City of San Antonio and Partners Announce Seventh Annual World Heritage Festival in Celebration of San Antonio’s Missions as a UNESCO World Heritage Site

The City of San Antonio World Heritage Office and its collaborative partners announced the upcoming seventh annual World Heritage Festival. Running September 7-11, 2022, the festival will feature seven events to celebrate San Antonio’s historic missions as the first and only UNESCO World Heritage Site in Texas.

 “San Antonio’s rich history, culture, and traditions will be celebrated during the seventh annual World Heritage Festival,” Mayor Ron Nirenberg said. “The festival is a unique opportunity for residents and visitors to learn more about what makes San Antonio a world class cultural destination.”

The festival was established in 2016 to commemorate the anniversary of the World Heritage Site inscription by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 2015. The festival provides an opportunity for residents and visitors to celebrate San Antonio’s unique history, heritage, and culture. 

“We’re proud to be here recognizing our UNESCO World Heritage designation and celebrating the rich history of our community. We must continue to preserve and promote our cultural assets so that people can embrace and experience these historic sites for years to come,” Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff said.

San Antonio’s five Spanish Colonial missions – San Jose, San Juan, Espada, Concepcion, and The Alamo – remain the first and only UNESCO World Heritage Site in Texas, and one of 24 in the country. The festival is possible each year through the efforts and contributions of many collaborative partners. This year’s festival sponsors include: Bexar County, San Antonio River Authority, National Parks Conservation Association, The Alamo, National Park Service, Las Misiones, Alamo Beer Company, H-E-B, American Volkssport Association, SATX Social Ride, Niagra Water, Korea Foundation, San Antonio Korean American Association, Korean American Cultural Center, South Texas Off Road Mountain Bikers, and various City of San Antonio departments.

“The World Heritage Festival is special because it celebrates our San Antonio Missions as the only World Heritage Site in Texas, and also embodies the spirit of community and collaboration,” said District 3 Councilwoman Phyllis Viagran. “This festival brings together partners, community organizations, residents, and visitors alike in a one-of-a-kind experience that showcases our city’s heritage and history.”

In addition to past event favorites such as Music & Movie Under the Stars, Caring for Creation Mass, and the Tour de las Misiones, this year’s festival welcomes new events including an outdoor photography exhibit celebrating the Sister City Relationship between San Antonio and Gwangju, South Korea; Junior Ranger Day at Mission Espada, and a symposium on San Antonio’s acequia system hosted by The Alamo – marking the first time a festival program has been held at this mission.

“The World Heritage Festival is a time to celebrate and honor the city’s complete history, culture, and diversity,” said Kate Rogers, Executive Director, Alamo, Trust, Inc. “Mission San Antonio de Valero (the Alamo) was founded by Spanish settlers on May 1, 1718. The Mission’s creation was an instrumental moment for the future City of San Antonio. These Spanish settlers laid the foundation for what would grow into a flourishing community and at its center placed the iconic structure known today as the Cultural Hearth of Texas—the Alamo.”

This year’s schedule of events includes (events are free unless otherwise noted):

Wednesday, September 7, 2022

Gwangju: City of Light and Democracy

7 p.m.

Mission Marquee Plaza, 3100 Roosevelt Ave., 78214

This opening reception officially unveils an outdoor photography exhibit showcasing San Antonio’s 40-year Sister City relationship with Gwangju, South Korea and that city’s designation as a UNESCO Memory of the World city. This celebration of Korean culture will include food, music, dance, family activities, and a special screening of the Korean film, “A Taxi Driver.”

Thursday, September 8, 2022

The Mission for Water: Building San Antonio’s Acequia System

6-7 p.m.

The Alamo, 300 Alamo Plaza, 78205

In the days before the San Antonio Water System (SAWS), how did the missions get water? During this symposium, discover the science and history behind San Antonio’s waterways and the important role water played in the Spanish Missions. Registration is required and available at

Thursday, September 8, 2022

Gwangju Art Exhibition Opening

6-8 p.m.

Artpace, 445 N. Main Ave., 78205

San Antonio’s Sister City, Gwangju, South Korea, in celebration of the 40th anniversary of their relationship, sends an art exhibition from the Gwangju Museum of Art to San Antonio to be displayed at Artpace. The opening reception will feature both fine art and culinary delights prepared by artists and chefs from Gwangju.

Friday, September 9, 2022

Music & Movie Under the Stars

6-10 p.m.

Mission Marquee Plaza, 3100 Roosevelt Ave., 78214

The World Heritage Office and its collaborative partners present the third annual Music & Movie Under the Stars, as a tribute to San Antonio’s legacy as Military City, U.S.A. Bring your lawn chairs, blankets, and picnics to enjoy a free screening of the Marvel favorite, “Captain America: The First Avenger,” shortly after dusk. This family-friendly event will feature family activities, presentations by military historians, musical performances, food trucks, and more.

Saturday, September 10, 2022

Tour de las Misiones

7 a.m.-Noon

Mission Park Pavilion, 6030 Padre Dr., 78214

Registration fees: $25-$55

Register by August 24 to be guaranteed commemorative giveaways:

The Tour de las Misiones Bike Ride, Walk and Run beginning and ending at Mission Park Pavilion includes a leisurely ride ranging from 7- to 22-miles with stops at each mission and an enjoyable 5 or 10K walk and run through the River Walk Mission Reach and Mission San Jose. Immediately following the Tour de las Misiones, participants can enjoy music, artisan and food vendors, and more. Military discount is available using code MILITARY at checkout for $5 off.

Saturday, September 10, 2022

Junior Ranger Day

10 a.m.-2 p.m.

Mission Espada, 10040 Espada Rd., 78214

San Antonio Missions National Historical Park presents Junior Ranger Day. Engage with park rangers for activities including storybook reading, and opportunities to earn the only “World Heritage Junior Ranger” badge in the National Park Service.

Sunday, September 11, 2022

El Camino de San Antonio: Caring for Creation Outdoor Mass

8 a.m.

Mission Espada, 10040 Espada Rd., 78214

Join Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller, MSPS to celebrate the “Season of Creation” with a Mariachi Mass at Mission Espada followed by a walk in support of God’s creation on the river trail to Mission San Juan. Bring your water bottles and comfortable shoes.

For more information on the 2022 World Heritage Festival and event updates, visit Information about the historic missions is available at