When speaking of a period of time, the correct word to use is "era," as in the Civil Rights Era...not error. If your going to waste time bashing a historic monument, I suggest you learn how to do it correctly.
Market Square: go only if you're into shopping
I found Market Square to be a little disappointing. Basically, it consists of two Mexican restaurants (though Mi Tierra is quite good!), and nothing but knicknack and tacky souvenir shops. There are some neat things there, including jewerly and some Mexican crafts. Unless you enjoy shopping though, you can avoid Market Square.
Unique Suggestions: The best thing about Market Square is Mi Tierra, a Mexican restaurant and bakery that's open 24 hours a day. That alone is worth a visit.
Fun Alternatives: I would gravitate to the Riverwalk, myself. It's got its share of tacky souvenir shops too, but it's much more charming.
Well, I am fairly convinced that most people have lost the fight for aesthetics versus capitalism. When visiting San Antonio’s rich heritage, I had hoped and expected the commercial nature of the US to remain at least cognizant of the world around them. Just as I had this hope, I visited Mission San Jose, and looked out over the wall to see what? A Pizza Hut sign perched in clear view. I sure wish they had decided in the interest of natural beauty to have made that sign lower to the ground, so it was not visible over the mission wall. Oh well, we can only hope.
Rivercenter Comedy Club
I've been there three times and have never laughed. San Antonio does not draw great comics. Don't go there.
Unique Suggestions: If you are bored in Rivercenter Mall on a rainy day, go to the IMAX instead.
Fun Alternatives: If you're in town for the Latino Laugh Fest, and you speak a little Spanish, check it out. Most of the punchlines are in Spanish.
- Theater Travel
- Business Travel
Ripley's Wax Museum
The Ripley's Believe it or Not/Wax Museum is located directly across the street from the Shrine of Freedom, the Alamo. I think it's a little tacky to capitalize on the San Antonio visitors for something so unrelated to the Battle of the Alamo.
Fun Alternatives: Spend your time on the grounds of the Alamo (for free!). There is plenty to see including the main chapel, the long barracks and the surrounding grounds. Visit the Main Post Office across Houston Street for some stunning architecture.
- Family Travel
- Historical Travel
I forgot the Alamo
I found the Alamo to be a tourist trap. I just really couldn't understand why it would be of interest to anyone, and it was CRAWLING with people. It's basically a fort, that's it. But I'm not a history buff, so maybe that's it.
Unique Suggestions: I think it would be more fun to go to the Ripley's Believe It or Not museum across the street.
Fun Alternatives: I found it much more interesting to explore the Riverfront and the shops around the Alamo.
Tower of the Americas & HemisFair Park
What is special or nice about a big, ugly, non-functional tower in every major city in the world? A rotating restaurant? They all have one. A view? Sure, but also an eyesore. It is an impressive 750 feet tall, but its still ugly and a tourist trap. Since 2004 the Tower has been operated by Landry's restaurant company, much improving the restaurant on the top floor, and hopefully draining the company dry. The ride to the observation deck is amazingly cheap for a tourist trap at only $5, but a meal at the restaurant might run you $40-50 per person.
The tower is located in HemisFair Park, which is not much better. Completely lacking open space (what's the point of a park anyway?) the "park" is full of gaudy buildings like a massive convention center, the federal building and a terribly ugly, circular federal courthouse.
Maybe it didn't help that all of the fountains were shut off during my visit.
Ghost Tracks of San Antonio
Okay first and foremost it isn't true. It was said that a bus full of kids was hit by a train that had stalled on the tracks and if you put your car in neutral a few feet away from the tracks that the ghosts of the kids will push you up and over to safety and if you put baby powder on the back of your car you will get fingerprints by the departed. I was told this story when I was 8 and it was said to of happened 20 years prior and now I am 32 and I still hear this story only now it is said to of happened 20 years ago from today or it happened in the 1920s (someone likes the number 20) the story is never straight. I have researched this and so have others and we have found no documentation at all of a bus being hit by a train on those tracks ever and not just there but anywhere in San Antonio. When you are pushed up and over the tracks it is kind of an optical illusion, it appears you go up hill and then over the tracks but the illusion is that in fact you are going a bit down hill as you pick up a bit of speed that gives your car enough momentum to get you UP and OVER the tracks. If you do put powder on the back of your car the only fingerprints you will get are your own because baby powder will not stick to a clean car. It is also said that the streets of the close by neighborhood is named after the children that died in that fictuous bus but the streets are in fact named after the developers of that neighborhood. There very well may be paranormal activity out there but it is not the ghosts of any children that have been hit by a bus of any kind.
