San Antonio may be best known in recent years for its River Walk revival that put restaurants, shops, museums, galleries and entertainment in the Downtown area along the cooling breezes of the San Antonio River. But the city is much more than that.
San Antonio’s citywide renaissance will be in full-force in 2020. As the seventh-largest city in the nation and one of the fastest growing, San Antonio has been experiencing a major cultural evolution that touches on a number of hot spots with robust culinary/cocktail scenes, arts scenes, hospitality offerings and cool public spaces.
Key highlights will include:
• Thompson Hotel: San Antonio will soon welcome The Thompson San Antonio Hotel and The Arts Residences. Located within the city’s rapidly evolving River Walk and across from the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts, the hotel will consist of a high-rise tower with 162 guestrooms and 58 residences. The project is slated to be completed by spring of 2020.
• Month of Mexico at Pearl: Taking place from September 13 through October 15, the first-ever Month of Mexico will showcase the rich cultural vibrancy of Mexico, hosting top Mexican chefs, makers, artists, designers, and musicians for a month of celebration and cultural exchange. From Mezcal tastings to dinners, demonstrations, and performances, Month of Mexico will deliver dynamic programming to the community. Programming will fall within three pillars: food & drink, art & design, and music.
• Day of the Dead: When it comes to Día de Los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, there’s no place in the United States that observes this traditionally Mexican holiday quite like San Antonio, and as of 2019 the city officially holds the largest celebration of this holiday outside of Mexico. From small gatherings with traditional altars and face painting to multiple-day festivals featuring live music, stilt walkers, Mexican cuisine and festive parades, events run the gamut and take place all over town.
• McNay Art Museum renovation: Housed in a 24-room Spanish Colonial Revival Mansion and Texas’ first modern art museum, the city’s beloved McNay will undergo a $6.25 million exterior landscape renovation, set to be complete in Spring 2020.
• Sebastián in San Antonio: Sebastián, the renowned Mexican sculptor best known for monumental works, celebrates more than 50 years of his artistry in a citywide exhibit named “Sebastián in San Antonio: 50+ Years / 20+ sites / 100+ works.” These 2D and 3D pieces, mostly large-scale sculptures, will be displayed through May 2020 in locations accessible to visitors including the River Walk, Market Square, Spanish Governor’s Palace, Culture Commons Gallery at Plaza de Armas, McNay Art Museum and the San Antonio Airport.
• Ruby City: San Antonio’s newest contemporary art space, Ruby City was designed by award-winning architect Sir David Adjaye and is dedicated to providing a space for the city’s thriving creative community to experience works by both local and internationally-acclaimed artists. Ruby City is free and open to the public.
• Culinary scene: Gourmet chef-owned restaurants continue to open up all over town, from high-end to hole-in-the-wall, with some recent stand-outs including Alex Paredes’ Carnitas Lonja and Fish Lonja, the Culinary Institute of America-run SAVOR, and the newly opened Maverick Whiskey–the only brewery, distillery and restaurant in the county. A couple highlights for 2020 include El Machito, a Mexican Barbeque concept from San Antonio star chef Johnny Hernandez, and Best Quality Daughter, an Asian-American eatery from chefs Jennifer Dobbertin and Quealy Watso, the duo behind Tenko Ramen at Pearl, one of the city’s top spots for Ramen.
• Public Spaces: The development of major public spaces including San Pedro Cultural Park and Hemisfair will continue in 2020 with new phases nearing completion.