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5 nights San Antonio and Austin. Suggestions appreciated

5 nights San Antonio and Austin. Suggestions appreciated

Old Oct 16th, 2015, 05:10 PM
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5 nights San Antonio and Austin. Suggestions appreciated

Following Christmas in Houston with son's family, have the following week and plan to see San Antonio and Austin for the first time. Will drive from Houston on Sunday 27th to San Antonio, stay there 3 nights, then drive to Austin, stay there 2 nights, driving back to Houston 1/1/16 for mid afternoon flight home.
In San Antonio, definitely want to see the Alamo and spend time on the RiverWalk area.
In Austin, have tickets for Willie Nelson on New Year's Eve.
Not sure about the weather this time of year, but dead of winter, expect cold?
Thinking of using points to stay at Driskill Hotel fairly close to Moody theater.
Not sure about the San Antonio hotel, but rather be close to center of dining, riverwalk, and music scene.
Any suggestions as to things to see, activities, must sees, stay, dine, etc., greatly appreciated.
We are foodies, 70's, not into hiking, like country music.
BillJ is offline  
Old Oct 16th, 2015, 08:55 PM
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Hi BillJ,

I've been to San Antonio or Austin in the Christmas to New Year's period a few times and the weather is best described as a crap's shoot. Last year, I went and it was cold, high 30s/low 40s every day; felt bitingly cold due to the humidity. The Austinite hostesses at my B&B cocooned during this cold snap but there were still people jogging around Town Lake. I wore my gloves, hat and winter coat and treated it like a late November day in Montreal (where I'm from) for my days in San Antonio and Austin, which was not what I had hoped for weather-wise but I dealt with it. I had set my hopes too high since 10 years ago, I had enjoyed halcyon temperatures in San Antonio around December 27-29th, when it was sunny in the low 70s, so you never know! Average high temp is low 60s in South Texas I remember reading.

I've never strayed beyond the Alamo/Riverwalk in San Antonio, so I can't advise beyond these two priorities of yours; I do recommend taking one of the boat tours on the Riverwalk (hopefully with warmer weather than what I had!). In Austin, I highly recommend visiting the Bob Bullock Museum of Texas History and doing a tour of the State Capitol. The paths in Zilker Park/along Town Lake are a pleasant urban getaway.

Have a great trip! Daniel
Daniel_Williams is offline  
Old Oct 21st, 2015, 07:25 AM
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Hey Bill,

I grew up near San Antonio and lived there for years. Riverwalk is great. Market Square/La Villita is fun, if a bit touristy... Definitely worth seeing. Some great restaurants - Boudro's comes to mind. Mi Tierra has good tex-mex, it is more homestyle than elevated cuisine. Rosario's on the riverwalk is good too. Depends on what kind of food you would like to eat!

There several Missions -http://visitsanantonio.com/english/Explore-San-Antonio/Only-in-San-Antonio/The-Alamo/The-San-Antonio-Missions that were built in the 1700's.

If you like country music you might consider one of the old dance halls around San Antonio - Gruene Hall (pronounced Green Hall), Floore's Country Store. There are many others too.

My mother told me they recently reopened the Japanese Tea Gardens near the Botanical Gardens. Weather could be anything from the 20's to 60's. Check the weather forecast before you come, but it really is a crapshoot!
Natalie2b is offline  
Old Oct 21st, 2015, 08:56 AM
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We were in San Antonio and Austin (and in between, Gruene) a few years ago. One thing we very much enjoyed in San Antonio was the King William Historic District. Honestly, we thought La Villita and the Market were boring.


On the way to Austin is Natural Bridges Caverns - excellent tour!


And Gruene is an attraction in and of itself - at least good for a few hours of wandering, shopping, eating, even if you don't stay for the music!


