Are you visiting San Antonio for the first time? Below is a list of “Insider Tips” for things to see and do in the Alamo City.
When I have a visitor from out of town, I take them to The Alamo. Originally named Mission San Antonio de Valero, The Alamo was established in 1718 as the city’s first mission.
For an authentic experience reserved for the locals, visit the historic San Fernando Cathedral. I was fortunate to attend the early morning Fiesta Mariachi Mass in April. The English speaking mass honors Fiesta royalty and includes a Spanish choir and lively mariachi music.
Kids in San Antonio, Texas
Save time for a trip to SeaWorld San Antonio, the world’s largest marine life adventure park or Six Flags if you have kids traveling with you. If you happen to be in San Antonio during Fiesta, the Fiesta Arts Fair at the Southwest School of Art brings together artists from across the U.S. and San Antonio. This family-friendly event also features a Children’s Art Garden where kids have a chance to work with professional artists while they create their own masterpieces.
Tex-Mex Food of San Antonio
Are you wondering where to eat in San Antonio, Texas? This is the place for excellent Tex-Mex cuisine.
The best items on the menu at La Gloria restaurant are the mokajetes. La Gloria specializes in street foods of Mexico. The margaritas are “life changing” according to my friend. Personally, I liked the sangria and just about everything Chef Johnny Hernandez brought out to our table. Viva Fiesta!
For a tasty Prickly Pear Margarita, go to Boudros on the Riverwalk. The best breakfast in town can be found at Guenther Bakery in the King William District. If this place could mail order their cinnamon rolls I’d be in BIG trouble!
One of the “must do” tourist experiences is the Rio San Antonio dinner cruise, then stop and have a drink at The Esquire after dinner.
For the foodies in the group, take a cooking class at The Culinary Institute of America, San Antonio or dine at NAO, pronounced “now” – a restaurant of new world flavors.
Cowboy boots and hat standard San Antonio attire
Are you seeing a lot of cowboy boots and hats around town? San Antonio is best known for Western Wear. The highlight of my visit was the Charreada at Charro Ranch. A Charreada is the national sport of Mexico, an equestrian competition featuring horse reining, bull riding and roping skills. Check out theTexas Folklife Festival if you are visiting San Antonio in June.
There’s more to San Antonio than River Walk
Everyone will know you are visiting San Antonio if you get your picture taken in front of the Alamo or on the River Walk (RW.)If you have time, walk to the top of the Tower of the Americas on the Observation Deck. It’s also nice to explore street level too, especially the Southtown area which is less “polished” and a little funkier. Lots of art galleries, shops, and neighborhood businesses. The King William neighborhood is a real find for lovers of Victoriana – the homes are gorgeous and if you come during a home tour that’s a treat to see them on the inside!
That said, if you’re on the RW, it’s a must to take the River barge all the way to the Pearl District, from there; especially on Saturday mornings for the year-round, rain or shine Farmers Market.
San Antonio fitness break
In San Antonio, outdoor types will want to hike and bike their way through the city. Of course you’ll want to walk the River Walk.
Looking for a little exercise? Walk or run along the Museum and Mission Reach portions of the River Walk, this eight mile, $245 million project will restore wetlands to the ecosystem while maintaining or improving flood control.
If you are a museum lover you might want to visit the San Antonio Missions National Park, the McNay Art Museum or Museo Alameda, the first and only Smithsonian-affiliated museum dedicated to Latino culture. Afterall, there’s more to San Antonio than the Alamo.
Want to dance like a local? Azuca restaurant is the place to go for salsa dancing.
There’s more to San Antonio than art
The San Antonio Express-News will keep you posted on what’s happening in San Antonio, as well as the alternative weekly San Antonio Current.
In the spring you should attend Luminaria in March and Fiesta in late April. San Antonio seems to have a festival or celebration every month.
But there’s more to San Antonio than art. Come to San Antonio in the winter for SPURS basketball season. You may watch the four-time World Champions at AT&T Center.
Insider Tip: Check out The King William Neighborhood; it’s a beautiful historic neighborhood located just south of downtown.
Just outside of San Antonio you may explore Texas Hill Country. The kids will love the water park at the JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort. I loved Lantana Spa at the resort.
What are your favorite things to do in San Antonio?
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