Susie had an American Library Association conference in San Antonio from January 20th to January 24th, 2006. This was not our first trip to this beautiful city. We had attended another conference here in June 2002. On both occasions we did not have a car so we were limited to the downtown area near the convention center. Although San Antonio is now the eighth largest city in the US, that is not a problem in this town since there are a lot of points of interest within walking distance of our hotel. Another limiting factor in what we saw was that this was a "business trip" for Susie who is on two ALA committees and had to attend the meetings. The final limiting factor was the weather... of the four days we were there, two of them were sunny and the other two gray and rainy. We will probably be stopping in San Antonio again in July during our "Summer Tour" and will try to see some of the things we missed.

The Alamo

The most recognized landmark in San Antonio is The Alamo. The reality is that The Alamo is more than the building pictured on the right. The Alamo was a fairly sizeable compound, larger than the current complex which is about three blocks by two block located downtown. The building everyone identifies as The Alamo was the chapel. During the battle of the Alamo, the compound was even larger than it is today. The encroaching city has taken over quite a bit of the original site.

Inside the compound there are signs with graphics and text describing the various phases of the life span of this site. One of the comments that interested us is that the fancy parapet on top of the front wall of the chapel was not even there at the time of the Battle. It was added later to hide the chapel roof line.

Our Hotel is visible in the background, upper right.

Click for more information on the Alamo

The Convento or Long Barrack, located on the northwest corner of the current compound, now houses a museum. The original walls of The Alamo extended north into the area covered by the Post Office (upper left).

The Torch of Friendship was given to the City of San Antonio by the people of Mexico.

On our last visit to San Antonio, The Torch was being installed across the street from out hotel (see below). They were having considerable difficulty having the parts match. Because of the difficulty they were using very unsafe techniques to force fit the parts. I saw one close call where one of the aerial lifts almost flipped over.

La Vilita, one of the original settlements for Spanish soldiers and their families, above, now contain shops and galleries selling art and crafts from Mexico and the local area.

The Tower of the Americas, at 750 feet, was the centerpiece of the 1968 Worlds Fair


Riverwalk is one of the major attractions in the area. The San Antonio River had a natural loop that brought it through the downtown area. In the 1920's a major flood damaged many of the buildings near the river with water levels reaching the second floor of some of the buildings on the riverbank. Some of the citizens wanted a diversionary channel cut and the river loop filled in. Cooler heads prevailed and the flood control channel was cut. The loop was turned into the Paseo del Rio, or Riverwalk. Riverwalk has many restaurants along both sides of the river and some upscale hotels. It is a nice place to walk and eat (bring lots of money for some of the restaurants). You can also take a 40 minute cruise on the river (we did that both times we were here). Below are some scenes of Riverwalk.