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Would really appreciate your tips!

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Mississippi
posts: 8
reviews: 3
Would really appreciate your tips!

First of all let me say that my family has a farm and vacations just do not happen very often for us it is so hard to get away; and when they do we are VERY excited about them. We are planning a trip to San Antonio in early April for a few days before heading down to the King Ranch in Kingsville, TX for a visit there. I have 2 kids ages 12 & 9, we don't mind walking, we are driving there from southern Mississippi and we are not sure where we are staying just yet. I was thinking the Market Square area. I have read a few posts, one particular had a tip about parking in it that I will be using (Thanks!). We want to see the basics, Alamo, Riverwalk, do some shopping, my husband is very interested in handmade leather items as he is a saddlemaker. I know there are 100 of the same posts asking basically the same questions, but I would really like to make this an awesome treat for my hardworking kids, something that they will remember...so ANY tips would be appreciated!

Thanks so much!

Kaneohe, HI
posts: 44
reviews: 1
1. Re: Would really appreciate your tips!

I was a farm kid, too. Also lived in San Antonio for 4+ years. If you're only in SA a few days, I would recommend staying closer to the main Riverwalk area vs. the Marketplace area, as you'll feel a bit removed from the heart of downtown SA. I think you're better off visiting the Marketplace area and having your homebase on the Riverwalk. You can either walk to the Marketplace or take a trolley.

Of course you'll want to visit The Alamo--there's a decent IMAX movie at the Rivercenter Mall (right across the street) you could see first to give your kids some background info/perspective prior to your visit. You'll also want to take the boat tour along the Riverwalk--tickets and boarding are located in the center of the mall.

As for dining, Riverwalk restaurants can be hit or miss. One of our favorites was Texas Land & Cattle--great steaks, margaritas and cowboy atmosphere. There's a good burger joint on Houston St. next to The Palm...more reasonably priced than hitting something like The Hard Rock. A more upscale restaurant we always liked was Boudro's (depending on your kids' tastes and your budget). As for TexMex, our favorites were always away from the Riverwalk. If you're up for a short drive, try Tomatillo's on Broadway (about 10 min. from Riverwalk). Great prices, fun atmosphere and solid TexMex. For lunch TexMex, lots of locals hit Mexican Manhattan or Blanco Cafe (both just off Riverwalk--5 min. walk). Blanco is very quick, very cheap, and very filling.

Hope this gives you some ideas. Enjoy your trip!

San Antonio, TX
posts: 557
reviews: 7
2. Re: Would really appreciate your tips!

If your kids are into this sort of thing, the Ripley's Believe It Or Not, House of Wax, and Guiness World Records are accross the street from the Alamo. A couple of blocks from the Alamo on Houston St. you can also visit the Buckhorn Museum which has an interesting variety of Texas collectibles and memorabilia. During April, Six Flags - Fiesta Texas and Seaworld are open on the weekends if you want to do the theme park thing. Go to sanantoniocvb.com for information on attractions and events. This may help you set your itinerary.

FYI, Fiesta San Antonio runs from April 15th - 24th. If you are here during this time it may really affect the cost and choice of your lodging.

San Antonio, Texas
posts: 1,535
reviews: 9
3. Re: Would really appreciate your tips!

I work in downtown San Antonio, and it's one of the safest downtowns that I've seen. You definitely should stay closer to the Riverwalk area like the Marriott, Hilton, or Hyatt. There are many other hotels like the Menger or St. Anthony, but they can get expensive. You and your husband might like "La Villita", which is a collection of artisan shops just off the Riverwalk. Your husband might find some hand-crafted leather things there...I'm can't remember what all they have, but it's very unusual - one of a kind things. Boudro's is a great place to eat - get their fresh guacamole made right at your table - it's the best ever! Boudro's has "gourmet" Mexican food, but in my opinion, El Mirador is the best authentic Mexican food in San Antonio. It's a few blocks south of downtown, and it beats the heck out of any Mexican food place you'll find on the Riverwalk. On a different note, the grounds behind the Alamo are gorgeous! Many people walk through the Alamo and straight into the gift shop, but you might consider walking to the right when you exit the Alamo to see some of the biggest cactus patches you'll ever see - as well as flowers and huge trees (well, huge for Texas). Hope this helps! Enjoy your stay!

Mississippi
posts: 8
reviews: 3
4. Re: Would really appreciate your tips!

I really appreciate all of your tips so far, I am making notes and plans. The restaraunt and hotel suggestions are great, and I will make a point to take a look at those cactus at the Alamo, my daughter would love that. Are there any good times/days or bad time/days for some tourist sights? I do not expect to have anything "all to myself" but I think with all tourist stops, there can be better times to stop by if you are not into huge crowds.

Thanks alot! :-)

San Antonio, Texas
posts: 1,535
reviews: 9
5. Re: Would really appreciate your tips!

