It’s an exciting time in wonderful San Antonio. Here are just a few of the city’s recent and upcoming news items. For more of what’s new and upcoming events in San Antonio, explore media.visitsanantonio.com.
SAN ANTONIO'S HISTORIC MISSIONS RECEIVE UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE STATUS
San Antonio’s five Spanish colonial missions (including the Alamo) represent the largest concentration of Spanish colonial missions in North America and have been named a World Heritage site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The World Heritage Site list recognizes the most significant cultural and natural sites in the world such as Stonehenge and the Great Wall of China. This rare honor has been bestowed upon only 23 sites in the United States. The missions are the first World Heritage site in Texas.
FAMOUS SAN ANTONIO RIVER WALK EXPANSION COMPLETE (OCTOBER 2013)
San Antonio recently completed a $358.3 million project to lengthen the River Walk from three to 15 miles. The Museum Reach was added in May 2009, connecting downtown with museums, cultural districts and the historic Pearl Brewery to the north. The Mission Reach (noted as the largest ecosystem restoration in an urban area) joins the original River Walk to four of the city’s Spanish colonial missions in south San Antonio. Visitors can take in the natural beauty of the river on hike and bike trails. This latest endeavor highlights the city’s vision to preserve its natural landscape, distinguishing San Antonio as a place that invests in the generations to come.
NORTH AMERICA’S OLDEST CATHEDRAL SANCTUARY WELCOMES MONUMENTAL VIDEO ART INSTALLATION, “SAN ANTONIO|THE SAGA” (JUNE 2014)
This 7,000-sq.-ft. projection with custom choreographed music in surround sound will narrate the historical discovery, settlement and development of San Antonio. Projected on the façade of historic San Fernando Cathedral, this will be renowned French Artist, Xavier de Richemont’s first outdoor video art installation in the United States. The installation will be a main feature of the destination for the next 10 years.
SAN ANTONIO’S PEARL BREWERY TO WELCOME KIMPTON’S HOTEL EMMA IN EARLY 2015
San Antonio is excited to announce the newest addition to its esteemed Pearl brewery, The Kimpton Hotel & Restaurant’s, Hotel Emma. Slated to open in early 2015, this 146-room boutique property will be perfectly situated in the 119-year-old brew house. Comfortable and unconventional, the hotel’s architecture and interiors will intertwine the historic building’s industrial aesthetic with South Texas luxury – all while capitalizing on its much-coveted River Walk location. Hotel Emma is named in honor of Emma Koehler, wife of Pearl Brewery founder Otto Koehler. Emma kept the brewery afloat after Otto’s death, during prohibition and helped launch the brewery into its most successful period.
BRISCOE WESTERN ART MUSEUM OPENS (OCTOBER 2013)
The Briscoe Western Art Museum adds a new dimension to San Antonio’s art scene, along with upscale meeting space, and is in the heart of downtown on the River Walk. This one-of-a-kind museum is devoted to celebrating the art, people and history of the great American West with an emphasis on the Western art of San Antonio and the South Texas region. This $18 million renovation of the former San Antonio Library includes an arts and education center, artist in residence program and more than 40,000 square feet of gallery and exhibition areas.
CURED OPENS – CHARCUTERIE AND DINING IN A GRAND BUILDING (DECEMBER 2013)
As the former executive chef of Lüke San Antonio, Chef Steven McHugh spent 10 years working in New Orleans as chef de cuisine for Chef John Besh’s restaurants before making the move to San Antonio. He opened his first restaurant at the Pearl Brewery, Cured, a gastropub with a Hill Country feel and a nod to the region’s Southern heritage featuring craft beers, seasonal dynamic dishes, and artisanal house-cured meats. Some dishes include masa oysters, pig cheeks “poutine,” and cabrito sliders. The restaurant is housed in the revitalized administration building when the Pearl Brewery was operational.
MAJOR ART EXHIBITONS COME TO SAN ANTONIO (2014)
With a diverse array of museum, San Antonio is always a stop for major exhibitions. Two of this year’s biggest are Robert Indiana: Beyond LOVE and Matisse: Life in Color. In February, the McNay Art Museum presents Robert Indiana: Beyond LOVE, a survey exhibition organized by the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York. The McNay is the only other venue in the nation to host this critically acclaimed exhibition, on view February 5 through May 25, 2014. The San Antonio Museum of Art will present Matisse: Life in Color, Masterworks from the Baltimore Museum of Art to San Antonio June 14, 2014 – September 7, 2014. This sweeping exhibition features almost fifty paintings and sculptures and thirty works on paper spanning six decades of Henri Matisse’s prolific career. Drawn from the Baltimore Museum of Art’s permanent collection, this exhibition is perhaps the finest collection of Matisse’s work in the world.
GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS MUSEUM OFFERS VISITORS A CHANCE TO MAKE THEIR OWN RECORD (MARCH)
A renovation to the San Antonio’s Guinness World Records Museum will provide guests a chance to break several different Guinness World Records during their visit. At designated times, the museum will have official Guinness World Record Adjudicators on staff to judge record attempts and award certificates, if successful – making the museum the first in the world to provide this opportunity year-round.
SAN ANTONIO ZOO TURNS 100 AND TO OPEN NEW ZOOTENNIAL PLAZA (MARCH 7, 2014)
Opened in 1914, the San Antonio Zoo is celebrating its 100th birthday in 2014. To mark this milestone, the zoo is building Zootennial Plaza, an area that include an upscale restaurant, open patios, a centralized gathering area for visitors, a custom-designed carousel that features figurines of animals found at the zoo and more. The San Antonio Zoo is home to more than 9,000 animals that represent 750 species of animals on 56 acres and receives more than 1 million guests visit the zoo annually.
seaworld san Antonio to feature a new aivary (mAY 2014)
SeaWorld San Antonio recently announced the addition of Roa’s Aviary, a 13,500 square feet aviary containing about 300 birds representing more than 50 species. The Aviary will be one of the park’s serene offerings, giving guests the chance to float, wade or walk among hundreds of tropical birds. The aviary and new pools will be located on the Loggerhead Beach area of SeaWorld’s waterpark, Aquatica, creating a new “waterfront beach” for guests to enjoy. Visitors will also have the opportunity to hand feed birds and SeaWorld educators will be on hand to teach them about these amazing animals. When Aquatica waterpark closes for the season, SeaWorld guests will still be able to access the aviary.
The Witte Museum’s H-E-B Body Adventure PROMOTES HEALTHY LIVING AND FUN (MAY 24, 2014)
The Witte Museum, a museum focused on South Texas history, culture, and natural science, is transforming its H-E-B Science Treehouse into the H-E-B Body Adventure. The H-E-B Body Adventure will feature state-of-the-art interactive centers to inspire visitors to get up and moving, make healthy changes and live a more balanced lifestyle – all in a fun way. Visitors can generate their own take-home POWERprofile to track their activity, transform their favorite meals into healthy dishes in the Demonstration Kitchen, observe the workings of a human heart and digestive system through real specimens, and more.
SIX FLAGS FIESTA TEXAS TO UNVEIL NEW FREE-FALL THRILL WATERSLIDE (SUMMER 2014)
Visitors can have even more high-speed thrills in San Antonio with its Bahama Blaster, Texas’ first multiple lane, trap-door, free-fall waterslide. The four-slide ride features a unique launching capsule system where, after reaching the top of a six-story tower, guests will step into an enclosed vertical capsule where the floor drops out beneath them, sending riders free-falling 40 miles-per-hour down an 80-degree slide.
TOBIN CENTER FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS TO SHOWCASE CULTURAL SAN ANTONIO (SEPTEMBER 4, 2014)
San Antonio’s former Municipal Auditorium, an event venue built as a stunning WWI memorial, is being renovated into the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts. This San Antonio treasure will retain its historical charm and grandeur while featuring exceptional sound, acoustics and seating arrangements. Plus, its location on the esteemed Museum Reach of the San Antonio River Walk will make it a gateway to the cultural heart of San Antonio.
CHILDREN’S MUSEUM CELEBRATES NEW NAME AND LOCATION (JUNE 2015)
The San Antonio Children’s Museum will move from its currently location on Houston Street to a larger, 5.5-acre site on Broadway Street in the city’s Broadway Reach district, which features more than seven cultural and educational attractions. In addition, the museum will have a new name to reflect its new direction, The Do Seum. This name emphasizes the interactivity of the museum and its focus on science, technology, literacy, art, creativity and imagination. The Do Seum’s state-of-the-art, 65,000-square-foot building will feature much more outdoor space, parking and learning activities to provide children ages zero to 10 the opportunity to develop critical thinking skills through immersive, hands-on activities.
