When I received an invitation to my cousin’s wedding in San Antonio, I immediately marked “yes” on the RSVP and dropped it in the mail. I’d wanted to visit the colorful, vibrant town of San Antonio for a long time, yet it was one of those cities that always seemed to elude me. Finally, though, I was going to be able to wander through the Alamo and stroll down the famous River Walk. While I normally try to avoid filling my travel itineraries with tourist attractions, I knew that the Alamo was something I just couldn’t miss. I told myself that after seeing the Alamo, I would head off the beaten path and experience San Antonio like a true local. Suffice it to say, I was pretty excited about my trip to San Antonio.
However, once I arrived in San Antonio, I was so busy with wedding activities that I had no time to actually explore the city. The weekend was a blur, and suddenly it was time for me to pack up my suitcase and leave for the airport, but I just knew I couldn’t leave San Antonio without seeing more of the city. So I changed my flight and used HotelTonight to find a great last-minute hotel in San Antonio so that I could spend one more day in this charming Texas town.
First things first, I knew I had to cross the Alamo off my list, so I headed downtown. This neighborhood is certainly the most touristy area in the city, so I was surprised to encounter so many locals at the River Walk. After taking a tour of the Alamo, which definitely did not disappoint, I headed over to the River Walk, a colorful, charming riverside shopping and dining area that you shouldn’t miss when you’re in San Antonio. While some tourists take boat rides along the river, I found that plenty of locals take advantage of the picturesque River Walk by running and walking along the river. And, of course, after a nice, leisurely stroll along the river, I stopped into a busy restaurant to indulge in some delicious Mexican food.
Alamo Heights is considered one of San Antonio’s ritzier neighborhoods, and as soon as I drove in I noticed its elegant, yet lively, atmosphere. There are plenty of high-end boutiques in Alamo Heights, so it’s the perfect place to find great gifts for your friends and family back home. This neighborhood is also close to Brackenridge Park, possibly one of the most beautiful parks I’ve ever seen. This expansive park boasts idyllic gazebos, a pretty little river, and great trails for biking and walking. I know that if I lived in San Antonio, Brackenridge Park would be one of my favorite spots in the city.
Even though Monte Vista is mostly a residential neighborhood, I wanted to swing by this historic area to see some of its gorgeous old homes. If you want to see some charming estates and beautifully restored historic houses during your stay in San Antonio, you should take a quick drive through Monte Vista. Since it’s close to Brackenridge Park, it’s worth a quick detour after your lovely walk through the park.
Every great city needs an arts district, and San Antonio’s Southtown is one of the hippest, coolest arts districts I’ve explored. Southtown is a small neighborhood, but it’s full of color and energy. I was blown away by the juxtaposition of the old, gorgeous buildings and the quirky, trendy street installations and local art galleries. I wandered through the streets of Southtown on my own self-guided tour, and I ended my Southtown art walk at the farmers market, where I picked up some artisanal bread and cheese for an afternoon snack.
After a full day of exploring the different neighborhoods of San Antonio, I decided to end my day at one of the hippest neighborhoods in the city, Pearl. This young, trendy area has a rich history, but it also has a fun, modern flare that locals love. I spent some time walking through the charming streets of Pearl and ended up at the huge Pearl Brewery, which was founded in 1881 and is a source of great pride for the locals. After a cold, delicious beer, I decided it was time to head back to my hotel and get some rest before my early flight the next morning.
When I returned to my hotel, I fell into bed almost immediately. I crammed a lot into one day, but I really felt like I saw a great chunk of the city during those twelve hours. While it’s certainly not possible to see all that San Antonio has to offer in just one day, it is possible to get a good taste of this historic town in a day or two – just make sure to grab a great last-minute hotel with HotelTonight so that you can focus on exploring as much of the city as possible during your limited stay.