Although, I don’t get the summer “off” like some of my teaching friends, I still have made it a point to try to make it memorable for Mal. So we decided to sneak off to San Antonio for the weekend for a little mother/son (and grandma) getaway. Like I did in my travel tips for Cali post, I’m going to share the top things to do in San Antonio and some things to avoid!
First off, I don’t like driving and I’m not trying to be in the car for 10+ hours to go somewhere, I rather just fly. San Antonio is less than 4 hours from Dallas and I just got a new car so I figured we’d made the trek by land. If you live in close proximity to San Antonio I suggest saving a few bucks and driving. The car conversations and sight seeing make the hours fly by! I seriously think my mom and I just laughed our entire trip there and back. While traveling without Mal is fun, traveling with him is so much better. I love seeing his eyes fill with wonder and excitement as he sees so many new things. It makes every trip worth it tenfold.
Disclaimer: Forgive me in advance for the low quality photos. This was a legit vacation and I forgot my camera 🙂
Food To Try in San Antonio
The best noms of San Antonio
- Cascabel Mexican Patio – San Antonio has no shortage of authentic Mexican food so to stand out, you’ve got to be the real deal. Cascabel is the real deal, trust me, I’m a torta connoisseur. The service was SO fast and very personable without being intrusive. The patio is absolutely gorgeous and has so much vibrancy it completely matches the restaurant. We all loved our food, my torta was so delish! The lemon lime aqua fresca was to die for as well! The cherry on top is that this place is affordable as well! Definitely check this place out.
- Mi Tierra – A long standing eatery, this Tex-Mex place is good but the best ever. It’s best known for being the spot to get some good food after the bar that isn’t fast food. I They have all the staples at low prices and the service is good! You may even hear a live mariachi band playing when you go!
- Bella on the River – Serving upscale Mediterranean cuisine this restaurant is a welcomed addition to the saturated Tex-Mex scene that is the River walk. The ambiance is very cozy, upscale, yet still casual enough where you can laugh until you cry without being side-eyed. There is an extensive menu full of recipes boasting fresh seafood, steak, and pastas with a lengthy wine menu to accompany them. Perfect for a nice dinner with the family or a romantic date night with bae.
- Acenar – Tex Mex right on the River.Super casual with an ambiance that will have you relaxed and ready to people watch. You can find some regular staples but everything on the menu has been elevated past the regular cheese-loaded, oil soak enchiladas you’re expecting. Prices are reasonable and the service is good! Definitely one of the best Tex-Mex restaurants on the River walk.
- Schilo’s – Known for being the oldest restaurant in San Antonio, Schilo’s has been serving up German-american fusion food since 1917. The restaurant remained family owned until the 80’s but while the owners changed, the recipes are still the same as they were in 1917. You’ll find plates full of fresh ingredients and all the same love, with an updated plating style. So get your fill of schnitzel and history for an affordable af price!
- Los Balito’s – This small, local owned restaurant is serving up authentic Mexican plates for a low price! They originally started with a food cart and worked their way up to a brick and mortar location! The food is good and the prices can’t be beat. OH, and they have daily specials so you may end up with a full meal for less than $5!