Unique Suggestions: Have fun with it, its fun to go out there on halloween but take heed... the cops will chase you away.
Fun Alternatives: All the streets in that area are creepy... drive around or walk, you will get creeped out.
Buckhorn Saloon & Museum
Paraphrasing the old adage, "One man's trash is another man's treasure," I would say about the Buckhorn, "One person's attraction is another's tourist trap." It has been voted the "Best Attraction" by the Downtown Alliance, but Nancy and I both thought it would be ridiculous to pay eleven bucks each to see such "treasures" as a two-headed calf, a lamb with eight legs and their collection of horns. We looked around briefly at the free part, which does include an impressive old bar, then left to find many of the other great things this fine city has to offer.
Unique Suggestions: Look around the ground floor's entry section which is free.
Fun Alternatives: The city is full of great things to do - either free or at a fraction of the cost, so avoiding the Buckhorn shouldn't be hard to do.
Spanish Governor's Palace
Thank god they only charge $1.50!! This place, which isn't exactly a palace, was built in the 18th century and has served as military quarters, a saloon and as the seat of the colonial government, among other things. It has now been turned into some kind of a museum. When you arrive they give you a little pamphlet with very little information, and they let you roam around the rooms on your own. We were done in about 10 minutes. Really not worth it.
Unique Suggestions: There's a nice enough garden at the back of the house... and I remember laughing at some rather spooky mannequins. That's about it!
- Museum Visits
Beware of For Tourists Only Busnesses
Some shops are mainly to hook the tourist in, you will know them when you see them, and can decide for yourself if the hook is worth it. Beware of restaurants. Look at the menu if posted, and if possible look at what people are eating. We ate in a Mexican restaurant on Riverwalk (sorry, I don’t remember it’s name) that was really awful!!!!!!!! The food looked and tasted like it had all come out of a can. We figured, San Antonio, how can you go wrong on Mexican food? BUT BOY CAN YOU EVER!
Japanese Tea Garden: Major Disappointment
The Japanese Tea Garden next to the San Antonio Zoo was one of the biggest disappointments of my trip. We walked a path for about a mile in ninety degree weather to come upon a giant opening, with dead plants and no water. I could see how the garden could have been beautiful if the plants were kept up or there was water. However, this poor site has obviously gone downhill and travelers should not waste their precious vacation time seeing it.
Unique Suggestions: I really cannot say anything that you can do. It was just a major disappointment. The only good thing about this was that the walk to the garden might have burnt off my big lunch.
Fun Alternatives: Take the fam to the zoo for a longer period of time!
- Budget Travel
Hemisfair Park is where the Tower of Americas is located. Going up in the Tower of Americas was fun and looking at the city of San Antonio from that far up in the air was absolutely amazing. However, I was disappointed to see how rundown the rest of Hemisfair Park was. It could be so pretty, but was very dirty and not well landscaped.
Unique Suggestions: Go up in the Tower of Americas and take some pictures. We went when the sun was setting and it was an absolutely wonderful view.
- Family Travel
- Arts and Culture
The Riverwalk--Walk, but don't eat...
The Riverwalk provides a great scenic stroll and is at its best at Christmas time when the trees are strung with white and colored Christmas lights and candle lanterns border the paths. The river is also dyed green for St. Patrick's Day. If you park in the garage at Rivercenter Mall, you can have your garage ticket stub stamped by a mall store cashier to receive one free hour of parking. The mall food court connects to the Riverwalk.
Unique Suggestions: The Riverwalk is festive and scenic, and they usually have Peruvian musicians playing just outside the mall. It's near The Missions, which is another good tourist spot. The 2 bad things about the Riverwalk are that it can be very humid in the summer, and most of the food is overpriced and not worth eating. The only good restaurant I've found there is Acenar, a modern Tex-Mex place at the end of the river. Another word of caution if you do choose to eat along the river--the riverside patios can be quickly covered in greedy, hungry grackels. Grackels are our local annoying bird, and they usually won't let you eat in peace.
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
- Business Travel
- Family Travel
Alamo - Not for everyone!!
I thought since I was in Texas, I just had to go visit the Alamo, right? I found it quite boring, even though I enjoy history and architecture. In my opinion, I would have been better off just buying a postcard.
- Historical Travel
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