San Antonio, TX
San Antonio, Texas, features an eclectic blend of historical attractions, sports fanaticism, a love for food and influence from Mexican culture. While downtown San Antonio has always been a popular spot, hip neighborhoods such as Southtown and Tobin Hill have recently enjoyed a revival and offer trendy restaurants, breweries, art galleries and more. Whether you're looking for a fun-filled family getaway or a romantic escape with your loved one, San Antonio has a little something for everyone.
Must see in San Antonio
The Alamo is San Antonio's best-known attraction and shouldn't be missed due to its important role in Texas history. Visitors should also trek along the River Walk, a five-mile stretch of walkways following a river flanked by fun shops, restaurants and bars serving Texas-sized margaritas. Thrill seekers should be sure to head to the north side of town for adventures at Six Flags Fiesta Texas.
Where to stay in San Antonio
Staying downtown is ideal for adult groups or couples who want to be within walking distance of the River Walk's nightlife, including lively bars and restaurants, such as the popular Boudro's. Travelers with small children may want to stay on the north side of town near La Cantera Parkway, due to its proximity to Six Flags Fiesta Texas and SeaWorld. While deals can be found in both areas, those on a tight budget may want to stay a few miles north of downtown near the airport, where rates are lower.
Best and worst times to go to San Antonio
San Antonio is typically very mild and pleasant in spring (from around March through May) and late fall (November and December). If you're not a fan of the heat, avoid San Antonio from July through September, when temperatures are in the 90s (and sometimes 100s). The dead of winter can also be surprisingly cold here, so those who don't like the cold should stay away in January and February.
Where to get lost in San Antonio
The revived Pearl Brewery complex is the perfect place to spend a few hours, with a vast array of gourmet restaurants (The Granary and Southerleigh also brew beer), trendy boutiques like The Tiny Finch and Leighelena, sweet stops like Bakery Lorraine and Lick Ice Cream, the popular Local Coffee and hip bars. On the weekends, there's also a bustling farmers market.
The best deal in San Antonio
Two of the city's best attractions—the River Walk and the Alamo—are both completely free to explore and in the heart of downtown. If you feel like getting out of the city, take a drive and visit the San Antonio Missions, a historic park with four preserved Spanish colonial missions. It's free to visit and take a tour.
Transportation in San Antonio
While San Antonio does have an affordable public bus system, it's not the most efficient or reliable way to get around. Renting a car is more affordable since it's a car-centric city, but it's pricier—especially if you plan to park overnight at a downtown hotel.
Getting in from San Antonio International Airport
Luckily for visitors, the San Antonio airport is centrally located just a few miles north of downtown. To get to your hotel, it's easiest to rent a car at the airport or take a taxi. Public buses and private shuttles are also available.
Local tip for visitors to San Antonio
While tourists love the River Walk, you'll rarely find locals there for nightlife. Most hip locals head to to the Pearl Brewery or Southtown. There are also great bars and restaurants in Monte Vista.
Author's bio: Emily Starbuck Crone is a native Texan and freelance writer based in San Antonio.