Strollin' on the River: Things to do in San Antonio
"The Grotto" on the San Antonio Riverwalk by Carlos Cortez
When’s the last time you were on the San Antonio River Walk? Generally the kids convince you to take them down for the lighting ceremony at Thanksgiving or guests request the obligatory riverboat tour, right? Well, the River Walk has a few gems you may not know about. Strolling on The River is not just for tourists anymore.
The city has been working on a game plan that will take in 15 miles, turning a major tourist attraction into a community asset. The vision includes urban development, hike and bike trails and natural retreats.
The Museum Reach phase of the project opened in May 2009 allowing access to the 125 year-old Pearl Brewery and the San Antonio Museum of Art. Leading the way to the museum are works of art by local, national and international artists. Most are installed near or under bridges and overpasses. British artist Martin Richman created Shimmer Field under the Lexington Street Bridge. It’s made of reflective rectangular prismatic strips or “ light chimes” that sparkle, sway and shift color. LED lights come on at night creating a glow that makes it easy to see why this area has been dubbed “The Disco Bridge”.
Underneath the Camden Street Overpass, Philadelphia artist Donald Lipski created an amusing school of giant fish. Lit from inside, the 25 seven-foot long sunfish can be seen “swimming” for blocks.
A bit further down the River Walk you’ll discover a magical grotto complete with a waterfall and stalactites. Created by San Antonio artist Carlos Cortés, it’s a dreamlike fantasy of concrete sculpted to resemble rock. Be sure to forewarn the little ones about the rather forbidding looking “Father Nature” carved into a wall of the grotto, spewing water from his mouth!
You’re going to work up an appetite taking in all this art so be sure to check out the Pearl Farmers Market. Perched on a plaza overlooking the River Walk is Pearl, host to local farmers based within a 150-mile radius of the city. This will become your much anticipated weekly routine with the promise of fresh arugula, Heirloom tomatoes, Serrano peppers and of course locally raised grass-fed bison and beef!
Herb lovers may never leave. With Greek oregano, Thai basil, Italian parsley and English thyme, it’s a veritable United Nations of savory embellishments. There are also baked goods, honey, free-range eggs, nuts and coffees, not to mention cooking demonstrations by area chefs. It’s a culinary wonderland.
The River Walk is an ever-evolving attraction. Whether you’re a jogger, an art lover, a gourmand or a reveler, you’ll find your spot. If you’ve got a quieter, more contemplative nature, remember this is one of the most beautiful places in the country. Lush foliage, sparkling waterfalls, quaint pathways and relaxing outdoor cafes provide a respite where you can simply stop and enjoy a quiet moment.
Pearl Farmers Market
200 East Grayson Street
San Antonio, TX 78215
Saturdays 9 A.M. –1 P.M.