San Antonio is the third largest city in the state of Texas and the 7th largest in the United States. It's the 24th largest metropolitan area in the country. Visited by more than 31 million annual visitors, San Antonio is a beautiful city at the axis of three different geological terrains: Hill Country, South Texas Plains and Prairie and Lakes. There's a lot to do in this city: fine art museums, historical missions and plenty of amusement parks in addition to great dining and lots of drinking. The culture and people are vibrant and interesting. San Antonio's downtown is one of the most lively in the nation.
San Antonio is considered to be the cradle of Texan liberty. Its most well-known landmark is the Alamo, the site of the famous battle where Davy Crockett and Jim Bowie were killed. Though it must be said that when most visitors see the Alamo for the first time, their common reaction is "Hm, I thought it would be bigger." No other city in Texas reflects the state's Spanish and Mexican heritage better than San Antonio. Hispanics make up a considerable fraction of the population though and it shows in most places. The Hispanic atmosphere of San Antonio makes it a truly unique U.S. city. This becomes most evident during Fiesta week, a yearly celebration that attracts 3.5 million people to its 110 plus events from all over to enjoy parades, music, festivals, fairs and food and drink in the charming downtown streets of the city. San Antonio, with a population upward of 1.5 million, and a metro population of nearly 2.4 million, still enjoys a small-town feel despite the hustle and bustle. Its people are friendly, open and bicultural, and the concentration of population around its center makes it easy to get just about anywhere within a 30-40 minute drive.
During the summer it can get hot, and sometimes humid. Temperatures in the 90's and 100's are typical from May to September, though there are some days that stay cooler. April and October have also been known to get into the 90's even 100's, and during the winter it typically is cool and rainy. Carry a light sweater, you never know when the weather may change in San Antonio.
- San Antonio Visitor Information Center, 317 Alamo Plaza, 800-447-3372. For visitors coming to San Antonio, a good starting place to see is the downtown Visitor Information Center and Official City Store located right across the street from Alamo. It is a wealth of information about San Antonio. Representatives there can assist you in getting a map of the city, help you get around, or anything else you may need in San Antonio. In the Summer of 2009, the San Antonio Convention & Visitor's Bureau launched a savings website, the San Antonio Vacation Experience, for families and groups traveling to the city.
- The Alamo, 300 Alamo Plaza (park at any of the pay lots in the area, +1 210 225-1391. Daily 9A-5:30P. Closed Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Considered to be hallowed ground and the Shrine of Texas Liberty, the Alamo is a former mission which was also the site of the Battle of the Alamo (1836). Admission is free, although donations are appreciated. Revenues from an adjacent gift shop fund the historic preservation efforts.
- Aztec on the River, 104 N St Mary's St (On the River Walk, at the corner of E. Commerce and N. St. Mary's Streets, +1 210 812-4355. The Aztec on the River was touted as the Riverwalk's most exciting entertainment attraction. This historic 1926 movie palace was meticulously restored in 2006, complete with a Mighty Wurlitzer theatre organ.
- Casa Navarro State Historical Park, 228 S. Laredo St., +1 210 226-4801. Tu-Sa 10AM-5PM Su noon-5PM (Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve, and New Year’s Day). Homesite of Jose Antonio Navarro, a 19th-century Texas legislator under Mexico, the Republic of Texas and the U.S. The park is the site of Navarro's furnished house, first residence, and store. $4, 6-18 $3, 5 and under: Free.
- King William Historic Area, Bounded by Durango, South St. Mary’s, Eagleland and the San Antonio River. A 25-block area south of downtown and east of the San Antonio River. In the late 1800s, prominent German merchants settled the King William area, making it the most elegant residential area in the city. It is Texas' first Historic District. Accessible from Alamo Plaza via the Blue VIA Streetcar. Highlights include the magnificent mansions along King William St. from Beauregard St. to Guenther St. Don't miss the Steves Homestead (1876) on King William St. or the Guenther House (1859) and Pioneer Flour Mills on Guenther St. If you happen to arrive in San Antonio early in the month, try to catch First Friday, like the name implies, it happens the first Friday of the month. On First Friday you can find all kinds of little booth selling things ranging from flowers to art to funnel cakes. There is usually live music.
