1) Don't go in summer. San Antonio weather sucks in summer. Go sometime between late October and late April. Better yet, go between Thanksgiving and New Year, when the Riverwalk looks like this...
and the parks look like this!
|Travis Park, in Front of the Historic St. Anthony Hotel|
3) Choose a hotel that is right smack dab in the middle of things -- right on the river, about halfway between the Alamo and Market Square. Last few times we've stayed at the Valencia. Kinda dark and gloomy in the lobby area, but the rooms are nice, and you just can't beat the location, right next to the old Majestic Theater on Houston St. (where great shows like Postmodern Jukebox, Book of Mormon, and Kinky Boots are currently booked). Plus, they frequently offer specials like stay two nights, get one free. Furthermore, if you sign up for their VIP program (no charge) you occasionally get free upgrades from the cheapo rooms to a river-view deluxe!
4) Try to get there before lunch. You need to squeeze all the meals you possibly can into your brief stay. Since you won't want to get your car out of the garage again, once you drop it off with the hotel valets, and since your hotel room probably won't be ready until mid-afternoon, and since the Pearl Brewery area is a pretty good hike from the main part of the Riverwalk, you might as well start there.
This whole area has just exploded since the last time we were there, with a brand new hotel in the old brewery building itself, and at least a half dozen new restaurants, and of course, a ton of new condos! If you go on the weekend, you can enjoy the farmers' market and lots of food stalls, some hosted by the chic new restaurants. On the other hand, you will have a much longer wait for a table at any of those restaurants. We must come back in the middle of the week sometime, so we can try Cured or Boiler House or Bakery Lorraine.
5) Take a peek inside Hotel Emma, while you are there. Yes, there is a sign out front that says "Hotel Guests Only", but if you're brazen enough, like my hubby, and just waltz on past the doormen like you own the place, they won't bat an eyelash!
The library, above, is freakin' awesome!
It's way out of our price range, and too far from all the action for us (though some might see that as a plus) but definitely worth seeing! Also, I highly recommend that you follow the link above to their website, and read the bit about "The Three Emmas". As my hubby said, "You just can't make up shit like this!"
6) If you can't make up your mind which place to have dinner at on the Riverwalk, try having appetizers at several different ones instead.
7) Just make sure you save enough room to have dessert here.
Hotel Havana is about five blocks north of E. Houston, where N. St. Mary's and Navarro crisscross, near the Tobin Center. There was lots of good stuff on the menu, but these my friends -- the fresh fried churros with cajeta and mocha café con leche for dipping? Well, they were to die for. My photo just doesn't do them justice.
You'll just have to trust me when I tell you that they were ten times better than the ones we had at the famous café in San Miguel -- the one that specializes in churros. Yes, that good.
You'll be draggin' by this time, and ready to tumble into bed, but there's lots more to do and see on your second day in San Antonio, so stay tuned!
8) Oh Yeah! One more thing. Forget the trollies and buses and taxis. Just walk. Walk everywhere. You'll be so glad you did, once you get home and step on the scale, and find you didn't gain an ounce on this trip, despite all the yummy things you ate!