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San Antonio ( ) is the second-largest city in the state of Texasmarker and the seventh-largest city in the United States. Located in the and the northern part of , San Antonio is the epicenter of Tejano culture and Texasmarker tourism. The city is characteristic of other Southwest urban centers in which there are sparsely populated areas and a low density rate outside of the city. It was the fourth-fastest growing large city in the nation from 2000-2006 and the fifth-fastest-growing from 2007 to 2008. Its metropolitan area has a population of 2 million based on the 2008 U.S. Census estimate, making it the 28th-largest metropolitan area in the U.S and third in Texas. The city is the seat of Bexar Countymarker with a population of 1.3 million as of the 2008 U.S. Census estimate.

The city was named for the Portuguese St. Anthony, whose feast day is on June 13, when a Spanish expedition stopped in the area in 1691. Famous for Spanish missionsmarker, the Alamomarker, the River Walkmarker, the Tower of the Americasmarker, the Alamo Bowl, and host to Seaworldmarker and Six Flags Fiesta Texasmarker theme parks, the city is visited by approximately 26 million tourists per year according to the San Antonio Convention and Visitors Bureau. The city is home to the four-time NBA champion San Antonio Spurs and the annual San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo, one of the largest in the country.

San Antonio has a strong military presence—it is home to Fort Sam Houstonmarker, Lackland Air Force Basemarker, Randolph Air Force Basemarker, and Brooks City-Basemarker, with Camp Bullismarker and Camp Stanley outside the city. Kelly Air Force Basemarker operated out of San Antonio until 2001, when the airfield was transferred over to Lackland AFB and the remaining portions of the base became Port San Antoniomarker, an industrial/business park. San Antonio is home to five Fortune 500 companies and to the South Texas Medical Center, the only medical research and care provider in the South Texas region.


Aerial view of the city, San Antonio, December 4, 1939

Native Americans originally lived near the San Antonio Rivermarker Valley, in the San Pedro Springsmarker area, calling the vicinity "Yanaguana," meaning "refreshing waters."

In 1536, Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca, a shipwrecked captive of Native Americans, visited the interior of what would later be called Texas. He saw and described the river later to be named the San Antonio.

In 1691, a group of Spanish explorers and missionaries came upon the river and Native American settlement (located in the area of present-day La Villita) on June 13, the feast day of Saint Anthony of Padova, Italy and named the place and river "San Antonio" in his honor.

In 1716, The Spanish Council of War approved a site on the San Antonio River for construction of a presidio (fort). The Domingo Ramón expedition, accompanied by the trader St. Denis from Louisianamarker (who had come to the site two years previous) established a presidio on the river. That council also approved a request by Father Olivares to establish a Catholic Mission at the site.

In 1718, Martin de Alarcón, then Governor of Texas, reinforced the presidio and the ten soldiers and their families were recognized officially as the beginning of the villa. Alarcón named the presidio San Antonio de Béjar in honor of the Duke of Béjarmarker, in Spain, the viceroy's brother, who died what was considered a hero's death defending Budapestmarker from the Ottoman Empire in 1686.

That same year, the Mission of San Francisco de Solano was moved from the Rio Grandemarker to merge with Mission San Antonio de Padua. Father Olivares renamed his merged mission Mission San Antonio de Valero. The presidio, the villa and the mission comprised the municipality named San Antonio de los Llanos (of the Plains) by Governor Alarcón. One year later, in 1719, Mission San Antonio moved to its second site on the east bank near the present day St. Joseph's Church on Commerce. (The names are in dispute because there are no such saints and only a Pope can name saints.)

In 1720, The Marquis de Aguayo moved the presidio San Antonio de Béjar to its present site on the Plaza de Armas, where permanent quarters were constructed for the soldiers. In 1726 the official settlement population was 200, including 45 military and their families.

The Mission San Antonio was moved to its third and final site on Alamo Plaza in 1724 because of hurricane flooding at the previous location.