- River Walk. The River Walk area, one level below the street level of San Antonio, is an excellent place to explore by day and party by night. The River Walk has guided barge tours by Rio San Antonio Cruises departing regularly. Numerous restaurants, shops, and hotels line the River Walk on both sides of the most popular and developed downtown loop, which winds its way below the streets bounded by Houston to the north, Alamo to the east, Villita to the south, and St. Mary's to the west. The east end of the River Walk is extended to the Convention Center and to the Rivercenter Mall. Further development of the River Walk is proceeding north and south of downtown. No visit to San Antonio is complete without a stroll along the River Walk. Note: Along many sections of the River Walk, there is nothing between the edge of the sidewalk and the River. Be very careful with young children, baby strollers, wheelchairs, intoxicated persons etc.
- San Antonio Missions National Historical Park. Four Spanish frontier missions, part of a colonization system that stretched across the Spanish southwest in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries, are preserved here. They include missions San Jose, San Juan, Espada, and Concepcion. These, plus four other missions around San Antonio, have been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. The national park, containing many cultural sites along with some natural areas, was established in 1978 and covers about 819 acres.
- San Antonio Zoological Gardens and Aquarium, 3903 N. St. Mary’s Street, +1 210 734-7184. Open 365 days a year. 9AM-5PM from Labor Day to Memorial Day; 9AM-6PM, Memorial Day to Labor Day. The zoo is home to over 3,500 animals representing 750 species of animals on 56 acres. Adults $14.25; seniors (62+) and children (3-11) $11.25; under 2 free, group rates available.
- San Antonio Botanical Gardens, 555 Funston Place, +1 210 536-1400. 9AM-5PM; Closed Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. Another peaceful place to walk is in the San Antonio Botanical Gardens. In the Spring they have the Spring Children's Vegetable Garden Program. Adults $10; 3-13 $7, under 3 free; Seniors, military and students $8.
Museums and galleries
- Blue Star Contemporary Art Center, 116 Blue Star, +1 210 227-6960. A part of the Blue Star Arts Complex, the art center is a non-profit, non-collecting contemporary art center that advances the growth and understanding of contemporary art, artists and the curatorial process.
- Buckhorn Saloon and Museum, 318 E. Houston Street, +1 210 247-4000. Daily 10AM, closing time varies with season. See website for deails. Located a short two blocks from the Alamo and 50 feet from the River Walk. Adults $19.99; Children $14.99..
- Institute of Texan Cultures, 801 E. Cesar E. Chavez Blvd. (HemisFair Park; main entrance is off Durango near Bowie, +1 210 458-2300. M-Sa 9AM-5PM, Sun noon-5PM. A one-story 50,000 sq. ft. museum featuring Texan history, brought to life by docent-interpreters, and the cultures of over 20 national/ethnic groups of people who have made Texas their home. Admission fee. Snack machines. Accessible from downtown via the Purple VIA Streetcar. $10; Children, seniors, military, students $8.
- Instituto de México, 600 HemisFair Park, +1 210 227-0123. M-F 10AM-6PM, Sa 11AM-6PM, Su 11AM-5PM. Website in Spanish) Contemporary Art from Mexico. Free.
- McNay Art Museum, 6000 N New Braunfels, +1 210 824-5368. Su noon-5PM, Tu-W, Fr 10AM-4PM, Th 10AM-9PM, Sa 10AM-5PM. Free admission on Thursday evenings and the first Sunday of the month, except for select exhibitions and special events. Fine arts exhibits, library. museum store. $20; Senior, military, student $15.
- The DoSeum, 2800 Broadway, +1 210 212-4453. M-Th 10AM-5PM, F-Sa 9AM-6PM, Sun noon-5PM. Groups, parties, events, hands-on learning play. $12.
