San Antonio trip help needed

Planning a trip to San Antonio with DH, DD’s 13 & 14 for the end of May. Hoping that a Liner who lives there or has visited can give help with a few questions. Planning 2 days for Schlitterbahn (main reason for visit), Riverwalk, Alamo and would like to visit a few state parks while we are there. The girls are not going to be into museums so keeping that to a minimum. Planning on 4 to 5 days (hoping for a Disney trip this summer also). My questions are:
Weather: will it will be warm enough for water park and husband mentioned tubing on the Comal river
Hotel: looking at hotels near airport, cheaper than Riverwalk locations. Any suggestions on where to avoid or best locations.
Food: any not to be missed locations
Appreciate any and all help. Planning to fly Southwest into San Antonio, had looked at flying into Austin to “see” more of Texas while we are there.

Two main hints for the Riverwalk part.
Take a walking tour first. That was the highlight of our last trip there. We didn’t do Schlitterbahn. We ended up with a private tour although we booked a regular one. But it meant that he could tailor the tour to us. I forget his name, but he was a big guy although I don’t know how you could politely ask for him with that description. Maybe add that you were told he was amazing. It might be just him that does the tours.

Second, for on the water, your choice is to do a tour or taxi. The tour line will be huge and the boat will do a circuit and you have to get off at the end. Do the taxi. You’ll get on much quicker and you never have to get off. On the tour you’ll have a hard time hearing them anyway. But since you’ve done the walking tour already you’ll already know most of what they are going to say. DD loved that we went through a lock. We also accidently got on at the right time - later afternoon. So we saw a sunset and the river at both day and night. We also had prime seats for three weddings. One of them was in a performance type layout with the wedding happening on one side and the guests on the other. Our boat strolled through between them just for the “I do’s” I felt a bit bad.

I don’t know if they still have them, but I regret us not using the … I forget the name, powered skateboards with wheels, that you could rent. When we were there you could rent them like the bikes that lay about inner cities and we could have done a mission tour that way.

We also did a driving historic houses tour. I think I got a pamphlet at our hotel. DD declared it “The prettiest city and she wants to live there” Of course she still hasn’t seen that many and her previous city visit was Vegas.

Thank you! The Riverwalk ideas will be very useful, may do that on arrival day. The skateboards may not be a good idea, especially for me. I could see a sightseeing trip to the hospital. Thanks for the help!

2 Likes

I live in Austin, go to Schlitterbahn every year and have been several times to Riverwalk. It’ll probably be hot as all get out in May so yes you’ll be fine. Occasionally it’s cool but if it is I think it’s worth the low crowds at the water park. I made my kids take me one mothers days and it was in the 60s which weirdly made the river water feel warmer. They were shivering between rides but they survived! :wink:

I don’t ever stay at the airport but I do do Priceline and Hotwire for riverwalk which I highly recommend. Also, spend one night at Schlitterbahn itself. I recommend the Riverbend Cabins or some of the newer lofts or houses. I wouldn’t recommend the rooms by the original park. The treehouses are the best but they are pricey. Riverbend is next best. You’re literally in the park and have late access to the heated pool and the surfing ride after hours and get early access to the master blaster which gets tremendous lines. Oh yeah and 1 nights room gets you two days water park for everyone. I usually head down on day one and check in at 10am at the old park. We then take the side entrance into the old park and spend the first day there. When we’re done and our room is ready we check in and do surf n burg in the evening. Next morning we do early entry at blastenhauf and repeat what we want. It really makes it relaxing over two days. You’ve never experienced a water park like this one. It’s hands down the best I’ve ever been to and I’m a water park junkie. I love love love The Falls. It’s a 20 minute loop with fast and slow parts and you get to stay in your tube You can ride up the ramp in your tube and do it all over again.

The food on the riverwalk isn’t my favorite honestly but there are decent options. But the views are nice. I think we usually eat at Rio Rio but it’s been precovid since I’ve been so I can’t remember for sure.

If you eat in Austin, grab a brunch at Moonshine Cafe (walkup only so get there like 15-30 min before they open). It’s everyone’s favorite brunch downtown.

1 Like

If you’ve got kids they might enjoy the Natural Bridge Caverns between Austin and San Antonio too. If you come to Austin watch the bats fly out from under Congress bridge at sunset. We’ve got tons of live music and Zilker park is fabulous. You can rent a canoe from there and the trails are fun to hike. On some Wednesdays we have concerts in zilker park for free and on Thursdays we’ve got concerts for free at Shady Grove. It’s very Austin and family friendly.

1 Like

Thank you. Had looked at the Schlitterbahn hotels but wasn’t sure of perks. It looks like an amazing waterpark and DD’s love waterparks. DH went years ago when his sister lived there. Trying to keep cost down so I can get a Disney trip also. Using the “we haven’t been on vacation in 3 years” excuse.

1 Like

See if you can snag a Priceline deal. I’ve gotten some fabulous deals on the riverwalk or right across the street. I think Schlitterbahn rooms aren’t all expensive but the treehouse are outrageous. Good luck!

Hello! I’ve been in SA for over 15 years. Where are you from? If from up north, then it will definitely be warm enough for you to get in the water. It’s not really about the ambient temperature but the water in the natural rivers run very chilly because they are spring feed.

