Bits & Pieces of San Antonio
This post dates way back to 2009 when my family headed south to San Antonio to celebrate my brother’s Air Force Basic Training graduation. This trip was going to be the furthest from home we had ever been as a family and my parents wanted to drive. Having recently started my first real job, I realized how precious my vacation time had become and wanted to get the most out of this trip. So, I called my best friend to see if she would like to fly out with me. We could spend some time with my family and then take our own girls’ trip to the coast. Thankfully, she said “yes”!
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Experience San Antonio’s River Walk
While in San Antonio we spent a good deal of time on the Air Force base visiting my brother. When we were able to take him off base we looked for affordable (free) things to do. Our hotel was located right on the River Walk with a patio perfect for early morning coffees and/or an afternoon beverage.
It is definitely touristy, but exploring the River Walk can also be a lot of fun! Some parts are busier than others and it tends to get pretty crowed at night, but we were not located on a busy section of the River Walk. Sitting outside was very peaceful and quite beautiful. The local businesses pay a lot of attention to the details and the plants lining the entire waterway were gorgeous.
We would walk from the hotel at night to find a place to eat. Traveling with my family at this time meant we were looking for a place with low prices, large portions and options for very picky eaters. This also meant that they chose to eat at the same place each night to avoid the risks involved with trying a new place. The location was nice and the views were great so I can’t complain too much.
One night we treated ourselves to a tour of the River Walk by boat! The water tours are a great way to get right in the middle of the action without actually having to deal with the masses. The city comes alive at night! String lights, colorful umbrellas and street performers provide lots to look at. The tour gave us a chance to see sections of the River Walk we had not yet experienced on foot.
Traveling On The Cheap in San Antonio
Walking along the River Walk is free, unless you are charmed by any of the restaurants, bars and shops located along the way. However, my favorite free thing to do in San Antonio would be a visit to the Japanese Tea Garden. I love nature! I can find joy in any botanical center and especially appreciate a Japanese styled garden.
What once was a rock quarry has been transformed into a lush oasis – a beautiful escape from the city, full of bright and fragrant flowers! The Japanese Tea Garden features landscaped walkways, a Japanese pavilion and bridges which lead you to an island surrounded by a giant koi pond. We found that in addition to the large koi, a variety of wildlife also call the gardens home. The garden is a peaceful place for visitors and locals alike. They offer different events throughout the year, many of them free to the public.
Visit the Historic Alamo Mission
They say no trip to San Antonio would be complete without a stop at The Alamo, Texas’ most popular historic landmark. This Spanish mission and fortress compound was founded in the 18th Century and attracts many, many visitors each year. Way too many.
We took the bus that day and once we arrived I didn’t even notice the historical building at first due to all of the people surrounding it.
If I haven’t been clear about my opinion on crowds in this post alone, then you should check out this one. I don’t care for crowds. I am starting to think I might get this from my parents? They stood outside The Alamo comparing its historic value against the volume of tourists. They then snapped a picture and we were on our way.
I cannot speak to what you might find inside this historic landmark to say whether it is worth it or not. Maybe we went on an exceptionally busy day?
Inspiration - San Antonio, Texas
When I think back to our time in San Antonio, I see bright colors, exotic plants and fancy flowers. I had never been so far south and I remember how foreign it felt. The culture was warm and festive. There were lizards (wild lizards!). I thought it would be fun to combine the bright colors of San Antonio with one of my favorite animals found in Texas - the armadillo.
Cheers! To family!
This trip took place during the fall of 2009. When planning your own adventures, please be sure to check for any current travel alerts or changes in destination conditions first. Keep in mind that businesses mentioned may no longer exist or offer the same products recommended in this post.