- San Antonio Museum of Art, 200 W Jones (2 blocks west of Broadway, +1 210 978-8100. Tu, F 10AM-9PM, W-Th, Sa-Su 10AM-5PM. Four floors of fabulous permanent collections, from Antiquities to Asian to Contemporary Art, as well as changing exhibits. Bring your sketchpad or camera (no flash, permanent collections only). Cafe SAMA serves only snacks. On the #7 Sightseer Special bus line, or via any of the buses along Broadway (#9,10,14) with several blocks walk. If you can do only one museum visit, this is the one to explore in San Antonio. $10; senioers $7; students and military $5; 12 & under free. Free Tuesdays 4PM-9PM.
- Southwest School of Art & Craft, 1201 Navarro and 300 Augusta, +1 210 224-1848. Vary by gallery. See website for hours.. Art/museum gift shop in the Ursuline Campus as well as student work in the hallways and cafe. On bus lines, and the Ursuline Campus backs up to an older, parklike section of the River Walk. Free.
- Texas Transportation Museum, 11731 Wetmore Rd, +1 210 490-3554. F 9A-3P, Sa-Su 10A-5P. An outdoor museum which includes a private railroad, historic cars and trucks. F Adult - $6, Child - $4; Sa-Su Adult - $8, Child - $6.
- Witte Museum, 3801 Broadway, +1 210 357-1900. M 10AM-5PM, Tu 10AM-8PM, W-Sa, 10AM-5PM, Sun noon-5PM. Dinosaurs, textiles, natural history, science treehouse, and more. A museum complex with lots of different activities going on - fun with kids! Adult $10; Seniors and military $9; 4-11 $7; free Tuesdays 3PM-8PM.
- Fiesta!!!. Fiesta is a yearly event held in San Antonio in late April. Fiesta is a 10-day, city-wide, fun-filled, multi-cultural celebration. Many family-oriented events take place during this time, as well as many events geared towards adults. With over 100 different events, it's the biggest party and greatest community benefit in the state of Texas. One of the most fun events of all Fiesta, is Oysterbake on the St. Mary's University campus. It kicks Fiesta off with a bang, has plenty of food (chicken on a stick, oysters, fried oysters, corn, corn in a cup, meats on sticks, pizza, you name it. Friday of Oysterbake is usually more family-oriented with an '80s or '90s band headlining the festivities. (Previous headliners: Eddie Money, Loverboy, Night Ranger, Smashmouth) Saturday is a jam-packed day of fun, food, music and booze. More modern acts will headline the main stage, there will be a country stage, and a tejano stage. Previous acts include: Three Days Grace, Chevelle, Puddle of Mudd, Hinder, Lit, 10 Years, Buckcherry (bad year), and The Veer Union. If you're single, Oysterbake on Saturday is your time to shine. Otherwise, you'll have an awesome time with friends or family. Leave the toddlers at home on Saturday! Don't be that parent.
- San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo. The San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo is an annual agricultural fair and entertainment event in early February. It provides world class rodeo action and entertainment to people of all ages. The San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo has been nominated for the Largest Indoor Rodeo of 2009, the winner to be announced February 2010. Everyone who's anyone in country music plays during rodeo time, simple as that.
- Texas Folklife Festival. The Texas Folklife Festival is an annual four-day celebration in the second week of June, of the diverse ethnic and cultural groups that settled our state. Some 45 groups bring their stories, crafts, music, dances, and foods to share with visitors in a vibrant blend of education and entertainment.
- Bat migration, River Walk. Texas is one of the best places in the world to observe bat migrations. Every night at dusk in the summer, thousands of bats emerge from their "hangouts", including under urban bridges, and many people come to watch. Local conservation organizations host weekly events to explain the migration.
- SeaWorld, 10500 SeaWorld Drive. Vary seasonally. See website for hours.. A marine life theme park which is home to the world-famous Shamu the killer whale. There are also thrill rides, a small water park, as well as sharks, an aquarium, penguins, seals and sea lions, and an opportunity to pet and feed dolphins. $55.