The Driskill public areas are beautiful - never saw the rooms, though.
sf7307 is offline  
Old Oct 21st, 2015, 06:00 PM
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As far as Austin, you will have a fabulous time seeing Willie on NYE. I would stay in the Driskell, but only if I had points. That night will be more $$$$$$ than the usual $300/night. It's a beautiful hotel, have a drink in the bar on the second floor for some REAL Texas feel. Moody is the best place in Austin to see a show (In my personal opinion) it has an amazing sound, get there early to explore the second and third floor and all the amazing pictures of stars who have played the ACL live PBS show over the past 40 years. Great music and photos of music history. If you are country music fans you need to go to the Broken Spoke. It's one of Texas' few remaining original honky tonks left. The owners opened it in 1964 and they will most likely be there to greet you as you walk through the doors to the dance floor. If you can swing it, you should go early, have dinner, then stay for the dance lessons taught by Teri White, the owners spitfire daughter. She is a hoot. When in Rome (or Central Texas) I would definitely get some Mexican food and BBQ. J. Muellers BBQ - get the beef rib, and Matt's El Rancho or Sazon on S. Lamar are both excellent choices for Tex-Mex and a cold margarita. Speaking of cold, it will be cold.. for Central Texas. BUT I have seen it in the 80's in January, I would imagine it will be lows around 40 and highs maybe, just maybe high 60's. The weather truly varies from day to day here in Austin. IF you have time, head about an hour(ish) WEst towards the Texas Hill Country, it's a beautiful area and you can hit up some vineyards on the way to Fredericksburg for a little bit of cute boutique-y shopping or the Nimitz wwii museum (or Luckenbach!)
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Old Oct 21st, 2015, 06:02 PM
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Oh, and reading that you are foodies, I would recommend Odd Duck, Barley Swine, Uchi, and Vince Young Steakhouse for the absolute best cut of meat I've ever eaten. All are 5 stars.
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Old Oct 22nd, 2015, 09:24 AM
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Ashleyjade, I'm saving your post for a future trip!!
sf7307 is offline  
Old Oct 22nd, 2015, 07:07 PM
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Might consider the Hyatt Place or the new, huge, JW marriott. Downtown Austin isn't big so most downtown hotels are walkable from moody.
Driskill rooms are small as it's an older hotel. If you don't stay there you still should go see it - they decorate for the holidays and have a huge, lovely tree in their lobby. Stop at the bar for a drink and half price appetizers during happy hour. Excellent.

Food: I agree with the statesman top restaurants of 2015. I haven't tried A couple but love Lenoir, odd duck, Uchi and Uchiko. Barley swine is amazing but now are prix fixe at $85. Ouch. Seriously, make a reservation soon. Austin restaurants are popular and fill up quick. I tired a few for the day after thanksgiving and some have none available.

Austin is offline  
Old Oct 25th, 2015, 06:11 AM
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Old Oct 25th, 2015, 08:49 PM
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I agree with the recommendations of Gruene, a drink at the Grismill (absolutely beautiful at Christmas time!), and the restaurant recommendations for Austin. I would also recommend Stiles and Switch and Valentina's for BBQ, and Polvo's for Tex-Mex. Also, find a morning to get breakfast tacos!

We are supposed to be wet and cold this year due to El Niño, but it's all relative - I grew up in the Midwest and cold winters here are mild winters compared to home.
lolotravel86 is offline  
Old Nov 6th, 2015, 03:23 AM
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Ok! I really appreciate all this. Will print out report back after the trip. Thanks a bunch.
BillJ is offline  
Old Nov 6th, 2015, 05:05 AM
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I suggest staying two nights in San Antonio and one night in Gruene before driving to Austin. Gruene is on the way to Austin. It's quaint and easy to get around.

I would definitely skip the boat tour on the riverwalk in SA, it's highly overrated. A nice meal on a patio under the Christmas lights is plenty for the water scene. Definitely check out El Mercado and Mi Tierra; both touristy but fun.

In Austin, I'm a fan of the dive-y places, check out Cisco's (on the east side) best known for their migas or Magnolia Cafe (on Lake Austin Blvd) for a late night breakfast yet everything on their menu is delish! You can't go wrong with any of the food trailers on South Congress while also checking out some "Keep Austin Weird" shops. If time allows, check out Mt. Bonnell Park. It's a "hike" up all those stairs but the view is awesome! This is a touristy thing to do but I tell people to see it at least once.

Have a super trip!
krankin is offline  
Old Nov 6th, 2015, 07:27 AM
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Maybe I'm easily pleased, but I really enjoyed the boat tour on the Riverwalk; our guide was very not only entertaining but also quite well-informed on San Antonio history and architecture. I found it a good means of getting a lay of the land for the Riverwalk.
Daniel_Williams is offline  
Old Nov 6th, 2015, 12:53 PM
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I enjoy the boat ride an we go several times a year . . Gives a good over view of the changes and riverfront in general. Greene is a great plac to knock around, there is always something going on there
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Old Nov 6th, 2015, 12:55 PM
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If you are there just after Christmas, Johnson City has a great Light display you can drive thru
Rich is offline  
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