48 Hours In San Antonio, Texas
By Shontel Horne
After Houston, San Antonio is the biggest city in Texas. 2018 marks San Antonio’s 300th anniversary, and as the city prepares for its futures, so much of the culture of San Antonio is rooted in its past. Sprawling and vibrant, if you have just 48 hours to spend exploring the city, we’ll tell you exactly how to spend them.
Where to stay
Located downtown, The St. Anthony Hotel is easily one of the most gorgeous hotels in all of Texas, boasting 199 rooms, 18 suites, multiple fine restaurants, and cool bars. The rooftop infinity pool is also worth the $$$ price tag, but for more budget-friendly options, Airbnb has stellar properties throughout the city.
Breakfast at La Panadería
Brothers and bakers José and David Cáceres opened La Panadería downtown to share their Mexican heritage and love of handmade bread and pan dulce with the city of San Antonio. While the menu serves everything from scrambled eggs in the AM to mole poblano for dinner, starting your day with a fresh pastry and dirty hot chocolate is the fuel you’ll need to explore the city.
Tour the Alamo
What better way to begin your trip than with a visit to the Alamo? Established in 1718 as San Antonio’s first mission, the Alamo was originally named Mission San Antonio de Valero, and is the site of the 13-day siege of 1838 that occurred near the end of the Texas Revolution. During the tour, you’ll explore the Alamo shrine, the courtyard, and a barrack museum, which houses artifacts from the Battle of the Alamo and goes into detail about the history of San Antonio.
Go back in time at Mission San José
If you want to know what life was like on a Franciscan mission, take time to visit Mission San José. Part of the San Antonio Missions National Historic Park, this location is known as Queen of the Missions due to its size, and at its height, was home to 350 Indian neophytes and houses herds of livestock. Founded in 1720, most of what you’ll see today was built during a restoration period in the 1930s, though history buffs will enjoy exploring the re-constructed living spaces and church, which is an active parish to this day.
Lunch at The Guenther House
After some sightseeing, make your way to The Guenther House for salads and sandwiches, which is a restaurant and museum that was once the home of the Pioneer Flour Mills’ founding family. Pioneer Flour is a San Antonio staple, and the historic home and restaurant is located in a beautiful neighborhood that’s filled with Art Nouveau and Victorian houses.
On any given night, there’s a play, concert, film screening, or cultural event happening at the Tobin Center for Performing Arts. Check ahead of time to see what local or visiting performers will be at the venue if just to see the beautifully designed structure for yourself.
Have drinks and food at Paramour
San Antonio’s nightlife scene can be just as sexy as any other big city’s and the Paramour is what you get when rockstar glam meets southern charm. The rooftop bar is stylish at every turn, with a champagne vending machine at the entrance and both in and outdoor seating, and be sure to try bites like the deviled eggs or tacos between sips of bubbly or craft cocktails.
Have breakfast at Tony G’s Soul Food
San Antonio’s Eastside has been the heart of San Antonio’s black community and was one of the first black neighborhoods established in the country during Reconstruction. Support one of the neighborhood’s black-owned businesses by visiting Tony G’s for breakfast, and be sure to try the oxtail eggs benedict.
Tour the San Antonio Botanical Gardens
Beautiful and serene, the San Antonio Botanical Gardens is a massive attraction that has ponds, an edible garden, a conservatory, and robust educational programming. If you want to be surrounded by beauty an simply wander for a while, this is the place to do it.
Have lunch at The Pearl Brewery
One of San Antonio’s most popular destinations for both visitors and locals, The Pearl Brewery is home to one of the city’s most buzz-worthy hotels (Hotel Emma), shops, and restaurants that are all meant to highlight the talents of locals. There are plenty of great places to eat at The Pearl but stop by Botika to try Asian-Peruvian fusion food that you’ll have a hard time finding anywhere else.
McNay Art Museum
The scope of art on display at this museum ranges from photography by local, contemporary artists to Renaissance paintings. Here you’ll find exhibitions from Texan artists as well as international creatives, just be sure to plan to stay for two hours to see all of the exhibits and galleries.
River Barge Dinner Cruise with Ácenar
Sure it’s a bit touristy, but San Antonio’s famed River Walk can be a lot to take in for first-time visitors. Instead of hoofing it from store to store and waiting for a table at one of the countless eateries along the way, enjoy dinner from one of the boats while cruising down the river and take in the sights while also learning about the history of the River Walk.