At eleven o'clock on the morning of March 9, 1731, sixteen families (56 people) from the Canary Islandsmarker, often referred to as the "Canary Islanders," arrived at the Presidio of San Antonio de Bexar in the Province of Texas. By royal decree of the King of Spain, they founded La Villa de San Fernando and established the first civil government in Texas. The Marquis of Casafuerte, Viceroy of Spain, (King of Spain) bestowed upon each Canary Island family titles of nobility. Many descendants of these first settlers still reside in San Antonio.

San Antonio grew to become the largest Spanish settlement in Texas. After the failure of Spanish missions to the north of the city San Antonio became the farthest northeastern extension of the Hispanic culture of the Valley of Mexico. It was for most of its history the capital of the Spanish, later Mexican, province of Tejas. From San Antonio the Camino Real, today Nacogdoches Road in San Antonio, ran to the American border at the small frontier town of Nacogdoches. After Mexico achieved independence in 1821 American settlers, at the invitation of the Mexican government, began to settle in Texas in areas northeast of San Antonio. When Antonio López de Santa Anna unilaterally rescinded the Mexican constitution of 1824 violence ensued in many provinces of Mexico. In Texas the anglo settlers joined many Hispanic Texans in calling for the return to the constitution of 1824. In a series of battles the anglo Texans, who called themselves Texians, succeeded in forcing Mexican forces out of the anglo settlement area. Under the leadership of Ben Milam, in the Battle of Bexar, December, 1835, Texian forces captured San Antonio from forces commanded by General Martin Perfecto de Cos, Santa Anna's brother in law. This gave the forces opposing Santa Anna control of the entire province of Texas. Today Milam Park and the Cos House, commemorate this battle.

After putting down resistance in other regions of Mexico, in the spring of 1836 Santa Anna marched on San Antonio. Texian leader Sam Houston, believing that San Antonio could not be defended against the regular Mexican army, called for the Texian forces to abandon the city and join him. A volunteer force under the joint command of William Barrett Travis, newly arrived in Texas, and James Bowie, and including Davy Crockett and his company of Tennesseans, and Juan Seguin's company of Hispanic Texan volunteers, occupied and fortified the deserted mission, the Alamo, and determined to hold San Antonio against all opposition. The defenders of the Alamo thus included both anglo and Hispanic Texans who fought side by side under a banner that was the flag of Mexico with the numerals "1824" superimposed. This was meant to indicate that the defenders were fighting for their rights to democratic government under the Mexican constitution of that year. It was only during the siege that the Texas Congress declared an independent Republic of Texas.

Memorial to the Alamo defenders
The Battle of the Alamomarker took place from February 23 to March 6, 1836. At first the battle was primarily a siege marked by artillery duels and small skirmishes. After twelve days Santa Anna, tired of waiting for his heavy artillery, and eager for a glorious victory to enhance his reputation, determined to take the Alamo by storm. Before dawn on March 6, he launched his troops against the walls of the Alamo in three separate attacks. These were carried out with great courage by the Mexican troops and were repelled with heroic resistance by the outnumbered defenders. The third attack overwhelmed the defenses of the weak north wall. The defenders retreated to the now famous Long Barracks and the Chapel and fought to the last man. Most historians agree that a handful of the defenders were captured but were executed as rebels on the specific orders of Santa Anna. While legally entitled to do this, the deaths of these "Martyrs to Texas Independence" inspired greater resistance to Santa Anna's regime, and the cry "Remember the Alamo" became the rallying point of the Texas Revolution. Texas independence was finally attained at the Battle of San Jacintomarker the following April. The Alamomarker, which was in 1836 across the San Antonio River from the city, is now an integral part of downtown. Alamo Plaza contains the Cenotaph, a monument built in celebration of the centenary of the battle; it covers the remains of the Heroes of the Alamo, and bears the names of all who fought there on the Texan side. The Alamo is maintained as a shrine and museum, surrounded by many hotels and tourist attractions. It is clearly San Antonio's best known landmark, and is featured in the city's flag and seal and in the city's nickname, "The Alamo City." It is the single most visited tourist attraction in Texas. Across the street from the rear of Alamo is the world famous Crockett Hotel, named after the legendary pioneer Davy Crockett.

