Southside Strolls 

click to enlarge COURTESY PHOTO
  • Courtesy photo

On the south side of town, there are plenty of rugged and not-so-rugged ways to get outside and enjoy the great outdoors. Nestled in the South Flores arts district, CHRISpark (111 Camp) provides a lovely and peaceful escape from the bustle. Open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day except Monday, the beautifully landscaped park was built in 2005 by late philanthropist and artist Linda Pace in memory of her son Chris, who passed away in 1997. With native and exotic plants, subtle and poignant works of art and a pleasant mix of shade and sun, the small park commemorates the “potential of everyday occurrences.”

Roosevelt Park is an ideal launching point for a 20-minute walk (or quick B-cycle ride—there’s a station in the park) to the Blue Star Arts Complex: Just park your car in the lot and you’re on your way. Walk south toward the old power plant then cross the river via the footbridge that showcases Mark Schlesinger’s public art piece Up on the On. Head north to pass by the old Lone Star Brewery, then cross underneath the railroad trellis and walk along the river. You’ll pass by the silos (a former hotbed of artist-run gallery spaces that existed before the Second Saturday art scene came into its own on South Flores Street) and eventually end up at Blue Star, where restaurants, bars, art and another B-cycle station await. Turn back or continue up the river into King William and, eventually, downtown.

To up the adventure level, bust out your kayak or canoe and take to the river. Three (disconnected) sections are open to paddlers. Explore the King William zone, which runs from Nueva Street south to South Alamo, by launching from East Guenther Street near the San Antonio River Authority building.

Try out the Eagleland section, between the Blue Star Arts Complex and the railroad trellis by the old Lone Star Brewery, or give the newest section a paddle: the Mission Reach zone, which starts where the river crosses Mission Road and extends south to Padre Park.

Finally, for a two-wheeled option, bike the Mission Trail. The few miles of trail between Concepcion Park and Mission Espada will take you past four of the missions: Concepción, San José, San Juan and Espada. Use your own equipment or rent a B-cycle—there are plenty of stations along the way. Pack a lunch and spend some time in Espada Park or, even farther south, at the peaceful Acequia Park.

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