The River Walk is a linear park located below street level in downtown San Antonio. Stairs leading down to the park are located at various places in the downtown area. Descending into the park, leaving behind the noise of the streets above, one enters an entirely different environment.
The San Antonio River flows through the park and is lined on each side by a walkway. Walking along the river, one passes shade trees, restaurants, flower beds, and buildings. Boats using natural gas engines carry tourists up and down the river. Musicians play Mariachi to diners seated at riverside tables. Pigeons scavenge for food scraps. Male mallard ducks chase female ducks up and down the river. Homeless people struggling with alcoholism ask passersby for money. Fit, young locals jog along. Asian tourists give the peace sign when having their picture taken.
The park isn’t a natural place, but a cleverly designed and brilliantly engineered environment. The river has been manipulated and controlled to meet the design of the park. Planted trees, shrubs, and flowers give the park a green, garden-like feel. There are even a couple of waterfalls along the length of the park.
The park stretches for several miles in the center of the city. The city of San Antonio plans to extend the park.
I have to say that San Antonio’s River Walk is one of the great feats of park planning and design.