A San Antonio “Must-See”: La Villita

Jean Jones
(February 12, 2015)

A-San-Antonio-Must-See-La_VillitaThanks to events such as the Battle of the Alamo and the Mexican-American War, San Antonio has a legendary historical significance. As a popular settling place for migrants and immigrants, it has a rich cultural tradition as well. In the 1850s Frederick Law Olmsted, the noted architect who designed Central Park, described the city as having "a jumble of races, costumes, languages and buildings."

Nowhere is this tradition more alive than La Villita. The downtown area was one of the first neighborhoods in San Antonio and it has been a Historic Arts Village since 1939. No matter how many times you visit, you can always find something new.


La Villita originated as a settlement for Spanish soldiers stationed at the Alamo. It gained a more eclectic mix of nationalities when German and French immigrants settled there in the late 19th century. The area suffered a decline in the early 20th century, but city leaders launched a preservation effort in conjunction with the development of the River Walk.

Arts and Shopping

One square block in La Villita is chock-full of shops and galleries featuring the works of top local and regional artists. Nearly all styles and media are represented including painting, sculpture, pottery, jewelry and textiles. It's the perfect spot to find a unique gift or take out-of-town visitors looking for a memento.


One of the elements that earned La Villita a place on the National Register of Historic Places is the fascinating mix of architectural styles reflected in its buildings. Visitors can take a self-guided walking tour through the streets of the neighborhood to view homes and establishments like The Little Church and St. Philip's College.


Whether you're celebrating a special occasion or having a leisurely lunch with friends, you'll find just the right restaurant in La Villita.

  • Fig Tree Restaurant features fine dining with a menu that includes dishes like escargot, seared duck breast and beef Wellington
  • Little Rhein Steak House offers classic entrees like filet mignon with sides such as baked potato and sautéed mushrooms
  • Guadalajara Grill serves authentic Central and Southern Mexican cuisine along with popular Tex-Mex dishes
  • La Villita Cafe is a casual place to grab a salad or sandwich

Fiesta San Antonio

During this celebrated event each April, La Villita hosts A Night in Old San Antonio. The neighborhood is transformed into 15 areas such as Irish Flat and Sauerkraut Bend that feature food, entertainment and decor representing the different ethnicities that come together in San Antonio. This year's Fiesta takes place from April 16 through April 26 with NIOSA being held April 21 through April 24.

Living in our Springs Apartments communities makes it easy to take advantage of the numerous cultural opportunities in San Antonio. Take a day or a weekend to explore the vibrant attractions of La Villita.

New Call-to-action

You May Also Like

These Stories on City Culture

Subscribe by Email