Riverfront Hotel Reflecting Alamo City's History
San Antonio’s River Walk represents the convergence of both sides of the city's identity—bustling southwestern metropolis and historical Spanish outpost. The popular shopping district’s boutiques and restaurants line a 2.5-mile stretch of the San Antonio River, which winds through America's seventh-largest city and one of its richest in history. San Antonio's claim to the latter rests largely on a small Spanish mission that became the site of a legendary battle and the watchword of Texas independence—the Alamo. Down the river and roughly 15 yards south of the River Walk, history surfaces again at the Riverwalk Plaza Hotel & Suites, where poster-size monochrome photographs line guest-floor hallways, chronicling the nearby Franciscan missions, the 1968 world's fair, and the buildup of downtown.
Most east-facing river-view rooms feature a small balcony for viewing the 750-foot Tower of the Americas or teasing phoenixes with complimentary Otis Spunkmeyer cookies. Some rooms face the fourth-floor courtyard and heated pool. Those looking to relax onsite have a few options: a lending library in the lobby is stocked with scores of borrowable reads, and the lively but intimate Bar-Salona serves cocktails and five beers on draft. Adjacent to the hotel lobby, Java Plaza opens early and serves breakfast and lunch.
Staff Q & A: San Antonio
Jorie L. is a staff writer for Groupon Getaways. She believes no day is complete without chocolate and finds store mannequins deeply unsettling. Below, Jorie shares her thoughts on root beer, the Alamo, and San Antonio.
What makes San Antonio one of your favorite getaways?
The overall vibe is unlike any other city I've visited. It's a blend of historic Mexico, Old-World Europe, and loud-and-proud Texas. I also love how the city is laid out in such a way that you can walk almost everywhere. And for a Chicagoan, the weather is a big perk.
Describe your perfect day here.
I'd wake up late and have a lingering brunch at an outdoor café along the River Walk. Then I'd spend the rest of the day shopping at Pearl Farmers’ Market, ogling the historic estates in the King William Historic District or browsing the contemporary art wing at the San Antonio Museum of Art. I'd do dinner at Boudro's on the River Walk and catch a live show at White Rabbit, one of San Antonio's indie music venues.
What tourist attraction in the city is overrated, and what should you do instead?
I won't call the Alamo overrated because it's worth a trip if you've never seen it. But be warned: it's surrounded by kitschy tourist traps. Spend an hour or two at the Alamo and then scoot on over to the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park, located outside the city. In a much more picturesque setting, you can walk, bike, or drive along the mission trail that connects four 18th-century missions. These look more like the Alamo I had pictured in my head.
What's the best thing you ate or drank while you were there?
The old-fashioned root beer at Schilo's Delicatessen would be habit-forming if I lived in San Antonio. It's brewed onsite and served in a frosted mug. I think I downed two in 15 minutes.
What was the most stressful moment of your visit, and how can others avoid the same thing? Searching for parking near the River Walk downtown is very stressful. My advice? Save yourself the headache and just succumb to a parking garage.
What should you read, listen to, or watch to mentally prepare for a visit to San Antonio?
Obviously, you have to watch the 1955 Disney film Davy Crockett: King of the Wild Frontier.
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