San Antonio entices travelers from around the world with splashy attractions like the River Walk and SeaWorld, as well as such popular sites as the Alamo and the historic mission trail. But what many visitors—even native Texans—don’t realize is that San Antonio shelters a thriving bohemian district just beyond downtown. Three overlapping neighborhoods (King William, Lavaca and Blue Star), known collectively as Southtown, harbor a welcoming vibe that dovetails centuries of history with modern art-house culture.
Bounded loosely by South Flores and South Presa on the west and east, Durango and Lone Star to the north and south, Southtown is rich with galleries, coffeehouses, hipster dive bars, artists’ compounds, vintage clothing stores, crafts ateliers, family-run taco joints, and chic new bistros (Oloroso, a hottie of the moment). All draw loyal customers, as do longtime favorites Rosario’s, El Mirador, and the stately Guenther House. The result: a vibrant “arts underground” that invites exploration.
Southtown is sophisticated, welcoming, and sprawling: A day-long walking tour isn’t enough to see it all. So, unless you have the legs of Lance Armstrong, it’s wise to employ a combination of transport modes: perhaps a pedicab for King William, the 150-year-old National Historic District founded by German émigrés; your own vehicle for St. Mary’s and South Alamo; and a tram or taxi from downtown to enjoy South Flores.
In the King William Historic District, pick up a walking-tour map from the San Antonio Conservation Society headquarters at 107 King William Street. Southtown encompasses King William, a diverse residential collection of Victorian architecture, and the South Alamo Street/South St. Mary’s Street Historic District, dotted with more modest, late-19th- and early-20th-Century houses. The development of this area parallels San Antonio’s 19th-Century growth, and these days, many structures are beautifully restored and carefully maintained, with styles ranging from Italianate, Neoclassical, and red-tiled-roof Spanish Revival to classic Victorian and Central Texas limestone. Some houses, such as the Ogé House, built in 1857 by Texas Ranger/cattle rancher Louis Ogé, double as bed and breakfasts.
Have I given you enough reasons to visit Southtown? Well, here’s the one more…take a couple of minutes and watch this video and see what you are missing out on. While you are visiting San Antonio, allow The Madison – San Antonio Riverwalk to be your home away from home. We are located in the King William Historic District. Call us at 210-544.5416 or complete our contact form.