HENRY B. GONZALEZ CONVENTION CENTER TRANSFORMATION IN PROGRESS (2016)
A groundbreaking in late 2013 launched the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center’s (HBGCC) significant expansion, which represents an investment of $325 million. Under the plan, the newer part of the convention center (built a little more than a decade ago) will expand eastward to create more modern space and increase the amount of prime, contiguous exhibit space to over 500,000 square feet. Additionally, more flexible meeting and ballroom space will be added, including a new 50,000+ square foot ballroom - the largest in the state of Texas. The HBGCC will remain in full operation throughout the duration of the expansion construction period. Once new construction is completed in the middle of 2016, the oldest portion of the convention center located on the west side of the complex will be demolished to pave the way for a new twelve-acre redevelopment of Hemisfair Park. This visionary new development will create a vital, mixed-use central urban park that will provide a great new amenity for convention visitors and locals to enjoy.
128-YEAR-OLD PEARL BREWERY REDEVELOPED INTO URBAN RIVER VILLAGE (ONGOING)
Pearl Brewery, once the birthplace of Pearl Beer and a long-time staple of the San Antonio economy, is being revitalized into an art-filled urban village next to the River Walk. Preservations and additions are continuously being made with detail to the site’s historic character and incorporate the latest-available, eco-friendly technology – including the largest solar panel system in all of Texas. Once complete, Pearl Brewery will be the city’s “it” spot to live, learn, shop, work and play. A few highlights include the Culinary Institute of America’s newest campus (which offers instruction on Latin America cuisine), restaurants by some of San Antonio’s top chefs, unique retailers, the largest farmers market in San Antonio (held on Saturdays), more than 500 residential spaces, the historic Pearl Stable entertainment venue, and an outdoor amphitheater adjacent to the River Walk. Upcoming announcements include new restaurants and shops, additional residential areas and, in fall 2014, the opening of Hotel Pearl, a luxury boutique Kimpton property located in the historic Pearl Brewhouse.
MAJOR SAN ANTONIO EVENTS:
SAN ANTONIO COCKTAIL CONFERENCE (JANUARY)
Modeled after the wildly popular Manhattan Cocktail Classic and New Orleans' Tales of the Cocktail event, San Antonio's own Cocktail Conference is the first of its kind in Texas. Coordinated by San Antonio’s Bohanan’s Restaurant & Bar and New York's Sasha Petraske of famed Milk & Honey, high-profile professional bartenders and cocktail aficionados gather to mix, pour, teach, learn and imbibe. The conference includes events including a grand chef and cocktails opening event and two cocktail competitions where professional mixologists will “pour off,” as well as educational seminars, guided tastings and cocktail parties – with profits going to charity.
SAN ANTONIO STOCK SHOW & RODEO (FEBRUARY)
Expecting more than one million in attendance, the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo has been named the Large Indoor Rodeo of the Year for nine consecutive years by the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) and features great entertainment with star-studded country, rock 'n' roll and Latin artists during all 20 PRCA rodeo performances. This spectacular event, held at the AT&T Center, also includes shopping, a carnival, farmers’ markets, local cuisine and livestock centers
CITY OF YELLOW ROSES (FEBRUARY)
Valentine’s week in San Antonio offers special from hotels, restaurants and attractions, making for the ideal romantic getaway. Often recognized as one of the most romantic destinations in the nation, San Antonio is located deep in the heart of Texas. Its majestic River Walk is lined with dozens of quaint sidewalk cafes, while river barges pass beneath a canopy of cypress trees and clear Texas skies. On street level, 18th century Spanish colonial architecture mixes with public art installations and modern superstructures.
CONTEMPORARY ART MONTH (MARCH 2014)
March is Contemporary Art Month (CAM) in San Antonio—the nation's only annual, month-long, citywide celebration of the contemporary arts. CAM showcases San Antonio’s diverse and flourishing art community with more than 400 exhibitions at over 50 venues throughout the city. From new to traditional, sculpture to experimental installations and photography to video art, no genre is left untouched.
FIESTA SAN ANTONIO (APRIL 10 - 27, 2014)
Fiesta San Antonio, the annual 11-day celebration of San Antonio’s rich history, culture and heritage, will be held April 10-27, 2014, expanding from 11 to 18 days in 2014 around the Easter holiday. Beginning over 120 years ago as a parade to honor the heroes from the battle of the Alamo and San Jacinto, Fiesta has grown into a citywide celebration that showcases San Antonio’s rich, diverse culture through more than 100 official events.