Juan Seguín, who organized the company of Hispanic Texans, Tejanos who fought and died for Texas independence at the Alamo was not present at the battle due to Sam Houston's refusal to allow him to rejoin his men. Seguin earned fame as one of the heroes of the Battle of San Jacinto and after independence he was elected to the Texas Senate. He later served as mayor of San Antonio. He was forced out of that office at gunpoint by Anglo politicians in 1842. The next Hispanic mayor would not come until Henry Cisneros was elected in 1981.

In 1845 the United States annexed Texas and included it as a state in the Union. This, after some incitement by United States troops along the Mexican border, led to the Mexican War between the United States and Mexico which concluded with the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, 1848. Under this treaty Mexico ceded to the United States not only Texas but all of what is now the American Southwest excluding a small portion of Arizona and New Mexico. The war was devastating to San Antonio, and at its end the population of the city had been reduced by almost two thirds, to only 800 inhabitants.

Peace and economic connections to the United States restored prosperity to the city, and by 1860, at the start of the Civil War, San Antonio had grown to a city of 15,000 people. This period saw a large immigration from Germany. The beautiful King William district just south of downtown was built at this time as the home to the most successful of the city's German merchants. During this period a visitor was as likely to hear German as English or Spanish, spoken on the streets of the city. The Guenther Flour Mills, Gebhardt's Chili Powder, and Mahncke Park, are just a few of the local institutions which recall San Antonio's German heritage.

During the Civil War San Antonio was not deeply involved in the secessionist cause, due in part to the fact that many of the city's residents, notably those of German or Mexican ancestry, supported the Union. After the war San Antonio prospered as a center of the cattle culture. There is an argument to be made that it was in San Antonio that the American cowboy originated, because it was there that Spanish and Mexican techniques of herding cattle on horseback were transferred to Anglo-American cattle ranchers. It is undoubted that major cattle trails, including the Chisholm Trail, began in San Antonio. It was for this reason that promoter "Bet a Million" Gates chose San Antonio to demonstrate the value of barbed wire. In 1876 he fenced off Alamo Plaza with the new invention then had cowboys drive a herd of cattle into the wire. When the wire held the cattle many of the ranchers in attendance placed orders for the new product. San Antonio was thus crucial both to the beginning and ending of the open range period in American ranching culture.

The Alamo, San Antonio at current state
During this period San Antonio remained a frontier city. Its isolation and its diverse cultures gave it the reputation as a beautiful and exotic place. When Frederick Law Olmstead, the architect who would two years later design Central Parkmarker in New York City, visited San Antonio in 1856 he described San Antonio as having a, "jumble of races, costumes, languages, and buildings," which gave it a quality which only New Orleans could rival in, "odd and antiquated foreignness." Much of the mystique which drives today's tourist industry in San Antonio has it origins, then, in a sense of the uniqueness of the city which is over 150 years old.

In 1877 the first railroad reached San Antonio and the city was no longer on the frontier but began to enter the mainstream of American society. At the beginning of the 20th century the streets of downtown, the old Spanish and Mexican city, were widened to accommodate street cars and modern traffic. In the process many historic building were destroyed. These included the Veramendi House, the home of the prominent family into which Jim Bowie had married when he came to city. Standing on the southwest side of the intersection of Houston and Soledad Streets this building was a massive quadrangle built of adobe around a central courtyard in the typical Mexican style. When the street was widened by 20 feet the building was leveled.

Like many municipalities in the American Southwest, San Antonio experiences steady population growth. The city's population has nearly doubled in 35 years, from just over 650,000 in the 1970 census to an estimated 1.2 million in 2005 through both steady population growth and land annexation (considerably enlarging the physical area of the city).


San Antonio is located near 29.5°N 98.5°W. According to the United States Census Bureau, in 2000 the city had a total area of 412.07 square miles (1,067.3 km²) — 407.56 square miles (1,055.6 km2) of land and 4.51 square miles (11.7 km2) of water. The city sits on the Balcones Escarpment.

The primary source of drinking water for the city is the Edwards Aquifer. Impounded in 1962 and 1969, respectively, Victor Braunig Lakemarker and Calaveras Lakemarker were among the first reservoirs in the country built to use recycled treated wastewater for power plant cooling, reducing the amount of groundwater needed for electrical generation.




