Pearl Development. Take your pick from
Il Sogno, the C.I.A. Bakery, Sandbar or La Gloria for sandwiches, pastries, superb seafood, interior-Mexican treats, or ultra-Italian cuisine. Afterwards, you'll be well-situated to head ten minutes north up Broadway to visit the San Antonio Botanical Gardens and its 33 acres of native Texas plants and formal gardens, crowned by a spectacular, glass conservatory housing palms and other tropical flora. Outdoor areas are dedicated to each of Texas' growing regions. Moonlight tours are among the gardens' special events. Especially if you're traveling with kids, plan to visit the San Antonio Zoo, the third largest in the country with more than 3,000 animals and 750 species. It's only ten minutes west of the Botanical Gardens on the edge of Brackenridge Park.

Rosario's in San Antonio is an entertaining Mexican restaurant that serves great Tex-Mex cuisine

A downtown dinner option that's cool and contemporary is Citrus in the Hotel Valencia on the River Walk. The three- and four-course tasting menu showcases the chef's Asian, Mexican and contemporary American cuisine. If the peppered venison chops are available, make sure to snap them up!

And, if you can take the din generated by appreciative diners, the nearby King William Historic District offers Rosario's, a colorful Mexican restaurant. Come to think of it, even if you didn't dine at Rosario's, it's a great place to wind up your visit in San Antonio style with one (or more) of the house's potent margaritas; they'll leave you wanting to come back soon.

For more information, contact the San Antonio Convention & Visitors Bureau


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San Antonio Convention
& Visitors Bureau

* San José y San Miguel de Aguayo courtesy of San Antonio Convention & Visitors Bureau; Guenther House/SACVB

(Updated: 07/11/11 SS)

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