Photo of Bistro seating at San Fernando Cathedral.

Who says Paris is the only place to sit and watch the world go by?

Many believe that the Alamo is the heart of San Antonio, but in reality San Fernando Cathedral wears that crown.

I’ve written about the history of San Fernando Cathedral in an earlier blog, so the purpose of this tome is to encourage you to find your way over to San Fernando Cathedral.

In fact, those who are at loose ends on this eve of Christmas might want to consider Midnight Mass at the cathedral. A Carol Service will kick off the celebration of Christ’s birth at 11 p.m. For those unable to attend, the Carol Service and Midnight Mass will be televised on WOAI, San Antonio’s NBC affiliate.

Photo of San Fernando Cathedral's Main Plaza.

View of Bexar County Courthouse and Main Plaza with San Fernando Cathedral on the right, just past the Municipal Plaza Building. (Click to enlarge.)

Thanks to the leadership of San Antonio’s former mayor, Phil Hardberger, the area in front of San Fernando Cathedral has been transformed into a pedestrian-only plaza that leads down to the River Walk. The cathedral and its surrounding area are definitely on my Top Ten San Antonio must-see destinations.

Don’t miss the Bruni Family Garden, City Centre Cafe (free WiFi served with soups, salads, sandwiches and Mexican Food), and the San Fernando Cathedral Gift Shop while you’re there.

When Pope John Paul II was in San Antonio in the mid-’80s and gave Mass at San Fernando, he said that he knew he was in the U.S., but he felt like he was in Mexico. He was. The Mexican and Spanish roots of San Antonio are deepest at San Fernando. Don’t miss it.

Photo of Legacy Oak on Main Plaza

Heritage Oak on Main Plaza

Photo of statue of San Antonio de Padua.

Statue of San Antonio de Padua

Photo of San Antonio River Walk just off Main Plaza.

With your back to San Fernando, walk straight ahead to the San Antonio River Walk.

Photo of Pocket park on San Antonio River Walk off of Main Plaza.

Pocket park on the San Antonio River Walk off of Main Plaza. (Click to enlarge.)

Photo of Bruni Family Garden

Bruni Family Garden/Courtyard to the left of San Fernando's entrance.

Photo of Alamo heroes' tomb

Alamo heroes' tomb inside of San Fernando Cathedral

Photo of names of Alamo heroes buried at San Fernando.

Alamo heroes buried at San Fernando Cathedral

Photo of San Fernando Cathedral altar and retablo.

San Fernando Cathedral altar and retablo

Photo of Mary and Joseph waiting for Baby Jesus to arrive.

Mary and Joseph waiting for Baby Jesus