Things to do in San Antonio

After the success of my [ulr=“”]Things to do in Toronto thread, I thought I’d try again with San Antonio. I’m going to be in SA next week (4/24-4/29) for a conference, and I’m looking for suggestions of fun places and good restaurants. So far I’ve been told to go to the Alamo and to check out the Riverwalk.

Anything else?

I see I’m off to a good start. Let’s try again: Things to do in Toronto.

Hi, JeffB! Well, here are a few suggestions for you.

  1. Visit Mr Bear and purplebear.
  2. Go to Sea World and watch Mr Bear feed the Spotted Eagle Rays, and some cute, weird fish too, while diving in the tank with them all. He cleans the shark tank too, but usually before SW opens. Just in case. :wink: :eek:
  3. Depends on how expensive you like your food.
    a. Pricy: The Magic Time Machine. Wonderful, fun place.
    The Tower of the America’s. Food is ehh. View is awesome.
    Hmmm. Can’t think of any more, off the top of my head.
    b. Medium: The Outback Steakhouse. There are several.
    The Golden Wok. There are two, some of the best chinese I’ve ever had, at least the last time we went there.
    Tomatillo’s. Mexican. Yumm.
    El Maracumbe. Ditto.
    Jacala. Very famous celebrity spot, wonderful authentic food for all that. Love it.
    c. Best deal: Bill Miller’s BBQ. licking lips Need I say more?
    Taco Cabana. Much, MUCH closer to real Mexican food than that Taco Bell imitation wannabe.
    Shoney’s. Only one left in SA. Great buffet.
    Ryan’s. Best buffet-style food in town, IMO.
  4. Visit, go out to dinner, or otherwise do something with the Bears. :wink:
  5. Fiesta, Tx. Amusement park, lots of rides, in a former quarry.
  6. Natural Bridge Caverns. Just north of town, I love going there.
  7. Drive or walk theMission Trail. All of the missions in SA, including the Alamo. Each one has it’s own unique personality.
  8. Canyon Lake is about an hour away, wonderful place, lots to do there. Largest man-made lake in Tx.
  9. The world famous Riverwalk. One of my favorite places to go, been there dozens and dozens of times, not tired of it yet.

I have lots more ideas, just email me, and if you want the addresses of any of the restaurants, or anything else. Hope that helps.

I’ve been in San Antonion a total of Five days, so I can speak with authority

1,) Do all the touristy things. Go to the Alamo. Be sure to say, in a LOUD voice, “Gee, it’s a lot smaller than I thought it would be!” and “Is this the whole thing?”
2.) Go to the Wax Museum (Eve will love you). Go to the IMAX show on the Alamo. Look at the Alamo monument and say “That doesn’t look like John Wayne (or Richard Widmark, or Fess Parker, or whoever).”
3.) Walk the Riverwalk. Get lost several times. Buy lots of handmade chocolates and weird fruit-flavored ice cream. Say “THIS doesn’t look like Venice!”
4.) Get a copy of James Michener’s “The Eagle and the Ravemn” at the Alamo bookstore. Well worth the read – I never knew that Sam Houston was governor of TWO states, a senator, the leader of a sovereign country, the ancestor of Will Rogers, and a noted actor and drunk. A man to be proud of, and I say that with no irony.
5.) Visit the Magic Lantern Museum. It’s the only one of its kind, and I didn’t know about it until I’d left San Antonio, darn it.

When I was there about ten years ago, there was a Mexican Food restaurant called, IIRC, “Paloma del Rio”, or Paloma something (I know, I’m a ditz) If it is still there, eat there! Wonderful authentic Mexican food. (But don’t get the chicken molé)

And the original Macaroni Grill is west of SA, near Fiesta TX. That place is a love it or hate it type of place - if you prefer your italian very tradional, you won’t like it, but if you’re more adventerous, it’s great.

If you’ll be there the weekend, and you like waterparks, Schlitterbahn in San Marcos (about 30 minutes to an hour to the north) is the best one I’ve ever been to (purplebear may correct me on the driving time.

When you are on the Riverwalk, eat at Dicks.

If you get the right waiter, it is a blast.

The whole RiverWalk is pretty damn cool. I was there with my brother several years ago. We snuck into the jacuzzi on top of whatever hotel is at the end of the Riverwalk. It is outside on the roof.

We were there in January, and the outside temp was at least 70 degrees.