It doesn't really get overly crowded down here at all...especially if you're going to be here in early April. Late April is Fiesta, which is San Antonio's biggest party, but it sounds like you'll be here before April 23 - so no problem. I never see lines at the Alamo unless a tour bus stops. Ironically, it's more crowded dowtown during the week because of conventions than it is on the weekends. However, weekend nights on the Riverwalk can be crowded and full of harmless drunks - just watch out that you don't fall in the river! Some of the pathways by the river are narrow. Bring some good walking shoes, because things are spread out, and you could easily walk two or more miles in a short time. If you like beer, then try Shiner Bock on draft - it's a Texas specialty. You can't go wrong with a margarita and chips-n-salsa either....at any place.

Keller, TX
posts: 15
reviews: 13
6. Re: Would really appreciate your tips!

HI! I feel your pain on the vacations being hard to come by. This is only my 8 yr olds second true vacation ever. Please do yourself a big fat favor now, and go to the SAN ANTONIO VISITOR AND CONVENTION BUREAU site ...and find the S.A.V.E. part of their web site. You truley wont believe the discounts. I got the St anthony for 89.00(this was a 180.00 a night room) a night, that with joining the WYNDHAM BY REQUEST club (free, just go to wyndham site) i have been assurred an upgraded room and a welcome basket plus a few perks. I also found some unbelievable prices on river walk hotels (the st anthony is 2 blocks away but is a historic hotel and very upscale) You can get the drury inn on the river for 99.00 a night several others at almost half price. You may have to email them or call them and talk to the manager as the reservationists seem to have little clue about these hidden discounts. The st anthony had a code to key in when i made my reservation so it was easy there. ok so much for how to get a room cheap :)

Now food. A must do is MI TIERRA in the market area, its open 24 hours a day, so save it for a late night dinner after all has closed down (before memorial day things close up early like the alamo the was museum etc) you can take the trolley for 80 cents if you go earlier in the evening. The food on the river walk is way expensive but you really should atleast try to do one outdoor meal if you can, esp at night with all the lights lit, very pretty. If your kids are into music the HARDROCK is now on the riverwalk...thats fun. Your daughter and you will love the mall! Its fabulous!

Ok now for fun...Seaworld can get pricey (im totally assuming your on a budget, like me :) ) but its worth it, esp if they have never been! Go early! The shows are on a schedule and if you dont show when it opens you may miss a show or 2. My favorite place (and my daughter has visited it 4 times and loves it) is THE BUCKHORN SALOON AND MUSEUM. fairly priced at about 10 bucks, its a fun afternoon..again it closes at 5, so go early. REMEMBER THE ALAMO! And like the reader said, please hit the IMAX theater at the riverwalk across the street first for the movie about the alamo..its a fairly short film, i think about an hour and 15 minutes or so, but really good, i liked it better than the new alamo movie that came out last year. helpful to teach the kids about what they are going to see.

ugh, im sure there is a ton more to see and do..but those are my highlights...oh yeah take lots of film, and enjoy the BLUEBONNETS! (its a myth that you cant pick them btw)

Ok now look for discounts and coupons! Check out the PASSBOOK web site (just go google passbook discounts...you will find it and type in SA texas) there are printable coupons there, plus go back to the website i was talking about earlier, the visitor and convention bureau and go to S.A.V.E. and they have a ton of coupons to print.

I hope you had time to read my ramblings, ...if you happen to be going thru fredricksburg during your trip be prepared to stop there for some antiquing and that leather crafting thing your hubby is into :)

HAVE A BLAST! YOU GUYS DESERVE IT!

ps..if you do book with the st anthony, make sure you get ahold of the wyndham by request manager at the hotel, and ofcourse when you sign up for wyndham by request they ask all of your "favorite things" and they do thier best to comply..esp with the gift baskets/welcome tray. But anyway call the manager in charge of by request with the hotel and make sure you request a LARGER DOUBLE QUEEN ROOM...some rooms are tiny, but some are huge...and they might even upgrade to a suite...the double queen large rooms even have 2 seperate bathrooms with walk in closets!

Mississippi
posts: 8
reviews: 3
7. Re: Would really appreciate your tips!

Thank you for taking the time to fill me on all of your tips and savings resources, saving money is always a bonus! :-) We have the coupon book in hand.

My husband wants to go to New Braunfels to see some things there as well. We are all VERY excited and now feel like we have some "inside tips" on what to do and where.

Getting excited about our vacation! Can't wait to see the looks on my children's faces at the lights on the riverwalk! Thanks again!

Plainfield, Illinois
posts: 40
reviews: 53
8. Re: Would really appreciate your tips!

The woodfield suites(owened by Baymont) 2 blocks from Market Square about $90($109 Fiesta week) a night is great,huge rooms,great hot breakfast,free drinks nightly from 5-7pm,and they didn't close they pool until the fun was done at 2am,don't forget free parking and its right on the trolley stop which If I remember correctly was 80 cents and they didn't charge for the 3 kids.The La Mansion Del Rio is also great if you want to splurge ($200)but you pay $20 for valet but they bring your bags up,you also don't get any free bee's just luxury and romance(go without the kids.HA!HA!)Our kids were 8 &10 at the time and they loved everything and can't waite to go back!If you can put off til Fiesta week April 15-24 its a huge celebration,carnival,parades,live music,and lots of shopping!Enjoy!This will be our 4th trip in 5years,we are going for fiesta!