Welcome to the Alamo City: Unique Things to Do in San Antonio

welcome-to-the-alamo-city:-unique-things-to-do-in-san-antonio

San Antonio is perhaps best known as one of the largest cities in Texas as well as being the home of The Alamo and other historic sites. There are plenty of popular things to do in San Antonio, like spending the day at Six Flags Fiesta or strolling along the San Antonio River Walk. However, if you’re looking for something a little more unique, there are plenty of activities that fit the bill. So whether you’ve relocated across town to a home in Terrell Hills or you just rented an apartment in Alamo Heights, read on for unique things to do in San Antonio.

san antonio skyline

Indulge in some local cuisine at the Barbacoa and Big Red Festival

There’s no shortage of great food in San Antonio. A city famous for its delicious barbacoa, it’s only fitting that they host an annual Barbacoa and Big Red Festival. Located at the R&J Music Pavillion, checking out this event is a tasty perk of living in San Antonio.

San Antonio local and founder of All of San Antonio Robert Morris, Jr. says, “The Barbacoa and Big Red Festival celebrates our unique food dish combined with a delicious cold beverage, Big Red. The festival is one of the largest food festivals in San Antonio and the great state of Texas. This year it is happening on October 8th and 9, 2022, at R&J Music Pavilion.”

Check out historical sites like the Hot Wells Hotel

The remains of the Hot Wells Hotel provide a unique window into San Antonio’s past. Though the site has experienced multiple fires (including one in its first year of operation in 1894), most of the structure is still intact. The hotel has seen its share of famous guests, from Charlie Chaplin to Teddy Roosevelt.

“There is so much history in San Antonio, and despite growing up here, I hadn’t experienced much of it until the pandemic hit, and I needed things to do outdoors, says local resident Amber Goulden of Sprinkles & Spoons Gluten-Free Bakery. “One hidden gem I happened to stumble upon was the ruins of the Hot Wells Hotel. It was built around natural sulfur baths and is rumored to be haunted. I also love the San Antonio Missions, the San Fernando Cathedral, the Spanish Governor’s Palace, and even just walking around the King William Historic District.”

Immerse yourself in modern Texas cuisine at Southerleigh Fine Food & Brewery

For more delicious Texas cooking with a modern twist, visit Southerleigh Fine Food & Brewery. Located in the Tobin Hill neighborhood of San Antonio, it also features a second-story microbrewery.

For a modern take on Texas cuisine, check out Chef Jeff Balfour’s Southerleigh Fine Food & Brewery in Pearl, says Stuart Murless of boam, a website that helps people find restaurants. “The vintage decor in the original Pearl’s Brewhouse, built in 1894, makes for an evening to remember. For a taste of coastal Texas, try out the fried snapper throats or the Galveston Bay shrimp boil.”

person with glass of beer

Grab a cold one at Freetail Brewing Company

Whether you’re a fan of lager, IPAs, or anything in between, Freetail Brewing Company has you covered. They offer a wide range of seasonal offerings as well as regularly stocked beers like their San Antonio Pale Ale. 

“Over a dozen breweries downtown means that we’re always able to scratch our craft beer itch, whether that’s sampling the latest variety of IPA or leaning on more traditional European-style lagers,” says Steve Anderson of Find Me A Brewery. “And when it comes to the latter, we really appreciate how local brewers infuse the spirit of Texas in old world lagers to craft brews that give respect while tasting uniquely Texas. If you’re looking for a richer, brewer-led experience, Freetail Brewing Company’s Saturday tours will give you a chance to see where the magic happens.”

Head to Morgan’s Wonderland for 25 acres of rides and fun

Who doesn’t love amusement parks? Morgan’s Wonderland has dozens of rides that anyone can enjoy. Activities include a wheelchair-accessible Ferris wheel and catch-and-release fishing. Your kids will beg you to go back, and you might enjoy it too.

“This small but mighty amusement park has everything a kid could ask for – Old fashion Carousel, Ferris wheel, train rides, multiple playgrounds, splash parks, and much more, says Lindsay Finnegan of Fun 4 Alamo Kids. “But the best part about Morgan’s Wonderland is that it’s 100% all-inclusive, so every child can enjoy themselves and have a wonderful experience.”

