José Antonio Navarro’s house in the former Tejano neighborhood of Laredito showcases his life at the restored 1850s limestone home. Navarro was a rancher, merchant, one of only two native-born Texans to sign the Texas Declaration of Independence, and a leading advocate for Tejano rights. Now a THC state historic site, the property was designated a Recorded Texas Historic Landmark in 1962, listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1972, and named a National Historic Landmark in 2017.
Just around the corner, at West Commerce Street and Santa Rosa Avenue, visitors can wander the papel picado-lined walkways of El Mercado (Historic Market Square). Traditional and modern Mexican craft, clothing, and cookery stalls line the space. The City of San Antonio sponsors many working artists to create and sell hand crafts. Many shops also sell traditional cookware and ingredients, such as molcajetes and dried chilies. At the back corner of the intersection, the Texas A&M University–San Antonio Educational and Cultural Arts Center hosts Latinx art and cultural exhibits.
The market moved to this location in the 1890s to make room for the influx of diverse new settlers. Immigrants from Europe, the Middle East, and Asia added their own flavor to the Mexican market, establishing grocery stores, restaurants, pharmacies, and social clubs. Also around this time, the tradition of “Chili Queens” emerged. Women would cook traditional Mexican delicacies with finesse over mesquite fires. The tradition continues to this day with eateries serving street food such as gorditas, elotes, and aguas frescas.
In the Medina River Natural Area, several trails on the city’s south side hold historical significance dating to Spanish Colonial times. One of these trails, the El Chaparral Trail, passes through a reconstructed jacal, a hut believed to be part of the Perez Ranch. The property belonged to Spanish Texas governor Ignacio Perez. Dating to the 1700s, the trail was used as part of the El Camino Real de los Tejas, earning the site a listing in the National Register of Historic Places.
A group of Chicano artists founded the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center (GCAC) to preserve and promote Chicano, Latinx, and Native American culture. Located at Guadalupe Ybarra and Brazos streets, the institution offers art and theater classes, concerts, and performing arts events. The GCAC also hosts an international Latinx film festival and exhibits works by local artists.
Nearby sites include the 1926 Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church—established to offer Spanish Mass to those who settled here after fleeing the Mexican Revolution; the family-owned La Chiquita Bakery; the MujerArtes art cooperative; and "En Aquellos Tiempo: Fotohistorias del Westside," a street installation of historical scenes from the 1900s–1950s.