It’s been years since I’ve done Schlitterbahn, but it is a ton of fun, and if you are going during the week in late May, then you should be missing the crowds. Make sure to look at some maps online and talk to your kids about what rides they want to prioritize because there are essentially three separate parks and on you have to take a shuttle to get around - not like most water parks where all the rides are within walking distance. And just like other theme parks, rope drop is worth it.

The Riverwalk in San Antonio has grown in the last ten years and expands miles and miles north and south of downtown. The main downtown/tourist part is very walkable and lovely (although can be crowded at times). If you have time, the river boat tours are totally worth it (a little pricey) because the guides share about the history of San Antonio. Make sure to check out the Alamo and the San Fernando Cathedral. On the weekends there is a light projection and music show on the Cathedral that celebrates the history of San Antonio.

Agree with @jennyturin, generally the food right on the riverwalk in the high tourist areas are not the best. But if you really want to eat on the Riverwalk and get Tex Mex, I recommend Acenar - they have good guacamole and margaritas.

There’s a great local pastry place downtown called La Panaderia which has pan dolce (try the tequila better croissants!) Honestly, the best Tex mex in SA are the small local joints that don’t advertise. If that’s what you want ask your hotel clerk or Uber driver where their favorite place to get Tex mex and/or tacos are and they’ll likely point you in the right direction.

If you are wanting to do a State Park that also has one of our beautiful spring fed rivers, look at Guadalupe State Park or Perdenales State Park. You can hike and get in the water at both parks and it’s less of a party atmosphere that can often be found at the Comal.

All the hotels by the airport should be fine, if safety is what you mean. It’s a safe area of town and close to the North Star Mall which has San Antonio’s famous giant boots (check it out). I’m thinking there is a Hyatt Place not too far from the airport and downtown and it’s close to an area called the Quarry which has a Whole Foods, shopping and restaurants.

I’m biased, but I love San Antonio. It’s a big city that still can have that smaller city feel. If you have any questions, let me know. I’m happy to help you and your family have a great time in SA.

3 Likes

We are in eastern NC so we have warm, not as warm as TX. It sounds like late May will be warm enough. Thank you for the suggestions, its always stressful when we go somewhere new. Like to have a good sense of where to and not to go. Liners are the best.

1 Like

Thought of a couple of more restaurants

Mi Tierra - in Market Square, downtown - your girls would probably think it’s neat and it’s a San Antonio institution at this point (just ok food, more the experience)

La Gloria in The Pearl district - great margaritas and fun atmosphere

La Fruitaria - fresh squeezed juices called aqua fresca

Rosario’s - local favorite for Tex Mex

2 Likes

And if you spend more time in Austin let me know and I’ll add some more restaurants. I’ll do my best to compete with @lauren_alicia :wink:

1 Like

I am working a conference in San Antonio in a week. I won’t be able to get out of the Riverwalk area because of the long days.

Do you just ask them to drive you around?

I will definitely try here!

I think I need to hop in an Uber and pick some of these up for my team. Yum!

Last question, will any of the places with outdoor seating accommodate a group of 10 or so? I want to do a group dinner, but cant seem to make reservations and hoped we might be able to walk up (with a wait). One immunocompromised in the group so she only eats outside.

They called it a water taxi but a water trolley would be a better description. The boats have a circuit that they run and stops where people get on and off. Multiple groups in the same boat. So, like a trolley you just off when you feel like it. Although we did see people flag down our boat.

2 Likes

May be flying into Austin. Southwest doesn’t have any direct flights into San Antonio but does into Austin. Not sure I understand their schedule now. So we may drive up last full day and spend the night there the last night.

1 Like

If you decide to try and catch the bats that night near Congress, there is a place I like to eat on Congress called Roaring Fork. They have these amazing little blueberry cornbread muffins.

*If you want super casual there is a diner on SoCo (South Congress) called Magnolia Cafe
For great pizza, SoCo Home Slice
And one of my favorites is this place: Gourdough’s Big. Fat. Donuts. https://gourdoughs.com/ I mean look at these things:

1 Like

That all looks good.

1 Like

Acenar definitely will. They have a large patio that can handle big groups. If you call them ahead, they’ll work with you to get it set up ahead of time.

If you feel comfortable, let me know which hotel and conference center you’ll be staying and working and I’ll tell you how walkable things are.

I work downtown at the courthouse so I’ve walked all over that area.

1 Like

Thank you for the Acerna recommendation!

We are at the main convention center and I at the Hilton. I chose the Hilton bexause it looks like it has a lot of nice of frood options on the river.

Here’s a map of the downtown river walk. The ‘X’ is where your hotel and convention center are. The ‘A’ is Acenar. It’s probably half a mile (maybe a smidge more) walk. If the weather is nice and your group is the walking type, then it’s very doable.

The main tourist part is that horseshoe shaped part of the river. Turing right off the horseshoe takes you north on the river towards the Pearl/Arts district. And left goes south toward the historic King William area. The curve of the horseshoe (the ‘x’ area) is the hub of tourism - Alamo, rivercenter mall, convention center, La Villita, and hemisphere park/tower of the Americas.

*hint on Tower: most people purchase a ticket to go to top. However, there is a bar up there with a nice happy hour. If you go around to restaurant hostess stand and tell them you want to get a drink at the bar they’ll take you up there and depending on what you drink, it may be cheaper than the regular ticket to the top (plus you get a cocktail!)

1 Like