San Antonio River Walk or also known as Paseo del Rio or The River Walk, is a city park that has a network of walkways along the banks of the San Antonio River. This place is lined by shops, bars, nature, restaurants, public artworks, and the five historic missions. The San Antonio River Walk is considered to be an essential part of San Antonio’s urban fabric, as well as a tourist attraction. That is why in this article, we are going to know more about the San Antonio River Walk.
History of the San Antonio River Walk
In 1921, a catastrophic flood happened along the San Antonio River and it took 51 lives and 23 people went missing. That is why they developed a plan for flood control of the river, and one of those plans involved building an upstream dam and bypass a bend of the river that is located in the downtown area. After that, it will pave over the bend, which then creates a storm sewer. The end result of the plan was the San Antonio River Walk, and it was set one level below the main city level. It has three miles of walkways along with twenty bridges.
The construction of the River Walk began in 1939, and almost all of the initial funding that was needed for this to happen came from the Works Progress Administration in 1939. And in 1946, Casa Rio, the first restaurant opened on the River Walk. Until today, this restaurant remains to be operational. Over the years, the River Walk has expanded, and today, you will get to experience about fifteen miles of walkways that has different sights and attractions that you can see. The River Walk we know today stretches from the San Antonio mission area all the way through downtown and up to the museums in the city.
Things to do at the San Antonio River Walk
- Eat at the restaurants – In the San Antonio River Walk, the restaurants are decorated with vibrantly colored umbrellas, and here you can choose in the full range of dining options. But some quick tips, make sure that you will eat at the Casa Rio restaurant because it is the oldest restaurant here in the River Walk.
- Ride on a boat – Riding on a boat is one of the most popular ways to experience the River Walk. You have several options when riding a boat here. You can take the River Boat taxi services, which will take you from one part of the River Walk to another. There are also private boat tours, narrated boat tours, as well as boats that offer a full meal as you lazily float along the river.
- Go shopping – If you are the type of person who is into shopping, then worry no more because the San Antonio River Walk also has your back. Here you can see several shopping locations that are all around the River Walk. However, the most popular and largest shopping center here is the Shops at Rivercentre. This place provides dining and shopping experiences, theatres, spa, and so much more. Another popular shopping spot here in the River Walk is the La Villita Historic Arts Village, which serves at home to different art galleries and stores that sells customized jewelry, souvenirs, regional folk art, and even pottery.
- Watch a show – If you are into witnessing a concert or performance while you’re in San Antonio River Walk, then you might want to go to the Anderson River Theater. This theater is an outdoor theater that is designed as a part of the original Riverwalk and is split across the river with its stage on the north side. It can accommodate about 800 people, and it hosts different performances such as plays, music, opera, and dance recitals.
- Visit the missions – When the River Walk was extended in 2011, the San Antonio’s Missions National Historical Park was included. This park has four Mission buildings, and one of them is the Alamo Mission, which happens to be a UNESCO world heritage site.
- Go Biking – While riding a boat is one of the easiest and most popular ways to get around the San Antonio River Walk, they do not mainly go anywhere. That is why if you want to explore more of the River Walk, then we suggest that you go biking. There are cycle trails that are designated along the river, and there is also a network of bicycle rentals at different parts of the River Walk.
- Follow the River Walk Plaques – In the River Walk, you can take a self-guided walking tour wherein you can explore a historical trail that has over 50 plaques that tell the story of the are along with other information and photos.