2 Days in San Antonio

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San Antonio is known for two major attractions, the Alamo and the famed River Walk. While both attractions are worth a visit, the culture, food and local surroundings outside of downtown San Antonio beg to be explored.

Day 1: Explore the Texas Hill Country

Only a short drive from La Cantera Hill Country Resort, the glory of the Texas Hill Country begins. Imagine miles and miles of winding highways through small towns, picturesque parks, unique shops, antiques and incredible wineries. Spend a day exploring the Hill Country and you’ll truly understand why Texans flock here year round for relaxation and retreat.

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Start the day with an amazing lunch and join the local crows at the Point Park for an authentic, laid back Hill Country experience. The open air bar offers local brews and food trucks gather round offering a wide variety of cuisine from Tex-Mex favorites to burgers and comfort food as well as live music most evenings. The bar offerings feature mostly local, craft beers, so you can get a true taste of San Antonio. It is the perfect spot to soak in the hill country, dine under the oaks and enjoy the local scene.

For dinner, travel only 20 minutes up the road from La Cantera Resort is the small Hill Country town of Boerne, Texas (pronounced Bur-nee). Though Boerne is relatively small in population, the food offerings rival that of neighboring big city of San Antonio. Located in the midst of quaint shops and historic buildings on Main Street is Zagat rated Cypress Grille. The innovative and extensive menu includes items like  peking-style duck lettuce wraps, smoked quail, ahi tuna nachos and of course, incredible steaks. Reservations on the weekend are highly recommended.

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Throughout the summer months, lavender blossoms throughout the hill country. It may be surprising to some, but the plant actually thrives. Several lavender farms, all within an hour drive of La Cantera Resort, offer the option to cut your own bushels (we recommend Hill Country Lavender or Becker Vineyards’ Lavender fields).  In addition, the shops attached to the farm typically have an incredible selection of lavender infused items.

Just outside of San Antonio flows the Guadalupe River, and it is a hot spot for locals to enjoy the summers. And it is obvious why, the cool spring fed waters run through the heart of many hill country towns and offers relaxing relief from the Texas heat.  Whether it is swimming, floating or kayaking through the hot summer days, the Guadalupe is the perfect outdoor adventure. Several kayaking, tubing and canoe rentals are available, depending where you prefer to start your journey and most offer a “round trip” ticket, meaning the rental company will have vans pick you up and take you back to your cars after a day on the river.

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The Texas wine country is the hottest up-and-coming wine region in the US and it is less than an hour from La Cantera Resort. Located in the heart of the Hill Country, vineyards and wineries are abundant along US Highway 290 through Fredericksburg. For those seeking an organized tour through the area, City Tours offers day trips to Fredericksburg with wine tasting and time to shop in the quaint German town.  Fredericksburg also offers an endless supply of incredible food options including great lunches at Vaudeville, brunch at Sunset Grill or Fredericksburg Herb Farm and amazing dinner spots like Otto’s and Hondo’s.

And if wine tasting isn’t up your alley, test out your aim with the best shooters in the area at the National Shooting Complex located just a few miles from La Cantera Resort. Try your hand at skeet shooting or do some simple target practice. The facilities are open to the public and offer gun rentals, if you didn’t bring your own. Either way, it is a great way to get in the Texas spirit and try out a new sport.

Day 2: Historic San Antonio

San Antonio is proud of its history, including the culture that was left from all 6 countries that once claimed Texas as their own. The cultural influences of each of these countries left their mark on San Antonio’s cuisine and history. To truly understand what makes San Antonio tick, you must experience the history that built it.

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Once an old abandoned brewery, the Pearl Brewery is one of the most popular destinations in the downtown area. Unique, local restaurants, bakeries and the Culinary Institute of America now call the shopping and dining district home. New restaurants are now serving local and craft beers and a few are even brewing their own (try the Granary for amazing BBQ and craft beer). If you are planning to explore downtown, park at the Pearl, grab some lunch at one of the few incredible restaurants (we recommend Cured for meat lovers or Bakery Lorraine for a lighter option) and then hop on a River Taxi to downtown. The River Walk extends all the way to the Pearl and it is an easy and fun way to explore the more famed, downtown portion of the River Walk.

Just minutes away from downtown, the oldest Mexican restaurant in the city, La Fonda on Main offers authentic cuisine with perhaps the best courtyard in the city. Centered around a huge oak tree, enjoy incredible margaritas, an extensive menu and a relaxing, local feel that you simply can’t find anywhere else.  And if the food and atmosphere aren’t enough to entice you, the guest list throughout history should be enough to convince you to stop by, American President’s Franklin Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson both have enjoyed a meal at La Fonda on Main, as well as John Wayne, Roy Rogers and Dale Evans.

The oldest bar in San Antonio and still one of the most beloved by locals, Esquire Tavern offers the perfect combination of authentic and modern. Originally opened in 1933, the bar offers an impressive bar offerings (try the Nuestra Margarita, named one of American’s Best Margarita’s by Travel +Leisure) and Latin influenced menu items.

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San Antonio Missions (other than the Alamo)

While the Alamo is the most well-known mission in San Antonio, four others still stand just South of the River Walk and are well worth the trip. Visit Mission Park and explore these four missions, that  still to this day are functioning catholic parishes that hold mass, and allow visitors and tours throughout the week. The missions offer a unique look back in history at the life of early Texas settlers. Be sure to visit the famed Rose Window at Mission San Jose y San Miguel de Aguayo.

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Fiesta on Main

Each April, Fiesta takes over the city of San Antonio with carnivals, parades and events. The two week long party is in honor of several battles that eventually led Texas to its Independence from Mexico. Whether you visit San Antonio during Fiesta or not, Fiesta on Main keeps the carnival spirit alive with endless supplies of treasures including talavera pottery, fiesta décor, cascarones (the confetti filled eggs that you smash on top of your head during Fiesta!), furniture folk art and more. You will most likely not leave Fiesta on Main empty handed, but that is exactly why you should visit.

 

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