Perhaps no other U.S. city is as closely linked to Mexican history as San Antonio. So even though San Antonio was no longer part of Mexico when the Mexican army defeated the invading French at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862, the city celebrates its Mexican heritage throughout the year. This is especially true at the holidays when traditional luminarias and pinatas shine throughout the city. But even if you don't visit at Christmastime, there's plenty to do all year long.


Remember the Alamo : Texas' No. 1 tourist attraction marks the site where 189 defenders fell to Santa Anna's army on March 6, 1836. The museum on the grounds contains relics from the Republic of Texas and provides a narration on the fall of the Alamo. The Valero Alamo Bowl takes place Jan. 2 at the Alamodome - where else?


Stroll River Walk : Winding along the San Antonio River in central San Antonio, the Paseo del Rio connects shops, restaurants, hotels and museums. Earlier this year, River Walk was extended from two to 13 miles, connecting many of San Antonio's prestigious museums and historic districts.


Reach new heights at HemisFair park : Ride to the top of the 750-foot-tall Tower of the Americas to take in breathtaking views of the city. The tower was built for the 1968 World's Fair, and HemisFair park contains landscaped gardens, cascading waterfalls and several historic buildings.


Browse San Antonio Museum of Art : Located in the historic Lone Star Brewery building that dates to the 1800s, the museum's collection includes a center dedicated to Latin American art.


Shop at Market Square: With 32 shops at El Mercado and 80 specialty shops in Farmers Market Plaza, this is the largest Mexican market north of the Rio Grande. Market Square is also the scene of many Hispanic festivals and where mariachi music floats through the air.

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