San Antonio's weather is alternately dry or humid depending on prevailing winds, turning hot in the summer, mild to cool winters subject to descending northern cold fronts in the winter with cool to cold nights, and comfortably warm and rainy in the spring and fall. San Antonio receives about a dozen sub-freezing nights each year, occasionally (about once every couple winters) seeing some sort of wintry precipitation (i.e. sleet/freezing rain), but accumulation and snow itself is not very common. Many winters may pass without any freezing precipitation at all. According to the National Weather Service, there have been 31 instances of snowfall (a trace or more) in the city in the past 122 years, for an average of about once every 4 years. However a decade or more may pass between snowfalls. San Antonio, July and August tie for the average warmest months with an average high of 95 degrees Fahrenheit (35 °C). The highest temperature ever to be recorded was 111 °F (43.8 °C) on September 5, 2000. The average coolest month is January. The lowest recorded temperature ever was 0 °F (-17.7 °C) on January 31, 1949. May, June, and October have quite a bit of precipitation. For the last 135 years, the average annual precipitation has been 29.05 inches (73.79 cm), with a maximum of 52.28 inches (132.79 cm) and a minimum of 10.11 inches (25.68 cm) in one year.


According to the 2000 U.S. Census, the city had a population of 1,144,646, ranking it the ninth-most populated city in the country. Due to San Antonio's low density rate and lack of significant population surrounding the city limits, the metropolitan area ranked just 30th in the U.S. with a population of 1,592,383.

Subsequent population estimates indicate continued growth in the area. The July 1, 2008, population estimate for the city was 1,351,305, making it the second-most populous city and the third-most populous metro area in Texas, as well as the seventh-most populous city in the U.S. The 2008 U.S. Census estimate for the eight-county (Atascosa, Bandera, Bexar, Comal, Guadalupe, Kendall, Medina, and Wilson Counties) San Antonio metropolitan statistical area placed its population at 2,031,445, making it the third-most populous metro area in Texas and the 28th-most populous metro area in the U.S. San Antonio's MSA is bordered to the northeast by the Austin-Round Rock metropolitan statistical area , and the two metros together combine to form a region of almost 3.7 million people.

There are 405,474 households, and 280,993 families residing in San Antonio. The population density is 2,808.5 people per square mile (1,084.4 km2). There are 433,122 housing units at an average density of 1,062.7 per square mile (410.3 km2).

The age of the city's population is spread out with 28.5% under the age of 18, 10.8% from 18 to 24, 30.8% from 25 to 44, 19.4% from 45 to 64, and 10.4% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 32 years. In San Antonio, 48% of the population are males, and 52% of the population are females. For every 100 females there are 93.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 89.7 males.

The median income for a household in the city is $36,214, and the median income for a family is $53,100. Males have a median income of $30,061 versus $24,444 for females. The per capita income for the city is $17,487. 17.3% of the population and 14.0% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 24.3% of those under the age of 18 and 13.5% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line.

As of the 2005-2007 American Community Survey conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, White Americans made up 64.3% of San Antonio's population; of which 29.3% were non-Hispanic whites. Blacks or African Americans made up 6.6% of San Antonio's population; of which 6.3% were non-Hispanic blacks. American Indians made up 0.6% of the city's population; of which 0.3% were non-Hispanic. Asian Americans made up 2.0% of the city's population; of which 1.9% were non-Hispanic. Pacific Islander Americans made up 0.1% of the city's population. Individuals from some other race made up 23.9% of the city's population; of which 0.3% were non-Hispanic. Individuals from two or more races made up 2.5% of the city's population; of which 0.9% were non-Hispanic. In addition, Hispanics and Latinos made up 61.0% of San Antonio's population.


San Antonio has a diversified economy with four primary focuses: financial services, government, health care, and tourism. Located northwest of the city center is the South Texas Medical Center, which is a conglomerate of various hospitals, clinics, and research and higher educational institutions.

The city is also home to one of the largest military concentrations in the United States. The defense industry in San Antonio employs over 89,000 and provides a $5.25 billion impact to the city's economy.

