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Old Jan 10, 11, 6:32 pm   #1
 
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Weekend in San Antonio What Must We Do?

My wife has a conference next month that ends on a Friday. I am flying down Friday evening and we are spending the weekend together there. We have never been there before. We have all day Saturday. I know thats not much, but we are renting a car. Aside from the Alamo, any other musts? Dinner suggestions for a great San Antonio dining experience?
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Old Jan 11, 11, 9:46 pm   #2
 
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You didn't mention the Riverwalk, but I would assume you are doing that already and maybe lumping it with the Alamo. There are a lot of dining options along the Riverwalk. I would avoid the chains. I don't think most of the Tex-Mex in that area is all that great either. There was a Tex-Mex place Acenar I enjoyed. I liked Boudro's (New American?) on the Riverwalk, which we waited quite awhile for. I also remember eating at an Italian place called Paesano's, but it wasn't terribly memorable for me. My co-worker who went to school in San Antonio says that the non-Riverwalk location is better. A couple of people have recommended Taco Taco to me for breakfast tacos, but I never got a chance to visit. Speaking of which, I view breakfast tacos as a pretty San Antonio/ Austin food.

You might want to check out the Missions National Historical Park, which preserves 4 other Spanish frontier missions. I also associate San Antonio with Sea World and Fiesta Texas... not sure if that is on your list.

If you run out of things to do in San Antonio, hop in you car and head north on I-35 and shop in San Marcos or spend the day in Austin.
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Old Jan 13, 11, 7:43 am   #3
 
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If you run out of things to do in San Antonio, hop in you car and head north on I-35 and shop in San Marcos or spend the day in Austin.
+1.... Head to Austin and go downtown and spend the evening down there one night. I think of the riverwalk as artificial fun while Austin's downtown has a better vibe and the restaurants and bars are much better.

Otherwise... usual suspects Alamo and Riverwalk. I've never found San Antonio to have that many great resturants so I can't really give a good recommendation for a must try. I always like Chuy's when looking for TexMex. I think they have a few San Antonio locations now.
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Old Jan 13, 11, 9:16 am   #4
 
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Much depends upon the location of the hotel where your bride is conferencing.....

An evening stroll, weather permitting and it usually does, on the Riverwalk is a pleasant diversion.

Saturday morning/ Another "regular", a visit to the Mercado, the usual Mexico "Junque" shopping, safe from the cartels and you can drink the water, followed by a meal at the 24/365 "Mi Tierra", old style TexMex to tourist tastes (but you can flaunt your sophistication and have a bowl of "menudo" - "para la cruda"- and an interesting bakery carrying all the classic "Pan Dulce' and candied fruits for a sugar fix).

TexMex or "Mexican Food" in the downtown area? Acenar's upscale (but not pretentious) and down S. Alamo, Rosario's has always eeem fun and with its own atmosphere. Sunday Brunch (about $40) at Canarias in la Mansion del Rio is very "old style" and delivers well displayed good food from what seems a highly skilled corps de cuisine.
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Old Jan 13, 11, 9:17 am   #5
 
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A very strong vote here for the Missions National Park -- go beyond the Alamo. The missions are one of my favorite places to visit when I'm in San Antonio.

San Antonio does have some very good restaurants...but I've found few of them to be near the Riverwalk unless you want something higher end. You're asking for dining suggestions -- do you have any particular preferences (or dislikes) for types of cuisine?

You'll have a car so do yourself a favour and do not just spend your time around downtown and the Riverwalk area.
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Old Jan 13, 11, 5:24 pm   #6
 
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Thank you I am checking Missions National Park right now.
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Old Jan 14, 11, 8:28 am   #7
 
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Thank you I am checking Missions National Park right now.
Given the time, and an afternoon is adequate, a drive down the "Mission Trail" with stops is certainly worth the effort, a bird's eye view of a part of American history little known to most and unappreciated by many.

As for the Alamo, a couple of comments....

From the Plaza, it looks much smaller than anticipated, far less than "imposing", and the city having grown up around it prevents an adequate view of what it "may" have looked and been in 1836. Because of the unusual fashion in which it has been preserved and maintained (not the state or the federal government, but the "Daughters of the Republic of Texas"), much of what you see may seem clumsily done and amateurish. The scale models and plans inside do provide some clue to its "original' appearance, but it was already abandoned and ruinous in 1836.

For many (especially Texans like I with ancestors who had already "come to Texas" before the Revolution or to participate in it), the Alamo is a "Sacred Place", a part of mythology as much as history, to be viewed by us (and as we expect others to emulate) with reverence, caps off, voices subdued. Quaint? Yes, especially when one realizes that among those who defended it were some legendary "Heroes", well known names, of somewhat less than sterling character, antecedents, and activities.

.....And don't fail to note (instead of being overcome by a tide of retrospective ethnic issues) that there were "Mexicans" among its defenders, also, locals who espoused and joined the Anglo "Texicans" in revolting against the Mexican government.

