From River Walk to Rodeo: Experiencing the Diverse Charm of San Antonio

From River Walk to Rodeo: Experiencing the Diverse Charm of San Antonio

Let’s discuss our week in San Antonio, Texas. I’m genuinely glad that bad weather forced this detour through Southern Texas – I think it was just the push we needed to relax on our Great RV Journey. San Antonio weather, like Austin, has been much warmer, sunnier, just more comfortable overall, and we were out doing things almost every day.

San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo

When we first arrived at the San Antonio KOA, we were surprised to learn that it was right next to the fairgrounds where the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo was happening! We jumped on the opportunity and went. While, unfortunately, we couldn’t get tickets to the rodeo itself, we went for the rides, games, and fair food, and had plenty to do. We even caught one of the live music performances.

The First Day In Town

It was hard to decide what to do in San Antonio, there are so many options!

We explored downtown San Antonio, including Historic Market Square. Market Square is broken into two sections – El Mercado, and Farmer’s Market Plaza. Between the two, there are dozens of boutique shops to browse through and several restaurants. Also, while we weren’t in San Antonio for it, this is apparently the best place to celebrate Cinco De Mayo!

The Alamo

Of course, we had to see the Alamo – arguably San Antonio’s biggest claim to fame. It was very interesting, although if I’m honest, not the highlight of our time in town. While clearly, the Alamo is a big part of Texan history, the building itself has very little of the original structure left, and well, we found it to be just a bit underwhelming.

However, right there is also Missions National Park, an absolute must-see. The first Spanish mission in the San Antonio area, San Antonio de Valero, was built in 1718, and Missions National Park contains the next four missions built – Mission San Jose, Mission Concepcion, Mission San Juan, and Mission Espada. The buildings and exhibits were a fascinating peek into colonial life and the surrounding area was very peaceful.

Inclement Weather Hit – And Hit Hard

The day after we visited the Alamo, we learned we hadn’t entirely escaped the bad weather that had plagued us earlier in the trip. Massive balls of hail dropped like bullets – scarier in an RV where the sound echoes through the frame of the vehicle. While, the hailstorm was short-lived, it did over $6,000 worth of damage to my Jeep! Still, I was glad there wasn’t any damage to the RV. We could wait until the end of the trip to have the repairs made to the Jeep, but damage to the RV would have delayed our trip and, potentially put us out of our home!

After the hail storm, we still managed to make it to…

The San Antonio Zoo

Spread over 56 acres, the San Antonio Zoo has over 750 different animal species. It was founded in 1914, making it the oldest zoo in Texas. We had a lot of fun wandering through and admiring the animals. It’s not the most impressive zoo we’ve ever visited, but it was definitely very nice.

Hitting the Riverwalk

The next day, we decided to take a hop-on, hop-off bus tour. You’ll notice we do some sort of tour in most cities – we find it’s a good way to get a general overview of the city, and often we see something that ends up on our must-do activity list! In San Antonio, we passed the botanical gardens, Tower of the Americas, and the Riverwalk. We hopped off at Tower of the Americas to have lunch at the iconic Chart House, their roof-top restaurant. The Chart House is an upscale seafood bistro with an award-winning menu – and yet, we found the food mediocre at best. The view was incredible, so it wasn’t a complete bust, but honestly, we’d have been happier settling for a really good food truck. The dishes were bland and a little cold as if they weren’t served fresh. Our salads were wilted – who serves wilted salad at an excellent restaurant? M enjoyed her crab cakes, but overall, it was overpriced for the quality, and we wouldn’t really recommend it. If you want to enjoy the view, stick to drinks and save your money for a better restaurant.

After the Chart House, we took the river tour, a small boat that starts at the Riverwalk Mall and gives you a peaceful view of the river-walk area. It was very pretty and relaxing, and I’d probably recommend it. Time it for when you’ve been going-going-going – your aching feet will appreciate the break.

After we climbed out of the boat, we headed into the mall – the top floor has an indoor rope course, which M climbed through like a monkey. She had a blast and I got some time to relax – we’ll call it a win-win.

Mission Concepcion Church

While in town, we decided to attend Sunday Mass at Mission Concepcion Church. You may remember Mission Concepcion from when we visited Missions National Park – the church was built in 1731 and is the oldest unrestored stone church in the country. It was gorgeous, and you could almost feel the history, the centuries of people praying for help, thankful for their fortune.

Well, we got a little surprise! As it turns out, Mass at the church included a mariachi band! We really enjoyed the mass which incorporated local culture. If you’re in San Antonio and looking for a church to visit, it’s worth it to go out of your way to attend mass at Mission Concepcion Church.

San Antonio was fantastic. We were sad to leave Austin, but San Antonio was wonderful and eased us back into traveling. Austin was funky and quirky, but in San Antonio, history just vibrates through the air. Visit both while you’re in Texas.

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