Twenty million tourists visit the city and its attractions every year, contributing substantially to the city's economy. The Henry B.marker Gonzalez Convention Centermarker alone hosts more than 300 events each year with over 750,000 convention delegates from around the world. Tourism employs 94,000 citizens and makes an economic impact of over $8.7 billion in the local economy as revealed in the Economic Impact Study conducted every two years by the San Antonio Tourism Council and the research team of Dr. Richard Butler and Dr. Mary Stefl of Trinity University. Tourism also brings new annual revenues to the City of San Antonio and other governmental entities with the hotel & motel tax, sales taxes and other revenues from hospitality agreements and contracts. This number exceeded over $160 million in the 2004 study.

San Antonio is home to five Fortune 500 companies: Valero Energy Corp, Tesoro Petroleum Corp, Clear Channel Communications, USAA, and NuStar Energy.


San Antonio is a popular tourist destination. The jewel of the city is the River Walkmarker, which meanders through the downtown area. Lined with numerous shops, bars, and restaurants, as well as the Arneson River Theater, this attraction is transformed into an impressive festival of lights during the Christmas and New Year holiday period, and is suffused with the local sounds of folklorico and flamenco music during the summer, particularly during celebrations such as the Fiesta Noche del Rio. Also based along the River Walk is the newly restored Aztec On The Rivermarker, the only surviving exotic-themed movie palace in Texas.

The Alamomarker, located nearby, is Texas' top tourist attraction, while the River Walk is the second most visited attraction. SeaWorldmarker, located 16 miles west of downtown, is the number 3 attraction. Also, there is the very popular Six Flags Fiesta Texas.

The downtown area also features Cathedral of San Fernandomarker, The Majestic Theatremarker, HemisFair Park (home of the Tower of the Americasmarker and the Institute of Texan Culturesmarker), La Villita, El Mercado, the Spanish Governor's Palacemarker, and the historic Menger Hotelmarker. On the northern side of the Alamo complex, beside the Emily Morgan Hotel, is the San Antonio Cavalry Museum, which features cavalry artifacts and exhibits and is frequented by local re-enactors.

The Fairmount Hotel, built in 1906 and San Antonio's second oldest hotel, is in the Guinness World Records as one of the heaviest buildings ever moved intact. It was placed in its new location, three blocks south of the Alamo, over four days in 1985, and cost $650,000 to move.

Image:Alamo TX.jpg|The Alamo, San Antonio's most famous attractionImage:Riverwalk Christmas 05-2.JPG|The holiday season on the River WalkImage:SA Torch of Friendship.JPG|The Torch of Friendship sculptureImage:Rio del pasio 05.jpg|San Antonio's historic River Walkmarker extends some 2½ miles, attracting several million visitors every year.Image:SA hotel view.jpg|Another view of the city's downtown areaImage:SAPL2.jpg|Central Library of The San Antonio Public LibraryImage:SA SN tree.jpg|The Tower of the Americasmarker characterizes the city's skylineImage:Bexar County Court House perspective.jpg|The historic Bexar County CourthousemarkerImage:SACC.jpg|The San Antonio Convention CentermarkerImage:SABG8.jpg|The San Antonio Botanical GardenmarkerImage:Mission-Concepcion.jpg|San Antonio Missions National Historical ParkmarkerImage:SeaWorldTexas1.jpg|SeaWorld San AntoniomarkerImage:Aztec On The River - Building.jpg|Aztec On The Rivermarker TheaterImage:Fiestatexaslogo.png|Six Flags Fiesta TexasmarkerImage:SAIMAX.JPG|IMAX Theater

San Antonio is home to the first museum of modern art in Texas, the McNay Art Museummarker. Other places of interest include the The Woodlawn Theatre, the San Antonio Zoomarker, the Japanese Tea Gardensmarker, Kumamoto, Brackenridge Park, the missions of the San Antonio Missions National Historical Parkmarker, the Museo Alameda, the San Antonio Museum of Artmarker, the McNay Art Museummarker, the Witte Museummarker, ArtPacemarker, Blue Star Contemporary Art Centermarker, SeaWorld San Antoniomarker, Six Flags Fiesta Texasmarker, the Texas Transportation Museummarker, and Splashtown San Antonio. Visitors can also experience something of the cowboy culture year round, they can see the 40-foot (12 m) tall cowboy boots at North Star Mall.

