San Antonio, famed for the 1836 battle for Texan independence from Mexico, and dripping in colonial heritage, there is a lot more to San Antonio than it’s rich history.
Firstly, let’s begin with with how to get the most out of your time here. Read on to discover where to stay, eat and explore in the Alamo city.
San Antonio: Where to stay
I’ll start by telling you, there are two areas I recommend to stay in the city, the Riverwalk, Alamo & Downtown, or the Pearl District, and my favourite properties in each.
The Riverwalk, Alamo & Downtown
Without a doubt, the charming Riverwalk is the best place to stay if you’re visiting without a car. This man made promenade along the river is pretty as a picture, and houses the majority of the cities best hotels.
You’re also walking distance to Texas’ most visited historic landmark, the Alamo, which is at the heart of San Antonio.
Mokara Hotel & Spa – relaxing retreat set on the Riverwalk
The St Anthony, A Luxury Collection Hotel – Rooftop infinity pool and old world luxury in the heart of downtown
Hotel Contessa – Luxury Suites on the Riverwalk – Modern suites set directly on the Riverwalk
Menger Hotel – The oldest continuously operating hotel west of the Mississippi, and famed for its mango ice cream
Hotel Havana – A creative and tropical respite from the city, lovingly reopened by famed Texan hotelier, Liz Lambert
Crockett Hotel – Beloved and historic landmark named after Davy Crockett, which is also rumoured to be haunted by ghosts of unfortunate soldiers who lost their lives during the battle of the Alamo. That is a selling point in itself!
This old brewing factory is my personal favourite area in San Antonio. You’ll find it located to the north of the Riverwalk, yet still within walking distance to downtown and The Alamo. Although you may want to drive or scooter to have reprieve from that Texan heat.
Do you prefer your city stays to be on the alternate side, and favour being surrounded by a creatives, with access to multiple micro breweries, eateries, nightlife and a general urban vibe, The Pearl is for you.
Hotel Emma – The hottest hotel in San Antonio, in the heart of the trendy Pearl district
If Hotel Emma is above your budget (you will want to stretch the budget to stay here though), take a look on Air Bnb for options around here, they have a few great apartments within walking distance. Otherwise, you might want to move your stay back around downtown.
In addition to these hotels, If you’re after budget accommodation, you’ll find most of your standard chain hotels like Days Inn, Comfort Suites, Holiday Inn & Best Western are found in the west and north parts of San Antonio.
Public transport is not the best in the city, you really want a car or more budget for Uber if you are staying a little further out.
San Antonio: Where to eat
San Antonio surprised me, it has a lot more to offer than BBQ and Tex Mex. The city has even be named a creative city of gastronomy by UNESCO, one of only two cities in the US to be awarded this title.
With such an impressive accolade being bestowed on San Antonio, where do you begin your culinary adventure?
Bottling Dept. Food Hall – San Antonio’s first food hall houses five vendors and a bar. They promote creativity and serve as a culinary hub in this precinct.
Cured – Hand crafted cured foods, from charcuterie to pickles.
Feast – Book a table outside for prime people watching, and be prepared to be blown away by brunch.
The Cove – Sustainable, organic and local. It is not only a quirky place to eat, it is also a beer garden, live music venue, laundromat and car wash.
Smoke Shack – Hands down, this is San Antonio’s best BBQ.
Oscar’s Taco House – No frills, family style. Boasts the cities best puffy tacos and burritos. I’ve heard Ray’s Drive Inn is also amazing for puffy tacos (their original home).
Mr. & Mrs. G’s Home Cooking – Southern fare made with love.
Bliss – This place is a special occasion in itself.
Mixtli – A progressive Mexican culinaria.
San Antonio: What to do
Aside from strolling the picturesque Riverwalk and exploring the history of the Alamo, which would already be at the top of your list, San Antonio has plenty more to offer.
Pearl district – also the creative hub of the city. Tantalise your tastebuds, quench your thirst and shop for quirky gifts and art. Kick back to live music or peruse the local farmers market.
San Antonio Museum of Art – View an impressive collection, that will take you on a worldwide journey of art, that spans 5000 years.
Hire a Bcycle and bike the 10 mile Mission Reach Trail , stopping at each mission along the way. Wrap up the day with a hard earned beer or ten at Blue Star Brewing. If you tee this up right, try and get there on Tuesday when they have live jazz night.
Get back to nature in the Japanese Tea Gardens. Picture this, a 60 foot waterfall, stone bridges and ponds abundant with koi. Similarly, San Antonio botanical gardens are another beautiful place to relax and wander.
Visit Natural Bridge Caverns, here you can explore the cave systems, mine for fossils or conquer the rope course and zip line.
Get hands on at Do Seum, while this is for kids, they do offer the occasional adults night.
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Lauren Cirkot says
Thanks Dana for such a wonderful post on San Antonio! It seems so colorful and instagram-worthy.
Dana Brown says
Thanks so much for reading and the feedback, Lauren x