A Whirlwind Tour of San Antonio’s Attractions and Food Scene

Hi again. You might have wondered what happened to me and my adventure stories. All my cool adventures happened when I was living in England. Now I’m back in the states and it’s winter. Winter in Western New York means subzero temperatures and snow up to your knees. I am not one of those people who enjoy winter. I enjoy mild temperatures and being able to feel my fingers.

However, great news: a new adventure story!

I just spent a week in San Antonio for work. I actually got paid to go someplace, stay in a hotel, and eat at great restaurants. The only way the trip could have been better is if Harvey had tagged along. Alas, I think it’s frowned upon to bring your dog on work trips so he stayed home.

Going to someplace new for work is worlds apart from going someplace on a whim or with friends. When on holiday you own time. Want to go to the beach? Go. Thinking of going on an architectural tour? Book the tickets.

However, travelling for work means you merely rent time. You have to pack in all the fun you want to have around the reason you’ve been sent there and all the networking events you need to attend. Want to go to the gym? Wait until there is a free moment — most-likely after 10:30. Fancy seeing some historical site? Check the opening hours against the events to which you’re already committed.

As a complete travel junkie I was nervous I might go to San Antonio and spend all my time inside a convention centre while adventure rolled by me like those tumbleweeds that old western movies promise you’ll see out west. [Ok, complete honesty, I’ve never seen an old western but I really wanted to work in a tumbleweed into my simile].

Fortunately, I was able to enjoy my week in Texas; and I didn’t feel as though I missed out on anything. Except seeing a tumbleweed.

The one must-see sight on my list: the Alamo. All I remembered about the Alamo from high school American history was to “remember the Alamo”. But I couldn’t remember why I needed to remember. In 10 years, I think all my co-workers will remember about me on that trip is my mission to see the Alamo. Although it was the last thing we saw, I’ll start there.

The Alamo

The Alamo

Alamo in San Antonio

It was tricky to work the Alamo into our schedule because its hours of operations neatly aligned with the hours we needed to be at our booth. Luckily,  we had some time before our flights on Friday. Unfortunately, it was the one grey and rainy day all week.

If you don’t remember the history or importance of the Alamo, let me give you a quick tutorial. Spanish settlers built it around 1718 and called Mission San Antonio de Valero. It housed missionaries and their Native American converts until it was abandoned. Later, in the 1800s, Spanish military troops were stationed in the abandoned chapel. The troops began referring to the structure as El Alamo because it stood among cottonwood trees. The Battle of the Alamo in 1835 was an important event in the Texas war for independence from Mexico.

If you’re looking to know more about the history and significance, here’s a link to a good resource.


San Fernando Cathedral

San Fernando Cathedral

San Fernando Cathedral at Night

In the beginning of the week, J, my co-worker, mentioned a light show at the cathedral. I like cathedrals and lights so I asked to tag along. Since Tuesday was devoted to an after-hours networking party, we planned to attend Wednesday.

The light show only runs on Tuesday, Friday, and Saturday nights. We were both thoroughly bummed.

On the plus side we took some lovely night shots of the cathedral. Then, in the morning, we returned to view the inside where they have a tomb for the Alamo heroes.


Bexar County Office

Lady Justice Statue

Lady Justice in front of Bexar County Office

If you are like me and enjoy fountains, statues, cool architecture, and lights then you’ll want to check out the Bexar County Office. It’s across the street from the cathedral and worth a look.


The Riverwalk

View of the Riverwalk in San Antonio

Shops along the Riverwalk

We stayed at the Omni Hotel located right on the Riverwalk. Its prime location made exploring a breeze. If you stay here there is a parking garage across the street that does a flat rate of $10, compared to the hotel’s garage which will cost you $40.

I mentioned that the Riverwalk reminded me of Vegas, which made J laugh. He aptly likened it to a resort. In the end I was able to explain that it reminded me of the Venetian [so I didn’t sound entirely loony]. Knowing now that Ernie Pyle describe it once as “The American Venice”, I feel better [I’ve never been to Venice, only the Venetian in Vegas].

While trying to find some facts to include in my blog, I came across this gem. My favourite fact: it cost $430,000 to build and was part of FDR’s efforts to end the Great Depression.

There are loads of bars and restaurants situated right on the river. We went to Mad Dog British pub [a place that showcases every single stereotypical British thing it could find] for karaoke and Howl at the Moon for live music.

I guess it’s time to talk about food.


County Line BBQ

Eating dinner at County Line

Enjoying BBQ at County Line

My first dinner in San Antonio was at County Line — a mere 5 minute walk from our hotel. We had the nicest waiter and most delicious food.

The outdoor riverside seating area with heat lamps looked really appealing. However, since we were starving we opted to dine inside and enjoyed the funky Texas roadhouse atmosphere.

We enjoyed our meal so much we returned on Friday for lunch before heading to the airport.


La Margarita & Mi Tierra Cafe

Exterior of La Margarita in San Antonio

Right in the heart of the Historic Market Square

We were told the same family owns both restaurants; therefore, I am lumping them together. Both had a vibrant atmosphere with live mariachi music and tasty food.

If you’re looking for a place with great food and a traditional feel then check them out.


Rosario’s

Lunch at Rosario's in San Antonio

Enchiladas Mexicanas at Rosario’s

Our first day in San Antonio we went to Rosario’s for lunch. I have to say this place was hands-down the best Mexican I had that week. The other places are really good and I highly recommend them, but this place wins for me.

The atmosphere is more modern than traditional with large windows and large paintings hung on bright-coloured walls.

The flavours in the Enchiladas Mexicanas is making me salivate right now as I write this and remember how delicious this dish was.


La Panaderia

Breakfast at La Panaderia

Avocado toast with a twist

My first three mornings I ate Cheerios, which I had bought from CVS, for breakfast. On Thursday J wanted to check out this little bakery — of course I couldn’t refuse.

If I live in San Antonio La Panaderia would be one of my favourites. My only gripe with this place is they don’t have tea [seriously, how does any restaurant or cafe not have tea?].


There you have it. A quick rundown of the places I saw and food I ate while in San Antonio. We also went to Saltgrass Steakhouse for dinner one night. While the meal was phenomenal, I didn’t photograph it.

On a fun note: all the photos were taken with my new iPhone 8 Plus [even though I brought my fancy Sony, it stayed in the hotel room].

Hope you enjoyed my list of travel tips for San Antonio. I’m sure there are a lot of things I missed, but I was happy to cram in as much as I did.

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Thanks for reading!
Until the next adventure,

Jenn

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