If you don’t want to go all the way to Europe to experience a canal system in the middle of a city, head down to San Antonio, Texas, where the River Walk has been beautifying the downtown since the 1920s.
Built to shore up the San Antonio River after several devastating floods, the River Walk was designed as a public park incorporating elements from Venice, Spain, and Mexico. It includes a stone walkway, tour boats, arched footbridges, outdoor restaurants, hotels, a theatre and other attractions, and has become a draw for residents and tourists alike (even eclipsing the nearby Alamo shrine), as well as providing inspiration for cities worldwide.
My husband and I took one of the popular boat cruises, captained by a knowledgeable guide who kept us entertained throughout the 40-minute experience. The tour allowed us to see most of the canal system and got us oriented for our walks along the water. Although it can get congested in the evenings, the River Walk is a wonderful place to stroll and relax in the middle of a bustling city.