I was surprised by how much I thoroughly loved San Antonio. I really enjoy finding what is unique about a place and exploring. This was our 2 day family (of 5) getaway where we explored The Alamo, The Missions, The Riverwalk, Down Town, Historic Pearl Street and even a Biergarten!
We decided to take our bikes on this trip when we discovered that you could bike the different Missions from the Texas travel blogger My Curly Adventures. Biking was a big game changer in several awesome ways. You can bring or rent them (you can even rent them at The San Antonio Missions National Historic Park office). Admission is free, but there are some COVID 19 guidelines and there is a lot of good information and advice! We have a 9, 6 and 4 year old, so we had to bring the bike trailer, but this was so worth it and a tremendous way to see the city.
If you have Littles and want to see the Missions, I recommend starting at the Missions National Historic Park Office, which is also where the mission Concepcion is. The Alamo is down town San Antonio, right in the city about 5 miles away from the start of the other missions. It makes the round trip bike of all 5 missions about 12.5 miles, which was too long a ride for us. If you start at the Park Office, you can bike along the river walk and pick and choose which missions you want to go out and back to see. They are very doable; 2-3 miles apart, along the beautiful San Antonio River.
As an aside, if you stay in San Antonio near the river walk, the chances are you will be able to walk to The Alamo and do it separately; which I also recommend because even though admission is free, you have to reserve a time slot, which you can do here.
Anyhow, I digress. We arrived at our hotel, The Embassy Suites San Antonio Riverwalk at around 2pm on a Friday. The hotel was a little dated, but they were in the process of updating. Plus, you really cannot beat the location, Happy Hour and complimentary breakfast. I don’t know. It’s just nice to know you have a place to come back to and have a drink with kids before heading out and not have to worry about breakfast. The two room suite with extra bed is also nice with the kids…
But I digress again. We dropped off the car with valet, checked in, changed in the room and we were out the door again by around 3:30pm. We drove our truck with bikes in the back to the Missions National Historic Park Office and explored the Mission Concepcion for a good while. Then we hopped on our bikes and followed the riverwalk and signs to the next Mission: Juan Capistrano and explored there for a good bit.
I just really loved all of the fun angles, spaces and look of this Mission. It was not as ‘grand’ as the Concepción, but was just as stunning in its own way. I had an absolute blast taking zillions of photos of the kiddos here.
When we had finished biking and exploring, we headed back to the Embassy Suites to grab a quick drink before heading off to Acenar to eat supper on the riverwalk. We ate outside and it was wonderful. I highly recommend the fish tacos and prickly pear margarita!
We finished dinner around 7:30 and took off to explore the riverwalk. This was such a fun experience at night. The riverwalk had these colorful light strands dangling from the surrounding trees that twinkled and added a whimsical element that just made you smile. It made the souvenir, toy and ice cream shops that much more inviting. The riverwalk was just plain gorgeous to walk, but we found a pop gun, wooden Bowie knife, dolls and ice cream that beckoned our name. We just so happened to surface on the streets again right by the horse drawn Cinderella Carriages, which we also had to try. This was fun, but not super informative or enlightening. It added to the memory and magic of the night for us and our Littles, but if it doesn’t do that for you, you could skip it.
Got back to The Embassy Suites at around 9pm, showered, and I read a children book called, “Suzannah of the Alamo,” in preparation for our tour of The Alamo the next day.
As always when we travel, we woke up bright and early Saturday morning. I grabbed a quick workout before we grabbed a quick hotel breakfast of eggs, homemade flour tortillas and potatoes as a family. Our Alamo reservation wasn’t until 10:30am and we were ready to go by about 8 am. Again. Littles. But honestly being ready this early really helped us seize the day and do a lot!
We had wanted to see the King William Historic district and Hemisfair Park so we decided to knock those out with a morning bike ride. It was a blast. The King William Historic District was stunning, with great paths along the river and down neighborhood streets with exceptionally stunning homes. I could have spend forever there, but the kids were dying to get to Hemisfair Park, which is pretty incredible and exceptional as far as parks go. There was a coffee shop there, a little fort, tons of awesome play equipment, a splash pad with a lawn and lawn chairs, a sand area, a garden… they even had corn hole and Foosball table outside! A great thing to do any day, but especially during this the time of COVID19. Plus at 9am, it was pretty empty.
We biked back to the truck and headed to The Alamo, where they let us in early at 10am. The Alamo was really wonderful. A powerful and even somewhat heavy experience. The historians there were knowledgeable and eager to share. We also thoroughly enjoyed the weapons , cannon and “medicine” demonstrations.
Finished up at around 11:00 and headed to the Historic Pearl Street Farmers Marked for lunch. Very cool vibes with lots of space, lawn to sit on and riverfront restaurants. A great way to sample lots of different kinds of local cuisine without sitting the whole family down at multiple restaurants. At the pace our family goes, we definitely don’t have time for that, lol. We tried so many things to include local empanadas, tacos, cinnamon rolls, coffee etc. There was live music and even a fellow playing a didgeridoo like contraption with buckets under his arms and various instruments everywhere. He was a character and pretty darn good one man band! Entertaining to say the least.
Once we were done at Pearl Street, we decided to head home. We stopped by New Braunefels on the way back to check out the Krause’s farmers market and Biergarten since it was only about a half hour a way. If you have the time, or it’s on your way back, I highly recommend it! The Farmers Market was great and the live music, polka, great food and large beer and German heritage is always a fun atmosphere, and this was no exception. If you’re the DD, make sure you are well compensated for that selfless act!