TH’s May cover story of San Antonio’s River Walk reminded me of a recent visit to the area. After an evening of celebrating my nephew Will’s graduation from medical school at Tower of the Americas’ Chart House, I intended to stop for a nightcap at the Esquire Tavern on the River Walk on the way back to the hotel. But I overindulged and was ready to turn in for the night. By morning, I was rested and ready to take a stroll on the River Walk, with the goal to walk as far as the Museum Reach extension to see the art installations and recent additions to the area.
It’s been nearly seven years since I’ve been to the River Walk, and it was interesting to see how much has changed and how little has changed. And it seems it accomplished both. I usually associate the River Walk with late afternoon and nighttime activity, so the morning jaunt was a novel adventure. In daylight and without the boisterous crowds, I was able to see and appreciate the beauty and diversity of commerce coexisting with art and nature, plus more easily locate some of the newer hotspots like Lüke and Ocho as well as the classic Esquire.
As one might expect, there was hardly a soul out at 8:00 a.m. as I started near Navarro St., except for the occasional jogger and a few sanitation workers finishing up a spotless cleaning of the River Walk. But as I walked north, I noticed a few more early risers, and how their characteristics would change, from wide-eyed curious tourists ogling the enormous hibiscuses, and as I headed further north toward the San Antonio Museum of Art, those who resembled folks living nearby, nonchalantly walking their golden retrievers or with toddlers in larger, non-travel-size strollers.
And the surroundings became less commercial and more creative, with underpasses adorned with colorful light installations and artfully arranged industrial panels, amplified sound effects of birds and insects, and at my end point, a school of luminous fiberglass fish under I-35. On my way back, I stopped to admire the only lock and dam in Texas, which is mechanically similar to the one in the Panama Canal.
Just over an hour later, I’ve returned to my starting point, exhilarated by the sights and sounds of my Sunday morning River walk, ready for coffee and tacos.