Hey Y’all! Are you ready to go on a virtual trip to San Antonio? During this quarantine I know we are all really wishing we could be somewhere other than our living room for the 49796 day. I am hoping this article will add San Antonio to your list of wanderlust dreams!
First a history lesson of why Americans are so obsessed with Cinco De Mayo. According to History.com, Cinco de Mayo, or the fifth of May, is a holiday that celebrates the date of the Mexican army’s May 5, 1862 victory over France at the Battle of Puebla during the Franco-Mexican War. The day, which falls on Tuesday, May 5 in 2020, is also known as Battle of Puebla Day. While it is a relatively minor holiday in Mexico, in the United States, Cinco de Mayo has evolved into a commemoration of Mexican culture and heritage, particularly in areas with large Mexican-American populations.
So basically, us Americans love to find a reason to eat tacos and drink Margaritas? Sounds about right. One of my favorites places on earth to do this activity (which can turn into a sport real fast depending on how much you want to indulge) and learn about a new culture is San Antonio, Texas. With a very rich Mexican American history, this is the perfect backdrop for a margarita filled history lesson for Cinco De Mayo!
I have been to San Antonio more times than I can count. From family road trips when I was younger, gymnastics competitions, pageants, and weekend getaways with Tyler, this city has an option for everyone no matter their age. In this post I will be talking about the best things to do, where to eat, and where to stay in San Antonio, Texas!
Let’s start with where to stay. Obviously you don’t want to be staying under a bridge and most of us decide where to stay before anything else. Like I said, I have been many times in the past and each time, I have stayed somewhere different. Below I will give you a list of my favorite options for hotels. I am a big fan of the best bang for your buck here because honestly, you don’t spend much time in your room. There is too much to do! My favorite hotel was a bit pricey (depending on your budget) however the history and spooks makes it worth it! See below for my favorite option and a few others if spending the night with a paranormal roommate isn’t your thing.
Holiday Inn San- Antonio River Walk
217 N St Mary’s St
San Antonio, TX 78205
Price Range $120-$200 (Weekend Average)
4.3 stars on google reviews
5 Min walk to the River Walk
7 Min walk to the Alamo
17 min walk to the tower of the Americas
Great basic option for those who want a clean nice room to stay in with not a lot of extra flare.
Omni La Mansion Del Rio (Kaitlyn’s choice)
112 College St.
San Antonio, TX 78205
4 star hotel
$150-$300 (Weekend Average)
Located right on the River Walk
5 Minute walk to the Alamo
17 Minute walk to the Tower of the Americas
With beamed ceilings and exposed brick walls, you can feel the history in every room. This property started as a school house that rang its bell for the first time on March 1st, 1853. As the need for education grew, St. Mary’s became a junior college and finally grew into senior college. In April of 1968, La Mansion Del Rio opened its doors as a luxury hotel.
(All information from above is from the Omni website about this property)
This hotel is also rumored to be haunted if that is your cup of tequila. I can attest to some spooks but we will save that for a different time.
Hotel Indigo San Antonio- Riverwalk
830 North Saint Mary’s
San Antonio, TX 78205
3 star hotel
$200-$300 (weekend Average)
One mile from the San Antonio Museum of Art
One Mile from the Alamo
A terrace with a fountain
Another great option for a more relaxed feel. It is a bit farther from a few things, but you can hop on the water taxi and cruise the riverwalk. It is also pet friendly which is nice for dog moms like me.
Next, lets move on to what to do while in San Antonio.
My favorite thing about all of San Antonio is the riverwalk! You can walk up and down for hours; People watching, shopping, and eating to your hearts desire. If you choose (you should choose to do this) the water taxis are a great way to spend your day! You can hop on and off at any stop along the riverwalk. This allows you to see so much of San Antonio without exhausting yourself. The water Taxis go further along the river than the barge trips. If you choose to take the taxis, it can take you further north through a lock and also passes a few museums you can visit should you choose to do so. The passes are good for 24 hours but be sure to check the website for hours of operations. I have added the link below to buy tickets!
The Alamo is more of a history lesson but is great for all ages. The battle of the Alamo took place from February 23- March 6th 1836. This was a pivotal event in the Texas revolution but this wasn’t the only thing the Alamo was used for. I have been multiple times and every time I am in awe of the history. This is not an all day activity and it very close to the river walk so my suggestion would be to do this activity first then head to the riverwalk to purchase those taxi passes. You can purchase your tickets for the Alamo at the link below.
Up Next is La Villita Historic Arts District. Fun fact, the entrance from the river walk to this area was featured in Miss Congeniality. If you visit on April 25th you get extra credit. If you know what I am talking about then we need to be friends! ANYWAY… back to the historic arts district. This village was settled nearly 300 years ago and was one of San Antonio’s first neighborhoods. In 1939 the historic arts village was established and the neighborhood was adapted into a center for teaching arts and crafts to serve an artists market. This area is so fun to walk around and see all of the authentic Mexican culture through art. From pottery to paintings, it is all amazing to gaze upon and appreciate. I have also attached the link for the website below so you can see for yourself how amazing it is!
The San Antonio Missions National Historic Park is part of a UNESCO world heritage site that preserves four of the five Spanish frontier missions in San Antonio. This activity is farther from downtown and does require some driving but it is well worth it my friends! Beautiful backdrops for pictures, so much history, and a little time away from the big downtown area, what is not to love? I have again pasted the link to the website below.
Final must do in San Antonio (In my opinion) is a Ghost Tour! With such an old and rich history, San Antonio is full of paranormal activity. There are so many ghost tours to pick from but I would highly recommend doing one that stays on the riverwalk and downtown for the most part. The battles that took place in San Antonio spread over a vast amount of land so some tours will take you through neighborhoods farther away from the riverwalk. They are still great tours and ours was so fun but I personally would do one that stays downtown next time. The best place to find these tours would be on http://www.tripadvisor.com
FINALLY… WHERE TO EAT? Or maybe you are asking where to drink. The good news is, the riverwalk is FULL of good restaurants and bars. From Coyote Ugly to Dicks Last Resort, there are plenty of chain restaurants and bars if that is more your scene. Maybe you have kids with you? Don’t worry, my favorite growing up was the rainforest cafe and yes they have one on the riverwalk. I am not much of a foodie but below is my MUST go to for food and a good margarita!
Casa Rio is also known as the restaurant with the bright umbrellas. You can see this restaurant from a ways away just by the fun umbrellas that line the walkway. A casual dining experience sure to fit in any budget. The location could not be any better for people watching. As the barges pass by on one side, a stream of people on the other, you are sure to be entertained at some point during your meal. I was eating dinner here one time and saw someone (a highly intoxicated someone) fall in the riverwalk, so again…I’m sure you will be entertained somehow. If you eat outside (Which I would recommend) you will probably be greeted by a few ducks that think your food smells as good as you do. With an all around good atmosphere paired with good food and margarita, this is my go to every time I am on the riverwalk!
WOW! What a list of places to stay, things to do, and places to eat. I could have even added more but by now you should be pretty busy for a few days. Thanks for reading about my favorites in this wonderful city. Let me know what your favorites are if you have been, and in honor of Cinco De Mayo, drink a margarita and get to planning your next cultural trek to San Antonio!