36 Hours in San Antonio

I recently visited San Antonio to meet up with some old high school friends. This city is full of history and I had no idea! San Antonio has structures that date as far back as the early 1700s and they have a great mixture of modern architecture mixed with the old. There's tons of cute restaurants along the beautiful Riverwalk and everyone is super friendly and went out of their way to help others.

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We stayed at the Emily Morgan Doubletree hotel and supposedly it’s haunted. We asked the staff at the front desk about it, but they don’t want anything to do with it. I guess they’re advised by their superiors not to advertise the hotel as haunted so they don’t scare any customers away. I read a couple of articles online that there were some ghost encounters and basically every floor is haunted, but we experienced absolutely nothing.

   Emily Morgan DoubleTree Hotel   in Downtown san Antonio

Emily Morgan DoubleTree Hotel in Downtown san Antonio

The hotel itself was very nice. They have very spacious rooms with huge windows and our room overlooked the Alamo (the hotel is literally right next to it), which was pretty cool. I especially loved the gorgeous renovated tiles in the bathtub.

 Spacious rooms with huge windows overlooking the alamo

Spacious rooms with huge windows overlooking the alamo

The first thing I wanted to do in San Antonio was visit the Alamo, but the line was already long even before it opened at 9am. I’m not sure if the Alamo is normally this busy, but it was spring break, so everything was pretty crowded. I decided I would come back to the Alamo later and enjoy some breakfast somewhere on the Riverwalk. My friend, Janie, and I found a very nice location on the Riverwalk called Las Canarias. We got there at 9am and it wasn’t quite busy yet, but all the outdoor tables were taken. I guess if you want a table outside, you have to get there early around 8:30 am.

 Las Canarias outdoor sign and seating area

Las Canarias outdoor sign and seating area

The waitress gave us a nice table inside by the large windows with a scenic view of the river. It was a lovely restaurant that was a bit fancy. This restaurant is located within the Omni La Mansión del Rio hotel and had great reviews on Yelp, so I was excited to try their menu.

 Enjoying breakfast at Las Canarias by the window

Enjoying breakfast at Las Canarias by the window

We both decided to go with the breakfast buffet since it was the best option at $18. All the other entrees were at least $15 and you didn’t get nearly as much as you would with the buffet.

 Las Canarias breakfast buffet

Las Canarias breakfast buffet

It came with coffee and juice, breads, cereals, potatoes, yogurt, sausage, bacon, french toast, pastries, and a live omelet and egg station, which I always love! Everything looked so fresh and the food and reviews didn’t disappoint. Everything was delicious and I definitely recommend this place for breakfast.

 Live omelet and egg station at Las Canarias breakfast buffet

Live omelet and egg station at Las Canarias breakfast buffet

Afterwards, we did a river boat tour on the Rio San Antonio Cruises around the Riverwalk. Again, the lines were ridiculous, but one of the guides advised us that the wait wouldn’t be too long and that one of us should go inside the ticket booth to buy the tickets while the other waited in line outside. That was some great advice because by the time I was done buying the tickets (took about 20-30 minutes), we were up next to go on the boat.

 San Antonio Riverwalk

San Antonio Riverwalk

The boat tour was very enjoyable and our tour guide had a great voice with funny commentaries. Not sure if everyone knows this, but the water at the Riverwalk is a natural river. I had no idea!! I totally thought it was man-made. The tour lasted about 30 minutes and we passed by all the restaurants, markets, hotels, museums and learned a little more history about San Antonio. Again, I was very impressed with all the architecture and history around San Antonio.

 View of Downtown San Antonio from the boat tour

View of Downtown San Antonio from the boat tour

The nightlife in this city is really awesome too. There were so many choices and everything is within walking distance. We started out at Dave and Busters, then we attempted to go to Bonham Exchange but the line was way too long for us old folks. My friends and I are all around 30-40, but we had some young ones with us too that were 18-20, so we were trying to find bars and clubs that accepted all age groups. We decided to get some drinks at the ORO bar, which is inside the Emily Morgan hotel, and then ended up at On the Rocks Pub to get a little dancing in.

 On the Rocks Pub located underneath McDonalds

On the Rocks Pub located underneath McDonalds

On my last day in San Antonio, I had a little time in the morning to visit the Alamo, so I woke up early and got in line around 8:45am. There were already about 40 people in line.

 Long lines at the Alamo

Long lines at the Alamo

You are free to explore the Alamo at your own pace at no charge, but if you would like a guided tour, there are a couple of options: The Battlefield Tour is $18 and the Audio Tour is $7. You wait your turn to enter “The Shrine” and before you go in, you get a picture taken by a professional photographer, which was really weird. Especially since I was by myself and I didn’t need a picture of myself in front of a door. Once you enter The Shrine, there are some displays of old artifacts and replicas of the old Alamo. You’re not allowed to take pictures, so I can’t remember what was all in there.

 Inside the gates of the Alamo

Inside the gates of the Alamo

After you exit The Shrine, you enter the beautiful park with grand oak trees. There is another little museum you can check out and that’s about it. It’s a very small area, which I’ve always heard. As I was walking around, I noticed that there were gates open in the park area. I asked one of the guides if anyone was allowed to just walk in these gates at anytime and he said yes! So, unless you want to buy a guided tour, there’s no need to wait in that ridiculous line! You can just freely enter the gates whenever you want during their operating hours. Now I know for next time.

 The Alamo

The Alamo

I truly enjoyed everything in San Antonio and will definitely be coming back again to learn more about this lovely city. Especially since there are direct Southwest flights from Tampa to San Antonio for really great prices and it’s only a 2-hour plane ride. Totally doable on a weekend without taking off work! If you have any suggestions on places to check out in San Antonio, please comment below and let us know.

Shout-out to my Misawa family for making this trip an extra memorable experience!

 All my old high school friends from Misawa AFB, Japan

All my old high school friends from Misawa AFB, Japan