2019 in Review
Editor's note: As the year ends, it's a time for celebration and reflection. Reviewing the most popular stories of 2019 gives us not only a snapshot into what captured our attention, but of the city itself and what it's citizens hold dear.
From UTSA's ambitious tuition plan to Ruby City's glorious global debut, each story reflects a major tenet of San Antonio culture — education, art, history, celebration. (And yes, there is even space for fluff like story No. 6. After all, what's high-brow without the low-brow?) As we say goodbye to 2019, let's take a look back at the 10 stories that captured San Antonio's attention over the past 12 months.
1. UT San Antonio offering free tuition to families making less than $50,500.It's hard to overestimate the importance of this news, which the University of Texas at San Antonio announced earlier this month. Beginning next fall, the school will offer free tuition to incoming freshmen whose families make less than $50,500, or the city's current median income. As higher education becomes increasingly unaffordable, this may be an investment in the next generation of San Antonians, but the entire city will reap the dividends.
2. George Strait’s 220-acre Hill Country resort springs back after massive renovation.All his exes live in Texas, but he still hangs his hat in Tapatio Springs. (Eh, it kind of rhymes.) Iconic country crooner George Strait co-owns Tapatio Springs Hill Country Resort, located near Boerne. The 220-acre property reopened this fall after a clubhouse fire in 2017 sparked resort-wide renovations.
3. Where to find beautiful bluebonnets and wildflowers around San Antonio in 2019. It's hard to believe, but it's almost wildflower season again in South Texas. In about eight weeks, residents will start to see the first blooms pop up along highways and inside state parks. Luckily, the flowers don't really migrate, so bookmark this story for 2020.
4. San Antonio's brilliant new landmark opens its ruby-red doors to residents — and rest of the world.Ruby City was one of those once-in-a-generation projects that dazzled before its doors even opened. (Just see story No. 7.) It's origin story is almost as unbelievable as the space, beginning as literal dream that transformed into a jewel of the architectural and art worlds.
5.IKEA assembles big giveaways for grand opening of first San Antonio store. Ikea is always a big story, and the Swedish company's first store in the San Antonio area was no exception. In February, the purveyor of all things furniture and meatballs opened its doors with a series of giveaways and celebrations.
6. Teenage daughter of millionaire San Antonio family graces cover of ELLE.We didn't hear as much from Los Henrys this year as we did in 2018, but that didn't mean the YouTubers disappeared entirely. In February, Maya Henry, daughter of Thomas J. Henry, accident attorney extraordinaire, landed on the cover of Romanian ELLE.
7.TIME crowns San Antonio's dazzling new landmark one of World's Greatest Places 2019.As mentioned, this newly minted landmark was a story before it even opened its crimson doors. In August, almost two months before Ruby City made its debut, TIME named it one of the World's Greatest Places. In October, the public found out why...
8. 4 San Antonio shops for embroidered dresses, guayaberas, and more Fiesta looks.With the holidays almost over, it's time to look ahead to San Antonio's other favorite holiday — Fiesta. This year, hit up one of these four local shops for all the embroidered dresses, floral crowns, and more Fiesta looks.
9. Beyond Schlitterbahn: The best places to visit, eat, and stay in New Braunfels.The city may be synonymous with Schlliterbahn, but the SA suburb is so much more. From red-hot restaurants to chic shops, let this story help guide your next New Braunfels trip — no swimsuit required.
10. 13-minute hyperloop from San Antonio to Austin on fast track with push from federal government.A "transportation-in-a-tube" system promising to whisk passengers from San Antonio to Austin in less than 15 minutes got a big boost this year. During an appearance at SXSW in March, U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao said she has established a transportation technology council that will aim to clear regulatory and legal roadblocks for the traffic-busting Virgin Hyperloop One concept and similar transit innovations.