The city of San Antonio has much to offer but when you have only one day off to experience the area what do you pick? On a recent work trip to the home of the Alamo, we found ourselves with short window of downtime to see the sights and our local friends. So here is a little about our San Antonio Grown-Up Field Trip:
Our day started by meeting our buddy at Bier Garten Riverwalk, this little German place was the prefect location to finalize our plan of attack. As you can guess we had a nice brew but also enjoyed the sausage and pretzel plates, just a snack to get us started. This spot is not as close to the actual Riverwalk as some other restaurants but is butted against a lovely fountain. There really are so many options in this area to enjoy a bite and a beer, you can’t go wrong.
It was off to our next stop; the one you can’t miss in San An, the Alamo. Parking in the area can be tough, so instead of driving down there we parked near our last planned stop and took a Lyft over. There are multiple things to do in this area and not fussing with meters or garages has some benefit. What can I say about the Alamo, the biggest tip I can share about this place is to know that it is free and self-guided? There are docents around and guided tours you can go on but for the most part things are there to enjoy at your own pace. Photography is limited only in certain areas but this place is ALWAYS crowed. There is no reason not to take a little time from your schedule to learn a bit more about Texas history.
Just across the street from the Alamo is the Menger Hotel, made famous by Theodore Roosevelt, but he is not the only notable guest. There is quite a list of US Presidents and Dignitaries whom have spent time at the Hotel and Bar. I have a real love of places like this, where it history is in the walls and in this instance, in the bar stools. Here is a good example of why we call these “Grown-Up Field Trips”. This is one historic location that a parent is not likely to take you as a kid or would really be inappropriate. You aren’t going to enjoy your soda nearly as much as a gin & tonic in the place where Teddy met his Rough Riders.
We made one more stop in downtown; it was onto the Buckhorn Saloon & Museum. This place is pure Texas. You get your saloon, albeit as total tourist trap, and two floors of taxidermy specimens from all over the world. Now the latter might not be everybody’s bag but I certainly like it. While I am not a big game hunter, many of these specimens were taken during an era when conservation was viewed different and this is a great way to see animals without keeping them is zoos. Larger collections like this often feature a critter or two that is extinct or incredibly rare. This is just one of the many attractions; there is a penny shooting range, an antler collection, some beautiful dining rooms, and a really nice bar. So it was a brew for my crew (served in a chalice) and onto our last stop.
Now many of you know how much we like to visit breweries. We like beer, like craft beer, and I feel like you get a real sense of a brewery by visiting. There is always something special or informative to find when talking to those who work right at the source. This is way we chose Alamo Beer Company as the final stop. This is not the original brewing site but an upgraded and now multi-use facility. This place is HUGE and I’d imagine usually crowed. We were there on a weekday late afternoon. Not only do they have a delightful taproom with engaging staff but local food trucks come by to serve up goodies. I know there are many choices for breweries in the area and this one is a bit commercial but when you don’t have to work hard to enjoy some sun, the suds, and a killer street taco it’s a great choice.
So there you go, a Grown-Up Field Trip. We wanted to get a rounded view of San Antonio, while also keeping the day relaxed. Two striking points of San Antonio, the Riverwalk and the Alamo; mixed with some less known culture catching sites, Menger and Buckhorn. Top that off by chatting with locals who share similar interests and we were left wanting a second day off.