Experience new cultures and cuisines at Trices Cafe and Lounge

Part of moving to a new city is introducing yourself to new cultures and flavors, and a great place to start is Trices Cafe and Lounge. The menu features dishes from Nigeria, Ghana, and Cameroon, making it one of the more unique experiences in San Antonio.

“Experience African culture with authentic, delicious African food, drinks, music, and entertainment in San Antonio serving favorites such as jollof rice, fufu, egusi, and many others, says Uzeme Atunuwa, a San Antonio local and owner of the establishment. “Enjoy drinks like palm wine from the bar; groove to the sounds of Afrobeats, and play with the pool or ping-pong tables. At Trices, we are more than just a restaurant, and there is always something for everyone.”

pinball machine

Enjoy coffee, games, and more at What’s Brewing Coffee Roasters

This one’s for the coffee lovers. For an immersive coffee experience, be sure to check out What’s Brewing Coffee Roasters. The roastery also includes a drive-through, making this the perfect place to fuel up as you make your way downtown for work.

“For coffee aficionados in San Antonio, What’s Brewing Coffee Roasters is the place to be for the highest quality coffee, and pinball,” says Jeremy Schwegmann of Go To Destinations. “What’s Brewing Coffee Roasters has been serving up delicious brews since 1979. They roast their own beans on the premises and warehouse the different bean varieties on site. For pinball lovers, they have more than 30 vintage and recent pinball machines for you to enjoy and sink quarters into. The staff is very friendly and helpful. You can also speak with their roaster if you are curious to know about the roasting process or coffee beans. It’s not your typical coffee shop and is a can’t-miss if you are in San Antonio.”

Soak in live music while sampling local beers at Dos Sirenos Brewing

Dos Sirenos Brewing is not your average brewery. They offer a wide range of beers on tap, indoor and outdoor seating, and happy hours on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays. 

“Dos Sirenos Brewing is a family-owned craft brewery in the Lonestar/Southtown area of downtown,” says owner and San Antonio local Kari Sireno. “All beers on the 20 taps are made in-house. Dos Sirenos also offers a full scratch kitchen with Brunch on Saturday & Sunday, 11-2, and Thursdays from open until 9 pm. The large outdoor area hosts live music on most Friday and Saturday nights.”

mission san jose

Take a hike and enjoy the outdoors and San Antonio’s historic architecture

The Alamo City has long been a popular tourist destination because of its historic landmarks and architecture. If you’re a hiking enthusiast looking for unique things to do in San Antonio, you can enjoy the outdoors while soaking in the city’s rich history.

“Your family can hike and bike along the trail that connects all five missions in San Antonio, say local photographers Jason and Alejandra Bryant of Meet The Bryants. “The Alamo, Mission Concepcion, Mission San Jose, Mission San Juan, and Mission Espada. In addition to the outdoor aspect, the Spanish architecture of the missions adds a flavor of quintessential San Antonio culture.”

san antonio pearl district

Visit the unique shops and restaurants in San Antonio’s Pearl District

With the historic Pearl Brewery as its centerpiece, Pearl District is one of the most vibrant and unique neighborhoods in San Antonio. The brewery opened in 1883 and now includes various restaurants and a 19th-century brewhouse-turned-hotel.

“Pearl is a dynamic neighborhood built around the historic Pearl Brewery, which operated from 1883 to 1999,” says San Antonio local Viviana Garcia. “Located just north of downtown San Antonio on the banks of the San Antonio River, it is home to architecturally significant buildings like the brewhouse and stable—both built in 1894—and numerous plazas. Today, Pearl is home to dozens of unique culinary concepts, one-of-a-kind retail, weekend markets, residential communities, innovative office tenants, the San Antonio campus of the Culinary Institute of America, and the award-winning Hotel Emma. Locals love Pearl as it’s a vibrant district where the community gathers to play, work, live and experience the best of what San Antonio has to offer.”

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