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What is El Mercado?

10 Points
Mexican Market Square Paper Decorations San Antonio Texas

History lesson

Fascinating facts about San Antonio

  • San Antonio is home to the largest Mexican market outside of Mexico. El Mercado shopping district at the Historic Market Square boasts an impressive collection of 100+ restaurants, artisanal shops, and fresh produce stands. It's a place where you can easily spend hours exploring the three-block outdoor plaza.
  • The city was a pioneer in establishing the first all-digital library in the US. The Bexar County BiblioTech was the first library in the US to offer an exclusively digital collection. While the library's literary works are fully-digital, you can still visit its physical locations to access resources like computer labs and study rooms.
  • Church's Chicken was born across the street from the Alamo. The fried chicken chain first opened its doors in 1952 under the name "Church's Fried Chicken To Go" and quickly became a hit among San Antonians. It has since expanded to 30 countries around the world.
  • Before the San Antonio Spurs came to the Alamo City for the 1973–74 season, they played for six seasons as the Dallas Chaparrals.
  • The San Antonio Missions are one of 24 World Heritage Sites located in the United States.
  • SeaWorld San Antonio recently added the tallest, fastest, and longest wooden roller coaster in the state — the Texas Stingray.
  • In 2011, Lanier High School put on a tamalada like no one has ever seen — literally. A record-breaking 17,132 tamales landed the school in the Guinness World Records.
  • The Alamo City also boasts the tallest cowboy boots sculpture in the world, standing at 35 ft + 3 in.
  • It is technically illegal for people to flirt or respond to flirtation using their hands or eyes in San Antonio.
  • The San Fernando Cathedral is the oldest church in Texas — and one of the oldest in the US — dating back to 1738.
  • Then Army Lieutenant and now former US President Dwight D. Eisenhower served as the St. Louis College — now St. Mary's University — head football coach in 1916.
  • The San Antonio Stockshow and Rodeo reuses the same 2,160 tons of dirt every year.
  • 5-time NBA All-Star Shaquille O'Neal went to Robert G. Cole High School in San Antonio and graduated in 1989.
  • Gatorade was invented by a San Antonio native, Robert Cade.
  • And lastly, Fritos and Frito pie — yeah, you can thank San Antonio for that, too.
Zach, Heywise Staff

Quiz WriterZach, Heywise Staff

Zach has been riding the gondola of trivia wherever the waters take him. Although he’s not a named consultant on any major quiz TV shows, Zach has watched them all since infancy and will happily take up any challenge whether it be pub quizzes or high-stakes matches he isn’t afraid to show up. And showing up is 90% of the work!

Did you know?

What is Bracken Cave?

The Guinness Book of World Records recognized Bracken Cave Preserve for housing the largest bat colony in the world during summer. The swarm is so huge that it sometimes appears on weather maps—nearly 20 million Mexican free-tailed bats occupy the cave outside San Antonio between March and October. The bat cave has restricted access to aid conservation efforts, but anyone who would like to see these mammals emerging from the opening can take a guided evening tour. It's a goosebump-inducing sight! The bats soar through the skies for 1,000 miles to reach this spot in time for the warmer seasons. Soon after their arrival, the moms have babies. As many as 500 pups have been observed hanging from one square foot of the cave. Thanks to funding from environmental groups, the sky around the cave stays dark and human development isn't permitted. The bats eat insects that would otherwise affect cotton crops.

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