Destination Snapshot: San Antonio, Texas

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San Antonio is always sizzling with excitement with lots of fun family destinations and festivals. My friend Lisa recently moved from San Antonio, so I thought I would ask her to share some of her favorite tourist spots and insider secrets. I am so thankful she agreed to share…

City or town name:

San Antonio

Is there an airport there?

Yes the airport is called San Antonio Intercontinental Airport.  Easy access.

Is this a place you have visited more than once? If so, what keeps you coming back?

Our family use to live in San Antonio for many years.  We miss the hill country, and all the fun things to do that aren’t too far away.  I have lived in various cities and personally I liked the way San Antonio felt like a large city (in regards to entertainment and shopping), however had a small town feel.

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What makes this place great for families to visit?

In San Antonio you can be entertained by the River Walk, the beauty of the Hill Country, Sea World, and most certainly the food.  It appeals to singles, couples, and families of all ages.  San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo is in Febuary.  The festivals:  Fiesta, held in April each year has so many events to choose from.  Parades, Concerts, food events (my personal favorite ).

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How long should a family plan to stay to hit the highlights?

3-5 days would be enough time to see some of the sites.  You won’t be able to cover them all, but that’s what brings people back!

What are some of the fun things to do? What were your favorites? Why? What ages would these spots appeal to?

It hard to pick a favorite, and the most of what we have done with the family, however I think All ages would appreciate it.

One of the most famous destinations is the San Antonio Riverwalk.  It is a beautiful picturesque river that is lined with HUGE Cypress trees.  The river is dotted with hotels, restaurants, bars, IMAX and shopping.  My 4th grader just finished a report on San Antonio, and one thing I learned was that years ago they almost paved over the river to build.  Thank goodness that plan was scraped!

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All year the Riverwalk is filled with locals and tourists, however my favorite time to go is end of November- early January.  The trees are adorn with Christmas lights, and they will have choir barges that serenade you.  The lights bounce of the water, and there is a feeling of festive energy!

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The Alamo is next to the river walk, and this would appeal to any history buff.  However, young and old would appreciate the sacrifice that was made from these early Texans.  The history that was preserved is neat to witness.  Also you can watch a neat film, located by the infirmary.  If you are needing  a Davy Crockett coon hat or a Jim Bowie “Knife” make sure to go into the large gift shop.  In the gift shop, there are more artifacts to view, and a neat scale of the Alamo back in the day.  I like to take pictures, and some of the best pictures are in and by the Alamo.  Look for the HUGE tree that has supports to hold up its branches, water well (wishing well to the kids) the large cactus, and the hall way of arches- makes for good pictures!

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For the animal lover, and children of all ages try the Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch. It is a drive thru safari on a ranch in the Texas hill country.  At the entrance you have a choice of buying animal food..Do it!  Great pictures..however watch out for the emu’s!  Their long necks can come in and grab the whole bag of food- quickly!

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Down the road is the Natural Bridge Caverns- this an amazing cavern far below the earths suffice.  It is a lovely site to behold, and can feed your spiritually from the awe of precision, creation, and beauty.  This is a GREAT attraction in the heat of the summer because the caverns are very cool.  Ahhhhh….

Brackenridge Park and Train-

Take the train at Brackenridge Park, it can drop you off at various locations: one being Witte Museum.  The Tree House at the Witte is fun to run around in.  The Train Station is located across the road from the San Antonio Zoo.  This is a nice zoo, that seems to get better every time I hear about it.  I believe the latest attraction at the zoo is an aquarium!

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What family-friendly places to eat would you recommend? Anything special about them?

I’ll let you in on a secret- usually this is a local spot.  This is a family friendly place called Scenic Loop Cafe.  The kids love it because of the great play area, most nights they have bands playing outside.  It’s a great place to unwind, let the kids play and reconnect with family or friends.

Another local spot is Burger Boy.  I have to admit, my family does own it- however it is GOOD!  They have been in the hamburger business for a couple of generations.  Most of their business was bought out by a large food business.  However, one remained.  At lunch time the little place is packed with downtown business people. Hint:  I would get there early or after the rush.

Award winning Burger Boy is downtown and close to Brackenridge park and the Zoo.  Lots of time we have picked up our food and have taken it to the park and by the zoo- like a pseudo picnic. ;)  Tell Grandma Hi!

How can you not go to San Antonio and not have Mexican Food?  This is a family staple for us. I can’t pick a favorite place, but I will throw out some names.  La Fogata- good food and drink, and has a nice patio area!  Jacala’s has been around for centuries…kidding, been there a long time.  Many generations of families still go there.  La Maragrita Restaurant and Oyster Bar is a fun and festive place.  It is located in Market Square surrounding by Mexican art shops and restaurants.  If you go there- get the Salsa Preferda…slurp!  So good…great, now I’m hungry!

What hotels or other places to stay can you recommend?

On the Riverwalk try Marriott, Hilton, or Westin.  There are a few cute boutique hotels as well Emily Morgan, Crockett Hotel, and the famous Menger Hotel.  I also heard good things about Arbor House, which is a B&B.  So if your lucky enough to have a romantic get-a-way- look there!

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The Westin La Cantera is great for families, golfers, and convient to Six Flags Fiesta Texas.  They have the Westin Kids Club, so at check-in your kids get a bag, hat and lots of fun things!In the summer, you’ll get a firework display at 9pm.  I love to watch it from the Westin.  The pool is fun for all age kids, or they have an adult pool ( I think I got to walk by it!)  Also picture taking is fun there.  Look for the semi circle that has multiple arches.  Yes!  I like arches.  However the Texas Hill Country is behind it;  just beautiful!  Another bonus to Westin is the kids can go to camp, or to the Club at night.  That means mom and dad have a date night!  Whoo-hoo!  Franceska’s (on site) has wonderful food, and I would try to go around sunset time.  The mile long bar is fun too- they have games to play, or you can sit on the rocking chairs outside, on the balcony.  If you come at Christmas, they have “snow”.

Hyatt Hill Country- this is located by SeaWorld.  (funny, some one was really smart when planning hotels).  This place is neat.  Very rustic country, and family friendly.  My kids LOVE the lazy river, the nightly summer movies, having s’mores by the fire, the play area, renting bikes, etc..Mom loves the Wildflower spa..ahh.  Dad loves the golf.  I don’t believe they have a camp for kids, but if you get a date night, try the Antler’s Lodge.  Nice upscale dining.

If adults can fit in a date night without the kids while there, what would you suggest?

Did someone say romance?  I will give you a tried but true place, that everyone goes to.  It’s back in the hills, and by the time you get there- you’re famished!  Kidding, it just seemed like that the first time we went there.  It’s called Grey Moss Inn.  Very cute and quaint.  My memory is stretching, however it seems to me the the squash side was suberb!  Don’t get me started on dessert…yum!

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Amy

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