San Antonio Spots You Didn't Know

Check out these must-see hidden spots in San Antonio.
By: Janis Turk
OK, so you remembered the Alamo, strolled along the River Walk, ate good Tex-Mex, sipped margaritas while mariachis serenaded you, and took a boat ride on the San Antonio River. Now what? There’s more to San Antonio than those top touristy things. Here are 4 more places that visitors might not have heard of but really should check out.
Southtown
Southtown Dining

Southtown Dining

Photo by: Stuart Dee / San Antonio Convention & Visitors Bureau

Stuart Dee / San Antonio Convention & Visitors Bureau

Just a few blocks (and a short trolley ride) from the Alamo (head down South Alamo Street), you’ll find a place where locals go for a great art scene, lively bars and restaurants, eclectic stores and funky coffee shops. This loosely bound little bohemian arts district is home to hot spots such as Azuca Sabor Latino — perfect for a spicy salsa, cold mojitos and great food — and The Monterey, a fabulous retro gastropub where you can sit at picnic tables out in the yard. Restaurant Bliss has a hip bar scene, and Feast offers great farm-to-fork fare. On First Fridays, Southtown shops and galleries stay open late. Don’t stop walking until you get to the Blue Star Arts Complex — you won’t want to miss the art spaces, museum and brewpub there. You can also rent bikes and take a spin to our next spot
King William District
Guenther House

Guenther House

Photo by: San Antonio Convention & Visitors Bureau

San Antonio Convention & Visitors Bureau

Want a glimpse at the regal side of San Antonio and the buildings of yesteryear? The King William District, which partly overlaps Southtown, is a 25-block area east of the San Antonio River that’s home to Greek revival, Victorian and Italianate-style mansions, many of which date back to the mid-1800s. Its section of the River Walk isn’t touristy, cutting a quiet, green path through this residential area, where architecture is the allure. Download a walking tour map and start strolling, or rent a bike and ride the route. Along the way, don’t forget to stop and see the pretty little O. Henry Bridge (aka the Johnson Street Bridge), a pedestrian crossing named for the author also known as William Sydney Porter, who once lived in San Antonio.
The Pearl
Pearl Brewing Company

Pearl Brewing Company

Photo by: Nick Simonite / San Antonio Convention & Visitors Bureau

Nick Simonite / San Antonio Convention & Visitors Bureau

Once home to the Pearl Brewing Co., this area has been revitalized and today is a hot spot for locals and visitors alike. It features 14 restaurants, bakeries and coffee shops, 11 stores, a microbrew company and a soon-to-open boutique hotel. Home to a campus of the Culinary Institute of America, which offers fun “make your food and eat it together” cooking classes for visitors, the Pearl is also beloved by foodies for its lively, year-round farmers market, which opens early in the morning each weekend. My favorite Pearl jewels? Cured is a gastropub that is owned by feted chef Steve McHugh and features a fantastic bar and house-cured charcuterie. Another favorite is chef Johnny Hernandez’s madly popular La Gloria, with its tasty Mexican street foods. Take a Rio Taxi boat ride up the Museum Reach for a fun way to get to the Pearl from downtown.
San Antonio Missions National Historical Park
Mission San Jose

Mission San Jose

Photo by: San Antonio Convention & Visitors Bureau

San Antonio Convention & Visitors Bureau

The Alamo is the most famous former Spanish mission site in San Antonio, but it’s by no means the best or only one. In fact, there are 4 other missions just south of downtown; all were established in the 1700s and are now part of the National Parks Service (though Mission Espada was actually founded in 1690 and later moved to San Antonio). If you have time to visit only 1, see Mission San Jose. There’s a visitors center on site with a film explaining the history of the missions and illustrating what life was like within their walls. To get there, take a trolley or bus, or just walk, bike or kayak — the sites loosely follow the San Antonio River along the River Walk’s newly expanded Mission Reach. On Sundays, all of the missions (except the Alamo) host Masses in their churches, which are active Catholic parishes — some even offer special mariachi music during services.
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