City Life: Mañana, mañana
This Tex-Mex southern city is a laid-back liaison between Latin America and the Wild West…
San Antonio is blossoming into one of America's biggest cities, but its proximity to the Mexican border keeps the pace nice and slow. The River City may be spread out, but much of what you'll need can be found in and around downtown, along the prettily pedestrianised canal that cuts through San Antonio's oldest streets. The River Walk attracts people at all hours, strolling along the footbridges and foliage, and stopping for burgers or burritos. The buildings get interesting on the edges of downtown: look out for Mexican murals and rainbow shades of pinks, blues, yellows and greens, and, in King William, easily frightened visitors might want to avoid the series of slightly creepy, enormous, dilapidated homes. The city is also home to several Spanish missions, built in the 18th century.
Driving and parking can often prove problematic in this southern city. In downtown, there are several one-way streets, and the city doesn't follow a grid system. The city has a trolley system, or streetcar, which stops at all of downtown's main attractions.
San Antonio's international airport is 10 miles north of downtown, but for a bigger chance of a direct flight, use Austin as the hub. From here, it's an easy hour-long drive to the south west along the I-35.
San Antonio's Amtrak (www.amtrak.com) station is on the Texas Eagle (Chicago to Los Angeles) and Sunset Limited (New Orleans to Los Angeles) routes. The stop is on Hoefgen Avenue.
Country code for the US: +1. San Antonio: 210.
Do go / Don't Go
Between late June and early September, San Antonio hits the 40˚C+ mark, so if you can't handle the heat, pick a different time of year to visit.
Hiring a car is your best getting-around bet but a Yellow Cab (+1 210 222 2222) can help out.
Go for somewhere between 15 and 20 per cent depending on how much you enjoyed the service.
US dollar ($).
Head to Artpace (+1 210 212 4900; www.artpace.org) on Main Avenue to check out the works of San Antonians, Americans and various international artists. There's also the San Antonio Museum of Art (+1 210 978 8100; www.samuseum.org) on West Jones Avenue.
San Antonio might be lacking its own Bond Street, but high-end hipsters can find their Halston fixes at the Violet Hour (+1 210 829 0388; www.shoptheviolethour.com). For a fabulously curated collection of jewellery accompanied by French perfumes, candles and oversized art books, lose yourself in Sloan Hall (+1 210 828 7738; www.sloanhall.com). Thrift-store junkies will find heaven at Vintage House on South St Marys Street (+1 210 299 4774).
Travel up to the top of the Tower of the Americas (+1 210 223 3101; www.toweroftheamericas.com) and see the city from 750ft. There's a bar and revolving restaurant at the top.
April Fiesta (www.fiesta-sa.org) takes over for 10 days in celebration of San Antonio's history and culture, with parades, food and live music all in its honour. May The New World Wine & Food Festival showcases international wine-based developments. June San Antonio's Botanical Garden (www.sabot.org) hosts a spot of summer Shakespeare.