Editor's note: As the year comes to a close, we're looking back at the most popular stories of 2020. The subjects that dominated headlines around the globe, especially the coronavirus, certainly made their way to CultureMap San Antonio, but the stories most popular with readers were largely buzzy tidbits like the Alamo City's first wildlife bridge or a new medicinal marijuana dispensary. Thomas J. Henry's clan makes an appearance, too, and real estate is always a must-read. Below are the 10 stories that captivated our attention over the past 12 months, and check out our most-read restaurant and bar stories here.
1. This affluent San Antonio suburb cashes in as richest city in Texas. Forget Beverly Hills. Move over, Manhattan. This San Antonio suburb is cashing in as the richest city in Texas.
2. Model daughter of wildly wealthy San Antonio family reportedly engaged to pop star. Can it be a top 10 list without the Henrys? No, it can't. This time, it was news of daughter Maya, the model, getting engaged to former One Direction star Liam Payne in August that captured readers' attention.
3. San Antonio suburb drifts onto Money's Best Places to Live 2020. Another big story 'bout the 'burbs! If you want to live the good life, head to New Braunfels, the No. 25 best place to live this year, according to Money magazine's annual list.
4. San Antonio opens nation's largest land bridge for people and wildlife. A sweet story in a largely bitter year. In December, the United States' largest wildlife crossing opened in Northwest San Antonio. Robert L.B. Tobin Land Bridge is designed to help pedestrians and wildlife move freely — and safely — over a highway and between the two portions of a popular park.
5. New medical marijuana dispensary takes root in North San Antonio. Texas Original Compassionate Cultivation, one of only three licensed purveyors of medicinal cannabis in Texas, opened five new dispensaries across in Texas this summer, including one on the North East Side. Previously, patients in South Texas had to drive to all the way to Austin or pay a delivery fee to get their medical marijuana.
6. Texas close to claiming 4 of top 10 largest cities in U.S., according to demographer. After Austin becomes the 10th largest city in the country, Texas will claim four spots on the big-city list. San Antonio, which has been No. 7 for years, is soon poised to surpass Philadelphia as the nation's sixth largest city.
7. San Antonio closes all park facilities in effort to curb spread of COVID-19. San Antonio's next three most-read stories are a stark reminder of the year's most dominating storyline: the novel coronavirus. In late March, both the City of San Antonio and Bexar County closed all park facilities in an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19.
8. Here is when the COVID-19 pandemic could peak in San Antonio, according to experts. Nine months later and this story is almost naive in its optimism. In April, four different research teams for the City of San Antonio released a model predicting that COVID-19 would peak in early May. As we later discovered, the first peak came months later, and San Antonio is grappling with the virus' largest wave yet as we head into 2021.
9. San Antonio mayor 'stunned' by Trump administration's response to coronavirus. In an interview with the Washington Post, published March 9, Mayor Ron Nirenberg called the federal response to coronavirus "disconcerting" before adding: "Throughout the course of this, what I’ve seen is that the lack of coordination at the highest levels of this president’s administration is simply stunning.”
10. San Antonio's 3 hottest neighborhoods revealed by real estate authority. In early 2020, real estate brokerage Redfin released its annual ranking of the hottest neighborhoods to watch in 2020. Little did we know that the pandemic would lead to a red-hot residential real estate market in San Antonio and across Texas.