Festive Plaza in La Villita, a complex with shops run by local artisans, offers a more unique experience than the souvenir-selling El Mercado.
Aside from shopping for authentic handmade goods, you can learn about its rich history. Self-guided walking tours (you can find many online for free) are a great way to explore this area. Browse shops while you learn about the surrounding landmarks and buildings.
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The Fiesta San Antonio
Every April the city of San Antonio hosts "The Fiesta". This 120 year-old festival began in 1891 as a way to honor the memory of the heroes of the Alamo and the Battle of San Jacinto, but has flourished into a ten-day celebration of culture in San Antonio.
Fiesta is a great time to visit San Antonio and we were lucky that our trip to the city coincided with the event! We got to see some great art and hear some amazing music. Our favorite Fiesta experience was meeting Arturo Castillo, a visiting artist from Oaxaca, Mexico.
Arturo and his brother, Elvis, create whimsical hand-carved and hand-painted figures known as "alebrijes". The pieces are super colorful and are created with minute details. Arturo showed us the process of creating each work from a raw piece of wood. They have an incredible attention for detail! The brothers have exhibited their art all over the US, but visit San Antonio most often.
The Fiesta offers many opportunities to meet and interact with artists and musicians participating in the festival and learn more about the deep roots of Latin American culture in San Antonio. Great music is always in earshot and the city of beaming with energy from the event!
The La Villita Arts Village is nestled along the banks of the San Antonio River along the famous River Walk. This charming area is packed full of boutiques, cafes, galleries, and historical buildings.
You can spend hours exploring the village and you are certain to find the perfect souvenir or gift. The village is worth walking around even if you don't feel like shopping because the landscape is beautiful and quirky with all the art that is on display here. I loved all the "yarn bombed" trees (pictured)!