See the River Walk from the water and learn about some of the area’s secrets, like the little cowboys hidden around town. © Zeresh K
How to spend 36 hours in San Antonio, with Hotel Contessa as your base camp.
5 P.M. | DINNER AT LAS RAMBLAS
Located inside Hotel Contessa, this restaurant offers views of the Riverwalk from the limestone patio. Inside, enjoy eclectic art installations over creative cuisine.
6 P.M. | LISTEN TO JOE POSADA AT LANDRY’S
Landry’s Seafood House is home to three-time Grammy Award–winning local musician Joe Posada. Every Friday and Saturday night, he serenades guests with his soulful jazz and Tejano, a mix of Mexican music with classic German and Czech folk tunes that you won’t find anywhere outside of Southern Texas. To make the night even sweeter, the Hotel Contessa front desk always has free appetizer and dessert cards for Landry’s on hand.
10 A.M. | FARMERS MARKET AT THE PEARL
With over 45 vendors each weekend, the Farmers Market at the Pearl focuses completely on local, producer-only merchants and is a great way to learn about South Texas’s growing, ranching and artisanal food community.
12 P.M. | LUNCH AT DOWN ON GRAYSON
Just a skip away from The Pearl, this casual, modern-American restaurant features a menu with something for everyone whether it’s a variety of salads and handhelds or a juicy signature house dish. If that doesn’t sell you, the airy, natural light-filled dining room will. Enormous arched windows and one of the largest patios in San Antonio make a mid-day meal a thing of pure beauty.
2 P.M. | GO RIO RIVERBOAT TOUR
During a 35-minute narrated tour, you’ll learn about the city’s famous downtown Riverwalk that lines the banks of the San Antonio River thanks to comical guides full of unique information. Buy your ticket at any booth or online, and enjoy the history.
6 P.M. | DINNER AT ZINC BISTRO & BAR
Across the street from Hotel Contessa, this downtown San Antonio favorite wine bar marries an elegant European bistro with a casual Texas flare. Their menu offers plates that pair well with their extensive wine list and some favorites from the neighboring Boudro’s restaurant.
9 P.M. | SAN ANTONIO: THE SAGA
This free-and-open-to-the-public captivating video shown on the façade of San Fernando Cathedral takes you on a 24-minute journey of the historic discovery, settlement, and development of San Antonio. The breathtaking colors and imagery showcase just how beautiful the Alamo City is. Show times are every Tuesday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at 9, 9:30 and 10 p.m.
10 A.M. | WEEKEND BRUNCH IN LAS RAMBLAS
Brunch is a well-known Sunday hobby, and a weekend without crafted food and tasty mimosas isn’t complete. Hotel Contessa’s signature restaurant rolled out their new brunch menu last spring and have been improving it every day since. We recommend the Gulf Coast Benedict and the SOB Biscuit & Gravy.
12 P.M. | VIVA TOUR
To finish off your perfect weekend, hop onto a bus with Viva Tours, and explore an authentic take on the history of San Antonio. The owner, Luis Avellana, has been a tour guide in San Antonio for the past 15 years and is known for his insider guide to the city. His tour takes you to three of the five missions, the King William District, San Fernando Cathedral, and the Market Square.
The best food artisans, farms, and local markets.
ALAMO BEER COMPANY
Tucked beneath the historic Hayes Street Bridge, just east of downtown San Antonio, this brewery specializes in continental European beers, including an amber lager, German pale ale and pilsner, plus rotating seasonal selection. Inside, expect an ample beer hall–style vibe with long tables; outside, find a courtyard with additional seating and lawn games.
REBECCA CREEK DISTILLERY
Using copper still pots and a one-of-a-kind filtration process, this craft spirit maker off Route 281 distills whiskeys and vodkas in small batches, carrying out every step under the same roof. Alongside its smooth-sipping flagship whiskey, its standout spirit is the subtly sweet Enchanted Rock Peach Vodka, which earned a silver medal at the Denver International Spirits Competition.
AUGIE’S ALAMO CITY BBQ
If looking for some seriously authentic Texas BBQ, this down-home counter-service establishment is the place. We’re talking uncut rib racks of beef or pork enough to feed up to six people, smoked burgers and hot dogs, and brisket by the pound.
This petite bakeshop in Alamo Heights has some star power behind it. Owned by an actor couple, Elizabeth Chambers and Armie Hammer (he played both Winklevoss twins in The Social Network; she making cameos in 2 Broke Girls), the business is built upon family recipes – specifically those passed down from Chambers’s late grandmother, who owned a catering company in San Antonio. Decadent desserts come in the form of a rainbow of cupcakes, custom layer cakes, and bars and brownies that are made from scratch daily.
Quirky, under -the-radar highlights only a local could recommend.
DENMAN ESTATE PARK
Get a dose of green therapy inside 20 serene acres on the city’s northwest side. Breeze along the half-mile hiking trail, pause for lunch at one of the picnic tables shaded underneath the stands of oak trees, and glimpse the pond-side Pavilion of Gwangju – a colorful pagoda crafted by visiting artists from San Antonio’s Korean sister city.
In the main gallery of San Antonio’s Mission Branch Library, homegrown artist Chris Sauter executed this 9.5- by 13-foot mural to explore the past. Horizontal layers, each rendered in a different medium from paint and movie posters to maps and Apache basket pieces, reflect the complex and varied geological past beneath the library’s present day incarnation.
KING WILLIAM DISTRICT / SOUTHTOWN
This area right by our property known as an ‘urban village’ is a great balance of history while young San Antonio residents are bringing more hip new stores and experiences to the area. They also have an event year-round called “First Fridays” and on the first Friday of every month they have many different activities put on whether it’s music, art shows, food or fitness fun.
This giant children’s museum is a favorite for San Antonio families with eight sections spread across 26,000 square feet of indoor space and 39,000 square feet of outdoor space. The exhibits have a math and STEM bent to them, like the robot dance floor that lets kids try their hand at simple programming or the Simulation House, which is like an escape room for your kids where they solve puzzles to find secret clues.
When simply “seeing” a destination just won’t do.
SUNRISE HIKE | COMANCHE LOOKOUT
This almost five-mile hike up to the fourth tallest point in San Antonio (1,340 feet) is fairly easy thanks to a steady surface of asphalt and pugmill, making it accessible to almost everyone. At the top of the 96-acre park sits an old five-story stone tower that offers an excellent view of the city spread out below.
DRIVE-THROUGH SAFARI | NATURAL BRIDGE WILDLIFE RANCH
A FULL DAY OF FUN AND ADVENTURE
Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch is comprised of 450 protected acres filled with 40 free-roaming animal species from across the globe. Some of the species you may see on your wild African safari include zebras, wildebeests, kangaroos, and giraffes. A little education mixed with preservation is the recipe for a full day of fun and adventure.
KAYAK MISSION REACH | MISSION KAYAK
BEGIN YOUR ADVENTURE
An easy five-mile paddle down the San Antonio River between Roosevelt and Espada Park reveals a scenic backdrop of the Missions Concepción, San José, and San Juan. Discover history and nature as you paddle down the river that gave life to San Antonio.
WILD ENCOUNTER | BRACKEN CAVE
The world’s largest bat colony – comprised of more than 15 million female Mexican free-tailed bats – resides just 20 miles from downtown San Antonio in this cave. Every evening, the creatures spiral out of the cave for their nightly insect hunt – an impressive sight you can take in with your own two eyes.