Give it up for... San Antonio!

When I started Adventure Alchemy, one of my main motivators was to have an outlet for my personal travel goals. That was going really well until 2020...we all know what happened. I had SO many trips scheduled and ultimately cancelled last year and my heart broke a little more each time an airline ticket was cancelled- Santa Fe (cancelled TWICE!), Big Bend, Montana, Maine, Costa Rica, Tanzania, France, Singapore, and on and on.

This year is looking a little better, thankfully, and as I type I'm cozied up in a fluffy King-sized bed, in a corner room on the 6th floor of The Emily Morgan Hotel in San Antonio and I'm feeling more like myself than I have in a minute.

Why San Antonio?

With our viral success on TikTok, there has been an exponential increase in the number of trips we are creating for travelers under 25 years old (the age at which you can rent a car without an additional surcharge). As a result, I want to try out some more walkable cities, or those with other options, like bike share and hop on/hop off busses or trolleys.

Our family vacations have had a little bit of a theme the last couple years (Tombstone in 2019 and Deadwood in 2021) and San Antonio has been on my "next up" list for the last year. This Texas city's greatest claim to fame is, of course, The Alamo; but, there is so much more here that begs to be explored and I finally made it!

FUN FACT: San Antonio is the7th largest city in the United States.

Getting Started in The City of San Antonio

A couple weeks before my trip, I hopped on a call with one of our new City Ambassadors, Anissa, who has lived in San Antonio her whole life. After just one day here, let me tell you - Anissa KNOWS. Her. Stuff!

Anyone can find Tower of the Americas or The Alamo in San Antonio and other attractions are plentiful and easy to stumble upon even if you aren't looking. One of the trickiest, and most important, parts of planning a great trip is knowing where to go for important things like TACOS and COFFEE! Anissa wins the Grand, Grand Champion Award in the food recommendations category and I haven't even been here 24 hours!

When I asked Anissa about the best of the best food in town, her immediate answer was "Mi Tierra" and "Cafe Blanco." The euphoria from last night's dinner at the always open Mi Tierra Cafe has me looking that much more forward to the Cafe Blanco breakfast tacos that are in my very near future!

The minute you arrive at Mi Tierra, you immediately feel a sense of happiness coming from inside - bright colors, roving mariachi band - you know you're in for something special. The place is huge and I had a short 10 minute wait for my table. I headed to the bar to wait and even though I rarely drink, the occasion definitely deserved a cold Corona! For dinner, I ordered the Enchilada Mole and tipped the Mariachi to serenade me (I'm a sucker for good mariachi). My food came out quickly and it is hands down the BEST mole I've had in my life - I'm ruined now and not even mad about it. The service was great, the vibe was perfect, and I have absolutely zero complaints - definitely 27 stars!

SIDEBAR: We have clients leaving on Sunday for their Mystery Honeymoon and even though the tracking number said their envelope was delivered yesterday, they didn't receive it, so I got to Facetime with them to reveal their destination. They're going to San Antonio's neighbor city, Austin, and Mi Tierra could not have been a more perfect backdrop for a Mystery Reveal Video Call!

How Walkable Is San Antonio?

I realize that I skipped straight to dinner; but, when it's that good, you really have no choice! I promise I did more than just each enchiladas! My flight landed just after lunchtime and I grabbed an Uber to my hotel. The Emma Morgan Hotel is just across the street from The Alamo and is lovely. When I arrived, I wasn't too sure about the location; but, after a day here I can firmly say it is an amazing location! So easy to get to the River Walk, obviously The Alamo, and many other fun things to do. The hotel itself is clean and full of charm, and the bed slept beautifully! It doesn't hurt that they give you a fresh-baked Chocolate Chip Pecan cookie at check in.

I dropped my bag and wasted no time is getting down to the business of learning this new city. With the Alamo just across the street, that was an easy checkmark. I have not yet gone INSIDE the building or park; but, it seems to be pretty straightforward and quick to do the tour and I'll hit that one up before flying home. I promptly headed to the River Walk, which had the greatest draw for me. Would it live up to the hype?

I spent the bulk of the day walking the River - almost the entire River Walk. The weather was overcast but moderate in temperature, making it a perfect day for a long stroll. The landscaping is a little winter-worn from last week's crazy storm(s); but it's clear that they put a lot of love into maintaining this area and it's obvious that in Spring this stretch is gorgeous!

I started downtown, where the water is crystal blue before joining the murkier waters of the actual river. I walked well over a mile, until I reached my intended destination: The Pearl District. The mosaics, a few art installations, and views of unique architecture are oh-so-good!

As you move along the River Walk, it transforms from restaurants and shops into urban residential and the foot traffic thins out noticeably. Not that it was particularly busy anywhere along the way; but other than a couple dog walkers, I was practically the only person once I was past the "main" section of the River Walk. One thing I like to consider in walkable cities is safety - how safe do I feel as a lone female on foot? I am always using safety strategies (for those of you that don't know, I am also a women's firearms and personal protection instructor); but I try to consider what an area would be like for just a "regular" pedestrian. At no point did I feel unsafe or have that "spidey sense" kick in, so major bonus points there! The verdict is in: I'm a big fan of the San Antonio River Walk and highly recommend it!

The Pearl District

My intended destination was Bakery Lorraine at the Pearl Brewery District and by this time I was HUN-GRY! This area is really cool and trendy - honestly, way cooler than I am. There was a brewery here something like 100 years ago and once it shut down, developers turned it into a "complex" of shops, restaurants, and outdoor space. Even on an overcast Friday afternoon, there were small groups of people enjoying a bottle of wine on the lawn (perks of being private property), dining outside, and popping in and out of the shops. After traveling all day and walking for over an hour - I was ready for food and the Cuban sandwich I ordered and Bakery Lorraine was exactly what I needed. After sustenance, I went next door to vet one of Anissa's recommendations - The Mexican Vanilla iced coffee at Local Coffee. Anissa crushed it again and I will never question anything she says. Ever.

Getting Around and Winding Down

I was very pleased to see a good number of bike share stations even though I haven't used one yet. There are plenty of scooters scattered about - some with seats even - though I'll never personally recommend them because I want my clients to remain alive HA! I have used Ubers a little bit here and they have all been readily available, SUPER friendly, and the traffic hasn't been terrible at all. After an afternoon of exploring, and an amazing dinner, I enjoyed a little evening photo sesh of the Alamo with the full moon overhead and watching couples and families riding in Cinderella-esque carriages after the sun goes down! There was plenty going on in the immediate vicinity of my hotel, including an open air hookah lounge, Ripley's arcade and a number of other Ripley's attractions across the street from The Alamo (talk about a juxtaposition).

I'll be switching hotels tonight to get a feel for another location, so you'll have to check back to hear how my Saturday goes and what I get into today. I can tell you that breakfast tacos (recommended by Anissa) are in my immediate future and I CANNOT WAIT!!

If you want even more from my time here, be sure to follow Adventure Alchemy on Instagram for real-time story updates or, even better, go to the Track My Tour map for this trip. I love charting all of our family vacations and my personal trips on this app- you can even have it create a trip memory book at the end! Happy Travels!