Beyond taking in the sights and sounds of San Antonio, tourists can sample some of its world famous Tex-Mex cuisine at the many fine restaurants located throughout the city. Mexican restaurants are abundant in virtually all parts of town, and most — except for those in the Far North and some of the Uptown enclaves like Alamo Heights — are relatively inexpensive. Some outstanding examples of Tex-Mex eateries include Jacala, on West Avenue on the near Northwest side, La Hacienda de Los Barrios, on the North East side, Tommy's on Nogalitos at I-35 near downtown, and Los Barrios, on the near North side of town.


Sport League Club Founded Venue League championships Championship years
Basketball NBA San Antonio Spurs 1967 AT&T Centermarker 4 1999, 2002-03, 2004-05, 2006-07
Basketball WNBA San Antonio Silver Stars 1997 AT&T Centermarker 0 N/A
Hockey AHL San Antonio Rampage 2002 AT&T Centermarker 0 N/A
Baseball TL San Antonio Missions 1968 Nelson W.marker Wolff Municipal Stadiummarker 11 1897, 1903, 1908, 1933, 1950, 1961, 1964, 1997, 2002, 2003, 2007

The city's only top-level professional sports team, and consequently the team most San Antonians follow, is the San Antonio Spurs of the National Basketball Association. Previously, the Spurs played at the Alamodomemarker, which was built for football, and before that the HemisFair Arenamarker, but the Spurs built – with public money – and moved into the SBC Center in 2002, since renamed the AT&T Centermarker.

The AT&T Center is also home to the San Antonio Rampage of the American Hockey League and the San Antonio Silver Stars of the WNBA, both owned by the Spurs Organization. San Antonio is home to the Double-A Minor League affiliate of the San Diego Padres, the San Antonio Missions who play at Nelson Wolff Stadiummarker on the west side of the city. (San Antonio is the largest city in the country with neither a Major League nor AAA baseball team.) San Antonio hosts the NCAA football Alamo Bowl each December. San Antonio has two rugby union teams, the Alamo City Rugby Football Club, and San Antonio Rugby Football Club.

The University of Texas at San Antoniomarker fields San Antonio's only NCAA Division I athletic teams known as the UTSA Roadrunners. The University recently added football, hiring former University of Miamimarker coach Larry Coker as its initial head coach. Roadrunner football will begin play in 2011.

The city is also home of the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, played annually in the Alamodome and televised live on NBC. The Bowl is an East versus West showdown featuring the nation's top 90 high school senior football players. The game has featured NFL stars Reggie Bush, Vince Young, Adrian Peterson, and many other college and NFL stars.

City officials are said to be attempting to lure the National Football League permanently to San Antonio and have also said that a strong showing at the Alamodome for the three local Saints games was vital to showing that San Antonio can support an NFL franchise. NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue stated San Antonio was successful in hosting the team, and that the city would be on the short list for any future NFL expansions. The city has also hosted the Dallas Cowboys and Houston Oilers preseason camps in the past, and they have signed a contract with the Cowboys in which the Cowboys will practice in San Antonio through 2011. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has acknowledged his support for the city's efforts to become home to an NFL franchise. Although it is the second largest city in the United States without an NFL team (after Los Angelesmarker), San Antonio's smaller metropolitan population has so far contributed to its lack of landing an NFL, MLB, or NHL team.

San Antonio will be getting a National Premier Soccer League expansion team in 2010.


The City of San Antonio runs under a Council-Manager form of government. The city is divided into 10 council districts designed to ensure equal population distribution between all districts. Each district elects one person to sit on the City Council with the mayor elected on a city-wide basis. All members of the City Council, which includes the mayor, are elected to two-year terms and are limited to four terms in total (except for those who were in office in November, 2008 and are limited to a total of two terms). All positions are elected on non-partisan ballots as required by Texas law. Council members are paid $20 a meeting, while the Mayor earns $4,000 a year. Most council members maintain full-time employment in addition to their positions on the council. The current mayor is Julian Castro.

