Vacation on a Budget : Downtown San Antonio, Texas
Just recently, we decided to load up the truck and go on a staycation in downtown San Antonio for Cinco de Mayo! We lived just off of the San Antonio Riverwalk for a few months when we first moved to the Texas Hill Country so many years ago and we loved every minute of it, but eventually we moved to our homestead outside of the city and settled in. One of our favorite places to stay and play is just a short walk up the road from the main Riverwalk, called Yanaguana Park, better known as Hemisfair Park. It's such an easy day trip or overnight trip and there are plenty of places to stay within walking distance. We stayed at the Hyatt Place San Antoio Riverwalk, you can find great rates here with Booking Buddy and get notifications when prices drop. We were very pleased with the large nutritious breakfast included with the room at Hyatt Place, we really loved the heated pool, and direct backdoor access to the Riverwalk just down from the main strip. There are SO many things to do in this area for the whole family for either zero dollars or a reasonable budget. You will have to steer clear of most of the Riverwalk's stores and restaurants to watch your dollar. We manage to enjoy the restaurants and establishments we LOVE, offered in nearby Southtown, while also enjoying the sights and scenes of the nearby Riverwalk without breaking the bank. It's also important to step off the main path that is the Riverwalk and enjoy wandering into a better representation of real San Antonio culture, offered just a few blocks away. A quick walk past the gorgeous King William district (worth seeing) and into Southtown. In Southtown, the opportunity is available to support local business owners, taste the culture and mingle with the local people in their element. Not only is taking a walk to Southtown saving money for you as the consumer, but consciously supporting real people and regenerating your dollar into this unique local community.
The kids enjoyed the water feature in Yanaguana Park the most and it was incredibly refreshing and free! There was a paleta store nearby so we all ended up with icy cold popsicles pretty much right away. Being constantly concerned with nutrition, I was really pleased with the paletas from Paleteria San Antonio. The ingredients in the pops were all natural, healthy and seasonal. It's also locally owned by a husband and wife team which our family also loves about it. There are so many great businesses in the area run by families and individuals that we love to visit and support.
Some other places we did decide to spend our money wisely in Southtown was The House, Boozy Ice Cream and Brews. All the ice cream is made in small batches by the owners with their own versions of classic favorites for the kids and you can try a flight of booze-infused ice cream for the adults! We also opted to have one nice dinner out but stayed away from the overpriced offerings of the beautiful Riverwalk. Just down the street on the corner of South Alamo and Cedar Street is B&D Ice House, where we enjoyed excellent Texas pit barbecue and tasted a few emerging Texas craft beers at LESS than half the price of the BBQ downriver. It was open style seating, outside on picnic tables, perfect for lining up our six kids to eat while we took in the outdoor atmosphere of the neighborhood.
Getting back to the free stuff, another cool feature of the sprawling Yanaguana Park is the consideration given to agriculture and livestock. A chicken coop is onsite for children to see and experience. A community garden is also nearby, introducing the idea of producing food even in urban environments.
I am always on guard when we leave our homestead and travel to a city scene or major public place. The biome of germs is just downright different, we manage to avoid most bugs by being aware of this and being vigilant about it. THE most important things I keep in our medicine bag to shield us are, in order of importance:
- Colloidal silver (I buy the biggest jar on the market, this stuff will heal anything) I buy mine here,
- Juice Plus Vitamins and I hope to become a rep for them at some point. I have been giving my children these vitamins for TWELVE years and I have seen firsthand their healing power, find the closest rep to you at Juice Plus Whole Foods and just recently I have added
- OnGuard and other essential oils to our travel arsenal, that you can now buy here if you need anything!
- Liquid minerals, I buy on Amazon
The large chess and checkers board would have been one of those bacterial culprits. I can literally envision the entire city touching the chess pieces before my boys. I swear I'm not paranoid. The older boys really enjoyed partaking in an afternoon session of life-size chess. There is also a large checkerboard. Hula hoops and beach balls are set out on a large lawn to enjoy. The park also had free foosball and ping pong tables available for the older kids to keep themselves busy with. The playground at this park was also MORE than entertaining for my bigger boys. There is a multitude of things to do here for all ages.
The Magik Children's Theatre is nearby and there were plenty of photo-worthy props sitting around. This theatre is housed in a historical building and we would love to take in a show at some point. We were able to bring our own lunches and snacks to keep us contented most of the day at the park. CommonWealth Coffeehouse is just a few steps away from the main water feature, in the morning they serve up coffee, pastries, breakfast, and lunch. In the afternoon, just behind them, Con Sofos, a food truck opens up and serves up some excellent live music for the whole park to enjoy and local brews and wine on tap. It was so wonderful that Brady could walk over, grab a few cocktails for us to enjoy and relax in the festive lounge chairs while the kids continued to enjoy themselves.
Overall we always have an incredible time in this area, even before they added all the wonderful things in Yananguanda Park. You can wander down to the River Walk to enjoy the sights and sounds, but also relax and play in nearby Yaganuanda Park. All hotels are walking distance also. We spend a lot of time secluded in the country surrounded by farm work and responsibility. This is something I love to do with the kids to give them a break in the big city and we can also use it as an economic and cultural lesson. Downtown San Antonio is such a colorful place with endless things to do and see (I didn't even mention the Alamo). We definitely plan to spend more weekends here in the future.