Fun things to do in Austin & San Antonio

Apr 20th, 2016, 10:27 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Apr 2016
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Fun things to do in Austin & San Antonio

Hi everyone, my family and I are planning a trip to Austin and San Antonio this upcoming May. We'll be gone for a total of 10 days, with probably 6 in Austin and 4 in San Antonio. We will be flying into Austin and renting a car to drive to San Antonio. Looking for advice on what do to, where to go, and any hotel recommendations!

Specifics on us:
We're a family of six. 2 parents and 4 kids (ages 20, 18, 17, and 15)
We're big time foodies and looking to eat the best of it in both cities
We're all active and have no problem walking long distances to get around

Some (loose) guidelines as to what we're looking for:
Fun areas of both cities to spend an afternoon strolling/eating/and shopping in local boutiques
Botanical gardens
Live music

We're open to doing anything though. We just want to immerse ourselves in these cities, see some sights, eat some good food, and have a fun time. Thanks!
audrelias is offline  
Apr 20th, 2016, 05:28 PM
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In San Antonio, you must do the Riverwalk. Get your hotel on the Riverwalk if you can. Favorite time of day is early morning for me. Gets pretty crowded later in the day. Since you like to walk, head out on the Riverwalk and follow the signs to the King William District. You'll pass beautiful old mansions and will end up at the Guenther House - which is a fabulous place to have breakfast! You may have a half hour or so wait, but they serve coffee & tea outside and you can explore the area while you wait. If you are foodies, you will love the food and the history of the place. Another fun area to visit/eat is the Pearl Brewery neighborhood. Skip the zoo in San Antonio. It's terrible!
SaltysMom is offline  
Apr 20th, 2016, 08:24 PM
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fmpden is offline  
Apr 20th, 2016, 08:46 PM
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Spend an afternoon in Austin walking/shopping/eating along South Congress Avenue (called SoCo).
longhorn55 is offline  
Apr 21st, 2016, 12:43 AM
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There is live music every night.

You can simply stroll along 6th Street and follow your ears. There are many bars with live blues music and if the sound appeals to you, go in.

There is also Antone's, Austin's most famous music club which once starred Stevie Ray Vaughn. Their range of music has become more diverse since then, now including funk and folk.

A bit out of town is the Continental Club, a live music venue which is famous for blues rock.

For dining, we liked Perry's steakhouse, also with daily live music.
traveller1959 is offline  
Apr 21st, 2016, 12:51 AM
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San Antonio:

The city's center and main attraction is the Riverwalk - a loop of the river surrounded by a lush tropical garden with lots of cafés and restaurants.

Close to the Riverwalk you find La Villita Historic District with Spanish buildings and atmosphere. Often live Mariachi music.

King William District has been mentioned.

A fun place is the Buckhorn Saloon & Museum - do not miss it!

For eating, Tex-Mex is THE thing to do in San Antonio. We liked Mi Tierra on the Mercado.
traveller1959 is offline  
Apr 21st, 2016, 08:36 AM
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You can hear live music just about anywhere in Austin, but you won't be able to get into any of the clubs traveller1959 mentioned because the kids are under 21. There is music at many of the restaurants so pick up a copy of the Chronicle when you get there (it's free) and check out what's going on where.

Definitely stroll up and down South Congress Street for shopping and restaurants. The kids will love seeing E. Sixth Street, which is Austin's version of Bourbon Street. Make sure you check out the Capitol Building. There's an IMAX theater at the Bob Bullock Museum. If you don't have one of those at home, I'm sure the kids would love it. The Segway tours are a lot of fun too.

Check out the trail around Town Lake (nka Ladybird Lake, but nobody calls is that). You can also rent canoes or stand-up paddle boards. If you want swimming, check out Barton Springs pool. Hiking along the Barton Springs greenbelt is a lot of fun too. Definitely check out the view at Mt. Bonnell and the Oasis out at Lake Travis. The lakes are all full now so the views are awesome.

