San Antonio in 3 DaysThree days is barely enough time to get to know any major travel destination. But AAA travel editors suggest these activities to make the most of your time in San Antonio.
Day 1: Morning Begin at the Spanish Governor's Palace on Commerce Street. Be sure to spend some time outdoors, as the formal landscaped gardens are lovely.
Continue west on Commerce Street to El Mercado (a.k.a. Market Square ) and peruse colorful Mexican arts and crafts in the stalls.
Day 1: AfternoonAAA/Greg Weekes
Return to Market Square for lunch at Mi Tierra Café Y Panadería , a landmark Tex-Mex restaurant established in 1941. Sample the succulent fajitas and, for dessert, the delectable flan. For another take on Tex-Mex cuisine, try La Margarita . Their oysters on the half shell are a favorite with those in the know.
After you've grabbed a bite and a souvenir or two, walk a few blocks east to experience the River Walk . This is the town's main artery, and many would argue that it's the heart and soul of San Antone. It's impossible to visit the city without walking or riding along this picturesque stretch of the San Antonio River as it meanders through downtown. Find an access stairway leading down and start sightseeing via the River Walk's lush, breezy walkways.
While leisurely strolls on the River Walk certainly are relaxing, you also can use this planned attraction to reach some of San Antonio's most treasured points of interest. For starters, take the Paseo del Alamo extension to get to The Alamo ; from early to mid-afternoon the crowds aren't as heavy at the revered historical site. Pore over the artifacts exhibited in the Long Barrack Museum but don't overlook the amazing grounds planted with flora from four different ecological zones.
Next, take Alamo Street south to La Villita —the oldest neighborhood in the city now shelters an arts and crafts community. The Spanish Colonial architecture is magnificent; plus, there are plenty of glassblowers, potters, weavers and leather workers to watch practicing their craft.
Across Alamo Street, you'll spot a needle-shaped structure reaching toward the clouds. The 750-foot-tall Tower of the Americas, built for the 1968 World's HemisFair, features a 4-D theater as well as an observation deck where you'll enjoy a panoramic view of the city. Take the elevator ride up at dusk, when the sun spreads a golden veil over San Antonio; as evening approaches, the hilly countryside beyond darkens to purple on the horizon.
Day 1: EveningAAA/Inspector 66
Looking for places to eat? Remain at the Tower of the Americas for dinner at Chart House , which rotates 360 degrees to give diners spectacular views of the city, or head back to the River Walk, where there's no shortage of restaurants suitable for any palate or budget. The zesty aromas of Spanish specialties fill the air at Las Canarias Restaurant inside the Omni La Mansión del Rio. For those who prefer a casual meal, local institution Schilo's Delicatessen delivers homey platters showcasing such German favorites as Wiener schnitzel and bratwurst.
Day 2: MorningCourtesy of Mission San Juan Capistrano
It's best to drive to San Antonio Missions National Historical Park , located south of downtown San Antonio. The park comprises four 18th-century missions founded by the Franciscans, all of which are still active parishes. Individual locations boast park stations that provide historical information and driving directions. The Mission Trail starts with Mission Nuestra Señora de la Purísima Concepción de Acuña and each subsequent mission is 2-3 miles away. You'll discover the architecture and heritage of Mission San José y San Miguel de Aguayo , Mission San Juan Capistrano and Mission San Francisco de la Espada , and, if it's Sunday, you can attend the exuberant Mariachi Mass at Mission San José y San Miguel de Aguayo.
Day 2: AfternoonAfter spending the morning touring missions, mosey over to N. Presa Street to the café at the Buckhorn Saloon & Museum for a burger, some catfish or a rib eye. After lunch, walk through the museum for a glimpse of wildlife oddities and more than 4,000 mounted animal horns.
Next, head to The Historic Menger Hotel for some refreshments from the Menger Bar, where Theodore Roosevelt recruited many of the Rough Riders. This gorgeous building houses displays about the dignitary and also is rumored to be haunted.
