SanAntonio, things to do & see

Old Feb 20th, 2004, 09:31 AM
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SanAntonio, things to do & see

I'm visiting San Antonio with my husband during 4th MArch to 11th MArch, what are the best things to do? Is there a fantastic beach around there? Any wild flowers to be seen? Any local wineries not to be missed? Ofcourse I will see the Alamo & Riverwalk, but what else? More Suggestions needed.
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Old Feb 20th, 2004, 09:50 AM
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I just returned from there! There are four other old missions to visit besides the Alamo. S.A. isn't on the ocean, but drive south to Port Aransas for saltwater. Visit Menger Hotel by Riverwalk and stop into their little Bar. I love the countryside north and west of S.A. - Hill Country...antiques. In Fredricksburg, TX (not too far away) is worlds largest wildflower farm and a couple of wineries.
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Old Feb 20th, 2004, 10:01 AM
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preeya-

I will second the suggestion for the Spanish Missions. They are part of the National Park service, and just a short drive south of the city.
For more info:
http://www.nps.gov/saan/
Also, San Antonio visiton website:
http://www.sanantoniocvb.com
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Old Feb 20th, 2004, 10:04 AM
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I'm sure you'll get some great recommendations from my fellow Texans on the list. San Antonio is one of my favorite weekend getaways.

I highly recommend the Mission Trail tour that Boondogs mentioned. It's run by thre National Park Service. Allow half a day, and you will need a car. Start at San Jose since it has the visitors center, and work your way around to all the missions. BTW, the Alamo is the fifth mission, although it is managed by a non-profit group.

You'll probably be there too early for wildflowers since it is still pretty chilly. If you're lucky, and they have come out early, go to Johnson City and the LBJ Ranch. The wildflower center there is very, very good.

Fredericksburg is one of my favorite places in Texas! Yes, there are some local wineries, and the shopping on Haupstrasse is excellent! Don't miss the German bakery. Other nice Hill Country towns are New Braunfels, Gruene, and Boerne.

Yes, San Antonio is not on the beach. South Padre Island is about a 4-hour drive away, so you could do an overnight trip there. Corpus Christi is about 2.5 hours away. (Texas beaches are not South Florida, so don't think of powdery white sand and crystal blue water.) It will also be too chilly for swimming in early March.

Have fun on the Riverwalk! There are lots of great restaurants and places for a drink. Do a search here and you'll get plenty of recommendations. The El Mercado Mexican market can also be a fun place to shop.

Have a great time!! Viva San Antonio!
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Old Feb 20th, 2004, 10:16 AM
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7 days is a lot for San Antonio. Here are some places within 2-3 hours you can go visit if you haven't been to this part of Texas.

East: Schulenburg and surrounding areas with its painted churches. Shiner to visit the brewery for the great Shiner Bock beer. About 1.5 hours from SA.

SSE: Beaches near Corpus Christi, from Port Aransas south through S. Padre Island. Just over 2 hours.

SSW: Laredo. Cross the border to Nuevo Laredo, Mexico for crafts, prescription drugs, etc... Just over 2 hours from SA.

NW: The above-mentioned Fredericksburg. Nice little town with German influence, Nimitz Museum, etc. LBJ Ranch is a few miles East in Stonewall, TX. Worth a visit. Hiking at Enchanted Rock state park. ~1.5 hours from SA.

NE: Just outside SA is New Braunfels. There's a lime-stone cavern there. If you haven't been in a cavern before, it's not too bad. There's also a wildlife park nearby. A little further out is San Marcos. It's a quaint little town, but most people are drawn to the outlet mall there. And Austin is just over an hour from SA. Capitol, LBJ Library, clubs on 6th Street, Lake Austin, etc...

Those are the stuff you can do around San Anton.
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Old Feb 20th, 2004, 10:23 AM
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No beaches whatsoever...Texas beaches are mud pits...really. The best thing closest to San Antonio is New Braunfels that has two awesome rivers that you float on...and they have a tube shoot. The comal river is really nice and lazy. Bluebonnets and paintbrushes all along the highways.
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Old Feb 20th, 2004, 11:06 AM
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Actually, Texas beaches are far from "mud pits" if you're talking about the Port Aransas-Padre Island-S. Padre Island area. They're brimming with biodiversity and, while not the Caribbean, the water there is a lot clearer than it is a few hours to the north.
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Old Feb 20th, 2004, 11:19 AM
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March is WAY too early for tubing on the Comal or Guadelupe! You'd freeze!

The bluebonnets are usually at their peak around Easter, which is mid-April this year.

