This is not just a Southern story. This is an American story. If ever there was a pot where cultures melt, it is San Antonio. Spanglish phrases--“See you mañana”--fly around on street corners. The blended languages of English and Spanish symbolize a city celebrating its diversity.
The Latino presence is not just a flourish. Save that word for scarves or pocket squares. The influence is ever-present, draping the community like a free-flowing dress. The culture thrives healthiest in its art, food, religion, and spirituality, and we offer authentic experiences from each. We’ll take you to an entry point and then guide you deeper. Bienvenidos a los San Antonio.
Entry Point: Museo Alameda
“So many immigrants have not fully left Mexico behind,” says Henry R. Muñoz III, founding chairman of the Museo Alameda. The first Smithsonian-affiliated museum outside of Washington, D.C., the Alameda tells these stories--of the Latin experience in the United States--with rotating artistic, historic, and cultural exhibits. A giant sound and light installation called Luminaria dominates the entrance. After dusk, the show wheels through an original score and electric pinks, greens, and blues hourly. Spend time in the galleries, and then peruse the gift shop full of creative and nontraditional museum-y takeaways. 101 South Santa Rosa Street; www.thealameda.org or (210) 299-4300.
Dig a Little Deeper: San Ángel Folk Art
San Ángel Folk Art displays a visual feast of fascinating pieces from artists all over the world. “People have to walk around the shop three times to get it all,” says associate Paul Bonin-Rodriguez. “They just go around and around and around.” San Ángel carries works by self-taught artists of all backgrounds, but because so many hail from Mexico or this part of South Texas, their works have an inherent Latin essence and wrestle with themes of religion and politics. Our favorite find: The santos, wood-carved saints, by San Antonio native Alfredo Rodriguez. 110 Blue Star Place; www.sanangelfolkart.com or (210) 226-6688.