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Japanese Tea Gardens, San Antonio

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The San Antonio Japanese Tea Garden, or Sunken Gardens in Brackenridge Park, San Antonio, Texas, USA opened in an abandoned limestone rock quarry in the early 20th century. It was known also as Chinese Tea Gardens, Chinese Tea Garden Gate, Chinese Sunken Garden Gate and is listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.HistoryThe San Antonio Japanese Tea Garden in the U.S. state of Texas was developed on land donated to the city in 1899 by George Washington Brackenridge, president of the San Antonio Water Works Company. The ground was first broken around 1840 by German masons, who used the readily accessible limestone to supply the construction market. Many San Antonio buildings, including the Menger Hotel, were built with the stone from this quarry on the Rock Quarry Road.In 1880 the Alamo Cement Company was incorporated and produced cement for 26 years in the kiln, the chimney of which still stands today. Supporting the workforce of the quarry was a small "village", populated primarily by Mexican-Americans who worked the site. They and their families became popular with tourists, who purchased pottery, hand woven baskets, and food.About 1917, City Parks Commissioner Ray Lambert visualized an oriental-style garden in the pit of the quarry. His engineer, W.S. Delery, developed plans, but no work began until individual and private donors provided funds in 1918. Lambert used prison labor to shape the quarry into a complex that included walkways, stone arch bridges, an island and a Japanese pagoda.
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Where to stay in San Antonio

To be at the heart of San Antonio's buzzing atmosphere and attractions, stay along the city's River Walk. Lined with hotels of all levels, the area is known for excellent dining and nightlife, and is close to all of the city's main sights. While this area tends to be pricier than other neighborhoods, it is the best option for those traveling without a car who want to take full advantage of their vacation time in San Antonio. For a more rustic experience, venture outside of the city limits to stay at one of the old-world guest ranches that dot the beautiful countryside.
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Google
4.6
  • I was very shocked at how nice the Tea Garden is. Pictures do not do it justice. It was in the upper 90s the day we went so waking by the waterfall and the breeze walking through was very refreshing.  more »
  • We live in San Antonio and decided to venture out this evening for a walk through the Japanese Tea Gardens. What a pleasant surprise! Make sure to read the dedication plaques which give you the histor...  more »
  • You can spend an hour or two for free walking around this beautiful garden. Some of the paths are easier than others, so choose your walk carefully. Garden offers a little cafe with outdoor seating. T...  more »
Google
  • Beautiful place to visit! It is free and open to the public which is great. Pretty small, but still great if you want something fun to do for an hour or so. Would highly recommend for dates. There is a cute tea shop that is nice to hang out in after walking the paths.
  • WORST CUSTOMER SERVICE EVER. My sister-in-law had her wedding here, they promised and binded her to a contract for items they didn't even provide at the wedding (tents, specific MORE EXPENSIVE foods to be catered that were NOT.) They proceeded to IGNORE all of her calls and attempts to reach out to them. Finally got back to her EIGHT MONTHS LATER and said she was over reacting because "all of their brides love their service" and "they were voted the best for years". REGARDLESS. They screwed her over and took advantage of her on her own wedding day to get more money out of her. I do not recommend them or their caterers at all. Book at your own risk!
  • The garden is very peaceful and pretty. It isn't very large, but it is a nice place to relax and stroll around. You feel at ease here and is worth a visit. You can drop in for a short visit or bring a book and relax!
  • It wouldn't let me give negative star or I would. This is the worst place to go for any type of occasions. The so called " owner " Caryn H. doesn't have the knowledge to be professional. She can get very mouthy and extremely rude. If they ever owe you money be ready to wait and hear the never ending story. To get my refund that was a 5-7 day wait turned out to be 7 weeks and not 1 time did they even try to contact me. I kept hearing that the manager who handles this is off or on vacation. They will try to take you for all they can if you try to use this venue. Look around much better, cheaper and way more professional venue's available.
  • This place is gorgeous. The restaurant was less than impressive. The food was okay, nothing special and very expensive. Come see the gardens skip the cafe. In all fairness, I did not try the tea.