Winner: And yet, we bloom by Kat Cadena
Corner of E. Houston and Navarro streets
In case you hadn't noticed, murals are having a moment in the Alamo City, thanks in no small part to the San Antonio Street Art Initiative, an artist-led organization that aims to visually connect neighborhoods stretching from the St. Mary's Strip to Southtown. Although not commissioned by SASAI, San Antonio artist Kat Cadena's new mural And yet, we bloom falls smack in the middle of this cultural corridor. Created as part of Centro San Antonio's Art Everywhere initiative — a program that will install 21 urban art projects downtown by the end of 2021 — the dreamy mural depicts two women of different ethnic backgrounds joining hands while submerged in water and surrounded by pink blooms. Speaking to solidarity amid turbulent times, the installation highlights Cadena's untraditional approach to portraiture and her interest in themes of identity and memory.
2. 7 Rabbits by Ernesto Ibañez
Freight Gallery, 1913 S. Flores St.
3. Quisieron Enterrarnos by Hailey Marmolejo
Winner: Rivera on Broadway
2. Southtown Flats
111 Probandt St.
3. 1221 Broadway Lofts
Winner: Blue Star Contemporary
116 Blue Star
It's reaffirming that Current readers elected Blue Star Contemporary as the Best Art Gallery in San Antonio. And to be fair, BSC is much more than just that. Established in 1986 by a determined group of local artists and arts advocates, the nonprofit is essentially the granddaddy of San Antonio's contemporary art scene — not to mention the launchpad for both First Friday and Contemporary Art Month (CAM). In addition to hosting top-notch exhibitions showcasing the work of local, national and international artists, BSC educates tomorrow's artists through the MOSAIC Student Artist Program and sends four lucky Bexar County creatives to Germany each year as part of its three-month Berlin Residency. In a shining example of remaining relevant amid quickly shifting times, BSC recently unveiled "The Sitter," a wide-ranging group show that explores portraiture through the eyes of 13 artists, including San Antonio-based Ruth Leonela Buentello, Carmen Cartiness Johnson, Cruz Ortiz and Sarah Fox.
711 Navarro St., Suite 100
3. Southtown Art Gallery
1913 S. Flores St., Studio 9
Founded in 1922 as a provider of auto insurance for military officers, financial services giant USAA diversified into the banking business in 1983. Since then, the San Antonio-based bank has become a go-to institution for members of the armed services and their families. Customers speak highly of its loan rates, customer service and features such as a cashback rewards checking account. Although its only full-service banking location is located on the company's sprawling Northwest San Antonio campus, it's been an innovator in offering phone, online and app-driven banking services.
2. Security Service Federal Credit Union
3. Randolph-Brooks Federal Credit Union
Winner: Service Cuts Barbershop
7915 W. Loop 1604 N. #109
2. Mike's Hair Lounge
1933 Fredericksburg Road, Suite 111
3. Mane Man Men's Grooming
2. Bowl and Barrel
17619 La Cantera Parkway, Suite 102
3. Bandera Bowling Center
12332 West I-10 #10
Winner: Biking the Mission Trail
Conceived in 1993 and constructed in five phases that were completed in 2015, the Mission Hike and Bike Trail connects the historic structures along the San Antonio River, which were built in the 1720s to house Spanish missionaries and indigenous Coahuiltecans. The 15.1-mile, out-and-back trail is an easy enough ride that the whole family can enjoy, but newcomers should know to pack both water and sunblock in preparation for the full ride. Completionists can begin their journey at Mission San Antonio de Valero — aka the Alamo — but those who don't want to deal with the hustle and bustle of downtown roads can forget the Alamo and follow the route that begins at Mission Concepción in the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park.
2. San Antonio Sidecars
503 Chestnut St.
3. Cottonwood Wine Tours
1814 Buena Vista St.
Winner: The Nest Chiropractic and Wellness
506 E. Ramsey Road #5
2. Align Health + Fitness — Donna Diaz
16111 San Pedro Ave. #105
3. The Joint Chiropractic
Winner: Phil Hardberger Park
13203 Blanco Road and 8400 NW Military Highway
San Antonio's Phil Hardberger Park isn't just San Antonio humans' favorite outdoor public space — it's a pup paradise as well. With two expansive dog parks where canine companions can run free, it's no wonder pet owners flock to the facility. But Hardberger Park has a lot more to offer than just the dog-related facilities that take up a mere 3.3 acres of its 311-acre expanse. Late last year, the park debuted a land bridge that allows human visitors as well as native wildlife to cross safely over Wurzbach Parkway. The innovative structure also includes a skywalk that lifts parkgoers into the treetops as they reach the top. What's more, artist-designed wildlife viewing blinds allow people to observe native species without disturbing them.
2. Brackenridge Park
3700 N. St. Mary's St.
434 S. Alamo St.
Winner: Laugh Out Loud Comedy Club
618 NW Loop 410
After the Rivercenter Comedy Club shut its doors in 2018, the Laugh Out Loud Comedy Club has become the only game in town for big-name, touring stand-up comedians — even during the pandemic. Managed under the Improv comedy umbrella, the LOL continues to book some of the most well-known comics in the industry. So far this year, comedians including Bob Saget, Paul Rodriguez, Whitney Cummings, Tom Segura, Jeremy Piven, Marlon Wayans and Chris Kattan have hit its stage. In August, podcaster Doug Benson and Cristela Alonzo are on the schedule, followed by appearances by Carlos Mencia and D.L. Hughley in September.
2. Blind Tiger Comedy Club
902 NE Loop 410
3. ComedySportz San Antonio
11950 Starcrest Drive #210