- Six Flags Fiesta Texas, 17000 IH-10 West, + 210 697-5050. Hours vary seasonally. See website for hours.. Home to several thrill rides and exciting shows, Fiesta Texas is an entertaining theme park geared to people of all ages. It has a really interesting water park and the ride the Boomerang is recommended. $71.99 at the gate, $51.99 online.
- Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch, 26515 Natural Bridge Caverns Rd., +1 830 438-7400. Hours vary seasonally. See website for hours.. Home to a great Drive-thru Safari Park! $22; Seniors $20; 3-11 $13.50.
- San Antonio Spurs. San Antonio is home to the five-time NBA Champion San Antonio Spurs that currently play at the AT&T Center.
- San Antonio Rampage. The AHL affiliate of the Florida Panthers that currently play at the AT&T Center.
- San Antonio Missions, 5757 US HWY 90 West, +1 210-675-7275. The Class AA minor league affiliate of the San Diego Padres; plays in Wolff Municipal Stadium.
- San Antonio Scorpions. San Antonio's professional soccer club, Scorpions FC, is in the NASL and plays at their privately built stadium, Toyota Field.
- San Antonio Stars. San Antonio's WNBA team plays at the AT&T Center.
- San Antonio Talons. The Talons are San Antonio's Arena Football team. They play at the Alamodome in the AFL.
- UTSA Roadrunners, +1 210 458-8872. The city's main college sports attractions are the teams of the University of Texas at San Antonio, whose main campus is located off Loop 1604 just west of the northern interchange with I-10. UTSA is currently a member of Conference USA, which sponsors FBS football. Most venues are on campus, but the football team plays at the Alamodome. Notably, the football team drew more than 35,000 fans per game for its first-ever season in 2011.
- Incarnate Word Cardinals, +1 210 805-3000. The teams of the University of the Incarnate Word, whose campus is on Broadway near Breckenridge Park and the zoo, are a fairly new addition to Division I, having joined the Southland Conference in 2013. Unlike UTSA, the football team plays on campus and in the second-level FCS.
- Alamo Helicopter Tours, 8535 Mission Rd., Suite 104 (From Downtown head east on East Market St and merge onto I-37/US-281 South via ramp to I-10. Take exit 135 to merge onto SE Military Dr/TX-13-Loop W. Sharp left at Mission Road. Located at the Airport Main Terminal Building., +1 210 287-5797. M–Sa 10AM–5PM. Offers exciting and breathtaking views of San Antonio and the Texas Hill Country, including sites such as the San Antonio River, Downtown, the Botanical Gardens and Historic Mission. $77.50-$1795.00.
- San Antonio Walks, 317 Alamo Plaza (directly in front of the Alamo), +1-888-368-6874. M-Sa 9:15AM, 12:15PM, 4PM; Su 9:15AM, 12:15PM. Professional guided tour. This is not a highlight reel, but real storytelling about the city's rich history. Captivating and educational. Voted: Best Tour in San Antonio. Member: Texas Travel Industry Association. $21; Under 6 Free (cash only).
- Segway Tours, 260 East Houston St, +1 210 441-1198. San Antonio Segway Tours enables you to tour downtown San Antonio on a Segway. Learn to ride a Segway and tour beautiful and historic downtown San Antonio. Tours leave from and range from 1 hour to 2.5 hours. Tours depart 7 days a week, 6 times daily. $39-$59.
San Antonio is home to several historic vaudeville theatres; The Empire, Aztec, Alameda, and the Majestic. There are also many live music venues including, Sunset Station, White Rabbit, Scout Bar, Blue Star Arts complex, Pearl Brewery, Cowboys, La Tuna's, Randy's Rock Bottom Tattoo Bar, and The Ten Eleven and many great local bands.
