An Unheralded Great Place: San Antonio

San Antonio

As we sit here at the cusp of winter, and escape creeps into our collective minds, I have three words for you: San Antonio, Texas. You heard me. This big small town is a Texas gem.  It’s got its own thing going on — more down-home than Dallas or Houston; and more old-school than weird-in-a-good- way Austin. When you get there, the Pearl Brewing Complex is the place to start. It’s just north of downtown, along the somewhat newly extended section of the famous River Walk.  The recently opened boutique Hotel Emma would be an amazing homebase. It’s located in the original old brewhouse and has been designed by the firm of Roman and Williams. It’s a perfect blend of industrial, South Texas and Mexican style. You can sleep, eat and shop to your heart’s desire without ever leaving the complex. But it would be a shame to miss all the other good stuff San Antonio has to offer.

Want to go downtown for a scenic walk? Meander along the beautifully landscaped River Walk path, past the locks that that allow the tour boats to access the calmer northern part of the river. The River Walk actually spans a 30 mile loop that goes through downtown, south through the missions (Conception, San Jose, San Juan and Espada) then north though museum reach and all the way past the Pearl Brewery.

Want to go to museums? You can head north on the path to the Witte Museum, an old San Antonio classic that has re-invented itself as a museum of regional history, art, Texas natural history and science. The HEB Science Treehouse (located inside the Witte) is a kid magnet. Head south along the river and you can also hit up the San Antonio Museum of Art (located in the old Lone Star brewery…see a theme here?) which showcases art of the Americas. Or try the McNay in the Alamo Heights neighborhood if your taste runs to modern European and American art.

Want to be outside? Beside exploring the beauty of the River Walk, how about the spectacular San Antonio Zoo or the Japanese Tea Garden? Both are in Brackenridge Park and not just for kids. The San Antonio Botanical Garden is an inspiring walk through South Texas flora. The King William Historic District was settled by German immigrant families in the mid 1800’s. You can walk the historic neighborhood to oogle the impresive homes. You can even tour a few. It’s now also home to the Blue Star Arts Complex.

But, really, what you want to do in San Antonio is EAT.   The Pearl complex features Il Sogno Osteria and La Gloria, among the 14 superb places to dine. There is even a Culinary Institute of America outpost. And a farmers market. You can venture downtown to El Mirador. Close by is the elegant Guenther House, the home of the Pioneer Flour Mill’s founding family and the home of delicious breakfast and brunch. The biscuits will bring tears to your eye. You can discover old San Antonio at La Fonda on Main where generations of San Antonio families get their enchilada fix. Or grab fantastic, fast take-out at Taco Cabana’s all over the city. BBQ, you say? How about Barbecue Station, Rudy’s, Bill Miller or the Bun n’ Barrel?

There is so much to see and do, these are just a few highlights to get you started. If you want a getaway that will inspire you, relax you, give you plenty to see and explore, you now know where to go.

– Cathy Cattabiani

Photo Credit: Image of San Antonio cityscape courtesy of Pixabay.

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