How To Spend 24 Hours In San Antonio, Texas
Hey ya’ll! Today i’m bringing you a step by step guide with everything you need to know about heading to San Antonio, Texas! From where to stay to where to eat and what to do! I hope you all enjoy!
Step 1: Find an Amazing Hotel
My only requirement for booking a hotel in San Antonio was that it had to be on the river walk. We were only going to be spending one night at the hotel so I wanted it to be as centrally located as possible. I came across the Drury Inn & Suites (not to be confused with the Drury Plaza across the street) and was immediately impressed. The pictures on their website (and on Expedia where I ultimately booked the hotel) were fantastic. The hotel was right on the river walk, there was a complimentary breakfast and you could get a room with a balcony. Done and done.
I didn’t realize until we were checking in just how fantastic the hotel was. In addition to a complimentary breakfast we were handed over drink tickets for the 5:30 Kickback that they have. Oh, and it wasn’t just one drink ticket. It’s 3 complimentary drinks per person per night. WHAT. The kickback also includes food. Dinner food. Needless to say we saved a ton of money by eating dinner at the hotel. If you thought that was cool there is also free popcorn and soft drinks from 3-10pm. Hellooooo snack time. By the way, there’s also a roof top pool. No. Big. Deal.
Step 2: Figure out how you’ll get around
If you’re a smart cookie like I think you all are, you’ve booked a hotel on the river walk which means you can basically walk anywhere you’ll need to go. The river walk has all sorts of bridges and staircases to get you all over the place as the main part of the river walk is a big loop.
// Just a couple warnings about the river walk: It doesn’t appear to be too wheelchair friendly. The hotels all have access to the river walk and they have elevators inside but I didn’t see a single elevator on the walk itself and only a handful of ramps. Additionally, there are many, many areas of the river walk that have no railings you you need to be careful with kids (or yourself after a few drinks). At night it’s pretty crowded so just be careful.
When you’re ready to wander outside of the river walk the best way we found to get around was to rent a bike. Just find the station nearest you and hop on! It’s $12 for 24 hours which we found was perfect. BCycle even has an app so you can easily map out where to drop your bike off while you explore. We chose to rent bikes while we went on a little Mission Tour and to get a broader view of the city without having to rent a car.
Step 3: Prioritize what you’d like to do
When you’ve only got 24 hours in a city you really need to prioritize what you what to see because unfortunately, you won’t get to do everything. Here’s a list of everything we did and why it should be on your list too.
// The River Walk
This one is a no-brainer. It’s the top attraction in San Antonio and it’s a must see. Take a stroll around. Take as many pictures as you can. Kill some time and take a seat on a bench to do some people watching. I highly suggest doing a day time and a night time stroll as San Antonio turns magical as soon as dusk hits. Lights everywhere. If you’re interested in learning some history or have some people in your group who are a little less mobile there are a lot of options for boat tours.
Another no-brainer. Everyone has heard the phrase “remember the Alamo” and you’ll get to step inside and learn why you should remember it, for free! You’ll get to explore the former Mission (part of the San Antonio Missions mentioned below) turned fortress with some cool demonstrations by staff as well as periodic history talks that are all free. Definitely make sure you go first thing in the morning as this is a free, and very popular attraction. Plus, it’ll be a lot cooler in the morning.
From there, if you’re at all interested in history you really need to check out the Mission trail (or at least one other mission). We went to the Mission Concepción which is the oldest un-restored church in America.
If you’re into contemporary or modern art at all you’ve got to check this place out. The place is called Artplace and it’s a residency and guest curation place. Artists go there and stay and create their art and have it on display. It was such a fun place to pop into to get out of the hot sun before grabbing snacks and heading out of town.
San Antonio has 9 shopping centers. Nine. There’s a few typical malls which are nice if the weather isn’t too great. The Shops at the River Center you can get to right off the river walk and its steps away from the Alamo. Market Square is far superior in my opinion with over 80 small shops and stalls. Any souvenir you could ever want is in this place. The best shopping center IMO? La Villita. It’s a small shopping village with art galleries, unique gifts and restaurants. Everything you could want all wrapped up in an adorable village.
Step 4: Find Good Food & Drinks
This might be the most important part of any trip. Good food and drinks are insanely important and can really make or break a destination in my opinion. Because we were only in town for 24 hours we didn’t do any planning on where to eat and chose to just grab whatever when we were hungry. For us, that meant spending the night in and eating at our hotel so we could spend more time wandering around. The food was pretty decent and our 3 complimentary drinks (margaritas for me) made dinner at the hotel an easy win. When going anywhere don’t underestimate the hotel staff. They are full of amazing recommendations which is how we ended up at:
Modern Tex Mex is how this restaurant is described and it was exactly we were craving upon arrival to San Antonio. Our hotel even had a coupon for us that got us a free appetizer. Talk about a win. I had chicken enchiladas and they were out of this world. Of course I had a delicious margarita to wash it down with so that helped. I had the best margaritas in my life in Texas.
We stumbled across this place as we were walking down the river walk. If you’re looking for a place to eat outside with an amazing view and delicious food, this is the place. Still not convinced? They make fresh guac at your table. in front of you. It’s delicious. We went with appetizers and I could not recommend the place more. The prices were a bit steep for lunch for me, but, you’ve got to take the beautiful view into consideration. Plus, we got to meet an adorable duck family with ducklings. Swoon.
Conveniently right across the river from our hotel was one of the coolest bars I’ve ever been to. I have never felt so un-cool in my life. The Esquire is the oldest bar on the river walk and it’s got a wooden bar top that’s 100 feet long. Yes, 100 feet and you’ll still have to fight for space at the bar. This place is that good.
And that folks, is how you spend the best 24 hours ever in San Antonio! Let me know if you have any other recommendations or suggestions in the comments below! I’d love to hear them.