Experience San Antonio: Arneson River Theater is a unique outdoor venue
Located in the historic arts village of La Villita, in the heart of downtown San Antonio, the Arneson River Theater is a one-of-a-kind unique outdoor venue.
Featuring festive flowerbeds, palm trees, multi-colored lights, native flagstone and everything the beautiful and romantic San Antonio River Walk has to offer, the Arneson River Theater is one of the most historic and striking spots in the Alamo City.
The stage of the Theater is comprised of the flagstone that meanders along and overlooks the River Walk. The area is accented by three stone arches which holds three Spanish bells. Flanked by a white Mexican tower on the left, and an oasis of palms and trees on the right, this unique venue is a favorite for visitors and tradition for locals.
It’s not unusual to see river barges cruise into view while overlooking the stage from across the river on an amphitheater. The 13 grass-covered steps afford a spectacular view of the stage and River Walk for over 800 people. The famous Rosita’s Bridge, just to the left of the stage, offers a romantic ambience not easily forgotten.
“Deep in the heart of Texas, under the starry skies of San Antonio, musicians, dancers and singers mesmerized with their song and dance,” is how the late Walter Stovall, known at the Godfather of Houston Street, described the Arneson Theater.
Rosita’s Bridge is commonly used as part of the performance stage and named in “honor of Rosita Fernandez, a pioneer of Tejano music, who performed here as star of the summer-long Fiesta Noche del Rio for almost 25 years,” their website says. “Nowadays the theater is used for folkloric groups, music concerts, plays, dance and even opera.”
“The theater, along with several other San Antonio landmarks, was featured in the popular 2000 comedy film Miss Congeniality starring Sandra Bullock and Michael Caine,” the La Villita Historic Village website states.
Tips for enjoying a concert at the Arneson River Theater:
Parking is ample, with parking garages and parking lots in close proximity. If not arriving early to a performance, know downtown parking near the Arneson Theater can be crowded. As temperatures warm up, the River Walk may be crowded. Consider a taxi, or take the streetcar from a parking spot a little further away.
Dining is plentiful, with a variety of options. The Little Rhein Steak House and Fig Tree Restaurant are upscale, but very close. Other recommendations are Guadalajara Grill or La Villita Café.
It’s a good idea to have a reservation at any nearby restaurant to ensure lunch or dinner. Otherwise, prepare for long lines, or being late.
The Hilton Palacio Del Rio, 200 South Alamo St., (210) 222-1400, is upscale and very close. Also nearby is the luxury Fairmount Hotel, 401 South Alamo, (210) 224-8800.
Other hotels include the Drury Inn & Suites, 201 N. St. Mary’s (210-212-5200), Embassy Suites, 125 East Houston St. (210-226-9000), Hotel Valencia, 150 E. Houston (210-227-9700), Holiday Inn River Walk, 217 N. St. Mary’s (210-224-2500) and just across the River Walk from the Aztec Theater is the beautiful Omni La Mansion del Rio, 112 College (210-518-1000).