Amidst the colorful displays, music, and culinary offerings, it’s important to step back at times and remember the individual locals who use this occasion to honor those they’ve lost.
It’s ironic that our first word was “The Last Word,” our first digital storytelling project in March of 2017. Michael Cirlos and I set out to humanize downtown through the stories of real people who create- whether that’s a cocktail, a sculpture, or a small business. A lot has changed in two and half years. For instance, “The Last Word” is now “Jet-Setter,” a must-see Houston Street underground bar experience.
“You’ve got new young people now and they want to try new stuff,” he says of the city’s booming and diversifying population. The new creatives in San Antonio offer the chance for food and art to collide. Next month, for example, local artist Stephanie Niembro is partnering with Centro San Antonio to bring a massive, French-inspired wheat paste mural to the side of the building which houses La Boulangerie.
“This is a small, family-owned operation,” explains Rafael Ramirez, Co-Owner and Head Cook at Café Alameda. The restaurant can be hard to spot next to the historic Teatro Alameda (Alameda Theatre), rejuvenated San Pedro Creek Culture Park, and glistening Frost Tower. But among these new and revitalized amenities at the west end of Houston Street, Café Alameda serves as a reminder of the small town and familial roots of our city.
Somewhere in the draft of a thrilling murder mystery set in 1940’s San Francisco, there’s a touch of San Antonio. Mark Oldham, Centro Ambassador from 2011 to 2019, is spending his retirement working on a lifelong passion: his novel. While his work of fiction is based mostly on his parents’ memories of their hometown, pieces of San Antonio- like historic architecture- sneak their way in.
The Downtown San Antonio Food Trucks operate from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at various downtown locations Monday through Friday.
With secret menus, intriguing family history, and surprise speakeasy pop-ups, Maverick Whiskey is the new downtown distillery for those in the know.
“I think the space in general is completely unmatched in the area,” explains Vanessa. The Majestic is one of just seventeen atmospheric theatres still operating in the United States. It really is the crown jewel of Houston Street. Some locals still remember it from its movie-house days. They like to return to re-live and learn about its history, and to see how that rich tradition is informing its colorful future.
“San Antonio is still a place where you can show up and make a difference,” says Peter French, Director of Development at Graystreet Partners. “The feeling of opportunity here is still really exciting and kind of contagious. And that hasn’t waned.”