- Majestic Theatre, 224 E. Houston St, +1 210 226-5700. Recognized as one of the most ornate facilities in the country, the Majestic has long held a special place in the archives of Texas theatrical and architectural history. Located at 224 E. Houston Street in the heart of downtown San Antonio, the Majestic was designed and built in 1929 by John Eberson for Karl Hoblitzelle's Interstate Theatres, and stood proudly for many years as the largest theatre in Texas and the second largest motion picture theatre in the country. It was intended to be the most modern and ornate building in South Texas - complete with new sound and projection equipment - and was the first theatre in the state to be totally air-conditioned.
San Antonio is home to a variety of shopping venues with a wide selection of shops and stores. With ten major shopping malls within an hour drive of downtown as well as La Villita and Market Square in the heart of downtown San Antonio.
- Alamo Quarry Market, 255 E Basse Rd, +1 210 225-1000. M-Sa 10AM-9PM, Su noon-6PM.
- La Villita, 418 Villita, +1 210-207-8611. daily 10AM-6PM, closed holidays. 30 shops and galleries offer distinct handcrafted items by artists from San Antonio and surrounding areas.
- Market Square - El Mercado, 514 W Commerce, +1 210 207-8600. 10AM-8PM, summer; 10AM-6PM, winter. Stores closed New Year's Day, Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. Visitors can browse through the 32 shops at "El Mercado," and 80 specialty shops in Farmers' Market Plaza. Market Square is also the scene of many Hispanic festivals where food and beverage booths spring up alongside the Guadalajara lamps and the strains of mariachi music blend with the excitement of Mexican dances.
- Rivercenter Mall, 849 E. Commerce, +1 210 225-0000. M-Sa 10AM-9PM; Su Noon-6PM. Located on the River Walk and connected to the Marriott Rivercenter and the Menger Hotel. It is also within walking distance of the Alamo. Houses over 100 retail shops including an IMAX theater.
- The Shops at La Cantera, 15900 La Cantera Parkway, Suite 6698, +1 210 582-6255. M-Sa 10AM-9PM and Su noon-6PM. Located in northern San Antonio adjacent to Six Flags Fiesta Texas. The Shops at La Cantera is an open-air mall anchored by Macy's, Nordstrom, Dillard's, and Neiman-Marcus. La Cantera offers stores on the higher-end of shopping such as Juicy Couture, Hugo Boss, Lacoste, Vera Bradley, Lucky Brand, Anthropologie, the Apple store, Aveda, Burberry, Gilly Hicks, Sleep Number, Sephora, Urban Outfitters, and more. Most people, though, come to La Cantera to eat and enjoy happy hour at some of the best,upscale yet casual restaurants in the city. Kona Grill offers $3, $4, $5 appetizers such as: sushi, pizza, egg rolls, etc. with discounted spirits and beer. Yardhouse has hundreds of beers on tap available in a 1.4 liter yard in a classic rock-inspired setting. There is a WIDE array of food, the general rule for chains is to skip the dishes you find everywhere and try the specialties. Here, try the seared ahi sandwich. Other eateries are Grimaldi's Brick-Oven Pizzeria, P.F. Chang's, Perry's Steakhouse and Z Tejas - a southwestern-themed restaurant with great non-Tex-Mex food and fantastic happy hour specials.
- North Star Mall, 7400 San Pedro, +1 210 342-2325. M-Sa 10AM-9PM and Su noon-6PM. San Antonio's internationally-acclaimed shopping destination center boasts over 200 specialty stores and restaurants. Located adjacent to the San Antonio International Airport, North Star is conveniently situated in the heart of the city. North Star is home to the largest cowboy boots in the world. They stand 40 feet high and 20 feet long! Stores include Saks Fifth Avenue, Pottery Barn Kids, Armani Exchange, Arden B., Montblanc, J.Crew, Oakley, The Cheesecake Factory, Talbots, Janie and Jack, Apple, bebe, Coach, Sephora, Guess, and Steve Madden.