The council hires the City Manager to handle day to day operations. The council effectively functions as the city's legislative body with the City Manager acting as its Chief Executive, responsible for the management of day to day operations and execution of council legislation. The current City Manager is Sheryl Sculley.

The city operates its own electric and gas utility service, CPS Energy.

The city stretches into several national congressional districts and is represented in Congress by the following:

Growth policy

Unlike most large cities in the U.S., San Antonio is not completely surrounded by independent suburban cities, and under Texas law it exercises extraterritorial jurisdiction (ETJ) over much of the surrounding unincorporated land, including directing growth and zoning. It pursues an aggressive annexation policy and opposes the creation of other municipalities within its ETJ. Nearly three-fourths of its current land area has been annexed since 1960. In recent years, the city has annexed several long narrow corridors along major thoroughfares in outlying areas to facilitate eventual annexation of growth developing along the routes. The city plans to annex nearly forty additional square miles by 2009.

Involuntary annexation is a controversial issue in those parts of unincorporated Bexar County affected by it. Residents, attracted to the outlying areas by lower taxes and affordable real estate values, often see annexation as a mechanism to increase property tax rates (primarily driven by school district taxes) without a corresponding improvement in services such as police and fire protection, while the city regards its annexation policy as essential to its overall prosperity.


University of Texas at San Antonio

San Antonio hosts over 100,000 students across its 31 higher-education facilities which include The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, University of Texas at San Antoniomarker, Texas A&M University–San Antoniomarker, and the Alamo Community College District. Some of the private schools include St. Mary's Universitymarker, Our Lady of the Lake University, University of the Incarnate Wordmarker, Trinity Universitymarker, and Wayland Baptist Universitymarker. The San Antonio Public Library serves all of these institutions along with the 17 school districts within San Antonio.

The city is also home to more than 30 private schools and charter schools. These schools include Central Catholic Marianist High Schoolmarker, The Atonement Academymarker, Antonian College Preparatory High Schoolmarker,San Antonio Academy, Holy Cross High School, Providence High School, Incarnate Word High Schoolmarker, Keystone School, TMI — The Episcopal School of Texas, and St. Anthony Catholic High Schoolmarker.



San Antonio International Airportmarker is located in north central San Antonio, approximately eight miles from downtown. It has two terminals and is served by 21 airlines serving 43 destinations including three in Mexico.

Mass Transit

A bus and streetcar system is provided by the city's metropolitan transit system, VIA Metropolitan Transit. VIA's full fare monthly unlimited Big Pass is only $30 per month making VIA the most economical large transit authority in the nation. VIA offers 93 regular bus routes and 4 downtown streetcar routes including express service from downtown to the South, West, Northwest, North Central and Northeast areas of the city including UTSAmarker, Six Flags Fiesta Texasmarker and SeaWorldmarker. Express service to the Far West area of the city is scheduled to begin in late 2009. VIA also offers a special service to city events including Spurs games and city parades from its Park and Ride locations. VIA has among its many routes, one of the longest transit routes in the nation. Route 550/551(LOOPER/SKIP SERVICE) travels 48 miles one way as it loops around the city. San Antonio became the largest city in the U.S. to not have a intra-city rail system when Phoenix, the former city that had this title, got such a system in 2008.


Amtrak, the national passenger rail service, provides service to San Antonio at San Antonio Amtrak Stationmarker, operating its Texas Eagle daily between San Antonio and Chicagomarker's Union Stationmarker. Amtrak also operates its Sunset Limited three times a week in each direction through San Antonio between Los Angelesmarker and Orlando, Floridamarker (currently truncated to New Orleansmarker due to the effects of Hurricane Katrina). The Texas Eagle section travels between San Antonio and Los Angeles as part of the Sunset Limited. The old Sunset Station is now an entertainment venue owned by VIA and neighbored by the current station and the Alamodomemarker.


