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San Antonio: The Venice of South Texas

Ahh! San Antonio…the smell of Tex-Mex, the sound of mariachi bands, and the sight of the River Walk. It’s like stepping into a quaint foreign village; the little Venice of Texas!

Savoring Texas history, food, and entertainment on a weekend trip can be fulfilling for not just our children but the child inside all of us. When Texans think of a vacation spot within our own state, it’s often San Antonio; land of historical significance, popular landmarks punctuated with natural and architectural beauty, and an abundance of restaurants to satisfy your every gastronomic interest.

One thing is for certain when you visit San Antonio – you won’t ever run out of things to do! It boasts of richness in culture, beauty, history and pure fun! You can enjoy year-round activities like river tubing, hiking, horseback riding, hunting, golf, cycling, shopping, museums, and (my favorite) delicious food and drink.

San Antonio’s history is unique because it’s a melting pot of multiple cultural influences: Native Americans, the first Spanish explorers, Mexican residents, and German immigrants. They've all added to the culture that is San Antonio and through it we can taste the Tex-Mex food, see the influence of both German and Spanish architecture, and listen to the romantic cascade of the varying dialects.

Ashley’s San Antonio Tips to Remember:

·          The Japanese Tea Gardens is an outdoor must-see: beautiful floral displays, waterfall and a Koi pond to help you find your Zen.

·          The Tower of the Americas gives a panoramic view of the city.

·          The Buckhorn Saloon and Museum is muy Texas with exotic collections like a two-headed calf and a lamb with eight legs.  

·          The Alamo, was originally established as a mission in the early 1700s. It now sits as a monument for Texas pride and a reminder of the bravery of 189 defenders who feel there on March 6, 1836 to overpowering numbers of Santa Anna’s Mexican army. The museum contains relics and mementos from the Republic of Texas and has easy to gather information about the fall of the Alamo and what it meant in Texas history.

·          The River Walk is the country’s oldest and most extensive Spanish-colonial water system. This three-mile winding walkway offers  a variety in dining, art, shopping and entertainment. It is a favorite of most visitors to the City.

·          The San Antonio Zoo is the third largest zoo in the United States features 3,500 animals.

·          Browse the vendors at Market Square, see beautiful Victorian mansions in the King William District,  and be sure to take in the collection at the San Antonio Museum of Art

·          SeaWorld San Antonio is a popular destination for families visiting San Antonio and its SeaWorld, the largest of its theme parks in the country.   
Photo: One of Sea World's many shows, this one shows a walrus doing crunches!

      You don’t have to walk far anywhere in San Antonio to find something that will satisfy your palate. San Antonio cuisine ranges from Texas-style barbeque ribs to Mexican (my husband’s favorite) huevos rancheros. More than 50 restaurants alone sit along the San Antonio River Walk, European-style alfresco cafes allow diners to soak up the rays or the nighttime air and listen to the mariachi bands.

Do you enjoy a good cup of tea? MadHatter’s Tea House and Café has been featured in National Graphic Traveler, New York Times and Texas Monthly as well as on Rachael Ray’s Vacation.  They have a wide variety of tea and delicious tea time bites. 
Photo: La Fogata's Chile En Nogado
The best Mexican food I’ve ever had was at La Fogata! When driving to the restaurant my husband thought for sure we were lost because it’s away from all the hustle and bustle of San Antonio attractions (more in the burbs). We arrived to a lush courtyard filled with fountains and a fabulous atmosphere for sipping margaritas (again…the best I ever had). La Fogata is authentic Mexican food that’s well priced and well known for the best margaritas in town. When we left I called my friend Michael to thank him for the wonderful recommendation. Often word of mouth recommendations are the very best.  
Photo: Walking the trail around the Ramblin' River at Hill Country Hyatt.
On our recent visit to San Antonio we stayed at the Hill Country Hyatt and I can’t recommend it enough. The ranch house style hotel has wooden beams and porches with rocking chairs that lure you into relaxation mode. There are endless activities for children and adults, everything you could want: a gorgeous 27-hole championship golf course, the Ramblin' River that you can safely tube around with your children, and a beach to build sand castles, water and beach volleyball, pony rides, marshmallow roasting on the fire pit, and a fabulous spa. This is the kind of place to make everybody happy. 

If you’re still toying with a Memorial Day vacation and not sure where to go, San Antonio may be just the place.

"Remember the Alamo"? Absolutely! You just can’t forget San Antonio and can’t wait to go back to the fiesta!

Photo: Strolling around San Antonio's River Walk and watching the dolphins at Sea World.

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