Another adventure! Well, actually I’ve been to San Antonio about 20 times, but always as a child, very rarely as an adult. My grandparents retired there and I spent every summer with them pretty much from birth until I went off to college.
The last time I went was in 2007, after my grandmother passed away. We didn’t do any sightseeing then. So this was the first time I visited as a tourist.
We arrived on Tuesday and stayed at a hotel right next to River Center on the River Walk (also known as Paseo del Rio). It is a network of walkways with shopping and restaurants that winds and loops around bends and under bridges.
Dinner that night was at the Lone Star Cafe on the River Walk. Mom hasn’t had decent chicken fried steak in years. It was too windy to eat outside, but the patio was very pretty!
The next day we went on a bus tour of San Antonio. The driver spent more time pointing out hotels and restaurants then he did historic sites.
This is the site of the old Pearl Brewing Company, which is now a neighborhood with shopping and dining.
Some neat buildings I’m not sure what they are because he only pointed out the touristy stuff.
Like the Buckhorn…saloon and Texas Ranger Museum.
Or the Historic Market Square
And the Pioneer Flour Mills.
Some other buildings on the tour.
We passed over the River Walk several times.
The Torch of Friendship
The rest of the day was spent driving around seeing the old sites. We drove past my grandparents old house, and also visited their grave-sites. An old shoe store we used to love going to was no longer there, but Northstar Mall was still open!
And thank GOODNESS the Barn Door was still in business. They took down the hams that were hanging from the ceiling, and they didn’t use little plastic cows for the meat temperature anymore, but the house green goddess dressing and petite filet were exactly as I remember them…delicious!
I spent the next morning at the Tower of Americas. Not for those who are afraid of heights!
The observation tower is in HemisFair Park and was built as the theme structure for the 1968 World’s Fair, HemisFair ’68. For a $12 fee, you can ride up to the top and visit the observation deck. There is also a restaurant that does a complete rotation once an hour. I’m pretty sure we ate up there one time. All I remember is my foot kept bumping up against the wall every once in a while.
Part of the “elevator fee” also included a 4-D movie, so I decided to wait outside for it to start. The park has several fountains and a very nice courtyard.
After the tower, I decided to fulfill my one wish for this vacation. A margarita and authentic fried ice cream. Guadalajara Grill in La Villita Village across the street fulfilled that wish. You think I’m kidding…that’s all I ate! Well, and some chips and salsa.
I walked back to the hotel via the River Walk.
Mom and I then went to La Cantera mall, an upscale outdoor mall. Short Pump or Stony Point, if you’re reading this, you could take a few notes on how to REALLY do an outdoor mall. We ate at Yard House, which again, Richmond, WAKE UP! WE NEED A YARD HOUSE! The “Vampire Taco” was AMAZING! Sure, we already have a ton of beer-led restaurants and breweries, but they need a menu just as good, and this place does it all! Just checked and there are two that are both 100 miles away.
The next morning I woke up early to visit The Alamo. Was hoping to get there early enough so that I could get a tourist-free shot. No luck.
Entrance to the complex is free and the gardens are very well kept up.
Not sure if you can read the description of the painting below, in a nutshell: “Santa Ana launched a surprise attack at dawn. The initial defense by the garrison (depicted in this painting) was fierce.”
The grounds had tons of beautiful oak trees (perfect for climbing!)!
The Alamo Cenotaph, also knows as the Spirit of Sacrifice, is a monument commemorating the Battle of the Alamo. It was erected in celebration of the centenary of the battle, and bears the names of those known to have fought there on the Texas side.
Back to the River Walk!
Waterfowl on the river.
It was time to take a ride down the river on the barge.
This was described as the Sniper’s Cyprus. Legend has it that a Mexican sniper sat in this tree and shot Benjamin Milam in 1835.
After a disastrous flood in 1921, plans were developed to control the flow of the river. A floodgate and dam were eventually built and according to the guide, to date, the river has not flooded since.
I forgot what this building was, but because the way it was constructed, it gives off the illusion that it is a free-standing wall.
Just a fun conglomeration of a pretty tree, stairs, and the friendship tower.
Dinner was at Casa Rio. Three words: Tamales and Cheese Enchiladas. Oh, and the chips and salsa were wonderful. Keep a close eye on the birds though. They will NOT wait for you to leave the table before they try to steal your food.
I sat at the River Center for a bit and people watched. I saw a drone and a private dinner on the river barge.
One more try for a tourist-free Alamo shot…and I got it!!!!!!!!
The last day consisted of driving around the King William district. In the late 1800s, it was the most elegant residential area in the city. German merchants originally settled the district and brought with them a unique architectural style.
The flight home was wonderful, mainly because Mom sprung for extra leg room. TOTALLY WORTH IT!
I’m not sure I’ve ever been airborne during a sunset.
Love you SA!