The Pearl Brewery hosts a farmers market on Saturdays from 9AM to 1PM and Wednesdays from 4PM to 7PM. On Saturdays the market is right next to the San Antonio River which forms an excellent green area, you can walk or take the river shuttle up from your hotel downtown.
- Mexican Manhattan, 110 Soledad Street, +1 210 223-3913. M-Sa 11AM-10PM. Overlooking the San Antonio River. Mid-range.
- Casa Rio, 430 E. Commerce St, +1 210 225-6718. Su–Th 11AM–10PM; F–Sa 11AM–11PM. A great Tex-Mex restaurant if you're on a budget. This is the oldest restaurant on the River Walk, opened in 1946. You can enjoy good local-style dining in a colorful and romantic setting. Mid-range.
- Ruthie's Mexican Restaurant, 11423 West Ave, +1 210 308-0253. Great Latin food. $.
- Schilo's Deli, 424 E. Commerce St, +1 210 223-6692. M–Sa 7AM-8:30PM. If you're tired of Tex-Mex, Schilo's is a great place for good German food at budget prices, right above the River Walk . Try their Evening Specialties, available after 5PM, excellent value. Split Pea Soup is a long-time favorite.
- Taco Cabana. Another great Tex-Mex place in San Antonio. It's a chain located in Texas, Oklahoma, and New Mexico.
- Teka Molino, 7231 San Pedro Ave., +1 210 344-7281. M-Sa 7AM - 9PM. Teka Molino is a famous Tex-Mex restaurant located on San Pedro, two blocks from North Star Mall. Locals are familiar with their famous puffy tacos, carne guisada, guacamole cups, bean rolls, and home-made tortillas.
- Lulu's Bakery and Cafe, 918 N. Main St. Located just north of Interstate (about a 15 minute walk from the Alamo). This diner/bakery offers huge portions at very low prices. Their cinnamon rolls are as big as a human head, and their chicken-fried steak takes up the whole plate. Not very touristy, more of a local place. Not to be confused with Luby's cafeteria which is just across the street and much more expensive.
- Main Street Pizza, 1906 N. Main St. Just east of San Antonio College, about 2 miles north of downtown. Popular with students at San Antonio College (SAC) as well as Trinity University because of its affordable prices, good food, and proximity to the campuses. Offers fried calamari, calzones, pizzas of all sizes, manicotti, and an eclectic mix of other traditional Italian food. Daily specials are available.
- Green, 200 E Grayson St, Suite 120 (Near Downtown at Pearl Brewery, +1 210 320-5865. Su 9AM-9PM; M–Th 8AM-9PM; F 8AM-8PM. San Antonio's only all-kosher, all-vegetarian eatery. Be sure to try the soups and specials. Dinner is $7-$15. Second location at 10003 NW Military, Suite 2115, in Alon Center.
- Rosario's, 910 S. Alamo St. A Mexican restaurant that is somewhat lacking in character but serves good food in decent-sized portions. It's a popular place, but it occupies a large space and is far enough from the Riverwalk that there usually isn't much of a wait for a table. $7-15.
- Joe's Crab Shack, 212 College St #100 (River Walk. A great good time, especially when the waiters all stop and line dance in the aisles. Good food, silly T-shirts, on the north side of the River Walk loop. A great place to host a birthday party or special occasion. The "fish bowl" drinks are fun for two to share. Dinner $9-21.
- Liberty Bar, 1111 S. Alamo St (located on the second floor - take the elevator on the side of the building, +1 210-227-1187. A bohemian eatery in a building with character. The menu lists everything that they make from scratch, ranging from breads to sauces. The entree choices vary from pizzas to pot roast to lamb burgers to "Puntas Norteñas" (tough to describe, easy to eat). There is a full bar with very knowledgeable bartenders, and a really solid beer and wine list. The buttermilk pie is a house special desert that numerous patrons swear is extraordinary, although if you aren't already pre-disposed towards buttermilk you might be just as happy with the other pie selections. $10-$25.
