Y’all– San Antonio is hands down one of our favorite places ever. It’s big enough to have a lot of choices, but has a very small town feel. Everyone is super friendly, there is so much history, and it’s easy to get around.
Steven’s grandparents lived there for a long time, so he grew up going there a lot, and is really familiar with the city. I’ve been several times as an adult, so I’m decently familiar with it as well. Steven has mentioned before that between med school, residency and other opportunities, it’s crazy that he or his brother haven’t ended up there for at least some portion of their training. But, it’s really fun to go there for visits and just hang out, too!
We recently went for five days for Steven to take the last of his licensing exams, and for us to have a short anniversary vacation and it was so much fun! So, I’m going to talk about our five favorite things about San Antonio! Some are things we did this past trip, and some are things we’ve done before, but didn’t that particular trip.
- The Riverwalk
So, this is such a fun place to visit, but it’s a time consuming affair, and you have to be prepared to be around a lot of people (not something we always love, but will do it occasionally 😉 ). There are tons and tons of restaurants and shops to walk in and out of, as well as a lot of historical sites (like a longstanding hospital and hotels). The last time we went was a little over a year ago for our short honeymoon after our wedding. We parked at the Tower of Americas (and walked through that as well), and then walked over to the Riverwalk. We decided to take one of the boat tours (like in the picture), and it was really fun! We learned some history we didn’t know, and our tour guide was really funny, so I would definitely recommend that!
If you are on the Riverwalk and you haven’t been, you (of course) have to walk over to the Alamo. It’s right there, and it’s so important to Texas history. We’ve seen it several times, so we haven’t been the last few trips.
2. San Antonio Zoo
We did do this on our most recent trip (and we both went as children as well). It was fun! Not quite like I remember as a kid, but it was still fun!
We walked through the whole thing in about an hour, but we didn’t really linger at a lot of the exhibits, so it probably takes longer if you are moving through with kiddos. Steven’s favorite was the African wild dogs (pictured above). They look like semi-normal dogs, but they could totally rip faces off! And mine was the giraffes. They have a cool new exhibit where you can feed the giraffes, but we missed the first time, and the next feeding wasn’t for a few hours so we skipped that. Steven recommends the nachos, and I recommend getting an awesome animal nose straw for your drink!
3. Bill Miller’s and Sea Island
These are going to be lumped together because I’m running out of faves, and we’ll just consider them both casual fine dining.
Bill Miller’s is BBQ and is delicious! We went on our last trip, and it was good as always. There are a few in the Austin area, but it is primarily in San Antonio. And they are pretty common around there, so you don’t have to look far to find one! The sweet tea is great, I love the chopped beef sandwiches (the actual brisket and turkey is good, too), and Steven loves the chicken strips. And pecan pie is a must. MUST.
Sea Island is a fast (ish) seafood restaurant and it is really good! It’s a nicer alternative to a typical fast food restaurant, but it’s not too expensive for seafood. We didn’t get a chance to go on our last trip, but we did the time before and it was so good!
4. Magnolia Pancake Haus
THIS PLACE IS THE BEST. I’m not kidding. THE BEST breakfast you will ever have. A sweet friend in undergrad that grew up in San Antonio introduced us to this several years ago, and I’ll be forever grateful. And we go every time we get a chance. On our mini-honeymoon, we went twice. And we were there for three days.
There are two locations- Embassy Oaks and Huebner near the medical center. And here’s a little insider tip that will save your life– log on to the Nowait app and check the wait. It will let you get in line remotely so you don’t have to wait once you get to the restaurant. and it will tell you how many people are in front of you and your estimated wait time. Waiting isn’t a huge deal at the Med Center location because they have a large patio and outdoor waiting area, but the Embassy Oaks location is about the size of a postage stamp with pretty much no where to wait. When we tried to go this last trip, we waited too late (like 10 AM on Sunday), and they had an hour wait (the app said there were 31 parties in front of us…) at Embassy Oaks. Med Center’s wait was 1.5-2 hours. Y’all, it’s worth it, and Steven has said that MPH is one of the few places he’s willing to wait — IF there would have been room for us to wait somewhere. There was no where to sit, stand, or just be because so many people were waiting, so we bailed. We were in Austin by the time we would have been seated (because it took me a long time to figure out how to get out of line on the app).
Once you get seated, you must have waffles. Or an omelet. Everything there is delicious, but those are our favorites! 🙂
5. THE SPURS!
We are huge Spurs fans (as I’ve mentioned, our fur kids all have middle names after Spurs players (Ruger Kahwi, Gump Lamarcus, Boudreaux Duncan)). We’ve watched them play together for years (their playoff run in 2013 was the reason Steven and I got to see each other so much as he was finishing the semester of med school. He couldn’t not watch them play, and I happily joined 🙂 ), but this was our first time to see them in person together!
We saw them play against the Knicks this time, and it was a good game! We’re a little bummed we didn’t get to Tim Duncan play, but we did get to see the starters out there and it was awesome! There really isn’t a bad seat in the house, and the stadium is so organized and well run. If you like basketball at all, you gotta check them out! Go Spurs Go!
We love eating at Pappadeaux’s…
This past time, we did a dinner at Cheesecake Factory, and I had an awesome lunch by myself at La Madeleine while Steven was testing (I read my book by the fire while eating quiche. It was everything I never knew I wanted to do). We also hit Tiff’s Treats for a dozen cookies twice!
In the past, we have stayed at historic hotels on the Riverwalk (The Gunter and The Crockett), and hit up fun museums and shows in the historic district. The Resort at La Cantera is GORGEOUS (we had a bachelorette party for our sweet friend Kerry there and it was amazing!), and all the shopping at La Cantera and The Rim is great! We love hitting up the Bass Pro Shop in The Rim, as well as the Palladium movie theatre out there.
If anyone has any fun San Antonio things that we are missing, please share! And I hope this list helps if you ever find yourself in San Antonio!
Happy Friday! (And if you want more faves, check out today’s other #FaveFive post!