One cannot think of San Antonio without thinking about The Alamo. In fact, a local recently told me that if you come to San Antonio and do not see The Alamo or Riverwalk, you have not seen their city.
As our first official stop on our #HotMamaDoesAmerica cross country road trip, we only had about a day to really explore San Antonio attractions and if I saw nothing else, I was determined to at least see those two major landmarks.
Luckily, for a big city we were able to accomplish even more than we thought and that’s with all of our frequent beer breaks. So if you are just passing through or looking for a fun day trip, here at some things to do in San Antonio with kids.
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Money Saving Tips:
It is actually pretty easy to stay in budget. Many of the San Antonio activities are free, like the Alamo and the restaurants along the Riverwalk are reasonable too. I noticed a ton of food and drink specials going on at various spots, so it is quite possible to have an awesomely affordable weekend in San Antonio. We given San Antonio Passports, courtesy of Visit San Antonio, giving us access to many of the best San Antonio attractions.
Where to Stay in San Antonio:
Best Western Plus Sunset Suites Riverwalk
This is big city, so there are many options for where to stay in San Antonio. However, we stayed at a real gem. As part of our #HotMamaDoesAmerica road trip, we were invited stay at Best Western Plus Sunset Suites during our time in San Antonio. The location was conveniently located to area attractions, the hotel is a beautifully restored historical building, the room rates are very reasonable and they offer complimentary hot breakfast daily! I go in more detail in our full review, but it worked out great for us and I would recommend it to other traveling families. Check Prices.
Where to Eat in San Antonio:
BWP Sunset Suites Riverwalk Breakfast:
If you are staying at the Best Western Plus Sunset Suites Riverwalk then you can start your day with a free breakfast. It makes for an easy, efficient and affordable way to start your day before heading out on your adventures.
For lunch, I suggest heading over the Pearl section of the city. What was once the site of the famous Pearl Brewery is now a cluster of hotels, shops and restaurants. We dined at Boiler House, which is located in the 130 year old original boiler room of the Pearl Brewery. Serving up Texas ranch-style dishes using only local ingredients, everything we ordered was super yummy and fresh.
The Riverwalk is lovely during those warm summer nights, which is why this makes a great spot for dinner. Who doesn’t like a river view while dining, especially when all the lights are twinkling in the evening light? There were so many places I wanted to try, like Casa Rio, one of the first restaurants to open on the Riverwalk or Bella on the River, a cozy atmosphere with Mediterranean cuisine. The Riverwalk is loaded with great restaurants with various cuisines, but as we floated along the river we found the spot that was right for us.
Waxy O’Connor’s Irish Pub:
You can’t go wrong with an Irish pub. I know it sounds kind of funny, but the happy hour drew us in along with the great patio on the river and we ended up staying for dinner. The menu had many traditional items one would expect from an Irish pub, like fish n’ chips and Sheppard’s pie, but it also had some surprising options such as curry chicken with rice. Basically, Waxy O’Connor’s was a crowd-pleaser with something for everyone and reasonable prices to boot.
Where to grab a drink in San Antonio:
When I am traveling, drinking local spirits, wines and brews is all part of the experience. Needless to say, we do a lot of drinking and finding the best happy hours or drink specials help to keep us on budget without taking away from the fun. Here are some of the best drinking spots I found during my 24 hours in San Antonio.
Happy hour is Monday through Friday from opening to 6:00pm, which is really long! It’s more like happy hours, during which select brews are only $3, select cocktails are $5 and any bottle of wine will be opened with a two-glass commitment. I visited during their brunch, so HotDaddy and I ordered their Michelada served with a local Texan lager for only $6! Grams went the traditional brunch route with a classic Bloody Mary.
If you like Margaritas (who doesn’t on a hot summer day?), head to Café Ole for the 60oz margarita. I suggest sharing, but I’m not judging if you don’t.
Here is where you can find really great happy hour prices, everyday from 4:00pm to 7:00pm. The menu features $2 bottled beers, $4 draft beers and Margaritas. It was a really hot night and I can assure you that we did a number on the $2 beers.
Bella on the River:
This is the spot for winos! Bella on the River features a wine bar with ice cold, made-to-order red and white wine sangria in addition to a wide selection of wines, ports, and sherry by-the-glass, ice cold beer. Can’t decide which wine you’d to sip on? No worries, because Bella on the River offers a wine flight! How cool is that?
No, there is not a bar on the river cruise, but you are allowed to take drinks onboard. I suggest grabbing a large frozen margarita or ice cold beer before heading out. It makes the journey along the river that much more enjoyable, trust me.
Outside in the common a square, Pearl is a great place to let the kids cool down as well as the parents. After letting the kids get wet in the splash zone, we cooled down with ice cold $5 beers and listened to live music before lunch.
Fun Things to do in San Antonio with kids:
San Antonio is a big city, but an approachable city. Many of San Antonio points of interest are pretty close together. However, when you are visiting for the first time it is hard to know exactly what to do in San Antonio with kids. The most efficient and convenient way to see all the things to do in San Antonio, Texas is by taking the City Sightseeing bus. I love these buses and try to take them around any new city I visit. Since we only had one day in San Antonio, taking the City Sightseeing bus is exactly what we did.
There are actually five historical missions in San Antonio and the bus will take you to all of them. Four of the San Antonio Missions are located in the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park. The missions include, Mission Concepcion, Mission Espada, Mission San Jose and Mission San Juan Capistrano.
The fifth mission and the most famous, The Alamo, is separate from the other missions and in the heart of downtown. After breakfast, we actually headed to The Alamo first. If you have never been, let me tell you that it is a lot smaller than you think. However, that does not take away from the experience. In fact, it is one of the best things to do in San Antonio. It may be a small building, but it has big history. This was the site of The Battle of the Alamo, a pivotal turning pointing in the Texas Revolution. You learn all the details during your visit as well as read all the names of those who fought and died in the battle including the infamous Davy Crockett.
The Alamo as well as the other four missions offer some free things to do in San Antonio, making this a very budget-friendly attraction for the whole family. Also, staff permitting, the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park gives free guided tours.
You can’t visit the Alamo without some gear. Check out my western wear picks.
We actually discovered this area thanks to City Sightseeing. We were on our way to the National Park, but once we heard the bus driver’s description of Pearl, we knew we had to get off. Founded in 1881, the historical Pearl Brewery is now the gathering place for locals surrounded with trendy apartments, restaurants, hotels, retail shops, live music and farmers markets. It is a really lively place to hangout and one of our highlights of the day.
There is a mini San Antonio water park or splash zone that is very popular among the kids. It is a great way to the let kids cool down mid-day. You can bring a bathing suit or change of clothes, but you may not need them if you visit in the summer. It was so hot when we visited and our kids got drenched. I was upset, because we were waiting for a table at Boiler House. However, they were completely dry by the time we finished our beers. This is definitely one of the best things to do in San Antonio with kids!
Rio San Antonio Cruise:
For fun things to do in San Antonio, I definitely suggest you take the river cruise. It is a relaxing way to see everything that is along the Riverwalk, as well as learn all the history behind this famous river. Get a cool beverage before boarding, sit back and enjoy the ride. Check prices
Since it is hot during the day, I suggest taking the cruise towards the evening. It is also a great way to decide where you want to dine as you get to scope out all the restaurants that line the Riverwalk.
That’s A Wrap!
We really enjoyed the vibe in San Antonio and would love to go back to enjoy more of what the city has to offer. Thanks to the convenient location of our hotel and the City Sightseeing bus, we definitely got to experience some of the best things to do in San Antonio with kids.
For things to do in Texas, see our related posts:
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