If you havenít been to San Antonio lately to stroll along the cityís famed River Walk, or the Paseo del Rio, youíre in for a pleasant surprise on your next visit. The city has infused $72 million into revitalizing a 1.3-mile section of the San Antonio River north of the original well-known River Walk. The new section, called the Museum Reach, opened in May 2009 and stretches north along the San Antonio River, and connects the existing River Walk to the San Antonio Museum of Art and the 125-year old Pearl Brewery.
This recently opened section is just part of San Antonio's multi-year, $279 million River Walk development project due for completion in 2014. The development will extend the River Walk from two to 13 miles, to the city's Mission district. It is the nationís largest ecosystem restoration in an urban area. In the newest section just completed youíll find a manicured waterway that welcomes visitors to stroll, sit on a bench and people watch, or take a water taxi to more attractions upriver.
You can also take in the public art installations along the riverbank that also opened in May. The art installations feature local, national and international artists. Each is unique and most are linked to a bridge or overpass and include waterfall, audio and moving elements. A trip after dark through the portal to the Museum Reach will take you beneath the Lexington Street Bridge where colorful, reflective suspended elements dance and reflect their welcome.
The best way to view the new art installations along the River Walk extension is to hop on a river taxi at sunset. You'll see the full beauty of the art lit up in dancing lights and sparkling reflections on the river. There are 19 stops along the River Walk to pick up a taxi. You can purchase a ticket on board from a Rio Taxi driver, or you can purchase them in advance at a ticket location.
The Pearl Brewery is undergoing a major transformation from a historic brewery, to that of a vibrant culinary and cultural hub of activity, where youíll find, restaurants, urban residences, studios and shops, educational facilities, office spaces, as well as many public spaces. The Brewery was built on the banks of the San Antonio River in 1883 to take advantage of the cool, sparkling river water. With 1100 feet of urban riverfront, Pearl Brewery is dedicated to not only preserving the river but also improving it.
Other things to do while wandering the River Walk:
The San Antonio Museum of Art - Renowned for its Latin American folk art collection the old brick brewery has been converted into gorgeous galleries. The San Antonio Museum of Art opened a new riverside landing as part of the River Walk Museum Reach.
Dining - Dozens of cafes, bistros and elegant restaurants line the River Walk's downtown central stretch with riverside patios, heaters in the colder months and mists in the warmer months. You can even indulge in a delicious three-course meal served by one of the most popular restaurants on the River Walk, Boudros. Reservations are required so plan ahead.
North River Walk - On the northern stretch, at the Pearl Brewery complex, restaurants create food with locally produced ingredients.
Saturday morning Farmers Market Ė on a plaza overlooking the River Walk, features locally grown foods and produce and cooking demonstrations by some of San Antonio's most popular chefs
As part of San Antonioís extensive park system, and one of the nationís largest, The River Walk is FREE so make sure you spend some time along this beautiful waterway on your next visit to San Antonio.
If youíre visiting with an RV you can park at the Travis Park parking meters: $7.00 for a single space and $14.00 for two spaces. Spaces are on a first-come basis so call ahead to the Traffic Division at (210) 207-7755. For more info visit: www.visitsanantonio.com.