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City Guide 2014

8 Cultural Gems on the North Side

Photo: Courtesy photos, License: N/A

Courtesy photos

“Outside the Loop” is used as a pejorative by Downtown-centric cool kids, but oases of culture can be found in the sprawling suburbs of the North Side.

One-stop Culture Shop
Barshop Jewish Community Center of San Antonio
12500 NW Military, (210) 302-6820,
Vexler Theater box office, (210) 302-6835
Holocaust Museum, (210) 302-6807,

The Barshop Jewish Community Center of San Antonio, home to the Vexler Theater, is celebrating its 15th year at the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Campus at N.W. Military Highway and Wurzbach Parkway. Besides the gym, pool and athletic activities, the JCC presents a wide array of cultural offerings, including author readings, classical concerts, stand-up comics, exhibits, plays, musicals, lectures, films and family programs.

The Vex, far from vexing, is one of the most reliable producers of quality live theater in the city using local directors, actors and musicians (their recent production of Little Shop of Horrors is pictured above). Currently, When You Comin’ Back Red Ryder? runs through March 2, while the romantic musical The Fantasticks is set for May 8-June 8. The JCC screened the 13th annual Jewish Film Festival recently at the Santikos Embassy 14, and has begun to branch out by sponsoring films throughout the year at various venues around the city.

Comics such as Mike Burton, Shawn Pelofsky and Cory Kahaney have performed for the JCC at the Laugh Out Loud Comedy Club in Park North Plaza. As part of the Author Series, Dan Zevin, who says he’s the “least hip citizen of Brooklyn,” will read from Dan Gets a Minivan: Life at the Intersection of Dude and Dad on March 4 in the JCC’s Holzman Auditorium, which hosts a variety of events including concerts ranging from award-winning pianists to the San Antonio Symphony.

Many events are free and all are open to the public. The JCC doesn’t discriminate; anyone can join.

Founded in 2000, the Holocaust Memorial Museum is located on the upper level of the Weinberg Jewish Campus at the same address. With photographs, films, mementos and maps exploring 12 years of Nazi rule across Europe, the museum includes a section on the American reaction to the Holocaust and a small exhibit about Holocaust survivors who settled in San Antonio. Admission is free.

After sampling Jewish culture, you can take a walk on the kosher side across the street at the H-E-B Alon Market.

The Real North Star
Gallery Nord
2009 NW Military, (210) 348-0088,

Castle Hills’ Gallery Nord is easily the city’s biggest and best-designed contemporary art gallery. It shows local and Texas artists along with presenting classical music concerts, such as the SOLI Chamber Ensemble, and other events. San Antonio modernist architect Allison B. Peery designed the distinctive building with a wing-like roofline and abstract stained glass designs at the entrance. Inside are three large, sleek galleries with polished wood floors, white walls and ample natural light.

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