- Mi Tierra Cafe & Bakery, 218 Produce Row (In the Mercado, +1 210-225-1262. Open 24 hours. Blow $5 on the Mariachis, they're among the best in town (they tune because they care). The interior looks like Christmas vomited on a flea market, yet somehow the result is a charming and unique decor. Tex-Mex, Mex-Mex and Nuevo Mexicano food that is reasonably priced and definitely above average in terms of taste and quality. Service is prompt. Splendid bakery in the front section.Rumored to have free WiFi Entrees $9-20.
- Sushi Zushi, 203 S. St. Mary's (at Market, in the International Center across the street from the Drury Plaza Hotel, +1 210 472-2900. M-W 11AM-10PM; Th-F 11AM-11PM; Sa 11:30AM-11PM; Su 11:30AM-10PM. Three other locations in San Antonio area. Extensive Japanese sushi menu, including other Japanese dishes like soup, salad, udon, soba, etc. Japanese comfort foods are good value. Tasteful, modern setting.
- Paesanos River Walk, 111 W. Crockett Street #100, +1 210 227-2782. Su-Th 11AM–10PM; F–Sa 11AM–11PM. Classic Mediterranean and contemporary Italian dining on the San Antonio River Walk. Paesanos River Walk breaks the boundaries of traditional Italian cuisine to explore modern Mediterranean specialties. Enjoy the legendary Shrimp Paesano or Oven-Baked Pizzas piled high with grilled chicken and artichokes, or venture forth to Lemon Peppered Salmon or to our tempting Daily Specials. Choose from inside or terrace seating and enjoy views to the famed San Antonio River Walk.
- Boudros, 421 E. Commerce, +1 210 224-8484. Su-Th: 11AM-11PM, Fr-Sa: 11AM-midnight. From Commerce St. entrance, take the elevator down to the River level and walk through the restaurant to the riverfront entrance. A very popular Texas bistro, with locals and tourists alike, right on the River Walk. Hearty portions. Blackened prime rib is its signature dish. Reservations are advisable, especially weekends.
- Azuca, 713 S Alamo St, +1 210-225-5550. Best tortas de jamon north of Mexico City.
- Biga on the Banks, 203 S. St. Mary's (International Center, +1 210 225-0722. Biga on the Banks has a reputation for innovation. Owner and Chef Bruce Auden is known for his culinary creativity. Reservations recommended. $25-$50.
- Il Sogno, 200 E Grayson St. (in the Historic Pearl Brewery Complex, +1 210 223-3900. Chef Andrew Weissman offers a contemporary flair to authentic Italian cuisine. Excellent antipasto bar and great wine list. With appetizers and wine, expect $50-100/person.
- Little Rhein Steak House, 231 S. Alamo St., +1 210 225-2111. 5PM-10PM. A friendly gathering place with rustic charm, high quality steaks and its historically significant location. Located on the San Antonio River, the building was erected in 1847 and is basically unaltered since its original construction. Enjoy some of these delicious menu items. Escargots, in Garlic Butter, House Smoked Salmon, Field Greens, Caesar Salad, Prime Strip Loin, Prime Ribeye, Filet Mignon, Lobster Tail, Prime Lamb Chops, just to name a few.
San Antonio's downtown is the hub of the city's nightlife, with hundreds of dining options, bars and clubs mostly on the Riveralk and throughout street level. Other major nightlife locales, include Southtown Arts District, home to First Friday Art Walk, a large art block party with crowds upward of 20,000 along Alamo St. Scores of dining, galleries, theatres and lodging options, that include more than 10 historic 19th century B&B's adjacent to the Riverwalk. Wander down through the River Walk and take your choice of bars and eateries. You can't go wrong. There are also several bars/restaurants in the Mercado block of tourist shops.
- Drink Texas, 200 Navarro St, Suite 100, +1 210 224-1031. 2PM-2AM daily.
