San Antonio is a great place to spend a couple of days, either as a weekend trip or as part of a larger vacation in conjunction with other major cities in Texas. You’ll find there’s a lot more to do there than remember the Alamo.
You’re in Texas, so kick off your stay in San Antonio by doing something local. Regardless of your interests, you’ll find something in the city to fit your preferences. And I don’t know about you but the first thing I do when I get somewhere is eat. You can enjoy some of the best barbecue the city has to offer at The Big Bib. But if you’re starving and looking for a quick, and equally tasty option, try Smoke Shack, which is a food truck turned restaurant (though the food truck is still around).
After dinner, I recommend catching a show at the historic Majestic Theatre. Built in 1929, it still hosts regular events like comedy shows, concerts, and live theater. Not only can you enjoy something fun and unique, you can see the inside of the San Antonio’s oldest theatre.
But if sports are more your speed, then you might want to check out a Spurs Game at the AT&T Center. In recent years, the San Antonio Spurs have enjoyed national recognition with four NBA Championships since 2003. It’s always fun to check out the local sports culture, even if you hate basketball (and I definitely do).
Remember the Alamo
Start your Saturday with a visit to San Antonio’s crown jewel, The Alamo. I’ll save you the disappointment; it’s really small.
But you can’t miss the UNESCO World Heritage site which is now a history museum. The Alamo used to be part of a Catholic mission in Texas, and it was the site of the Battle of the Alamo in 1936 during the Texas Revolution. After the Mexican army rolled in and killed all the Texans in the fortress, many locals seeking revenge joined the army and succeeded in defeating the Mexican Army.
You can enter the Alamo, walk the grounds, and see all exhibits for free. If you like history, you can’t miss it.
San Antonio River Walk
Just a few minutes on foot from the Alamo, you’ll come to the San Antonio River Walk, which is a winding path along the San Antonio River. The River Walk is lined with shops, restaurants, bars, and street vendors selling arts and crafts. If you like shopping, this is a great place to get yourself a real Texas cowboy hat or a handmade trinket as a souvenir. It’s also a great place to eat lunch.
What better way to commemorate the Battle of the Alamo than by chowing down on some delicious Mexican food? It’s Texas, so you know the stuff is authentic. For a more upscale experience, you can try Boudro’s. But for the kind of food that will make you feel like you’re on the other side of the border, check out Casa Rio.
After lunch, you can take a boat tour on the San Antonio River. There are docking locations at different points along the River Walk, so you can hop on just about anywhere. After a few margaritas, a relaxed 30-minute river cruise is a perfect way to pass the time.
The river cruise is also a great way to see other parts of the River Walk that you may want to check out. I recommend La Villita which is a small art community with galleries, shops, and plenty of local crafts. You can find everything from textiles to jewelry there.
Because it’s such a bustling area of the city, there are plenty of bars to keep you out late into the night. In fact, San Antonio is one of the only cities I haven’t lived where I have a favorite bar. And that bar is The Esquire Tavern. It’s great place for dinner and an even better place for cocktails. So when you’re tired of Lone Star beers and you’re ready for a strong gin cocktail, head over there.
Enjoy a hearty Texan brunch at Boiler House before starting your day. You know how they say everything is bigger in Texas? Get ready for that Hangover Hash, which includes braised pig, potato hash, eggs, and salsa. It’s located in Pearl, a hip industrial neighborhood where you can also find many shops and bars. So it’s a good place in San Antonio to start or end your day.
Then you can spend the rest of your Sunday enjoying the outdoors.
Brackenridge is a massive local park that is well-known for being a great place to go bird watching. So even if you’re not a fan, you’ll probably see some interesting doves, ducks, and woodpeckers around. But if different species are your thing, here you will also find the San Antonio Zoo. Aside from seeing the animals, your ticket will get you a ride on the carousel and the train inside the grounds.
If you prefer flora and fauna, you can enjoy the Botanical Garden where you can find a vast array of colorful flowers, including tulips, daffodils, and orchids. Like the zoo, you will have to pay admission to visit the Botanical Garden.
If you’re traveling on a budget, you can visit the Japanese Tea Garden, which is also in Brackenridge Park. The lovely Japanese-style oasis features rock bridges and koi ponds.
Natural Bridge Caverns
For those of you that enjoy the wonders of the underground more than the flowers above, you’re in luck. Just a 30-40 minute drive outside of San Antonio, you’ll find the largest caverns in Texas. The Natural Bridge Caverns is a great place to help you escape the Texas heat, because the inside of the caverns remain cool all year round.
There are a variety of tours to choose from including a lantern tour which takes you through the caverns using only the light of your lantern. This tour is only offered at 9 am, because for all remaining tours of the day, lights are on inside. And if cave-diving is not enough for you, you can also go gem and fossil mining.
Didn’t think there was so much to do in San Antonio, did you?