The Perfect Weekend in San Antonio

by Michael Satterfield

As things are slowly opening back up, we had the opportunity to visit San Antonio to better learn what the hospitality industry is doing to encourage tourism during these unprecedented times. Our trip would take us from Bryan, Texas to the Alamo City. Our friends over at Toyota provided the perfect vehicle for the journey, the 2020 Toyota Tundra 1794 Edition, which is built just outside of San Antonio. The 1794 designation is a reference to the land that the factory is built on, which was once part of the oldest cattle ranch in Texas.

The Tundra was perfect for the roughly three-hour drive to San Antonio, comfortable, smooth, and with more than enough space for all our luggage and gear. Our destination is the city's famous Riverwalk which was built specifically to connect major tourist sites in the city and be a tourist destination itself. From the River Walk, you can walk to the Arneson River Theatre, La Villita, to HemisFair Park, the Tower Life Building, the San Antonio Museum of Art, the Pearl, and the city's five Spanish colonial missions, meaning most of this trip the Tundra would be parked.

Where to stay: 

While there are several choices along the Riverwalk, the Westin Riverwalk is on the quieter side of the river and just a few minutes' walk from all the action. The hotel is taken special precautions during COVID, such as leaving rooms vacant for 48 hours after a guest checks out, specialized cleaning, and self-cleaning nanomaterial on public door handles and elevator buttons. They also do make you book a time slot for the pool and wear a mask while in all public spaces, but for those who are still looking to travel all of these added precautions do help provide peace of mind.

The Westin Riverwalk is currently offering two special offers:

“You Deserve It” – whether it was a missed milestone or months of self-isolation, everyone deserves some time away at San Antonio’s ultimate downtown destination. The offer starts at $159 per night and includes two celebratory welcome drinks and a $15 food credit to be used towards “Distance Dining.”

“Real-World Heroes” – for first responders and teachers, The Westin Riverwalk wants to thank you for all you are doing by offering up to 20 percent off upcoming stays with rates starting as low as $119 per night, including free internet access. Guests must provide ID confirmation at check-in.

The Westin Riverwalk

What to Do:

GO RIO San Antonio River Cruises are still running, with limited seating and mask requirements, the tour guides wear clear face shields while they share the unique history of the Riverwalk and the city of San Antonio. Tickets are around $13.50 for adults and $7.50 for kids.


Visit the World's Large Cowboy Boots. Originally erected in Washington D.C. by Texas artist Bob "Daddy-O" Wade in 1979. But the North Star Mall in San Antonio struck a deal to purchase the 35 feet tall boots and in 1980 they have trucked cross-country and installed where they stand today just off Interstate 410. The North Star Mall is also a great shopping destination if you happen to need to visit a Coach or Dillard's.

World's Largest Cowboy Boots

No trip to San Antonio would be complete without a visit to the Alamo, while currently, visitation in the Alamo Church is allowed if you pick up a timed ticket to limit the number of visitors inside the building at a time. You also must wear a mask at all times while on the grounds and they have signage encouraging you to stay at least six Bowie Knives away from others.

The Alamo

Shopping the Riverwalk is always a great way to pass the time, from handmade items and local artwork to high-end boutiques and antiques there is sure to be something to keep you interested. Be sure to check the official Riverwalk website for information on upcoming festivals and art shows as they still have events like Zoo La-La, Haunted River, and their annual Fall Art Show on the calendar.

San Antonio Riverwalk

The Pearl should be on the list for any visit to San Antonio, the site of a historic Brewery that was founded in 1883, the repurposed space now is home to dozens of restaurants, shopping, and The Culinary Institute of America, San Antonio. Stop in at the High Street Wine Co. or grab a bite at Tenko Raman or SayTown Tacos.

The Pearl

Where to Eat:

You can find plenty of great food from local restaurants to national chains along and around the Riverwalk, but if you are in San Antonio you have to visit La Panaderia, be it for breakfast or lunch it is always a great choice, my personal favorites are the Moño for breakfast and any of their Torta's for lunch. Their prices are great and their food is even better. 

For a special night out you can't do better than Restaurant Gwendolyn, a small establishment tucked in a quaint space not far from the Riverwalk. This farm to table concept takes things a step further by not utilizing modern cooking machines like food processors and mixers, with recipes from the 1800s and a seasonal menu each visit is a different experience. As someone who has had a number of meals at Michelin Star restaurants, I am surprised they aren't one. I suggest the seven-course Grand Tasting Menu.

Restaurant Gwendolyn