Just down the street is the old Menger Hotel, the guest list of which includes Robert E. Lee and a host of US Army officers prominent on both sides during the WBTS and in the era afterwards. The small bar, mostly original, is the site of COL Theodore Roosevelt's 1898 recruitment of many of the "Rough Riders". My grandfather, then a student at aTm, hopped a freight to San Antonio and enlisted there. I generally stop by for a beer, Shiner Bock, in his/their memory. Nearby is Schilos's deli, almost as historic, a good place for a second glass of beer and a sandwich.
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Old Jan 15, 11, 6:04 pm   #8
 
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If you are interested in a nice drive out to the famous Hill Country of Texas I would suggest going out to Fredericksburg to spend an afternoon touring the Pacific War Museum. The new exhibit space opened in 2009.

I finally got the chance to go there last Sunday and came away mightily impressed!

LBJ's homestead is out here as well if you are into that kind of thing. His library is near DT Austin.

If you get to Austin visit Waterloo Records for some good tunes and dine at Wink Restaurant. You won't regret either! Just bring some $$$ because the food is great and the music is awesome.
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Old Jan 21, 11, 10:09 pm   #9
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If you are interested in a nice drive out to the famous Hill Country of Texas I would suggest going out to Fredericksburg to spend an afternoon touring the Pacific War Museum. The new exhibit space opened in 2009.

I finally got the chance to go there last Sunday and came away mightily impressed!

LBJ's homestead is out here as well if you are into that kind of thing. His library is near DT Austin.

If you get to Austin visit Waterloo Records for some good tunes and dine at Wink Restaurant. You won't regret either! Just bring some $$$ because the food is great and the music is awesome.
I'm sorry... but I find it hilarious that something with the word Pacific finds its way in the middle of Texas
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Old Jan 21, 11, 11:37 pm   #10
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Dinner suggestions for a great San Antonio dining experience?
Paloma Blanca is always at the top of my list for the San Antonio culinary excellence and is a can't miss spot in the city, in my estimation. I'm a huge fan of the enchiladas verdes (one chicken, one cheese). The tres leches cake is also good. Some excellent margaritas as well.

Rosario's also has some excellent Tex-Mex and the best salsa in town. Entree recommendations would include Pollo a la Maria, beef or chicken fajita nachos, and Lisa's Special. The chocolate flan is also quite good.

For more of a taste of interior Mexico, La Gloria is a relative newcomer to the San Antonio scene, and it too is quite good.

If you're in the mood for barbeque and don't mind an informal atmosphere, Rudy's won't leave you disappointed.

Avoid the eats directly on the Riverwalk. Boudro's and Paesano's are fine, but the Tex-Mex places, in particular, are tourist traps with mediocre food, at best.

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Aside from the Alamo, any other musts?
In addition to the Alamo, a stroll along the Riverwalk (or barge ride) is practically obligatory. Also worth consideration, depending upon your time constraints and interests: a visit to the Missions; a visit to the McNay, if you like art museums; and, a little further afield, Natural Bridge Caverns.

I can't concur in the advice steering you towards Austin proper when your time on this trip is scarce.

Although this won't apply to your trip, for others who are contemplating a visit to San Antonio, I highly recommend dropping in during Fiesta, held every year in April.

Last edited by SAT Lawyer; Jan 21, 11 at 11:50 pm.
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Old Jan 21, 11, 11:45 pm   #11
 
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I'm sorry... but I find it hilarious that something with the word Pacific finds its way in the middle of Texas
Nimitz was from Fredericksburg.
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Old Jan 22, 11, 5:09 pm   #12
 
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Paloma Blanca is always at the top of my list for the San Antonio culinary excellence and is a can't miss spot in the city, in my estimation. I'm a huge fan of the enchiladas verdes (one chicken, one cheese). The tres leches cake is also good. Some excellent margaritas as well.
Just made a reservation for dinner Feb 12! Menu looks great. Thanks for the suggestion!
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Old Jan 22, 11, 6:56 pm   #13
 
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Nimitz was from Fredericksburg.

And there was this very young fighter pilot named George W, Bush who helped raise funds for the museum and who's name graces the pavilion.....
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Old Jan 23, 11, 8:25 pm   #14
 
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Paloma Blanca is always at the top of my list for the San Antonio culinary excellence and is a can't miss spot in the city, in my estimation. I'm a huge fan of the enchiladas verdes (one chicken, one cheese). The tres leches cake is also good. Some excellent margaritas as well...
Paloma Blanca is always my first choice for dining in San Antonio (and has been the reason, along with warmer wx in the winter, for more than a few day trips to SAT).
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Old Feb 1, 11, 4:07 am   #15
 
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On a related note, I will be going to San Antonio for a weekend and have plans to do a couple of walks that start from the Holiday Inn El Tropicano. That doesn't look like a particularly desirable hotel. There's a Marriott that seems to be just a couple of blocks away. But would it make more sense to stay more in the heart of things and use the trolley to go over to the El Tropicano?
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