San Antonio Missions National Historical Park

These are our raison d’etre, after all. Five missions built along the San Antonio River by Franciscans and Spanish soldiers, starting in 1718, to evangelize the indios, protect some of the indios from fiercer indios (we’re looking at you, Comanches), and give gold and glory to Spain. They include the Alamo, San Jose, Concepcion, Espada, and San Juan Capistrano. Each has its charm; the Alamo’s definitely the most famous, but San Jose may be the most architecturally impressive, while Espada and its nearby aqueduct are mysterious and beautiful. A good place to start is the Visitor's Center at San Jose.