Day 2: EveningAAA/Greg Weekes
At sunset, return to the River Walk for a slow cruise down the waterway; the knowledgeable tour guides employed by GO RIO Cruises enhance the beautiful scenery with facts and curious tidbits about the canal-like river.
When your stomach starts rumbling, try the casual Mexican cuisine of Rio Rio Cantina —it's worth the wait for a table at this festive eatery on the water's edge. The rellenos, a house specialty, are perfect paired with one or two of Rio Rio's signature margaritas.
Or, if you're in search of something swanky, relocate your evening fiesta to the downtown theater district, where the Majestic and Empire theaters offer concerts and other cultural performances. For dinner, luxe Bohanan's Prime Steaks & Seafood boasts a super-accommodating waitstaff and an impressive wine list.
Day 3: MorningMcNay Art Museum
Drive north of downtown to The McNay Art Museum , where you'll spend the first half of the morning with Cézanne, Matisse and O'Keeffe. Then, make your way to the San Antonio Botanical Garden to enjoy flourishing gardens, pretty landscaping and diverse habitats.
Day 3: AfternoonFor lunch, stop at nearby restaurants like chic Cappy's for an oak-grilled Kobe burger or a cup of New Orleans-style gumbo; a full belly will help you to focus while you're perusing the noteworthy exhibits of the San Antonio Museum of Art . Highlights include the Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Latin American Art and the extensive Asian art collection, which spans nearly 6,000 years.
If you still have some energy, explore the 25-block King William Historic District. Affluent German merchants settled in this area in the late 1800s; a map detailing a self-guiding tour is available from the San Antonio Conservation Society, 107 King William St.
Day 3: EveningiStockphoto.com/Kesu01
Since your legs probably need a rest by now, give your lungs a workout instead by cheering on the NBA Spurs at the AT&T Center. If the four-time NBA Finals champs aren't playing, spend one last evening at the River Walk nibbling on exotic Texan fare at upscale Boudro's on the Riverwalk . Or, for something more laid-back, try The Cactus Flower , near the Alamo in the San Antonio Marriott Riverwalk .
San Antonio, TX
AAA’s in-person hotel evaluations are unscheduled to ensure the inspector has an experience similar to that of members. To pass inspection, all hotels must meet the same rigorous standards for cleanliness, comfort and hospitality. These hotels receive a AAA Diamond designation that tells members what type of experience to expect.
Municipalities may impose additional rates of up to 2 percent on the statewide 6.25 percent sales tax. Sales tax in the city of San Antonio is 8.25 percent; rates vary in the suburbs. The hotel occupancy tax is 16.75 percent.
Baptist Medical Center, (210) 297-7000; Metropolitan Methodist Hospital, (210) 757-2200; Mission Trail Baptist Hospital, (210) 297-3000; Northeast Baptist Hospital, (210) 297-2000; University Hospital, (210) 358-4000.
317 Alamo Plaza San Antonio, TX 78205. Phone:(210)244-2000 or (800)447-3372
San Antonio International Airport
Hertz, (210) 841-8800 or (800) 654-3131, offers discounts to AAA members.
The Amtrak station is at 350 Hoefgen Ave.; for train schedule and ticket information phone (210) 223-3226 or (800) 872-7245.
The Greyhound Lines Inc. bus terminal is at 500 N. St. Mary's St.; phone (210) 270-5868 or (800) 231-2222.
San Antonio taxis are metered. The average fare is $2.50 when you enter the cab plus $2.60 for each mile. A $1 surcharge is added for trips between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m. Four passengers can ride for a single fare. The major company is Yellow Cab, (210) 222-2222. Boat taxis travel the river's downtown loop daily 9-9 (weather permitting). A one-way fare is $10, an all-day fare is $12, and a 3-day fare is $25. Phone (210) 244-5700 or (800) 417-4139.
VIA Metropolitan Transit provides public transportation consisting of buses and streetcars. Buses are routed through all sections of town; one bus even whisks shoppers from mall to mall on I-410. Express buses run daily from 6:30 to 9:30 a.m. Vintage streetcars travel three main city routes daily from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. or later, swinging by attractions, shopping areas and other key locations about every 10 minutes.