Libraries typically aren’t tourist attractions, unless they’re historic or contain rare volumes of work. The exception is San Antonio’s Central Library (600 Soledad St., 210/207-2500, 9 a.m.–9 p.m. Mon.–Thurs., 9 a.m.–5 p.m. Fri.–Sat., 11 a.m.–5 p.m. Sun.).
Known around town as “Big Red,” the library is indeed enormous (240,000 square feet) and dons the color of a red enchilada. For these reasons, it’s generated much attention (not always good) and is considered one of the city’s most important architectural accomplishments.
The six-floor library was designed by renowned Mexican architect Ricardo Legorreta and rests on the footprint of an old Sears department store. Legorreta used natural light, color, water, and some unexpected angles and sight lines to create this urban cathedral of knowledge, which also features an intriguing mural by San Antonio  artist Jesse Treviño, depicting a slice of life in the city during World War II.