Aztec Theatre (San Antonio)

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Coordinates: 29°25′28″N 98°29′27″W / 29.42444°N 98.49083°W / 29.42444; -98.49083

Aztec Theatre
Aztec on the River
Aztec Theater (1 of 1).jpg
Exterior view of venue (c.2016)
Address104 N St Mary's St
San Antonio, TX 78205-2209
LocationDowntown San Antonio
OwnerAztec Family Group
OperatorLive Nation
OpenedJune 4, 1926 (1926-06-04)
Renovated2007-09, 2013-14
Closed1989-2009; 2012-14
Construction cost$1.75 million
($26.1 million in 2019 dollars[1])
ArchitectMeyer & Holler
Venue Website
Aztec Theatre
ArchitectKelly, Robert B.; Pianta, Hannibal
Architectural styleMesoamerican
NRHP reference #92001403[2]
Added to NRHPOctober 22, 1992

The Aztec Theatre is a historic theater in Downtown San Antonio, Texas, USA.


Closed Aztec Theatre in December 2003.

Built in 1926, the Aztec Theatre is a notable example of the impressive exotic-theme motion picture palaces constructed in the United States during the economic boom of the 1920s. The Kellwood Corporation, owned by Robert Bertrum Kelly (the architect on record) and H.C. Woods, constructed the theater in 1926 with the financial backing of Commerce Reality at a cost of $1.75 million.

The Aztec Theatre was part of the Theater district that included the Empire (1914), the Texas (1926), the Majestic (1929), and the Alameda (1949).

Though the theater remained highly popular for many decades, by the 1970s, it was in decline. It was cut into three auditoriums as the Aztec Triplex, but this only slowed the eventual. In 1989, the Aztec closed. Since October 1992, the theatre has been listed in the National Register of Historic Places, which helped save it from demolition.

Based on San Antonio's Riverwalk, the new Aztec Theatre re-opened in August 2009 as a concert venue. San Antonio Rose Live was a two-hour live show featuring traditional country, western swing, and gospel music. Featuring the San Antonio Rose Live Band composed of 9 world-class musicians from Nashville, Branson, Austin and San Antonio. This show closed in February 2012 due to "the current and future economic circumstances".

The Aztec Theatre was leased in September 2013. The new leaseholders are turning the theatre into a multi-purpose event center, which will host public and private functions, as well as provide a venue for musical acts.[3]

Architectural features[edit]

The Aztec was designed by the firm of Meyer & Holler. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1992, it is decorated with vibrantly-colored columns, sculptures, furnishings and murals, many of which are authentic reproductions of Meso-American artifacts. Hanging in front of the stage is the original fire screen, a painting depicting the meeting of the Aztec ruler Montezuma II and Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés in 1519. The interior of the theater is embellished with fixtures, furnishings, relief carvings, sculpture, plaques, painted symbols and architectural elements inspired by the Aztec, Mixtec, Zapotec, Toltec, and Mayan cultures. The theater is housed in a six-story office building.

A massive two-ton chandelier dominates the theater lobby. Added to the theatre in 1929, the chandelier has been completely restored by the grandson of the original designer. The chandelier was installed the same day the stock market crashed in 1929.

The Aztec Theatre is quoted in Patricia Schultz's travel book 1,000 Places to See Before You Die.

Retail shops[edit]

The theatre viewed from the River Walk in 2017

The remaining features of the Riverwalk level of the Aztec Theatre include:

  • Rio San Antonio Cruises: River cruises with entertaining narratives of the rich history of the San Antonio River.
  • Agave Bar: named one of the top ten tequila bars in the country, it feature over 80 selections of tequila from Mexico and specialize in a variety of margaritas and tequila drinks unique to Texas.
  • Iron Cactus Mexican Grill: Tex Mex restaurant.

Noted performers[edit]

External links[edit]

See also[edit]

House Of Blues


  1. ^ Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. "Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–". Retrieved January 1, 2020.
  2. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. April 15, 2008.
  3. ^ Olivio, Benjamin (September 5, 2013). "Aztec Theater gets a familiar tenant". San Antonio Express-News. Hearst Communications. Retrieved May 20, 2018.