Fiesta provides visitors a colorful, confetti-filled experience with 11 different parades, multi-cultural food, music and dancing, arts and crafts, lavishly dressed Fiesta royalty, military observances, athletic events and more. Each event is sponsored by a local nonprofit organization with all proceeds from the completely volunteer-run events benefiting these organizations.
Culinaria – A Culinary Arts & Wine Festival (MAY 14 – 18, 2014)
Culinaria is a delicious series of culinary and wine-centric events that feature internationally renowned vintners, top Texas wine producers and some of the best San Antonio chefs. From wine tasting and blending events at nearby vineyards; to events such as the Best of Mexico that celebrate all the treasures of the country; to Burgers & Beer, a salute to some of the most beloved Texas foods and brews; plus the Barbacoa Brunch, a luscious feast of traditional Mexican barbecues from various regions—there’s much to savor.
TEXAS FOLKLIFE FESTIVAL (JUNE 7 – 8, 2014)
The Texas Folklife Festival’s roots began more than 40 years ago when dedicated San Antonio residents decided to duplicate the Smithsonian’s Folklife Festival. The festival’s mission is to honor the many nationalities that founded Texas and preserve their traditions, but this is no boring history lesson. Active participation is a must. Whether learning how to shuck corn, clog dance or hula, participating in the watermelon seed spitting contest, giving your taste buds a workout with more than 30 food tents, or picking up handmade souvenirs–this festival provides fun for all.
FESTIVAL PEOPLE EN ESPAÑOL (AUGUST 30 – 31, 2014)
This year marks the third annual Festival People En Español music festival, a celebration of the best in Hispanic entertainment and culture over two days. Past festival performers include music powerhouses Gloria Estefan, Alejandro Fernandez, Demi Lovato, Luis Miguel and more. In addition, free, open-to-the-public daytime events offer a wide range of activities that celebrate the best of Latino culture and community including musical performances, Q&A sessions, celebrity meet & greets, sessions with leading industry experts and a sampling of favorite brands through special on-site consumer experiences.
OKTOBERFEST CELEBRATIONS (OCTOBER 2014)
Every year, Oktoberfest brings music, culture, food and fun to San Antonio. San Antonio’s excellent weather makes it a city perfect for this fall celebration – with events held at locations including Beethoven Maennerchor in Southtown (a historic and arts district just south of downtown) and Brackenridge Park along the Broadway Reach district of San Antonio.
DIA DE LOS MUERTOS (NOVEMBER 1 – 2, 2014)
Translated literally as "the Day of the Dead," this Mexican cultural tradition is a celebration in which the family welcomes back departed loved ones, sharing the joys of life with them as their memories live on. Creative and respectful altars are set up around town at galleries, cultural centers, cemeteries and restaurants to commemorate those who have passed on. Poetry readings and calavera processions (participants dress as skeletons) are typical events as well.
FORD HOLIDAY RIVER PARADE AND LIGHTING CEREMONY (NOVEMBER 28, 2014)
On the day after Thanksgiving, the switch is pulled to turn on thousands of festive lights that illuminate the River Walk until New Year's Day. A river parade with brightly lit and decorated floats filled with celebrities, bands and lavishly-costumed participants entertain visitors gathered along the banks of the River Walk to enjoy the festive event.
SAN ANTONIO ROCK ‘N’ ROLL MARATHON & ½ MARATHON (DECEMBER 7, 2014)
This marathon features multiple musical bands along the course which passes several historic missions, the Pearl Brewery District, the new Mission Reach portion of the River Walk and wraps up at the Alamodome. Great South Texas weather and the picturesque terrain of San Antonio match up for the perfect marathon mix.
CELEBRATE SAN ANTONIO (DECEMBER 31 – JANUARY 1, 2014)
San Antonio visitors can ring in New Year San Antonio style with this free family-friendly event. Spectacular fireworks, live music on multiple stages, food booths, family activities and more await visitors at this fun end-of-year celebration on South Alamo Street between La Villita and Hemisfair park.
FORMULA 1 UNITED STATES GRAND PRIX (OCTOBER 31 – NOVEMBER 2, 2014)
The Circuit of The Americas track is just one hour north of San Antonio and home to the FORMULA 1 UNITED STATES GRAND PRIX. Designed to be the only purpose-built facility in the U.S., the track will host the FORMULA 1 UNITED STATES GRAND PRIX through 2021 and V8 SUPERCARS through 2018.