What does a family with small children do for 24 hours in San Antonio?
I asked people who had been there, what exactly we should see.
Every single answer?
Mario also wanted to see the Alamo. Fortunately, the Alamo was right between our hotel and the Riverwalk. Perfect.
We arrived in the evening on Friday. We knew we wanted to take a Riverwalk boat tour. The hotel had all kinds of helpful magazines and pamphlets, so within a half hour, we bought our tickets and were standing in a short line to board the Miss Laura (Bush), piloted by Captain AJ.
Oh, yeah . . . (This was Captain AJ’s catchphrase.)
I have a feeling that the Riverwalk is pretty at any time of year, but they light luminarias along all the sidewalks and bridges during December. Those lights, combined with the Christmas trees and other Chrismas lights glittering on the river, made for a particularly lovely ride.
Furthermore, the weekend we were there (December 12, 13, 14), the Riverwalk was hosting an arts fair. Hundreds of artists and crafters–spanning the gamut from oh-la-la to string bracelets–set up booths along the Riverwalk. It made walking tricky in parts, but I love a good art fair, anywhere.
All the more if it’s on San Antonio’s Riverwalk!
Living in Mexico, we had no need for Tex-Mex food (which seems to be a must in San Antonio). We came ready for real Texas barbecue. It did not disappoint. A word to the wise–there are oodles of excellent restaurants lining the Riverwalk. I’m sure they’re all lovely. But if you dine just off the Riverwalk, both your wallet AND your belly will stay full.
On Saturday morning, we wandered through the Alamo. In the 1930s, the Alamo was entrusted to the Daughters of the Republic of Texas. Thanks to these lovely ladies, this piece of history is preserved and is open to the public, free of charge. It is a simple little museum, but well put-together. I was glad I had read up on my Texas history last year.
(I highly recommend True Women by Janice Woods Windle, although the Yellow Rose of Texas series by Gilbert Morris is also entertaining. Yes, I still learn history through historical fiction. I’m not ashamed. And I bet I can beat most people in historical Jeopardy. So there.)
The kids were not as excited about the Alamo as Mario and I were. There were carriage rides parked off the sidewalk by one of the exits and The Boy happily spent nearly an hour watching the horses. Then he discovered the the koi swimming in the canal. The Girl was just not amused.
Can’t win ’em all.
We finished off our tour of San Antonio by heading to La Villita. It’s a tiny neighborhood which is now composed of art galleries. Having somewhat grumpy children by that time, we didn’t venture into any of the galleries. But the neighborhood was charming, reminding me of New Mexico. Plus, the weekend we were there, they had a Coffee Expo in La Villita’s square. Coffee shops from all over San Antonio were boasting their wares. It smelled amazing. But I was not willing to stand in the long lines, so we just smelled the loveliness.
We ended our 24 hours in San Antonio with lunch at Schilo’s deli, celebrating central Texas’s German heritage. You thought the German immigrants mainly congregated in the midwest? No, my friends–Texas was a big draw for Germans in the nineteenth century. Schilo’s deli has a fantastic sausage selection to prove it. They even offered imported German beer. This is no small feat in the land of Shiner. And don’t get me started on their interior decorating–it was a feast for the eyes as well as the stomach! Schilo’s opened shop in their present location in 1917, and I don’t think they’ve changed a thing. Floor tiles, ceiling moulding, high-backed booths–I could have just sat and stared all afternoon!
Their food was excellent. And so were their prices. So if you need a meal in San Antonio, please go to Schilo’s.
Unless you´re a vegetarian.
Where is Shilo’s?
424 East Commerce St. Not far from the Rivercenter Mall and Menger Hotel.
Rock Outcropping on Riverwalk Photo by Matthew LeJeune on Unsplash