Since 1993, I’ve called San Antonio home. It’s a nice big small town. The pace is much slower than the east and west coasts. San Antonio is a popular stop for tourists and is slowly becoming a foodie hotspot. SA also knows how to party – we shut down for 10 days every April for Fiesta, and we stop everything for Spurs parades.
Whenever I’m asked for advice on what to do, what to see and/or where to eat, I never know what to say because everyone has such individual tastes and interests. So, here are some resources to help you get started in figuring out what to do when you visit San Antonio.
The “Visit San Antonio” website: http://visitsanantonio.com/Trip-Ideas
This page will help you figure out what “type” of vacation you’d like to have here.
The Alamo – http://www.thealamo.org/
River Walk Cruise – http://www.riosanantonio.com/
Seriously, you can’t say you’ve been to San Antonio unless you’ve experienced these two things.
Driving or biking the Mission Trail (after all, this city was built up around its most famous mission, the Alamo) – http://www.nps.gov/saan/planyourvisit/directions.htm
Checking out The Pearl – It used to be Pearl Brewery, but has been turned into a beautiful multi-use space with shops, restaurants, and the Culinary Institute of America – http://www.atpearl.com/
If you’ve still got time, visit:
La Villita Historical Arts District – http://lavillita.com/
For the active/outdoor types:
Parks with strolling paths?
We sweat buckets from April – October, so we have fewer outdoor play options than many cities. A beautiful walk is at the “Museum Reach” of the River Walk, from The Pearl to the San Antonio Art Museum.
List of parks: http://www.sanantonio.gov/ParksAndRec/ParksFacilities.aspx
If you’re coming with the whole familia:
Standard family fare is always Sea World, Six Flags Fiesta Texas and the Zoo.
I love the Mission Trail (which includes the Alamo), but little kids may not be interested.
Here are some other ideas:
A couple of my friends have great Mom Blogs. It might be information overload, but you could skim them if you’re interested:
If you’re into ghosts:
Mexican – La Gloria – http://chefjohnnyhernandez.com/lagloria/
Italian – Il Sogno – http://atpearl.com/food/restaurants/il_sogno_osteria
Mix – Arcade – http://atpearl.com/food/restaurants/arcade_midtown_kitchen
Texas grill – Boiler House – http://www.boilerhousesa.com/
Mix – Luke – http://www.lukesanantonio.com/
Tapas – Barraca – http://www.barracatx.com/
“Contemporary” – Bliss – http://www.foodisbliss.com/
Traditional Mexican restaurants that all tourists go to:
La Margarita (the same family also owns Mi Tierra) – http://www.lamargarita.com/
Pico de Gallo – http://www.yelp.com/biz/pico-de-gallo-san-antonio
There’s also an area downtown with awesome food trucks. Yeah, that’s right. Food trucks! They’re run by true chefs. Here’s the website: http://alamostreeteatbar.com/
Mediterranean – Feast – http://www.feastsa.com/
Pizza and Burrata – Dough – http://www.doughpizzeria.com/
Steak – Perry’s – http://www.perryssteakhouse.com/menu-locations/san-antonio/la-cantera/
If I had one day to spend in San Antonio, I would:
*Find a way over to the Missions Visitor Center, which is right near Mission San Jose, and visit both. If you have time, drive to all of the missions along The Mission Trail.
*Head back downtown. (The bike trails along the Mission Reach portion of the river might be open and take you to town. This would be stinkin’ hot during the summer, but a scenic ride.)
*Once downtown, catch a river boat that takes you to the Museum Reach, and this will drop you off at The Pearl.
*Walk around The Pearl.
*Eat at lunch at La Gloria.
*Head back downtown via boat or bike or taxi.
*Visit the Alamo.
*Walk across Crocket Street and slip over to the Menger Hotel’s bar (side entrance across the street from the Alamo, through an ugly door) for a quick drink – or at least a visit. Teddy Roosevelt and his Rough Riders hung out here. There are pictures in the hallway leading from the bar to the hotel, and the bartender should be able to point out a couple of Teddy’s bullet holes.
*From the front of the Alamo, walk across Alamo Street, down the steps by the stream, and through the hotel to the hub of the River Walk.
*Turn left and make your way south along the River Walk past the Arneson River Theater to the Court House (easy to see this funky reddish-pink stone building at street level from the river) and visit San Fernando Cathedral, which used to be the official center of San Antonio. (Look for the seal on the ground behind the altar. But not during mass!)
*Have dinner in South Town at the food trucks. If food trucks aren’t your thing, check out one of the restaurants listed above.
We have a saying in Texas. “If you don’t like the weather, just wait 10 minutes.” For that reason, I highly recommend that you bring layers of clothes. Even when it’s 105 degrees in the summer, you’ll need a sweater if you don’t want to freeze in air conditioned buildings.
I’ve found that San Antonio’s ABC affiliate station, KSAT, has the most accurate weather forecast. Click here to view it. Note that the “low” temperature they list on the 5-day forecast is the starting temperature for sunrise that morning.
If you find any broken links on this page, please let me know.
Enjoy your visit to San Antonio!