48 Hours In San Antonio

From terrific drinks and food (especially if you’re a carnivore!) to a wealth of American history and unique sights such as the charming  River Walk, San Antonio is a hot destination that has a ton to offer—whether you’re there for a weekend with the guys, with your girlfriend or the wife and kids.

Where to stay

You’ll want a hotel located right on the River Walk downtown you want to be able to join the hustle and bustle of the downtown core easily, but if the idea of escaping hordes of tourists by going to a hotel that has the feel of a resort (but is only about 20 minutes drive from downtown) appeals, then a room at the Eilan Hotel Resort and Spa is for you (you will need a car rental, though, to get around). Part of the Autograph Collection from Marriot, the decor has a modern Tuscan feel and we relished escaping the Texas heat by spending time by the luxe pool. There with the kids—or have a thing yourself for rollercoasters? Just a few minutes away from Eilan is Six Flag Fiesta Texas.

Where to eat

Hopefully you’ve packed your biggest clothing as you will be eating non-stop in San Antonio. Amongst our favourites? Cured, aptly named given the focus on charcuterie and cheese, but also ties into Chef Steve McHugh’s personal health journey (the amiable chef is in remission from cancer). Although you may be tempted by something more exotic than a burger, the Blue Ribbon Burger (available as a single, double, or, yes, triple) is phenomenally juicy and likely to top your best-burger-ever list. The building housing Cured itself is not to be overlooked either, so tear your eyes away from your plate—built in 1904, it was initially the administration office for Pearl Beer and has been carefully refurbished.  The original fireproof vault is now used to store liquor, and you’ll still be able to find the era’s custom penny tile floors in certain sections of the resto.

On Saturday morning, skip breakfast at the hotel and head straight to the Pearl Farmers Market, which can be found in the historic Pearl Brewery grounds. One of the best farmer’s markets we’ve been to, this market is a producers-only market, so you can rest assured that what you buy is from within 150 miles of the city—from the breads and ready-made foods to the organic produce and coffee.

If brushing up on your skills in the kitchen is on your bucket list—perhaps you want to learn how to do more than make scrambled eggs—a class at the Culinary Institute of America, is called for. Yes, the C.I.A.—the one that produces many of the country’s top chefs. There are no shortcuts taken in the classes—we found ourselves making from scratch ingredients for our recipes we’d typically expect to easily get from a jar, such as the tablespoon of a South American sauce we needed for the crawfish stew. What you’ll learn is in depth and thorough, and best of all, you get to enjoy the meal at the end of your class.

What to do

If this is your first (and possibly only) visit to San Antonio, then two tourist must-sees include a cruise along the San Antonio River and visiting the Alamo. The three-mile River will make you green with envy that your city doesn’t boast anything like it—sections are prettily shaded with cypresses, and locals and tourists mix together happily at the cute restaurants and shops along the way. As for the Alamo, a guided tour is worth the time so you can truly gain an understanding of the battles that took place here; you’ll spot where bullets have damaged the walls of the Alamo (which was, in fact, the city’s first mission) and learn how there were even some teens as young as 15 who helped defend this mission.  Pop-culture fact: Phil Collins, the Phil Collins of 1980s pop music, is one of the biggest collectors of Alamo artifacts and in 2014 will be donating much of his collection to the site.

Karen Kwan

Karen Kwan

Karen Kwan is a freelance writer based in Toronto. Her work has appeared in Flare, Elle Canada and ElleCanada.com, Glow, Metro, Huffington Post Canada, Travelife and Travel + Escape. She also runs her blog, HealthandSwellness.com, where she writes about health, beauty, fitness and lifestyle.

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