Another hot San Antonio summer is upon us, and despite the endless amounts of sweat, summer always brings to mind fun, freedom, and adventure. It’s the perfect time to seek out new experiences – road trips, vacations, or maybe an in-town journey to a downtown gem. It’s the perfect time to discover, or re-discover, Hemisfair. “The park that just celebrated 50 years?” you ask. The district. Because it has already become so much more than a park and will become even more so in the years to come.
So you’re probably thinking, “Well, sure, if I had kids, I would be down there all the time.” And yes, there are plenty of activities for families – like the playground in Yanaguana Garden, the splash pad for those hot summer days. And events like Art in the Park. But Hemisfair is far from being just a place to relax while the kids play. As Hemisfair Coalition Board Member Rachel Brehm puts it, “You can literally spend all day at Hemisfair and never be without something to do.”
Pizza and Vino
Let’s start with Hemisfair’s newest addition – Dough Pizzeria Napoletana. The newest location of the nationally acclaimed pizza place recently celebrated their grand opening at the corner of Cesar Chavez and Alamo. You can sit and enjoy a chilled glass of wine and their delicious burrata and be able to meander around the park for an after-dinner stroll.
A Cold One After Work
Or maybe you are more in the mood for a cold beer with friends after work on a patio overlooking Yanaguana Garden. Stop by ConSafos – a bar with a healthy selection of craft beers for every taste. And if you just happen to work up an appetite, their food truck is out back. Try the pan dulce burger with tots. You won’t be disappointed.
A Morning/Mid-day Pick Me Up
Maybe coffee and breakfast are more your style. Hemisfair has that, too. The popular local coffee house Commonwealth is right next to ConSafos and offers a variety of coffee beverages and breakfast and lunch.
A Cold Refreshing Treat
Or maybe you just need a cold, refreshing snack to counteract the hot summer temps. Paleteria SA offers a delicious array of paletas.
Basically, if you’re hungry or thirsty, there’s a place for you at Hemsifair. Or try them all in one day!
Something for Everyone
Take a stroll down Nueva Street to take a look at the historic homes. The homes are in the process of being renovated and are part of the overall vision of the district. While you’re taking your stroll, take a look towards the Convention Center. That open space next to it will be Civic Park. You can check out the progress of phase 2 of what is to come – taking in the past and future of the district.
And if you’re looking for a new Facebook profile pic, walk further down Nueva, all the way to the Tower of the Americas. Strike a pose with that giant set of wings you’ve being seeing all over your social media. It’s an art installation called Alas de Mexico by artist Jorge Marin, a permanent gift from the Mexico City in honor of San Antonio’s Tricentennial.
And of course, there is the wide variety of programming available at the park almost every day – offering something for all ages.
“Hemisfair lives up to its tagline “Where San Antonio Meets” by providing programming that appeals to people of all ages,” says Traci Lewand, Hemisfair Events Manager. “With a wide variety of offerings that includes zumba, interval trainings, art classes, story times, and cognitive play, there truly is something for everyone.”
For a full list of activities, check out hemisfair.org
Fall in Love, Get Connected, and Help the Cause
Now once you’ve fallen in love with this San Antonio gem, you’ll definitely be interested in seeing what is to come. You’ll see the construction of the new lofts, and wonder what else is happening. You can get more connected with what is going on at Hemisfair by getting involved with the Hemisfair Coaltion. This group strives to “engage the community in the redevelopment of Hemisfair by raising awareness of the efforts of the Hemisfair Conservancy, encouraging and providing financial support, and developing programming that connects the community to make Hemisfair a gathering destination for a new generation in San Antonio.” Follow the Hemisfair Coalition on Facebook and Instagram and stay tuned to The Young San Antonian for our upcoming member drive and member event.
You can also connect to this former site, of the 1968 World’s Fair, through your philanthropic support of the Hemisfair Conservancy – the organization that supports Hemisfair and makes all the future plans possible. “Donors experience joy knowing they can make a difference not only in their lives but also in the lives of millions of park visitors,” says Anne Krause, executive director of the Hemisfair Conservancy. “I think people are feeling inspired to step up to their civic responsibility to help create and care for the beautiful spaces in the heart of our city.”
I look forward to seeing you at Hemisfair this summer!
Kristen Henry is the President of the Hemisfair Coalition and a contributor with The Young San Antonian.