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“Skip the Alamo and head south” 4 of 5 stars
Review of San Antonio Missions National Historical Park

San Antonio Missions National Historical Park
2202 Roosevelt Ave., San Antonio, TX 78210
210-932-1001
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Ranked #5 of 327 things to do in San Antonio
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Activities: Hiking, Walking, Biking
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Owner description: Historical area that stretches nine miles and contains four important 18th-century missions.
Boston, Massachusetts
Top Contributor
93 reviews 93 reviews
54 attraction reviews
Reviews in 41 cities Reviews in 41 cities
98 helpful votes 98 helpful votes
“Skip the Alamo and head south”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 24, 2013

OK, the reality is that you will visit the Alamo no matter what I say so that you can say you've been there, but the missions that are part of the San Antonio Missions NHP are the true gems of the area. You can drive, or if you're over 18 and up for some exercise, rent a bicycle from B Cycle and hit the trail (not yet complete to all the missions - to open summer 2013).

I started out at Mission San Jose, where there is also a visitors' center, and enjoyed a walking tour with a park ranger. He helped put the missions in context in Texas history. As a non-native, that was particularly helpful. Afterwards, I was able to explore on my home and take photos. The grist mill operates some of the time.

From there, I headed on to the Espada Aqueduct, Mission Espada, Mission San Juan before heading back up to Mission Concepcion (closest to San Antonio). Each is a little different from the others in size, style, detail, restoration. San Juan was the quickest visit, least impressive. It takes ~2 hours to drive among them and walk around.

these are functioning churches. The government helps support the general park, but the churches themselves are funded separately through the church.

It's worth a visit! You'll leave thinking, "This is so much better than the Alamo."

Visited April 2013
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Niantic
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“Alamo”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 24, 2013

During Fiesta week, wer were at the ALAMO, and happended upon a free description of the history and original boundaries

Visited April 2013
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Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
6 attraction reviews
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“Mariachi Mass at 12:30 pm.”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 23, 2013

I loved the music a lot. There were trumpets, guitars and piano music along with a choir. Some of the songs were in Spanish and the mass was in English. The priest/deacon was funny, friendly, and told us the history of the church and the mission. I would really recommend this and this was at the top of my list of things to see and do. I would go every Sunday if I lived there. You must get there early, maybe around 11:30 am to get a seat as it fills up very fast.

Visited April 2013
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Washington DC, District of Columbia
Senior Contributor
22 reviews 22 reviews
11 attraction reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
“There's more to San Antonio missions than the Alamo”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 22, 2013

SKIP THE ALAMO. Grab on to your map and go find the beautiful, enchanting, unspoiled, and INTERESTING missions in San Antonio. Yes, San Antonio has MANY missions. One is even still a functioning convent. Another still does weddings and because it's on public land, the weddings are open to the public.

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Michigan
Top Contributor
61 reviews 61 reviews
14 attraction reviews
Reviews in 24 cities Reviews in 24 cities
30 helpful votes 30 helpful votes
“Authentic, Living History”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 18, 2013

Generally, most museums simply preserve and present a culture different from our own. Nothing wrong with that, but there's still that level of detachment. At the San Antonio MIssions, you actually step into authentic, living history where the practice and culture are still alive. Not only are the missions still active parishes, but at Mission Espada, Franciscans even still live on the grounds!

It's interesting that the National Park Service co-exists so seamlessly with what are still active parishes and missions. After our visit, I learned also that these missions are candidates for UNESCO World Heritage status. It's cool that this is in the U.S., but also a world-class site. Bravo!

Visited April 2013
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