Lots of food trucks all over town. There is a food truck trailer park on South First Street. The East side of town is quickly gentrifying and that's where you'll find all the new trendy restaurants. It's the area downtown but east of I-35. Make sure you go to Whole Foods to check out the largest WF in the country. It is the flagship store and corporate headquarters. There is a parking garage under the store.
AustinTraveler is offline  
Apr 21st, 2016, 08:38 AM
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Forgot you asked about botanical gardens:

Also, for more shopping downtown, check out the Warehouse District. That will be the area between West Second (just off Congress) and West Fourth.
AustinTraveler is offline  
Apr 21st, 2016, 02:31 PM
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>>but you won't be able to get into any of the clubs traveller1959 mentioned because the kids are under 21.<<

Really? I was with my kids at Antone's and in the Continental Club. They got their hands marked, so they could not order alcoholic drinks but they were allowed to go in and have soft drinks.

But maybe that has changed recently.
traveller1959 is offline  
Apr 21st, 2016, 04:18 PM
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Sorry, but nobody under 21 gets in to Antone's or Continental Club. They can go to Stubb's because they serve food.
AustinTraveler is offline  
Apr 27th, 2016, 11:46 AM
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Austin is such A COOL CITY!! We just returned last night. Fodor's actually has a very nice travel book that we used. I would recommend the lake/pool at Zilker Park, (part of Barton Springs Park) and renting a kayak or canoe to ride down the river.

There are so many nice restaurants. We stayed on 5th and Columbus Street right off Barton Springs Road. This is a really cool neighborhood with a definite Portland, Oregon vibe.
(I highly recommend this spring fed pool especially for all ages).
(I think this was the place we rented, but there are many others).

A must do (apparently) is Franklin BBQ. It is world famous but has a very long wait as people come from all over the world. You can check it out but get there early and plan to wait a long time.
Franklin BBQ
900 East 11th Street
Austin, TX 78702
nanabee is offline  
Apr 27th, 2016, 01:00 PM
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We love the little boat tour that goes around the Riverwalk in San Antonio; that's a don't miss for us. Also be sure to eat at Boudro's; they serve tableside guacamole and good prickly pear margaritas. We did a fun Segway tour that went through the King Williams district and other neat spots. Also like Guenther House for breakfast mentioned above.

Also love The Oasis in Austin - great views of the lake; go have drinks and watch the sunset if you can. Sometimes they have live music. The botanical gardens are nice. Don't miss the bat if they're in season - that's a hugely popular thing to do in Austin - they fly out by the millions, and it's fun to watch them fly out over the water.

For good BBQ, you can head over to the Salt Lick in Driftwood - might be cash only, but it's a fun Texas atmosphere with good brisket.
volcanogirl is offline  
Apr 27th, 2016, 01:01 PM
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That should say bats.
volcanogirl is offline  
Apr 27th, 2016, 05:38 PM
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Hi volcnogirl. We just returned from Austin yesterday. We were actually there for a family event for a few days but am hoping we can return to do more.

We also went to see the bats fly out from the Congress Street Bridge. They must have over slept because we (along with hundreds of others) waited until after 9:00 pm at which time they finally decided they were hungry and flew out.

Even though it was dark and late it was worth it. From what locals said they often come out at sunset but I guess it depends on many factors and time of year.
nanabee is offline  
Apr 27th, 2016, 05:39 PM
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opps repeating myself at little...
nanabee is offline  
Apr 27th, 2016, 05:41 PM
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Wow, nana, I'm really surprised that they were that late. Yes, every time I've ever gone to see them, they fly out at sunset. We even did a little boat cruise once to watch them fly out from the water. Austin is so much fun. I'm glad you enjoyed it! It sounds kind of funny to send someone to see the bats!
volcanogirl is offline  
Apr 27th, 2016, 07:17 PM
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It's definitely batty!
nanabee is offline  
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