If you’re looking for an easy adventure weekend with the kids, look no further than San Antonio! Holly Rosen Fink has the inside scoop on where to stay, what to do, where to eat and how to enjoy this amazing city with your kids.
San Antonio, located in the “Lone Star State,” is an unexpected family vacation destination. It’s also a viable option for a weekend away from Brooklyn. It’s a very walkable town and has very real Texan hospitality, patriotism, and adventure which are all tangible when traveling around the city. There are attractions and activities for all ages that are either historic, cultural or fun, as well as inexpensive, high-quality restaurants and hotels.
If you’re looking to escape Brooklyn to spend a relaxing weekend in San Antonio with the kids and do something incredibly different, look no further – we have the lowdown.
HOW TO GET THERE AND WHEN TO VISIT
One piece of good news is that multiple airlines fly out of NYC airports to San Antonio. These flights vary throughout the year including Delta, America, and United. The flight is around four hours, so if you can take an extra day and make it a long weekend, it would be worthwhile to do so. Be prepared for a long flight with the kids by taking coloring books, iPads, formula, and whatever else you need. Another piece of good news is that you don’t need to rent a car while visiting San Antonio for a few days. You can walk virtually all over the city, or take cabs or Uber, or better yet, catch a boat ride or touring trolley.
The city is lovely and warm almost any time of the year. The best time to visit is from November to April, when the weather is comfortable and hotel rates are lower. Summer sees the largest influx of tourists from in- and out-of-state. Because of its historical significance to the state and its family-friendly theme parks like Schlitterbahn Water Park (if you have enough time, definitely plan a visit!), San Antonio attracts hordes of Texas families during the summer break. But beware: the Texan summer is close to unbearable (for most people) with high humidity and temperatures exceeding 90 degrees Fahrenheit. So, if you don’t like the scorching heat, visit during another time of year.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT SAN ANTONIO’S HISORY
San Antonio is situated at the headwaters of the San Antonio River on the Balcones Escarpment, about 80 miles (130 km) southwest of Austin. The first Spanish explorers gave the San Antonio River its name because it was the feast day of St. Anthony. The actual founding of the city came in 1718 by Father Antonio Olivares, when he established Mission San Antonio de Valero. Later it would become known as the Alamo.
WHERE TO STAY
San Antonio Marriott Rivercenter offers a certain level of peace and quiet, as well as comfort that is hard to find in the center of San Antonio’s Riverwalk. The 38-story hotel holds more than 500 rooms within walking distance to dozens of historical sites, shops, and restaurants. Rooms that face the water feature balconies, which are great for traveling families. It also has onsite dining that includes popular Tex Mex cuisine, a gym, an indoor/outdoor pool and access to an entertainment complex. Best of all, its spacious, cozy rooms offer families a good night’s sleep after a long day of sightseeing in the Texan heat.
WHAT TO DO
San Antonio’s River Walk is nearly 15 miles of winding passages along the river that can be viewed by a stroll or boat ride and is also a must do. It’s literally the largest urban ecosystem restoration in the nation and it’s quite a spectacle and a great place for any stroll (or stroller, for that matter)-loving family. A good way to get orientated to both the city and the River Walk is by jumping on one of the cruises that offer interesting background and a historical context to the area. The cruises run all day and tickets are quite affordable, particularly for young kids. Or you can choose to take a ride around town on Alamo Trolley, a hop on/hop off tour, starting at the Alamo, and going past sites including Mission San Jose, Mission Concepcion, Market Square, and the Institute of Texan Cultures.
You also can’t visit San Antonio without a trip to the Alamo, a shrine to the men who died defending the mission in 1836, but before you visit the actual place, pique your kids’ interest, by catching the IMAX movie, “Alamo…The Price of Freedom” at the adjacent AMC Rivercenter 11. Stop by the Witte Museum, a science and natural history museum with interactive, hands-on activities, an outdoor area, and a climbing rock wall. Lastly, allow the kids to indulge in a tour of Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Museum, the Ripley’s Haunted Adventure, Guinness World Records Museum and Tomb 3D Adventure Ride and Arcade.
WHERE TO EAT
In San Antonio, head to Mi Tierra, located in the very busy Market Square, with its massively sized restaurant, Christmas lights, a big bakery, Mexican singers, and big plates of chips and queso. Don’t miss the chocolate bread at La Panadería, a Pan Americano bakery, a great stop for a healthy lunch.