Planning a Birthday Day Trip to San Antonio
August 16, 2011 12:05 PM   Subscribe

Help me plan a low-budget day trip to San Antonio this Friday.

For his birthday, I'd like to get the SO out of Austin. He's really interested in seeing the Alamo, so I want to plan a day in San Antonio. It's been many years since I've been to S.A., so I figured I'd get some MeFi input. The only thing that's really set in stone is seeing the Alamo, so any other suggestions are welcome.

Please keep in mind, we're on a very low budget.

I'm already considering seeing the Alamo movie at the IMAX. Also thinking about wandering the Riverwalk, though I'm not exactly married to the idea as Texas has been facing Heat Of Death this summer.

We are not opposed to a bit of driving, especially if it's scenic or leads to other historical spots. We are definitely NOT going to be doing any of the amusement/theme parks (Fiesta Texas, Six Flags, etc).

Suggestions of not-too-expensive places to eat are definitely welcome. BBQ and seafood are the first things to come to mind, but I'd like other ideas. He does NOT like Tex-Mex/Mexican.

We'll be leaving Austin some time after breakfast on Friday to spend the day in San Antonio. Please give us your favorite things to do/see/eat between here and there and/or once we arrive in San Antonio.

Thank you all for helping me make my SO's birthday memorable!
posted by MuChao to Travel & Transportation around San Antonio, TX (14 answers total)
I probably ought to add that we have no restrictions on how late we get back to Austin, but we will not be staying over night in San Antonio.
posted by MuChao at 12:09 PM on August 16, 2011

On the way down, play this song right before you turn in here.
posted by Seamus at 12:19 PM on August 16, 2011

Do the river walk, of course. Eat at Schilo's German Deli.
posted by No Robots at 12:48 PM on August 16, 2011

The river walk should be cool: it's shaded, and the water and trees bring down the heat.
posted by No Robots at 12:51 PM on August 16, 2011

Link for Schilo's.
posted by No Robots at 12:55 PM on August 16, 2011

If you do the Alamo earlier in the morning, the Riverwalk won't be too hot (it is generally cooler than surface streets) and you can stop somewhere downtown for lunch (cheaper than dinner and drinks). The river boat tour costs about $9 each but IMO is actually kind of cool (even to this San Antonio resident).

I think the missions are free if you don't do a guided tour (but I haven't visited so I may be wrong about that). The SAMA and the McNay always have some nice exhibits for $8 admission. The McNay is on some beautiful grounds - a converted spanish mansion. (Also, they are air conditioned!)

There's a lot of good restaurant options in San Antonio, but it would depend on a firmer itinerary. My favorite barbeque is Rudy's on the north or west side of town (but that's kind of a chain so maybe you want something more local). Out by the McNay there's a great Thai restaurant, Tong's. IME we don't get very good seafood in San Antonio, and all the restaurants that I can think of (such as Ostra on the riverwalk) are very pricey.
posted by muddgirl at 12:57 PM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]

I love going down to the Mercado: If you like Mexican folk art, it's awesome. There are lots of mexican restaurants around there too. My favorite is Mi Tierra. The bar is beautiful!
posted by ATX Peanut at 1:27 PM on August 16, 2011

Oh! The best salsa I've ever had I ate at Rosario's, which is south of downtown.

I think it would be an excellent place for a birthday dinner, and it's not terribly pricey, either.

Generally speaking, you want to avoid eating anywhere along the Riverwalk. The restaurants there tend to be overpriced and not very good as far as food goes (compared to how much it costs to eat there).

Fair warning, Rosario's website has that annoying music that starts without warning.
posted by Fister Roboto at 2:08 PM on August 16, 2011

He does NOT like Tex-Mex/Mexican.
Unimaginable, I know :)
posted by muddgirl at 2:10 PM on August 16, 2011

Oh, I missed that part. Sorry!

And yes, that is pretty unimaginable. My mind must have glazed over it as fiction.
posted by Fister Roboto at 2:23 PM on August 16, 2011

Okay! No tex-mex. I got it!

There's a great coffeehouse north of downtown called Candlelight Coffeehouse. The outside seating area is amazing, and I think it would be more than a little romantic. Also, for a coffeehouse, they have a pretty decent menu.

I know it's been super-hot down there, so maybe you would wait until after dark to sit outside, but I think Candlelight would be a pretty solid choice, and the inside seemed pretty nice as well.
posted by Fister Roboto at 2:33 PM on August 16, 2011

Thanks for the reassurance about the River Walk. I've always enjoyed exploring down there. It looks like we'll definitely be seeing the missions and the IMAX.

And yeah, I know, no tex-mex in San Antonio, what? I dunno, I blame it on the fact that he's from Tennessee... hehe :)

Keep the ideas coming, as what's not used this weekend will likely be put on the list of weekend solutions to stir-craziness.
posted by MuChao at 4:18 PM on August 16, 2011

Oh, and Fister Roboto, how are the prices at Candlelight Coffeehouse? I like the menu, but want to make sure to stay in budget.
posted by MuChao at 4:19 PM on August 16, 2011

I recall Candlelight's prices being reasonable. Not notably cheap, but not particularly overpriced.

I'll second whoever recommended the McNay -- it's a great museum and the grounds are lovely.
posted by devinemissk at 6:07 PM on August 16, 2011

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