This past holiday season, San Antonio's Hemisfair area welcomed 4 million visitors to Yanaguana Garden since opening the public playground and meeting area in 2015. And in exciting news for the year ahead, more amenities and events are expected to open the coming months.
According to a press release, 2023 holds plenty of arrivals at Hemisfair in the form of new restaurants, new additions to Yanaguana Garden, more special activities, and the opening of Civic Park Phase I. Hemisfair officials shared news of four more restaurants coming to the redeveloping public park area: Kunstler Tap and Brat-Haus, Bombay Bicycle Club, The Jerk Shack, and Kusch Fair.
Kunstler Tap and Brat-Haus comes from the owners of Kunstler Brewing Co. in the Lone Star neighborhood. Bombay Bicycle Club is developed by the owners of the same popular Brackenridge Park-area eatery. The Jerk Shack (one of our 2022 Tastemakers) is created by the owners of a renowned far west side Caribbean restaurant. Kusch Faire is the newest concept by those responsible for DASHI Sichuan Kitchen + Bar.
Each new restaurant will restore and occupy a 19th century home within Hemisfair, adding even more diverse culinary options to reflect the global optimism exhibited at the 1968 World’s Fair — the original reason for Hemisfair’s rebirth.
“It’s important for us to welcome a diverse group of tenants because that's who our city is,” Hemisfair CEO Andres Andujar said in the release.
Hemisfair officials also plan to expand Yanaguana Garden’s playground area by starting construction this month on a toddler play area on the Bank of America Promenade near The Box Street Social. With five climbable vignettes that mimic a garden atop the existing squishy play surface, the toddler play area is slated to open in early spring.
Hemisfair Conservancy Executive Director Anne Krause said individual donors and major gifts from an anonymous foundation and the Jeanie Rabke Wyatt Family Foundation made possible development of the toddler play area. Philanthropic contributions backed public and private funding to build Civic Park Phase I, including a seven-figure gift from the Mays Family Foundation for the Peggy Mays Gardens, which will open to the public in 2023.
“We take 'Hemisfair is for all' very seriously here and this space helps us achieve that notion,” Krause said.
Additionally, Hemisfair will continue to play host to some of major cultural gatherings, such as Muertos Fest, Diwali, and Lymphoma Leukemia Light the Night, and Celebrate SA — as well as the weekly story time and the monthly Super Fun Saturday.
Hemisfair officials said the opening of the first phase of Civic Park this fall will accommodate a larger number of significant events. Located along Market Street and supported with $27 million in city of San Antonio bond proceeds, Civic Park Phase I will encompass five acres of public parkland, including a shaded promenade, “the springs” water features and a great lawn for large events for up to 15,000 people in concert mode.
Andujar said Hemisfair’s Civic Park will help boost San Antonio’s portfolio of public gathering spaces with the creation of a space worthy of luring thousands of residents and visitors to enjoy a variety of happenings. A second phase of Civic Park, including the grand Source Plaza entrance adjacent to the Torch of Friendship, and a zocalo with a built-in terrace for community performances, is estimated for completion in late 2024.
“It’s very rare that urban downtowns receive this significant of a park and gathering setting after the city has been well-established,” Andujar said.