Remember the Alamo! Or, don't: recommendations for 3 days in San Antonio
March 26, 2017 10:20 AM   Subscribe

Other than getting tickets for a game if the Spurs are in town, what should I not miss? Bonus points for quirky or outstanding offbeat places to eat, see, or things to do. Is the Alamo worth it? The zoo? I can get a car, or not. Hotel is maybe 15 min walk from downtown/riverwalk area. Late May timeframe. Coming from the Pacific Northwest, is it going to be hot and humid?

I'll have Sat, Sun, and most of Monday free since I'm heading down early. Where could I go to hear some music Saturday night (especially jazz, if possible)? Vegetarian options at restaurants welcome, but doesn't need to be a strictly veg place - both dives and fine dining are welcome, and especially different cuisines. Historically, Texas has not been my favorite state for work travel. Help me change my mind on this, if you can.
posted by OneSmartMonkey to Travel & Transportation around San Antonio, TX (15 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
It's been somewhere between 70 and 90 degrees recently, so yes it will be hot.
posted by tofu_crouton at 10:25 AM on March 26, 2017

It's been somewhere between 70 and 90 degrees recently, so yes it will be hot.

Disclaimer: the owner is one of my BFFs.

Chamoy City Limits is a food truck serving up insane raspas, which are like Tex-Mex snow cones full of fruit and spices.

(She's been featured all over the place and her other truck, The Chili Queens, was one of Food & Wine's Best Chilis so it's not just me just saying it.)
posted by Room 641-A at 11:10 AM on March 26, 2017 [2 favorites]

Honestly, I hated the River Walk. Most of it was super crowded and full of tourist restaurants (the only part that wasn't was really far down towards the dam and the art museum; that part was nice).

If you like art, there's a cute local art market at Brick at Blue Star Arts Complex on Sundays. We had dinner at Rosario's on the way there, and it was pretty good.
posted by marfa, texas at 11:18 AM on March 26, 2017 [1 favorite]

Late May? Hie thee up to New Braunfels and go to Schlitterbahn! If you can go on a weekday it won't be quite as crowded.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 1:22 PM on March 26, 2017 [1 favorite]

Brackenridge Park is beautiful. Don't miss the Japanese Tea Garden a beautiful place with a sad story behind it that seems appropriate to remember these days.

Maybe a bit beyond your range, but the oldest dance hall in Texas is just up the road in Gruene Texas (pronounced "Green". I've always enjoyed a float down the river in a tube in Gruene.

New Braunfels is right next to Gruene, it was a German immigrant community that was pretty much left alone during WWII. AS late as 1970, the only foreign language taught in the public schools was German.

Get out and see the wildflowers in the Hill Country north and west of SA if you can.
posted by rudd135 at 2:50 PM on March 26, 2017 [2 favorites]

Not to detract from its historical significance, but just FYI, The Alamo is really small.
posted by Room 641-A at 4:19 PM on March 26, 2017

River Walk has a River Walk Tax, which is where you pay way more for food than elsewhere around town.

Don't miss The Pearl on Saturday morning, especially waiting 15 minutes for some macaroons at Bakery Lorraine. The crepe stand is also excellent.

I'd second the reccommendation above to get a raspa. They are an integral part of the street food scene here.

If you are looking for some authentic, heavy mex-tex or just breakfast tacos, try Taqueria Chapala on McCullough, then just up the street to Lily's Cookies for a Snickers brownie.

Have a cocktail in the bar at the Hotel Emma. It's like... Hannibal meets hunting culture? Dress up just a smidge.

If you are very actionful, rent a bicycle and ride the Mission Trails south of downtown. Cool buildings and great history.

Take in some live music some night at The Cove just off San Pedro.

PM me if you need more.

Gruene Hall would be a fantastic place to spend Saturday night. Look up how to two step, and practice. It's easyhard at least for me.
posted by radicalawyer at 4:25 PM on March 26, 2017

Never been, but fyi there was literally *just* a "36 Hours in San Antonio" piece in the NYT in case you missed it.
posted by acidic at 4:39 PM on March 26, 2017

It's been a minute ince I've been to San Antonio but...

Blue Star Brewing Company has a nice beer garden and is in a complex with some cute little galleries. (Appropriately-named marfa, texas mentions this above.)

The Esquire has great cocktails but/and is on the River Walk.

Ocho has an amazing brunch and is a gorgeous building.

Go to a lucha libre bout!!!

Skip the Alamo (though really, you should go) and visit one of the other missions. Mission Concepción is supposed to be the best-preserved. You can also rent a BCycle and ride the entire mission trail, which is 8 miles.
posted by Brittanie at 6:29 PM on March 26, 2017

I really enjoyed the River Cruise. Our guide was really entertaining! I don't think we spent much time on the actual River Walk.
posted by radioamy at 6:52 PM on March 26, 2017

Veggie restaurants The Clean Plate and Green. The restaurant scene here is fabulous, so don't you dare eat at a chain! La Gloria at The Pearl has riverside patio dining. Check out La Villita and the market for offbeat shopping. The zoo kind of sucks, but it's tucked inside Brackenridge Park which is beautiful. Also very close is The Witte museum, which just reopened after extensive renovations. The McNay is my favorite art museum so far, but may be a little far flung if you're sans car.
posted by wwartorff at 7:37 PM on March 26, 2017

"The River Walk" is just an empty canal that has water pumped into it all the time. Totally lame IMO. Lots of corporate restaurants, touristy jive, garbage souvenirs.

Because I live in Texas, I found The Alamo interesting, lots of history. (Um, from the gringo perspective of course.) My sister and her husband, out of state, they enjoyed it. Coin toss.

If you like art museums, San Antone has two world class collections. The McNey and The San Antonio Museum of Art. I've been in museums in lots of places, The San Antonio Museum of Art is the only one housed in what once was a beer distillery, makes me so happy. A real nice collection, lots of antiquities, a surprising amount of Asian antiquities, really cool.
posted by dancestoblue at 8:25 PM on March 26, 2017

See a show at the Overtime Theater. It looks like they've moved since I lived in Texas, but it was a great spot to see/support independent theater. Buy your tickets in advance.
posted by King Bee at 4:36 AM on March 27, 2017

My answer to a question posed previously was more oriented toward a family traveling with kids, but a lot of it still applies.

For jazz on Saturday night, go see Doc Watkins and his Orchestra at Jazz, TX. Don't forget to make reservations.
posted by maddieD at 8:16 AM on March 27, 2017

The Alamo is small and essentially of historical interest to Texans. The area around the Alamo is quite tacky. The Riverwalk is beautiful and quite extensive. Avoid the very central portion if you want less crowding, but do go to the central loop for deep shade and lovely trees. The longer portions are much less used and are fine for a stroll.

Considering art? The San Antonio Museum of Art has lots, and a great variety of eras and civilizations. The McNay Art Museum has a fine collection of styles. The Witte Museum is great, too.

A strong recommendation for the San Antonio Botanical Gardens, although later in the afternoon due to the heat and sunshine. There are great indoor and outdoor exhibits of really interesting plants.

Some of the attractions will be closed on Mondays.
posted by Midnight Skulker at 1:31 PM on March 27, 2017

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