A Visit to Downtown San Antonio, Texas

A Visit to Downtown San Antonio, Texas

The Tin Can Travelers September 2, 2018 No Comments

The reason for our trip to Texas was to visit our daughter, whom we haven’t seen in much too long, and meet our son-in-law and grandson for the first time. What a gorgeous family they are! We claimed a spot at the RV park, on Lackland AFB in San Antonio, and that’s where we camped for the duration of our stay. If you read our “When it Rains…. It Pours!” post, you know we were there much longer than originally planned because I got hit with a serious case of Vertigo. Luckily, the Vertigo was intermittent and afforded us some opportunities to check out a couple of places high on our list.

 

THE RIVER WALK

This place was first on the list because it was local, it’s located in bustling downtown San Antonio, and Hakam had never been there. He had never even visited Texas, and the last time I visited Texas, or the River Walk, was about 25 years ago.

The San Antonio River Walk, or Paseo del Rio, is a network of walkways along the banks of the San Antonio River, quietly tucked below the streets of downtown San Antonio, TX. It is, literally, lined with restaurants, bars, shops, nature, and a steady flow of pedestrians, and its winding walkways provide access to the city’s historic sites. The beautiful bridges, public artwork, tourist-filled boats, and rich history will not only keep you entertained, but interested. It is vibrant and alive, and will draw you in. It is one of the city’s many tourist attractions, and rightfully so.

 

We grabbed a bite to eat at one of the many restaurants, with a variety of cuisines to choose from, including Tex-Mex, Southwestern, Italian and Barbecue. We posted “Texas Restaurant Reviews” a few days ago, and the restaurant we dined at is included. It did not receive a good review (it was actually quite bad), but we won’t hold it against the River Walk! Colorful umbrellas shade diners as they enjoy their meals riverside while taking in all the sights and sounds. If you like to people-watch, you couldn’t ask for a better place. And with mature trees, small gardens, wildlife, arched bridges, man-made waterfalls and historic buildings, whether you traverse the entire River Walk or just a section of it, you’ll surely find something to admire.

It’s not always crowded in this Texas underground oasis, but when it is, the walkways created to accommodate large numbers of people can quickly shrink. In many places there is no barrier between the walkway and the water, so an accidental bump from a passing pedestrian is all it would take to land you amongst the birds and boats. Be careful….. don’t slip.

 

The San Antonio River Walk truly is its own city, within a city. If At any point, however, you decide to explore San Antonio “above ground”, a simple walk up a flight of stairs or a short ride on the elevator will land you right in the middle of the city. Much like the world beneath your feet, the sidewalks of downtown are lined with one department store, restaurant and hotel after another, and the streets with bumper-to-bumper traffic including cars, tour buses and horse carriages. And everywhere you look is art and beautiful architecture. It will certainly keep your eyes wandering!

THE ALAMO

It is by far the most historic site in Texas. Hakam has never seen it, so we certainly couldn’t pass up an opportunity for him to experience it. And although I have visited more than a few times in the past, my appreciation for this magnificent structure and its historical significance was just as genuine this time as it was the first. The facade alone screams history, but if you can quiet the noise and look passed the chaos of tourists scurrying the grounds with their selfie-sticks, you can feel the history permeating the space. Having said that, it was impossible to capture a tourist-free photo of the iconic site. And because The Alamo is commercialized, like most things now-a-days, you can buy yourself a closer look at its history with a guided tour. You can even pick up a souvenir on your way out…. what a surprise!

If you’re not familiar with the history of The Alamo, I encourage you to read-up on it. If you ever find yourself standing in front of the historical site, you’ll be able to appreciate it much more knowing its history. Isn’t that true for everything!

 

A FEW THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN VISITING SAN ANTONIO:

The parking!The parking downtown San Antonio is ridiculous, and I don’t believe it has to be just because it’s a larger city. I’m from Chicago, a city with almost twice the population in an area almost half the size, and parking is easier to find there than downtown San Antonio. And the price of parking is “highway robbery” after a certain time. We learned that when parking lots start filling up, the prices for remaining lots with available spaces goes up! I guess they figure you’ll pay the higher rate because there’s nowhere else for you to go. And they would be right! We paid $20.00 for two hours.

The construction!The non-stop, obtrusive, obnoxious construction everywhere you look. San Antonio was under construction (everywhere) twenty-five years ago when I lived there, and then the many times I visited or drove through since then. Apparently, it’s STILL under construction. I’ve never seen a city in a constant state of “mess” like San Antonio is. It’s really unpleasant to look at. I would hate it now, just as I did then, if I lived there and had to see it every day to and from work.

The Heat! Anyone who has live in or visited San Antonio (or Texas) in the summer knows you’d be hard-pressed to find a hotter place!! It was just as hot this go-around as it was when I lived there many years ago. It was consistently over one hundred degrees during our stay, but more frequently around one hundred and twelve. The air conditioning in the Willy Wagon had a difficult time keeping up with those temperatures, and it was sometimes a little uncomfortable inside during the peak hours of the sun. The RV’s camped at the AFB grounds could have really benefited from some trees, but there were none of those or anything else to provide shade. The Texas heat definitely takes some getting used to, but it’s always something to take into consideration when planning an outing to ANYWHERE. Even when we were at the River Walk, which is located below street level, provides a ton more shade, and is right next to the water, we were drenched in sweat. It’s hot……and there’s no escaping it. Be smart and cautious, especially with children and pets. Pets should not be taken out in temperatures like that. They can suffer heat stroke and burn their paws on the sidewalks and streets. Remember…. if the sidewalk or street is too hot for your hand or barefoot, it’s too hot for their feet.

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