Activities To Do in San Antonio
A few of our favorite things to do in San Antonio
- Doseum – An interactive museum that is completely centered around kids. Educational, interactive, and fun! Tickets aren’t bad at $14 for anyone over the age of 1. They also have specials and promos going on all the time so make sure to check online or ask before purchasing! *TIP: come early to beat the rush, eat before/after, and make a day of it! There’s so many different exhibits you can easily spend 3-5 hours there depending on your little(s).*
Mini HEB inside the Doseum
- Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch – Imagine driving through a mountain seeing all of these exotic animals, not behind cages but just out in the open? It’s so peaceful and majestic, right? Yes, right up until a ostrich tries to gouge your eyeball out. (SERIOUSLY, watch out for the ostriches. Don’t test their gangsta!) This drive-through safari is SO fun! It has a portion for you to get out and see small birds, monkeys, etc.. but the main attraction are the different trails they have for you to drive through. We saw so many different kind of animals and fed a ton of them, it was a great time. Tickets for adults are $22 and kids 3-12 are $13.50. Kids under 3 are free! This is definitely something you can make a day out of so I didn’t mind the ticket prices. *TIP: Keep your windows cracked when you’re not feeding an animal actively, we had several animals try to come home with us!*
- Take a River Taxi Ride – Board a boat and save yourself some walking with a quick tour of the River walk on a river boat. The tours are ran all day and tickets are relatively cheap at $12 for adults and $6 for children. It’s a fun way to take a different look at the city and meet some strangers along the way! We enjoyed our ride and met a lot of interesting people on it so I’d definitely say it’s worth it. *TIP: Book your tickets with Go Rio, the drivers are so fun!*
- Breckenridge Park – San Antonio is beautiful, it has no shortage of pretty things to look at and this historic park is one of them. You can find the San Antonio Zoo, Japanese Tea Garden, Witte museums, golf trails, and more all at Breckenridge Park. This definitely needs to be on your list of places to visit and is the perfect place for an insta-worthy vacation picture! *TIP: Make a day out of it, hit the trails, the zoo, then the tea garden!*
- Food Truck Parks – Eat your way through one (or several) of the food truck parks San Antonio has to offer! *TIP: Come hungry and carry cash to keep things quick*
- Alamo – This is a must when you come to San Antonio. The history behind this building is an important part of Texas and something every child should learn about. It’s free to visit and it’s right by the River walk so it’s in a super convenient spot! *TIP: Come early, it gets hot and packed!*
- River Walk – The San Antonio River walk is iconic and the heart of the tourism for the city. There is a ton of shops, restaurants, and activities all centered around the River walk. Check online to see what special events are happening and plan accordingly! *TIP: You can walk and drink ON the River walk, bring cash for faster service.*
- Visit El Mercado – El Mercado a.k.a. Market Square is a historic outdoor plaza full of Hispanic culture. There are a ton of specialty shops, fresh produce, and great vibes. The Market offers a little bit of everything, from handmade leather belts to hand woven dresses, you can find it here.A lot of Hispanic festivals are held at El Mercado so check the website to see what’s happening! *TIP: Be prepared for a crowd of lively people. Be willing to dance like no one is watching!*
This scratches the surface of things to do in San Antonio. San Antonio hosts a TON of special festivals every year. We happened to come during Fiesta and it was a great experience! To check out what festivals and special events are going on check here.
For The Grown Folks
San Antonio has no shortage of lively bars and clubs, I mean, it is a college town after all. There are several different areas of San Antonio to choose from when looking for a night out, Southtown, Tobin Hill, and Downtown to name a few. The bars below are on the River walk because that’s where most of my time was spent. On my last night, I was able to grab a few adult beverages and people watch solo after Mal and Gma went to sleep. Here are a few places I visited or saw on my venture.
Howl at The Moon
- Hotel bars (There are a ton of hotels on the River walk, almost all of them have a bar inside. Fancy or causal, take your pick!)
Things To Avoid In San Antonio
Here are a few things to keep in mind when traveling to San Antonio
- Traffic – San Antonio traffic is worse than Dallas but better than Austin. Do with that information what you will.
- Choosing Chain Restaurants – You know…when in Rome… Be open to trying new things in San Antonio! Get out of your comfort zone and try some local spots.
- Not Researching Before Visiting – Depending on what you’re looking for, you may want to skip visiting when San Antonio is hosting a festival!
- Expect Austin Vibes from San Antonio – San Antonio may be close to Austin but the vibes are nowhere near the same. Keep this in mind and you’ll have blast!
Overall, San Antonio is a great place to visit with (or without) kids. It’s overflowing with culture, history, and delicious food, the perfect combination for a memorable trip. We had a great time and we can’t wait to go back! I hope you all find this helpful on your next adventure!
PS – If you’re heading to Cali, bookmark this post. You’ll need it later!