After a few beautiful days on the beach, we were headed for our first city of the road trip: San Antonio, where we would be spending a few days with my brother and his wife. I had visited them before, but it would be Ryan’s first time in San Antonio and I was excited for him to see the city!
We spent our first afternoon in town just relaxing, but the next day we headed into downtown San Antonio to explore the city. The first stop, of course, was the Alamo!
I was once again surprised by our first sight of the Alamo. It looks so incongruous sitting there, nestled among high rises and tourists!
We took a few selfies while standing in line to get in. The line was quite long, but moved quickly. You can’t take pictures inside the building, but it’s very interesting; there are many artifacts, a helpful diorama of the battle, and exhibits about the history of the Alamo. It’s a San Antonio must-see, but I think once you’ve seen it, there’s not much value in repeating the experience. I think next time we go we’ll have to check out the San Antonio Missions National Park.
From the Alamo we walked a few blocks to the San Antonio River Walk. It claims to be the number one tourist attraction in Texas, and while I’m not sure how they would be able to measure that, it’s definitely a gorgeous spot. I absolutely love green spaces in cities, and am irresistibly drawn to water — so I love the River Walk! It’s really a beautiful urban oasis, and if we lived in the area I think we’d be there often.
The River Walk can also be quite crowded. It was an overcast but warm February day when we visited, so we had plenty of company on our walk. I knew I wanted Mexican for lunch and Ryan and Adam were nice enough to indulge me. We enjoyed delicious food and margaritas, with lots of opportunities for people-watching.
Our afternoon in San Antonio also happened to be Valentine’s Day, so after enjoying our late lunch, we headed home to get ready for a very important Valentine’s Day celebration: a double date to see Deadpool. Coincidentally, the theater my brother suggested also popped up on many “Top Ten Must See Places in San Antonio” — the Alamo Drafthouse. It was definitely a fun way to see a movie, and the milkshakes were a-mazing.
The next day was time for another Texas must: Shooting! It was my first time, and the guys were very patient teachers. We shot several different 9 millimeter handguns, a .38 revolver, an AR-15, an AK-47, and my brother’s new 9 millimeter 30-round machine pistol, which he and Ryan were very excited about.
We rounded out the day with some homemade chili, ice cream, and a movie night!
We spent the next morning catching up on work, doing some grocery shopping for the next leg of the trip, and taking advantage of having a washing machine. By the afternoon we were itching to get out and explore again, so we headed back downtown to visit the Japanese Tea Garden.
I wasn’t sure what to expect, but it was absolutely breathtaking!
Built down into an old rock quarry just outside Brackenridge Park, the entire spot felt like a secret garden.
The garden features winding walkways, stone arch bridges, an island, and an impressive Japanese pavilion. The lush year-round garden also has a 40-foot waterfall and calm green ponds full of huge Koi fish.
Most of the garden wasn’t even blooming when we were there (it was mid-February, after all) and it was still gorgeous.
The gardens were lush and beautiful, but this giant pavilion overlooking the pond was truly impressive. It offers a lovely view of the gardens below and provides a patio for Jingu House, the cafe that sadly wasn’t open when we visited.
The Japanese Tea Garden was a surprising addition to our San Antonio visit, and one of my favorite parts of the trip! I’d highly recommend it as a San Antonio must-see.
Our stay in San Antonio was the perfect mix of relaxing and exploring, and we thoroughly enjoyed our family’s hospitality! The next day we’d be back on the road. We had a seven hour drive planned, with target destination of Big Bend National Park — but little did we know, we wouldn’t make it there that day …