Updated: Jan 4, 2022
I came across a post that was shared on LinkedIn from a leader of a well respected local tourism organization that mentioned the San Antonio Missions National Historic Park as one of his top must-sees. There is no denying the park and the missions are magnificent and definitely a must-see for any San Antonio visitor (and resident), but I feel something was left out - the neighborhood surrounding the missions. The San Antonio Mission District neighborhoods often get overlooked by the historic missions themselves.
Respectively, the district starts at the intersection of Mission Road and Roosevelt Avenue (north) and runs south down the Roosevelt Corridor intersecting at Mission Road (south) looping back up again covering parts of Riverside Neighborhood but mostly San José Neighborhood. However, what most people aren’t aware of is that a vibrant community with so much to offer exists between two World Heritage sites, Mission Concepción and Mission San José.
This culturally-rich neighborhood is not only home to San Antonio icons such as the Mission Branch Library, Mission Marquee Plaza (formally known as the Mission Drive-In Theatre) and the Harvey E. Najim Family YMCA, but also to many local restaurants and tienditas (shops). Here you will find small business gems (in their respective order) Luchador Bar, Carnitas Lonja, Lala’s Gorditas, Level Up Bike Shop, Tandem San Antonio, Inspirational Floral Gifts & Designs by Mirella, Harold’s Art & Framing, Taqueria Guadalajara, Las Palmas Mexican Restaurant, Mission Crafts Chandlery, Mad Mack’s Burger Co., RockerDogz Gourmet Street Dogz, Fruteria La Mission, Nichas Comida (and looping back up Mission Road), Nora’s Mexican Restaurant and South BBQ & Kitchen. These local businesses not only create one-of-a-kind authentic offerings you cannot get at corporate-owned franchises, but give the neighborhood its soul. If you are looking for an adventure to share with out of town friends and family, the loop around the district will satisfy your appetite for a true culturally authentic experience.
"These businesses are making a huge investment in the neighborhood and the city needs to invest in these businesses too... When your business thrives so does the neighborhood and it becomes a win-win for both."
- Terry Ybanez, President Mission San José Neighborhood Association, President Friends of Mission Library.
As a resident of and business owner in the district, I feel compelled to acknowledge my fellow business neighbors, but also to ask San Antonio tourism promoters and the City of San Antonio to please consider showing more support by shining light on the Mission District’s small business community in addition to all the other impressive points of interest along the mission trails. I also urge San Antonians to pay our neighborhood a visit to enjoy our offerings and experience for themselves this unique corner of the city that makes San Antonio stand apart from the rest of the cities in this country.