San Antonio is a big city with a small town feel. When most people think of San Antonio, they immediately imagine The Alamo and The River Walk. As two of the most popular tourist destinations within the city limits, it’s not hard to see why people are drawn to them. The Alamo has a haunting charm that will transport you back in time even though you’re in the middle of a bustling downtown city. (Remember the Alamo!) A few blocks away, you'll find The River Walk which has a laid back resort feel although it is a 15 mile long walkway through the city. There are mariachi bands playing outside of restaurants, the smell of tacos in the air, and boats constantly passing each other as they give tours to curious tourists. Although I spent many hours exploring the River Walk, there are some tourist locations that are often overlooked but should be enjoyed nonetheless!
1. The Tower of the Americas
Warning! This tourist attraction is not for those who have a fear of heights. However, if you’re able to face your fears, like I did, than the views from the top are well worth it! To get to the top of the 750 foot tower, you have to take an elevator. While that sounds more convenient than walking up all those stairs, the elevator has a solid glass wall which allows you to look out over San Antonio as you are pulled upwards, on the outside of the tower. When the elevator reaches the top, you’re able to walk out onto the Observation Deck and walk completely around the top of the tower, getting a 360 degree view. Once you’re done taking photos, I recommend going down one floor to the Chart House Restaurant. It is here where you can wine and dine while the floor slowly rotates around, letting patrons enjoy different views without leaving their table.
2. Pearl Brewery
Escape the hustle and bustle of the city by visiting the Pearl, located north of downtown San Antonio. The 22-acre Pearl site is home to The Culinary Institute of America of San Antonio, the year-round Pearl Farmers Market, Hotel Emma, boutiques, restaurants, and more! As a former brewery operating from 1883 to 2001, Pearl reflects a vivid past while embracing the future with modern complexes mixed with historic architecture. Order a drink to go and find a seat on the grassy courtyard that overlooks the old Pearl Brewery while people and dogs milling around enjoying the sun.
3. Historic Market Square
Open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., The Historic Market Square is a little slice of Mexico in the heart of San Antonio. Encompassing 3 blocks, this Square has everything from authentic pottery, to exotic Mexican Cuisine, to handcrafted works of art. At one end is a stage where performers put on shows all day and on the other side is a festive indoor mall famously described as the largest Mexican market outside Mexico. While wandering around the outdoor stalls and shops, I came across a stand selling elotes, or grilled Mexican street corn. After ordering my first one, I was hooked! This corn on the cob is grilled, then covered in mayonnaise, crumbled Cojita cheese, garlic powder, chili powder, and just a hint of lime juice. I’ll admit, I had more than one order of elotes that day!
If you’ve ever been to San Antonio, let me know what spots you checked out!