If you’re looking for a culture-filled getaway, San Antonio, Texas, is simply bursting with beautiful attractions, history, unique experiences, and downright incredible food. (After all, research says immersing yourself in culture and the arts can positively affect your mental health.) In this amazing city, you can stroll or cruise down the iconic River Walk. Take out your phone to snap some pics of the Japanese Tea Garden, the interactive exhibits at Hopscotch gallery, and the Pearl Farmers Market. Submerse yourself in rich history and architecture while taking a guided walking tour of the Alamo, and add a lock of your own to the “Love Lock Bridge.” Or if spooky haunts are more your thing, you can even learn about the “city’s ghostly residents” as you have a few cocktails on a guided haunted pub crawl. Experience a rodeo and savor some good old-fashioned Texas BBQ, because when in Texas!
I had the opportunity to visit San Antonio and quickly learned it was the culture-filled getaway I never knew I needed. I stayed at the Thompson San Antonio, a luxury boutique hotel in a prime spot that was easy to walk and take Ubers everywhere. Keep reading to learn more about my trip and everything you’ll want to include on your own itinerary.
San Antonio’s River Walk, aka Paseo del Rio, just so happens to be the #1 attraction in Texas—it’s easy to see why. This city park is a 15-mile stretch of restaurants, bars, shops, iconic landmarks, and much more. You’ll be awestruck as you check out San Fernando Cathedral, the King William Historic District, and the River Walk Public Art Garden.
I hopped aboard a GO RIO narrated River Walk cruise, which lasted about 35 minutes. The boats are all brightly colored, and of course, I chose the pink one. It was such a fun way to soak up some of the city’s famous sights. We cruised by La Villita, the very first neighborhood in San Antonio. (This was also where General Santa Anna positioned his cannon line during the Battle of the Alamo.) We passed by The Esquire Tavern, too, which opened its doors the very day after Prohibition ended, and you can still grab a drink there to this day.
What’s a weekend getaway without a local wine tasting (complete with an aesthetically pleasing cheese board, of course)? I met 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 shall I say grapes—on top of my visit. Located in downtown San Antonio, the ReRooted:210 tasting room really brings on trendy industrial vibes and is where the brand likes to “try new things.”
What’s really cool about ReRooted? Their kegged wine system makes it easy for travelers and locals alike to enjoy their blends—made with 100% Texas-grown fruit—via glass or growler. Try the refreshing 2019 Ghost Tracks, a blend of 45% Sauvignon Blanc, 45% Albarino, and 10% Fiano, or the Riverwalk Red (NV), which pays tribute to the city’s iconic Riverwalk and is a blend of 90% Sangiovese and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon. You can’t go wrong!
Starting off the morning by rolling out my yoga mat and stretching underneath a big oak tree in San Antonio Missions National Historical Park was a fitness experience for the books. Not only was it relaxing; it filled my mind and soul with so much beauty. Mission San José is dubbed the “Queen of the Missions,” and the architecture certainly is stunning. It’s over 300 years old and described so eloquently by the National Park Service as “capture[ing] a transitional moment in history, frozen in time.”
From plant-forward meals and botanical cocktails that make you feel rejuvenated from the inside out to cozy neighborhood haunts dishing out seasonal flavors, it’s safe to say both my tummy and palate were beyond pleased in San Antonio. The food really spoke to my soul; what’s more, I felt good after everything I ate, because it was all so fresh.
Lunch at Pharm Table, which is an Apothecary Kitchen offering locally-sourced food inspired by destinations throughout the world, was a real treat. The beverage menu is a fun journey in itself, including many natural wines, apothecary cocktails, non-alcoholic sips, teas, and “digestives” to choose from. I opted for the Earl Grey Lavender Cold Brew, prepared with lemon, lavender, and Earl Grey 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 good, made with locally sourced mushrooms, black beans, red cabbage fennel slaw, chintestle paste, Asian pickled carrot slaw, hemp-seed salsa, cilantro, and heirloom corn tortillas.
Clementine truly stole my heart for dinner. I was given the best seat in the house—at a bar counter overlooking the chefs working their magic. The staff was truly delightful and really wined and dined me. I was treated to a variety of mouthwatering dishes, including Japanese Eggplant with slightly spicy tomato sauce, herb butter, bonito, and baharat, along with fresh Ricotta Cavatelli with broccoli-top pesto, Sichuan peppercorns, toasted pecans, and Parmesan cheese. My main course was King Salmon, prepared 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, made with chocolate mousse, toasted hazelnuts, and clementine sherbet, because I was dining at Clementine, after all! The chef also brought out mini oatmeal cookie hand pies and dessert wine to end the meal on the sweetest note ever.
Some more of my favorite recommendations to consider in your own itinerary? Dinner at Carriqui, which serves up botana platters that draw inspiration from the Rio Grande Valley along with signature South Texas libations; Bakery Lorraine, the cutest little French bakery to order quiche or a chocolate croissant from before exploring the Pearl Farmers Market; Jardin, which is located in the historic Sullivan Carriage House at San Antonio’s Botanical Garden and has the best focaccia pizzas; and La Panaderia for a morning cappuccino and mouthwatering breakfast pastries.