Sampling San Antonio, Texas as a Solo Traveler

by on November 29th, 2010
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When someone first hears the words San Antonio, everyone automatically thinks of The Alamo and the famous battle that was fought there in 1836. While this location is definitely worth the visit, and no trip to San Antonio is complete without a tour of the historic fort, there are many other sites to see when visiting San Antonio, Texas, particularly as a solo traveler. The city and its river were named by the Spanish Missionary, Father Damian Massanet, who conducted the first Catholic Mass on what has become known as “Marriage Island”, a small heart shaped spot of land in the center of the river in San Antonio and its River Walk. He named it after Saint Anthony of Padua to honor his feast day. The following two day itinerary is the perfect plan for the solo traveler to see much of San Antonio.

When traveling to San Antonio, there are many hotels, motels, beds and breakfasts, and cottage rentals from which to choose your accommodations. For help in making a decision, you may wish to contact The San Antonio Convention & Visitors Bureau, 203 S. St. Mary’s Street, Suite 200, San Antonio, Texas 78205. Telephone: 210-207-6700 or 800-447-3372.

Day One

Upon arrival, begin your visit at Downtown’s official Visitor Center location, at 317 Alamo Plaza, San Antonio, Texas 78205. Telephone: 800-447-3372. Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week, not including holidays. The center is centrally located between The Alamo and River Walk. Here you can pick up pocket guides, maps, audio tours, passes and more that will make traveling in San Antonio easier and it will help you enjoy your stay.

There are many ways to get around in San Antonio, but one of the most charming is by restored streetcar. The Visitor’s Center can give you up to date information about available routes, but one of the best streetcar routes is The Red Route, which makes daily stops at The Visitor Center, The Alamo, Market Square, La Villita, The Convention Center, and Rivercenter Mall, among other stops. Bus No., also known as “The Sightseer Special,” is also a great way to travel around San Antonio and see all of the sights. For more information about traveling by bus or streetcar visit Via Metropolitan Transit, 211 Commerce Street. Telephone: 210-362-2020.

Taking either the Red Route by streetcar, or The Sightseer Special Bus No. 7, visit the historic mission, The Alamo, and lunch at one of the many family run bistros and cafĂ©’s at the Market Square, or in La Villita, while you are shopping. Due to the length of time involved in touring The Alamo and shopping and eating at the Market Square and La Villita, it would be best to wait to visit River Walk and the Rivercenter Mall until the second day.

As you will see after you visit Market Square and La Villita, there are many places to eat in San Antonio. If you are looking for something different that combines history with dining, you may wish to try one of San Antonio’s many Ghost Tours. One of the best is The Sisters Grimm Candlelight Ghost Tour. Costumed guides lead you through some of San Antonio’s most famous haunted places by lantern light. A tour is available that combines fine dining at The Menger Hotel, one of the most haunted hotels in America, before the tour of the other haunted sites. This tour is a great way to conclude your first evening in San Antonio, and is also an excellent, historic place to base your stay, as rooms start at $109 a night. After you hear some of the ghost stories, and if you encounter any ghosts on the tour, you may want to leave your lights on when you retire to your own hotel room for the evening.

If you find that you aren’t ready to end the evening after the Ghost Tour, you will find that San Antonio has a vibrant living nightlife as well. You can visit one of over 86 bars and lounges that are open until the wee hours of the morning in San Antonio, such as one of the most famous bars in the country, Coyote Ugly, or the Longest Bar in Texas at The Esquire, both are located conveniently in the Downtown area near the River Walk . In addition to bars, there is a vibrant live music community in San Antonio as well. Enjoy the various music venues offered in The Main Plaza, listen and dance to Country and Western Performers at Cowboys Dance Hall, savor Jazz bands such as Jim Cullum, along with fine cuisine at The Landing, or sample an eclectic mix of musical diversity offered every night, from Latin rhythms, to techno, to karaoke, at Graham Central Station.

Day Two

Begin your second day visiting The River Walk. If you did not enjoy breakfast at your hotel, there are hundreds of restaurants along the River Walk to satiate your appetite. Your entire day is full exploring all that the River Walk has to offer. The walkway is for pedestrian travel and is one level down from the main road. It winds its way along the banks of the San Antonio River and is lined with restaurants and shops and connects major tourist sites from the historic Alamo, to hours of shopping and eating at Rivercenter Mall, and on to outdoor performances at Arneson River Theatre at La Villita, to spectacular waterfalls, more shopping and dining opportunities, and the 750 ft Tower of the Americas at HemisFair Park, concluding with a more leisurely stroll through the San Antonio Museum of Art. If you become tired from all of the walking, tour the area by riverboat. For more information about river taxis and tours, contact Rio San Antonio, 205 N. Presa Building B. Suite 201, San Antonio, TX 78205. Telephone: 800-417-4139 or 210-244-5700. In addition to regular tours, they also offer cruises that include cocktails or dinner.

There are many other attractions and places to visit while in San Antonio, and this two day itinerary is not meant to be an exhaustive list of what’s available, but it is a sampling of the best of what San Antonio has to offer the solo traveler.

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