Night life kind of sucked. We found a club that was about 20 minutes north of the Riverwalk, right by a mall. They had a ton of different rooms, with a different style of music playing in each room. I guess it was kind of cool for Texas:)

hmm…seems like Purplebear forgot to mention Fiesta! starting Friday 20 April and lasting throughout the week. Also, check out the Iguanas (hockey) or a Spurs game (seats aren’t that expensive, if still available). As far as eating goes, purplebear had some really good suggestions, but left out China Harbor (all you can eat Chinese, including crab legs, shrimp, crawfish, all for between $7 and $8.00) on Walzem or Fredericksburg. I love that place, myself. There is also a little place off of O’Connor and IH35 called Tejas Cafe. Get off the highway, go towards KMart and Racetrac. It’s just after the Racetrac. Go there for breakfast tacos. And on Pleasanton (take a right off of SW Military coming from I35) called Maria’s. It’s a really little place, but they make excellent tripas (don’t ask what they are, just know that they’re especially good when you get them medium), plus regular Mexican food. Just make sure you lock your doors. You can also go to Dave and Buster’s. But if you go there, make sure you have a good little bit of money, as it can be expensive. For movies, there is a Cinemark 16 theater that charges about $1.50 for pretty recent movies off of 410 and Babcock (I think). Schlitterbahn is in New Braunfels, by the way, and I don’t think they’re open yet, so waterparking is out. San Marcos has Aquarena Springs, though I’m not sure about their status. The club Freedom was talking about is called Park Place. They have country&western, tejano, club music, and something else there. Just make sure you don’t wear a hat there (unless it’s a cowboy hat). There is also Far West Rodeo, Midnight Rodeo, Sunset Station, The Atrium, several others as well. As for radio, what’s your flavor?
Rock-99.5 KISS, 102.7 KTFM; Classic Rock-104.5 KZEP; Country-100.3 Y100, 97.3 KJ97; Oldies-101.1 KONO; Adult Contemporary 101.9 KQ102, 105.3 Magic 105, 96.1 Mix96.1; Tejano-107.5 Tejano107
Talk-1200 WOAI (is there any other?)

That’s about all I got…anyone want to get together while JeffB is down?

Thanks for all the suggestions, everyone. Two types of food I figure I have to get while in Texas are Mexican and BBQ.

purplebear, I noticed that a lot of your suggestions involved bears. I never realized Texas had so many bears. :wink: Seaworld, the Natural Bridge Cavers, and the Mission Trail all sound like possibilities. BTW, does Mr Bear clean the shark tanks when they’re empty?

Cal, most of your suggestions seem to involve me getting beat up. Is this because I haven’t gotten around to buying your book? I will, I promise! The Magic Lantern Museum sounds interesting.

Zyada, mmmm, authentic Mexican sounds good. What’s wrong with their chicken mole?

Freedom, everyone has told me to check out the Riverwalk. I think my hotel is very close, so I’ll have plenty of opportunities. As far as the temperature goes, I figure it’s always like 100[sup]o[/sup] in Texas, isn’t it?

darian, there was something about Fiesta! in my conference brochure – what exactly is it? I’d love to go to a Spurs game, but I think that will be playoff time, so tickets may be hard to get and/or expensive. Are tripas tripe? If so, you’re right, I don’t want to know what they are.

As far as getting together, I’d love to. I think I’m probably free most evenings, and unlike in Toronto, I have absolutely no obligations on the weekend. Let me know if anyone want to arrange something.

JeffB, I was stationed at Brooks AFB in San Antonio. Most of the good things to do have been covered, and I can’t think of anything else to add.

I second the vote for you to go to Dick’s Last Resort on the Riverwalk (I’m assuming that’s the “Dick’s” mentioned previously). But do not under any circumstances - I don’t care how drunk you are - take my word on this one, learn from my experience…
Do not go swimming at the Riverwalk!!!

Really, I cannot place enough emphasis on that. You may get drunk and think it’s funny, and yes, it is funny for a little while. But local law enforcement frowns on it and that water it just plain nasty.

Make sure to ride the boat down the river at night.

Walk around the Mercado if you get some daytime hours you need to kill.

Eat at Pico de gallos (I might have butchered that it sounds like pico-day-guy-o’s) It’s a little off the main drag and lots of locals eat there it’s good authentic Mexican food.

Don’t make fun of the Alamo.

I’ve just been in San Antonio for a grand total of two weeks, so I can’t really add anything to what’s been said.

All I will say is, let me know when you’re here, and maybe we can get something together.


Okay, here’s my schedule. I arrive in SA late Tuesday afternoon (4/24). My conference runs from noon on Wednesday to noon on Friday during the days. I leave SA Sunday afternoon.

