Healthy Travel Tips: Always A Fiesta in San Antonio

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San Antonio River Walk. Credit:  Al Rendon. Courtesy of San Antonio Convention & Visitors Bureau

By Ruta Fox

Everything’s better, bigger and bolder in Texas! The town of San Antonio with the lazy San Antonio River winding right through it is the heartbeat of the city. This is the perfect place for travelers who like to be active and healthy while on a trip.

Start your exploration here at River Walk, where you’ll find dozens of shops, restaurants, cafes, bistros and bars, each with something special to offer, no matter what your taste buds crave. The culinary scene in San Antonio is influenced by the incredible diversity of the city. What is your taste? You’ll find Tex Mex, Greek, Asian, French, German and Indian and more.

The River Walk is a series of walkways that now stretches five miles.  It stems from a project that broke ground in 1939.  Connecting downtown with museums, cultural districts and the famous Pearl Brewery to the North, the new Mission Reach portion is an additional way to walk the leafy landscape and a beautiful way to spend leisure time between margaritas. Situated below street level, the river is the remnant of the original Spanish colonial water system that connects to four of the city’s Spanish colonial missions in South San Antonio.

If you don’t want to walk the riverfront, peddle your way around and rent a bike at Bicycle,, the public bike share program that has 30 locations downtown. Are you more adventurous? Jump on a helicopter tour of the city with Alamo Tours, and you’ll see plenty of sights from the air like the Zoo, Botanical Gardens and historic missions.

Dine on an elegant meal overlooking the water, situated in a former French consulate at Fig Tree. Book a table on the villa-style terrace and be impressed with the wine list and menu specialties like quail, trout and filet mignon. Be sure to leave room for the raspberry frangipane tart.

For a fun, more casual gourmet experience, visit Max’s Wine Dive with a unique, industrial feel and a killer jukebox. What to order? Try the “Texas Haute Dog” topped with chili and jalapenos.

You’ll walk taller when you walk in Lucchese. These boots, the gold standard of hand-made cowboy boots, are a well-known classic. The company, founded in San Antonio, is a must-see. Try on a pair for fun or go for it. They’re very pricey. Choose a belt in the most exotic of skins. They can also customize your selection.

San Antonio has lots of festive celebrations going on throughout the year.The Texas Folklife Festival, June 7 to 9, honors the many nationalities that founded Texas, and helps preserve their traditions. Colorful costumes, dancing, food tents and souvenirs abound.

Remember the Alamo? Of course, you’ll have to visit the Alamo, Texas’ number one tourist attraction which represents over 300 years of history.

Stroll through the three historic buildings, not far from River Walk. Also close by, The Buckhorn Saloon/Texas Ranger Museum which houses Old West history and an exotic animal collection of 520 animal species.

If you like your culture a little more up to date, check out the Southtown Arts District. It’s an easy walk from downtown in the King William Historic District. Contemporary art finds its home at Blue Star Art Center with warehouses that have been turned into galleries, cool bistros and restaurants. Pick up a piece of hand-blown art at Garcia Art Glass or a funkier piece at San Angel Folk Art.

The Pearl Brewery, circa 1883, has been totally renovated and restored as an art-filled urban village with many restaurants, unique retailers, and a large farmer’s market. Stop over to the Boiler House Texas Grill & Wine Garden for brunch which features Texas ranch-style grilled seafood and wild game.  Dig into chocolate espresso pancakes. Indulge on May 21st at the Pearl’s Burgers & Beer festival for some of the best barbeque in the state.

For an antidote to the excitement of the city, take a 20-minute drive south of San Antonio and find yourself at Sandy Oaks Olive Orchard.

Their 11,000 tree orchard produces olive oil for cooking as well as their spa and skin care products. Cookbooks, kitchen and gift items are found in the shop.It’s the perfect place for an outdoor Saturday lunch in their “country-fresh and local” style.

End your visit to San Antonio toasting with a bit of bubbly high above the River Walk at  the 750-ft tall Tower of the Americas restaurant. Catch the sunset and the spectacular panoramic view and recall all the great memories you made in San Antonio.

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