San Antonio is one of our favorite destinations for a Texas Road trip – we have been to this underrated city in Texas a few times and every time there is always something new to discover. Take a Friday off and leave early to tackle the Enchanted Rock and make your way to the quaint German town of Fredericksburg for a late lunch and some shopping. Then drive another 70 miles south for a relaxing weekend in San Antonio.
A Weekend in San Antonio
Here is how to spend two days in San Antonio. Start of your weekend with a breakfast at the one of the cafe’s with river views – we were at the Hilton, so River Edge Cafe was where we started our morning and then we were off to SeaWorld. If the kids have enough energy you can tackle both SeaWorld and the San Antonio Zoo, but for a better experience pick one and save the other for the next trip. After the kids were exhausted, we were back at the River Walk for a TexMex dinner. Start the second day at The Pearl – Bakery Lorraine specializes in classic French pastry and Local Coffee has some of the best coffee in San Antonio. Stop at the green for some playtime, there always seems to be throngs of children and dogs running amok before heading to visit the Alamo and the San Fernando Cathedral. Make sure to do a boat tour before bidding farewell to the city.
The River Walk in San Antonio
The Riverwalk in San Antonio is a great Texas attraction, a great place to escape the Texas heat. Along this urban river, you’ll find local artisans, live music coming from a variety of upscale and casual dining places, high-arched bridges connecting the opposing riverside walkways, riverboats, occasional river parades, and a beautiful lights display during the different holidays.
Although the Riverwalk is very pedestrian-friendly make time for a boat tour. The narrated tours are fun and informative and is a wonderful experience floating down the San Antonio River walk taking in the sights. It is often described as “The American Venice” and it’s easy to see why.
It has the flavors of Native America, Old Mexico, and the Wild West all blended effortlessly with the hustle and bustle of a modern city. The newest barges run by Go Rio are in such pretty colors and inspired by Mexican Folk art. When it is time for dinner, stroll along and take a look at the menus, and pick a restaurant that sounds good – we really like Rita’s on the River and Cafe Ole. Make sure to ask for a table in the patio and request a song from the traveling mariachi band.
San Fernando Cathedral
The 18th-century San Fernando Cathedral is the first church built in San Antonio, the oldest standing church in Texas, and one of the oldest cathedrals in the U.S. The Saga – A beautiful video art installation on the facade of the San Fernando Cathedral. This 7,000 sqft projection includes music and surrounds sound is the creation of French artist Xavier De Richemont. You Can See This Incredible Projection On Main Plaza Tuesday, Friday, Saturday And Sunday At 9:00pm, 9:30pm And 10:00pm
You can’t go to San Antonio without visiting the Alamo. This small mission building turned seemingly overnight into one of the most known monuments in American history, thanks to the legendary Battle of the Alamo in the Texas Revolution. Here, a small band of Texans lost their lives defending the mission against an overwhelming number of Mexican soldiers. The tale of the battle quickly spread and fueled the fire that eventually gave Texas its freedom. Today, the Alamo is a museum and an important symbol of Texas’s liberty. Admission to the Alamo is free, so don’t miss this during your weekend in San Antonio. The Alamo is comprised of a 4.2 acre complex containing only a portion of the original Alamo mission.
SeaWorld San Antonio
Kids will have a great time at this part aquarium, part thrill-packed theme park. It is home to a diversity of marine life, including dolphins, penguins, and polar bears. Visitors can go from getting splashed by killer whales to soaring upside down and reaching speeds of up to 50-miles per hour on the many thrill rides.
There are lots of thrill rides, like the fast-moving ones like The Great White or The Steel Eel for adrenaline-seekers, and then some more family-friendly rides like the classic splash-drop coaster ride Journey to Atlantis or the Rio Loco.
We took my little nieces and they loved seeing the different marine animals – feeding the sea-lions was a favorite despite the smelly little finger afterward, seeing the mermaid princess and blowing bubbles. SeaWorld has fun geared towards everyone.
San Antonio Zoo
The 35 acre San Antonio Zoo houses over 3,500 animals that represent 750 species. Open seven days a week, 365 days a year, the zoo gives guests a variety of information and exhibits, including overnight adventures for schools and families and the immensely popular Eagle Train Ride, gliding you through many of the animal exhibits throughout the zoo on a beautiful, miniature red steam train. Don’t forget about their seasonal butterfly garden exhibit! It’s one of the most popular
The Pearl Brewery, a culinary and cultural destination along the river, is the perfect spot to grab a bite to eat. It features a farmer’s market, multiple restaurants, several boutique shops, a well-curated bookstore, and plenty of entertainment options year-round. As a former brewery operating from 1883 to 2001, Pearl reflects a vivid past while embracing the future. The 22-acre Pearl site is home to The Culinary Institute of America, Hotel Emma and its restaurant Supper.
There are more than a few Pearl restaurants that you should indulge in starting with Il Sogno Osteria, by CIA graduate and James Beard Award-nominated chef Andrew Weissman; La Gloria by CIA graduate chef Johnny Hernandez; Nao Latin Gastro Bar, from The Culinary Institute of America, San Antonio; Blue Box Bar; Botika; The Boiler House Texas Grill and Wine Garden; The Granary ‘Cue and Brew; Cured; Southerleigh Fine Food and Brewery; Bakery Lorraine; Local Coffee; Lick Honest Ice Creams, Green Vegetarian Cuisine… you will need to plan multiple trips to try them all out!
If you have an extra day
If you have an extra day, you can add Six Flags Fiesta Texas for some thrill rides and Tower of Americas for great views of the city. If you plan to be there in the evening you catch a Texan sunset from the top. Then there is the Louis Tussaud’s Wax Works & Ripley’s Museums, kids will also love the hands-on experiences at the Doseum. If you have some time stop by to enjoy the sights and flavors of old Mexico at Historic Market Square while visiting over 100 locally-owned shops. Don’t miss out on this favorite of locals and tourists for generations!
Where to Stay in San Antonio
While you can’t go wrong with staying any of the properties on the River Walk for your weekend in San Antonio – there are quite a few good ones to choose from. We stayed at the La Cantera Resort in the Hill Country on a previous trip and wanted to stay near the River Walk this time.
We chose The Hilton Palacio del Rio which is located in the middle of all the excitement on the River Walk in San Antonio. They have four signature restaurants – you can enjoy breakfast or lunch on the patio of Rivers Edge Cafe or Tex’s Riverwalk Sports Bar while watching the riverboat cruises float by and ending the night at the lobby bar or Durty Nelly’s Irish Pub with a piano bar sing-a-long and cocktails. this hotel is the preferred choice of those who visit the city for either business and leisure. Located across the street from the Henry B Gonzalez Convention Center, it is perfect for business trips as well.
Other great options are El Tropicano, a ’60s-era hotel on the quieter end of the River Walk that just completed a massive, multimillion-dollar renovation, Omni or Hyatt Regency. Or stay at the Hotel Emma inside the old Pearl Brewery an extraordinary 146-room riverfront hotel and the flagship for Pearl’s culinary and cultural community on the northern edge of downtown San Antonio. Regardless of where you stay the genuine cultural flavors and the delightful experiences that San Antonio has to offer will have you planning many trips to this beautiful city. And best of all it is an year-round destination!
I hope this little guide helps you plan your weekend in San Antonio.
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