What to do in San Antonio- a Traveler's Perspective
Due to my traveling for work, I found myself conveniently located for spending my Labor Day weekend in San Antonio, TX. While I still have not made the decision to attend ACFW this year (as work would make me miss half of it), I thought I might still give some suggestions to anyone else who is attending and may have never been to San Antonio.
First off, let me just say that everyone going is going to have a fantastic time! Even if you don't enjoy the conference (though I don't see why you wouldn't, the list of classes and teachers looks amazing), there is so much for you to see and do within walking distance of the conference location.
Remember The Alamo
The Hyatt Regency Hotel at the Alamo is exactly where it says it is— literally across the street from the Alamo. I made this discovery on accident when a path I was following led me through the first floor of the Hyatt (more on that below).
The Alamo is located in the middle of the city, with all that remains being the church and a small portion of the grounds. Self guided tours are free, however you are not allowed to take pictures inside. When I went in the afternoon on a Sunday, the line to get in was about 20-30mins. I think this wait was well worth it, and even the kids in line were kept entertained reading about the Black Paper Project (a restoration project), looking for bullet holes in the colonnade, and pestering their parents with questions about the line of cannons.
Once through the church, on the other side there is a garden, a few historic reenactors, a museum, gift shop, koi pond, and then a path with statues of some of those who died at the Alamo.
Remember that path I had mentioned that took me through the Hyatt? That path was to take me down to the Riverwalk, a substreet level trail that follows the San Antonio river through the city. A whole floor below street level, this trail has restaurants, gift shops, street vendors, and boat tours of the city's historic architecture.
The portion of the river which the Hyatt is located on creates a natural loop that takes about 1-2 hours to walk all the way around. The path can be narrow at times depending on the foot traffic, but it is a gorgeous walk with massive aspen trees, ducks, fountains, pedestrian bridges, and walkways beneath the above city streets.
For anyone who may need it, the Riverwalk is handicap accessible. There are various points in which elevators and ramps lead down to the riverwalk, as well as ramps throughout to bypass stairs. The Hyatt contains one of these elevators.
While I have yet to stay at this hotel, I was able to walk through the first floor. And even that impressed me. The path I took from the Alamo, through the hotel, had one of the most beautiful series of fountains I have ever seen, with a stream that lead from street level down and through the hotel to the Riverwalk.
For anyone who needs it, there is a CVS a few doors down on the Riverwalk and a CVS with a Pharmacy a couple blocks away.
Right around the Hyatt, on street level, are even more restaurants and attractions. This includes a Ripley's Believe it or Not and the Guinness World Record Museum.
Farther away, but still within walking distance and bordering the Riverwalk are:
-And far too many other places to name.
If for any reason you want to leave the hotel parking garage and park elsewhere, here is a map of the city parking. Martinez Lot is the cheapest if you are only staying 1-2hrs. However, after that the lots mostly cost the same. Check the map to see which lot cost/walking distance works best for you.
According to someone I met who lives in San Antonio, parking on the street (NOT in a lot) is also free on Sundays. I tried it and didn't get towed, but it is up to you whether or not you want to take the chance. I was not able to find anything official about this online. However, if you are going to be in the city on a Tuesday, I did find this which shows free parking on Tuesday after 5pm.
Don't forget to check Groupon! There are so many awesome deals for places right there on the Riverwalk. One which I tried and can recommend is Willy B's Pizza*. This place is at street level and will require crossing one or more streets (depending on which way you come from, I recommend the Riverwalk), but they have great food.
Watch for tomorrow's post! There were too many tips to fit into this one, so tomorrow I will mention places outside of downtown where you can visit, as well as the cheapest way to visit the museums and tourist attractions.
*This Groupon was available at the time of posting. Deal may no longer exist.