Tropical-Themed Hotel Along San Antonio River Walk
In 1962, El Tropicano was the first hotel to open right along San Antonio’s now legendary river walk. Its primo waterside perch made the hotel a popular vacation spot, even attracting the attention of celebrities—Julie Andrews, the Rolling Stones, and President Lyndon B. Johnson all stayed here. Today, location is still one of El Tropicano’s biggest draws; it sits in one of the first sections of the walk, just a short distance from restaurants, bars, and nightclubs along the San Antonio River.
The hotel’s Latin restaurant, Mango’s, sets out a full breakfast buffet each morning that includes scrambled eggs, applewood-smoked bacon, and pancakes. There’s also an espresso bar in the lobby, where you can grab a latte or smoothie to sip while you lounge on the riverfront terrace or by the pool. Guest rooms feature upgraded amenities including ergonomic desk chairs, 37-inch flat-screen TVs, and pulsing showerheads.
Downtown San Antonio: Skyscrapers and the Alamo near the Original River Walk
In the late 1920s, architect Robert H. H. Hugman designed an urban park around the San Antonio River. He envisioned a space that would be the American version of Venice, where people could shop and dine along the waterfront. The original section, a 2.5-mile River Walk running through the heart of downtown, was completed in 1941. It’s been a vital artery in the heart of San Antonio ever since; so vital, in fact, that the city added two extensions in the 2000s—Museum Reach and Mission Reach—that elongated the River Walk to 15 miles total.
Located one story below street level, the downtown section of the River Walk bustles day and night. You can explore it by foot or hop on a river taxi to cruise along the calm waters; some sections are even navigable by kayak. Stone pathways on either side of the river wind past waterfalls and public art installations on their way to restaurants, boutiques, and lively cantinas that stay open well into the night. And the Rivercenter Mall, also on the River Walk, is a massive complex that houses shops, movie theaters, and restaurants with outdoor patios overlooking the river. For even better views of the river and downtown, head up to the observation deck of the 750-foot Tower of the Americas.
Downtown San Antonio is also where you’ll find the Alamo. The historic mission-turned-fortress is one of the most visited tourist sites in the state, thanks to the 1836 battle that made it a symbol of Texas independence. Admission is free for all ages.