San Antonio is served by these major freeways: Other highways include:
  • U.S. Highway 87 - Southbound to Victoriamarker along Roland Avenue then Rigsby Avenue. It runs concurrent with I-10 for where it goes to San Angelomarker northbound.
  • U.S. Highway 181 - Starts south of I-410/I-37/US 281 junction and goes to Corpus Christimarker via Beevillemarker. Prior to I-37 being built US 181 traveled along Presa St. from downtown to its current alignment.
  • State Highway 16 - From Freermarker, it runs concurrent with I-410 for along southwest San Antonio, over to Bandera Road to Banderamarker.
  • State Loop 345 - Fredericksburg Road is the Business Loop for I-10 West/US-87 North.
  • State Loop 368 - Broadway and Austin Highway is the Business Loop for I-35 North.
  • State Loop 353 - Nogalitos Street and New Laredo Highway is the Business Loop for I-35 South.
  • State Loop 13 - Is the city's inner loop on the south side serving Lackland AFBmarker, Port San Antoniomarker, South Park Mall and Brooks CityBasemarker traveling along Military Dr. on the south side and WW White Rd. on the east side. The northern arc of the loop is now I-410.

Notable natives and residents

Media and entertainment


Antonio has one major newspaper, the San Antonio Express-News, which has served the area since 1865. Robert Rivard, who currently serves as the paper's executive vice president and editor, was named Managing Editor in 1994 and then Editor in 1997. The Express-News currently circulates as the largest newspaper service in South Texas. The Hearst Corporation, which owned a second newspaper, the San Antonio Light, purchased the Express-News from News Corp. in 1992 and shut down the Light after failing to find a buyer. Hearst, using the Express-News brand, also produces Conexion, a weekly magazine written by an entirely Hispanic staff with a Hispanic spin on weekly events. The San Antonio Current is the free "alternative" paper published weekly with local political issues, art and music news, restaurant listings and reviews, and listings of events and nightlife around town. In addition, the San Antonio Business Journal covers general business news. La Prensa, a bilingual publication, also has a long history in San Antonio. The San Antonio River Walk Current covers general San Antonio news.


While the city is one of the ten largest in the United States, its television market is only the 37th in the United States, according to the marketing research firm ACNielsen. This is primarily due to the relatively low population-density of the outlying areas and the close proximity of Austin, which truncates the potential market area. The San Antonio market has 65% cable TV penetration.


See also: Broadcast media in San Antonio
FM: 28 AM: 20

About 50 radio stations can be heard in the San Antonio area — 30 of them are actually located in San Antonio. The first radio station to broadcast in South Texas was KTSA AM-550marker in 1922. Some of KTSA AM-550'smarker better known local talk show hosts include Jack Riccardi, Trey Ware and Ricci Ware. Another significant station is WOAI AM-1200marker (the flagship of Clear Channel Worldwide), which is the radio home of the San Antonio Spurs and features Rush Limbaugh.

There are two National Public Radio stations in San Antonio, both belong to Texas Public Radio (; KSTX 89.1 FM is NPR news/talk and KPAC 88.3 is a 24-hour classical music station. KSTX also broadcasts "Riverwalk Jazz", featuring Jim Cullum Jazz Band at The Landing, a fixture on the River Walk since 1963. KRTU 91.7 is a non-commercial radio station based out of Trinity University. Unlike other college radio stations throughout the U.S. the station plays jazz 17 hours a day and college rock/indie rock at night. College Alternative station KSYM, 90.1 FM, is owned by the Alamo Community College District and operated by San Antonio College students and like KRTU it plays the Third Coast music network during the day and alternative music at night.

Most Latin stations in the area play Regional Mexican, Tejano or Contemporary Pop. But on January 12, 2006, Univision-owned KCOR-FMmarker "La Kalle 95.1" changed its format from Hispanic-Rhythmic Contemporary Hits to Spanish Oldies, now named "Recuerdo 95.1". However, Univision announced on November 10, 2006, that it flipped KLTO Tejano 97.7's format to Reggaeton in an attempt to reintroduce the format to San Antonio again. KLTO was acquired earlier in the year and operated as a simulcast of KXTNmarker Tejano 107.5. San Antonio has quickly diversified in recent years, with the influx of non-Tejano Latinos, mostly from the East Coast, who are serving in the city's various military bases, as well as immigrants from Mexicomarker. Therefore, just like in the rest of the country, radio station conglomerates have been changing formats in San Antonio to reflect shifting demographics.

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