I agree that Texas beaches, especially SPI, are not "mud pits!" Thanks, Tejano!
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Old Feb 20th, 2004, 05:44 PM
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Preeya...sorry, i didn't realize about the March dates. Tejano....Galveston area is a mud pit! I've lived in this area forever...the water is not clear ..you cannot see in it...it is brown and murky...THAT IS A FACT! Don't know about Padre area. Compared to California and Florida beaches...mud pit! I stand firm TEJANO
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Old Feb 21st, 2004, 07:23 AM
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clairlong, be careful about generalizing if you haven't been to Padre Island. Sand is fine and white, and yes, you can see into the water, it is clear and blue. It has been protected natl. seashore for a long time, and is nicer than most of CA beaches I've been to because it is not only lovely w/nicer sand but hot enough to swim in the water, unlike alot of CA beaches where you can only put your toes in the water. I've been to both coasts of Florida, and CA beaches up and down the CA coast. Florida water is clearer than Padre, but not CA.
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Old Feb 23rd, 2004, 09:31 AM
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Thanks a lot for your inputs: yk, ChristieP,rkkwan, tejano & clairelong!! I'm already day dreaming about going to SA! I've never been down south, so very excited. I think me & my hubby will have lots of fun there, thanks to your inputs.
Can you guys suggest, what do I shop in SA? I really want to take back to Boston something that is specific or rather reminds me of SA. Is it the leather & feathers, or cowboy hat or what? Please let m eknow, so that I dont ,miss them and suggest local markets which are a shoppers delight.
Thank you.
Preeya
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Old Feb 23rd, 2004, 09:44 AM
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There is a mexican market area that my husband and I went to, where we bought some nicely crafted Mexican goods, like a handmade ceramic nativity scene that we use every year. Also a large dining place in that market (Mi Tierra I think) that some like and some don't- but they do have mariachis which is fun.
BTW- I will mention the King George historic area, an area of old Victorian homes which you can drive through. I had never seen Victorian homes before that trip, and I was impressed. We did this the same day we drove to the missions.
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Old Feb 23rd, 2004, 09:45 AM
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Wildflowers won't be in bloom until April and they are beautiful. The Hill Country offers a wine/wildflower tour during April. Visit Messina Hof vineyard. Give up on beach idea. I agree with you must visit the Menger bar, lot's of history and the best Bloody Mary around. You'll be walking everywhere, I would suggest staying within 2-6 blocks of the Riverwalk (you won't have to worry about parking/downtown traffic, etc.)
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Old Feb 23rd, 2004, 10:09 AM
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The best things to shop for in San Antonio are Mexican handicrafts. You'll find nice pottery, weavings, leather goods, and silver items. Go to the El Mercado Mexican Market and have fun! Some things that are trendy and neat are ceramic tile house numbers with a wrought-iron holder, or a silver picture frame or cross!

You can also find western wear, but be forewarned that "real" western wear is not cheap. A good 5X, felt cowboy hat (Resistol or Stetson) will set you back over $100, and it will also be difficult to get back to Boston due to the size of the hatbox being larger than airlines allow for carryons. $100 is the starting price for a good pair of boots, and add a zero for exotic leathers. Of course, you can always go to Wal-Mart and get a cheap hat or boots... I usually do my western wear shopping in Fort Worth, so I'm not sure what places are good in San Antone. Come up to Fort Worth for a weekend and I'll tell you where to go shopping!!
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Old Feb 24th, 2004, 02:23 PM
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While you are walking in the downtown area and visiting the Alamo, check out the Buckhorn Museum. It's an old saloon and museum with some incredible stuff. www.buckhornmuseum.com
 
Old Feb 24th, 2004, 03:54 PM
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We used San Antonio as a kickoff point for a trip that was basically a big triangle: San Antonio to Corpus Christi to Laredo and then a dude rank in the Hill Country. It was a fascinating trip--you see so many different aspects of Texas culture.

Drive up to Austin one evening to sample the music there.

One of the missions--sorry, I forget which one--has a mariachi mass every Sunday. Arrive about an hour early for a good seat. One of the most memorable services I've ever been to--worth the whole trip!
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Old Feb 27th, 2004, 10:33 AM
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Good shopping is also to be found at La Villita in downtown.
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Old Feb 28th, 2004, 03:47 PM
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I live in Texas--grew up in SA and now live in New Braunfels. I had to laugh at your post about feathers, cowboy hats and leather. You will not see many Texans dressed up in these things, unless they are on stage. Seriously, silver jewelry is a good buy, easy to transport home, too. Be aware that locals do not shop at El Mercado, but it is an experience every tourist should yield to.

For the following recommendations, you need a car. Gruene is a nice community about 30 minutes north of SA. There is an old dance hall, Gruene Hall, that was featured in the movie "Michael" starring John Travolta. It will be too cold to get in the water, but you can have dinner on the patio overlooking the Guadalupe River at Gristmill Restaurant, which is adjacent to Gruene Hall. Gruene also has little shops to browse in, including one with an old fashioned soda fountain.

If you decide to make the trip to New Braunfels or Gruene, the Cavern and wildlife center (Natural Bridge Caverns and Natural Bridge Wildlife Center) are right next to each other and BEFORE you get to New Braunfels (about 10 minutes south of town). New Braunfels has a gazebo in the middle of the Plaza, harkening to the town's German roots. A great restaurant near the plaza in New Braunfels: Huisache Grill (has wine and beer, but no mixed drinks).

Restaurants in SA where the locals eat: Rosarios, La Fogata, Josephine St. Cafe, Pico de Gallos, Paesanos.

Have a great trip!
 
Old Feb 28th, 2004, 07:03 PM
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I do recommend all the LBJ sites--including the library in Austin. Of the presidential libraries that I have visited, the one in Austin is the best. There is no presentation of LBJ as a candidate for sainthood. He is there with his good points and his warts. The family made an effort to stay out of the decisions and the result is well done.

The LBJ ranch can be toured in buses (Lady Bird Johnson is still alive and lives there so you cannot tour the house).

The birthplace is also quite interesting.

Others have mentioned Riverwalk and the Alamo. I did not expect to be moved at the Alamo, but I was. There is also an IMAX film nearby that is worth seeing to put the event in historical context.

While I did not get to go tubing in New Braunfels because I was also there too early in the season, you can still enjoy the scenery (just not from a tube in the river).

Have fun!
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