Discover Austin: The River Walk - Episode 71

We're heading to San Antonio to stroll along the famous River Walk for this road trip episode of Discover Austin.

If you'd prefer to read about the River Walk, the transcript can be found below the video.

Greetings!  I’m Craig Smyser with 1835 Realty.  Running through the heart of Downtown San Antonio is an urban ecosystem filled with shops, restaurants, and a host of other attractions.  We’re going to visit the River Walk on this road trip episode of Discover Austin.

While the River Walk technically is 15 miles long, the heart of it is the 2.5 mile stretch downtown.  It is set below street level and the winding path is surrounded by serene landscaping, it’s also criss-crossed by pedestrian bridges, and accented by amenities such as the Arneson River Theatre which features the stage on one side of the river and the audience on the other. 

Many great hotels and the convention center are right alongside the River Walk allowing visitors easy access.

There are so many restaurants along the River Walk, many of them are good but how do you know what’s the best?  I asked our favorite food blogger, Michael Zook.  He suggested Paesanos, it’s great Italian food and shrimp paesano is their signature dish.  He also likes Boudro’s which is local, farm-to-table, and inspired by Louisiana. 

River boats offer tours, serve as taxis, and can be reserved for private dining.  They are an enduring image of the River Walk that take visitors from being by-standers to river navigators.

Many events occur at the River Walk including the Texas Cavaliers River Parade which features vibrant, flowery floats and takes place every April.  There are plenty of music events, artisan shows, and other special occasions that take place along the River Walk all year long.

While the River Walk always looks great, when evening settles in, the lighting really enhances the ambiance.

After a severe flood in 1921, San Antonio started to look at a flood control system.  Robert Hugman, an architect and native San Antonian, designed what would become the River Walk back in 1929.  It was ingenious in its design to preserve the main part of the river by creating a small bypass that provided flood control.  Inspired by New Orleans’ relationship to French architecture, Hugman wanted the River Walk to showcase the Mexican style of architecture that is rooted in San Antonio’s heritage.  But his vision for the shops and restaurants would have to wait as the Depression stopped commercial development before it even started.  The sidewalks and bridges were completed in 1940.  Casa Rio opened in 1946.  Serving Tex-Mex, it is the oldest restaurant along the River Walk.  Other businesses joined, but it wasn’t until the World’s Fair came to San Antonio in 1968 that the River Walk really started to take off and become what it is today.  The Historic Hugman Tour is a self-guided tour you can take along the River Walk.

Beyond the downtown area, the River Walk now stretches south to the Missions, but you’d be advised to take a river taxi or bike given the distance.  A 2009 expansion extended the River Walk north to the museum district and the San Antonio Zoo.

No visit to San Antonio is complete without a stroll along the River Walk.  I’m Craig Smyser with 1835 Realty, thanks for joining me for this road trip episode of Discover Austin.

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