If you’re looking for a cultural getaway, then San Antonio, Texas is filled with beautiful attractions, history, unique experiences and downright incredible food. (After all, research says that immersing yourself in culture and the arts can have a positive impact on your mental health.) In this amazing city, you can stroll the famous River Walk or take a boat trip. Take out your phone to snap some pictures of the Japanese Tea Garden, the interactive exhibits at the Hopscotch Gallery, and the Pearl Farmers Market. Delve into the rich history and architecture of the Alamo on a guided walking tour, and add a lock of your own to the Love Lock Bridge. Or if spooky places are more your thing, you can even learn about the “ghostly denizens of the city” while sipping some cocktails on a guided haunted bar crawl. Catch a rodeo and enjoy a good old fashioned Texan BBQ because when you are in Texas!
I had the opportunity to visit San Antonio and quickly learned it was the culture-rich getaway I never knew I needed. I stayed at the Thompson San Antonio, a luxury boutique hotel in a prime location within easy walking distance and Ubers can take you anywhere. Read on to learn more about my journey and anything you might want to include in your own itinerary.
San Antonio’s River Walk, also known as Paseo del Rio, happens to be the #1 attraction in Texas — it’s easy to see why. This city park is a 15 mile stretch filled with restaurants, bars, shops, landmarks and more. You’ll be amazed as you tour the Cathedral of San Fernando, the King William Historic District and the River Walk Public Art Garden.
I boarded a GO RIO narrated River Walk cruise that lasted about 35 minutes. The boats are all colorful and of course I chose the pink one. It was such a fun way to explore some of the city’s famous attractions. We drove through La Villita, the very first neighborhood in San Antonio. (This is also where General Santa Anna positioned his line of cannons during the Battle of the Alamo.) We also passed the Esquire Tavern, which opened its doors the day after Prohibition ended, and you can still grab a drink there that day.
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What would a weekend getaway be without a local wine tasting (complete with an aesthetically pleasing cheese board, of course)? I met up with Jennifer Beckmann, Certified Wine Educator & Sommelier, who guided me through my wine tasting at Re:Rooted 210, which was one of the many cherries – or should I say Grapes– in addition to my visit. Bringing a seriously on-trend industrial vibe, ReRooted:210’s tasting room in downtown San Antonio is where the brand likes to “try new things”.
What’s really cool about ReRooted? Their cask wine system makes it easy for travelers and locals alike to enjoy their blends – made from 100% Texas-grown fruit – by the glass or growler. Try the refreshing Ghost Tracks 2019, a blend of 45% Sauvignon Blanc, 45% Albarino and 10% Fiano, or the Riverwalk Red (NV), which pays tribute to the city’s famous Riverwalk and is a blend of 90% Sangiovese and 10% is % Cabernet Sauvignon. You can’t go wrong!
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Starting the morning by rolling out my yoga mat and stretching under a large oak tree in San Antonio Missions National Historical Park was a fitness experience for the books. It wasn’t just relaxing; it filled my mind and soul with so much beauty. Mission San José is called the “Queen of Missions” and the architecture is certainly stunning. It is over 300 years old and is so eloquently described as “Conquest” by the National Park Service[ing] a transitional moment in history, frozen in time.”
From plant-based meals and botanical cocktails that make you feel rejuvenated from the inside out, to cozy neighborhood hangouts that dish out seasonal flavors, it’s safe to say that both my stomach and taste buds are in San Antonio were more than satisfied. The food really spoke to my soul; Also, I felt good after everything I ate because everything was so fresh.
Lunch at Pharm Table, an Apothecary Kitchen offering locally sourced food inspired by destinations around the world, was a real treat. A fun journey in itself, the drinks menu includes plenty of natural wines, apothecary cocktails, non-alcoholic sips, teas and “digestives” to choose from. I opted for the Earl Gray Lavender Cold Brew, made with lemon, lavender and Earl Gray tea. The unique presentation resembled an Old Fashioned, complete with a large ice cube. As for the main course, the Farm to Table tacos were out of this world, prepared with local mushrooms, black beans, red cabbage and fennel slaw, chintestle paste, Asian pickled carrot slaw, hemp seed salsa, cilantro, and traditional corn tortillas.
Clementine really stole my heart for dinner. I got the best seat in the house – at a bar counter overlooking the chefs working their magic. The staff was really delightful and really entertained and ate me. I was treated to a variety of delicious dishes, including Japanese eggplant with slightly spicy tomato sauce, herb butter, bonito and baharat, along with fresh ricotta cavatelli with broccoli pesto, Sichuan peppercorns, roasted pecans and parmesan cheese. My main course was King Salmon, made with Sungold Tomato Buerre Blanc, sourdough crunchies and Pimentón de la Vera. They call their dessert menu “The Best Parts,” and who could honestly resist that? I had the Clementine Crunch Bar with chocolate mousse, toasted hazelnuts and clementine sorbet because I ended up eating at Clementine’s! The chef also brought out mini oatmeal pies and dessert wine to end the meal on the sweetest note ever.
Some more of my favorite recommendations to include in your own itinerary? dinner at Carriqui, which serves botana platters inspired by the Rio Grande Valley along with typical South Texas libations; Bakery Lorraine, the cutest little French bakery where you can order a quiche or a chocolate croissant before exploring the Pearl Farmers Market; Jardin, located in the historic Sullivan Carriage House in the San Antonio Botanical Gardens and via the best focaccia pizzas; and La Panaderia for a morning cappuccino and delicious breakfast pastries.