- Swig Martini Bar, 111 West Crockett St., No. 205, +1 210 476-0005. Swig features specialty martinis, cocktails, cigars and live music. The ambience is vintage 1940s with an exciting urban twist. Sit back and relax where the classic American cocktail meets its contemporaries-where Cary Grant meets Cameron Diaz. Enjoy friendly, attentive service in a relaxed upscale atmosphere. Martini time-with a twist.
- Mad Dogs British Pub, 123 Losoya St # 19. British-themed bar & grill located on the Riverwalk.
- Howl at the Moon, 111 W. Crockett #201, +1 210 212-4770. Su-Th 7PM-2AM; F-Sa 6PM-2AM. Howl at the Moon is a singing, clapping, stomping, dance-on-the-piano, rock 'n' roll dueling piano show! It's part concert, part piano bar & all centered around audience interaction & 2 baby grand pianos. Howl at the Moon offers an experience beyond the average bar with live entertainment, comedy, & sing-a-longs throughout the night. Howl at the Moon is the perfect place for corporate parties & special events. Don't fret if you can't get there for your party or event–with their "Piano Shows To Go," they'll bring all the excitement & fun to you! On Thursday nights, bring your Texas college ID for free admission and drink specials -- usually $1 domestic, $2 Corona or Dos XX, and $3 UV Vodka $4 Bull Blasters. Great place to meet people on Thursdays.
- Zinc, 207 N. Presa St., +1 210 224-2900. M-F 11AM-2AM; Sa-Su 3PM-2AM. Zinc serves wines from all corners of the globe with an emphasis on champagne and domestic varietals.
- Honky Tonk, 157 E Houston St, +1 210 552-2896. Located in the downtown, this sports bar is offering all the major events from large screens. Snacks and burgers is available. Beers from $5.
- SoHo Wine and Martini Bar, 214 W. Crockett St, +1 210 444-1000. 4PM-2AM. Extensive drink menu, in addition to your usual favorites SoHo also provides an impressive array of fun specialty house martinis such as the Ginger Tini, The Espresso Tini and the Carmel Apple Tini.
- Retox bar, 1031 Patricia Dr (Blanco/West Ave, +1 210-775-2886. 2PM-2AM. Retox is local live music venue, retox is classified as a upscale dive bar. Voted best sounding bar in 2009, 2010, 2011. Voted number 1 happy hour by gotime.com. $.
San Antonio is a relatively safe city. As long as you take elementary precautions, you'll have a great time. Even when there are crowds for such events like the Alamo Bowl, it is still relatively safe. Just remember that the River Walk always has something going on, but if you're in one of the quieter spots at night, exercise some caution. Inner city neighborhoods, particularly on the West and South Sides, should be avoided at night, though they are of little interest to tourists. In San Antonio, if it looks iffy, don't go there at night.
- Belgium Belgium , One Alamo Center, 106 S St Mary's Ste 200, +1 210 271-0630.
- Germany Germany (Honorary), 310 S Saint Mary's St, Tower Life Bldg Ste 2201, +1 210 226-1788.
- Mexico Mexico, 127 Navarro St, +1 210 227-1085.
To leave San Antonio, use US 281 south to get to Brownsville, I-10 east to get to Houston, I-10 west to get to El Paso, I-35 north to get to Austin, Waco, and Dallas/Fort Worth, I-37/US 181 south to get to Corpus Christi and Floresville, SH 16 north to get to Bandera, SH 16 south to get to Poteet, or US 281 north to get to Blanco and Johnson City. An alternate route to Austin is to use US 281 north and US 290 east. I-410 and SH 151 do not leave the city. However, Loop 1604 does go to small towns in the county.
- New Braunfels - Located 30 miles northeast of San Antonio, this town is best known for its German culture and heritage, not to mention the Schlitterbahn, persistent in being voted the world's best waterpark.
- San Marcos - 50 miles northeast of San Antonio, San Marcos is the home of Texas State University and its Aquarena Center, as well as two massive outlet malls that have more than 350 shops.
The world's a big place.