So, purplebear, Mr Bear, darian, and MsRobyn, if you are interested in getting together during that time (weekend would probably be easiest), let me know. Any other San Antonio area Dopers out there? purplebear, I know that you may not be fully recovered yet, so a night of drinking a debauchery may be out of the question, but a quiet dinner would be nice, too.

Jeff - their molé sauce was sweet :blech: Molé is not supposed to be sweet!

Hey Jeff, game 2 of the Spurs/Minnesota series is on Monday night, so sorry there. You might still be able to check out the Iggys, I’m not sure of their schedule. Or if you like baseball, the Missions are having a good season so far. Anyway, I’m on second shift next week, but a weekend thing sounds like fun. Maybe Mrs.darian would be up for something (she’s pregnant with darian01) with everyone. As for Fiesta, think of it as a week-long block party consisting of several city blocks, music, dancing, events, food, shopping, and lots and lots of people. It’s a lot of fun, and downtown, so go there. Trust me. I’m not sure what tripe is, but just take my word on tripas. Don’t ask, just eat them. They’re good with guacamole, pico de gallo, and tortillas. Like I said earlier, I’m free on the weekend so far (unless darian01 decides to go haywire on Mrs.darian’s hormones again), so if you want, I’ll give you my contact info and we can do something, or meet up somewhere for food, fun, and all that sort of thing. By the way, I’ve got some tickets for Monday’s playoff game that I won’t be able to use…anyone want to buy them? Let me know if you do.

ps:.I have to second purplebear’s recommendation of Bill Miller’s BBQ…excellent stuff. But I MUST respectfully dissent on Taco Cabana. To me it’s just a pink Taco B(h)ell, just more expensive. On top of that, Mrs.darian worked there for a while, and trust me…it ain’t pretty. And right now, it’s actually a good time to be in Texas…not too hot (yet), not cold, and it’s not as humid as it usually gets. All the same, bring some shorts.

I’m bumping this up because it seems to have sunk out of sight and I leave for SA in two days. Also, the Austin Dopers seem to be horning in our weekend, so maybe we can join forces. I’d be willing to drive up on the weekend. Anyone still interested?

I’ve got a longish weekend (my company gives a Friday off for Battle of the Flowers), and would love to get together.


…I SO love browser crashes… :smiley:

OK, Jacalas: Good food, good prices, good margaritas… although, IMHO, whoever decided the putting Cointreau in a margarita enhanced it should be shot…guess I’m a purist :smiley:
I recommend the #2 platter, or the Ladies Special if your appetite isn’t that large. Pretty good fajitas, too. Food isn’t as good as before they enlarged it a couple years back, but still nothing to sneeze at. Zyada… I don’t recall Jacalas’ mole sauce to be sweet, FYI… you might want to try it there.

For the Riverwalk: are they still having the grackle problem? I remember the ‘bullseye hats’…LOL Tells ya how long it’s been since I’VE been to the Riverwalk… I’ll have to go again, one of these days.

King William area of town has some beautiful old homes, very pretty.

Head west out HW 16 towards Bandera…great views once you get up on the caprock. Drive around “downtown Bandera” (lots of antique places) and stop for a drink at Arky Blues…

I’ve been to San Antonio twice with Sqrlcub but I highly recommend Little Taco Factory for the best cheese enchilladas around. It’s a little, dumpy, run down building in downtown but the foot is excellent and cheep. Just don’t use the restroom. They are in a seperate building next door and I hear not good at all. Also, try Taco,Taco,Taco and Mama’s has good Mexican too.

I’ve never been to Bill Miller’s, although everyone raves about their sweet tea, but I have been to Casey’s and highly reccomend their BBQ.

And don’t forget a strawberry-lemonade or limeade slushie from Sonic.

The Riverwalk is nice, but expensive. Walk it but save your money and buy your food/trinkets elsewhere.

I was stationed at Ft Sam Houston for about a year and even though it’s been mentioned twice before, I must emphasize: Go to Dick’s Last Resort. It’s a riot.

Also, do not attempt eating any “Chinese” food in Texas. You’ll regret it if you’ve had real Chinese before. That was the biggest reason I wanted to get back to California, to finally have real Chinese again.

Other than that, San Antonio is a beautiful city that is very tourist-friendly. You’ll have a great time, I’m sure.

Well, I leave in the morning for San Antonio. I emailed MsRobyn my contact info for while I’m down there since we didn’t get any plans made yet. I’m not sure how much access I’ll have to the Internet this week.

Thanks for all the suggestions, and I hope I get to meet some of you.