This is a city with a rich, dramatic and well-preserved history. It will also be the destination for Northstar Meetings Group's Independent Planner Education Conference, taking place Feb. 3--6. Learn more at here.
DAY 1: GET YOUR BEARINGS
Few things are as closely identified with San Antonio as its River Walk, the 15-mile path meandering beside the city's eponymous river. Take a stroll along its length and poke into the various shops and restaurants, or take a peek at its host of natural and historic attractions. Those looking to take it easier can skip the walking and hop on a riverboat for a leisurely guided tour. The vessels stop at the Henry B. González Convention Center, making the tour an easy outing for convention-goers to enjoy between events.
Spend some time in the Pearl District. The site of the Pearl Brewery from 1883 to 2001, the area has now been developed into one of the city's hippest neighborhoods. Grab a bite at one of the chef-led restaurants, shop at the boutiques, or catch some live music at the historic Pearl Stable, which housed the brewery's draft horses for decades and now can be booked for events.
DAY 2: STEP INTO THE PAST
Remember the Alamo and pay a visit to Missions National Historical Park, the first UNESCO World Heritage Site in Texas, made up of four Spanish colonial missions -- including that most famous Mission San Antonio de Valero (aka the Alamo). Visitors here can retrace the events of the 1836 battle of the Texas revolution during which 187 Americans lost their lives, and learn how the site became the potent historic symbol it is today.
Take a tour (or attend an event) at the Spanish Governor's Palace, the former residence of military captains, and the last remnants of the Presidio San Antonio de Béjar. Visitors can meander around the Main Courtyard, taking in the garden and mosaic walking path, or wander through the myriad rooms now overflowing with antiques and historic artifacts.
DAY 3: NATURAL WONDERS
On a beautiful day, there are few better places to go than the San Antonio Botanical Garden. Stretched across 38 acres, attractions here include the Texas Native Trail (where visitors can see diverse species native to the region) and the WaterSaver Garden (spotlighting low-water plants), as well as a bird-watching structure where attendees can spot a Painted Bunting or Purple Martin.
Learn some facts at the Witte Museum, with exhibits on nature, science and culture, including a massive Dinosaur Gallery, an exhibit on the lives of the region's indigenous people, and immersive dioramas on Texas wildlife and history. The facility offers a number of venues for groups from 10 to 1,500 people, including an auditorium and a native-plant garden.
There are a lot of interesting things happening under the city, as well, in the Natural Bridge Caverns. Visitors can walk a 60-foot-long natural limestone bridge that dips 180 feet below ground and take part in a wide range of activities.
This article appears in the January 2019 issue of Successful Meetings.