Travel Time - San Antonio, Texas
The girls and I hadn't really taken a trip together this year, you know, due to life. So, for Christmas I surprised them with a couple-nights away in San Antonio. And here lies the tale...
I hadn't been to San Antonio for leisure purposes in many years and, with it being a not-too-far 4.5 hour drive from home, full of activities, shopping, and food - it was the destination of choice!
We left on Tuesday morning and returned Thursday night, successfully avoiding the big Fiesta Bowl crowd coming in for the weekend. The Riverwalk is lovely, but not when you can barely even walk by or get a table at a restaurant - homie don't love that life. The 3-day 2-night stay was just the right length of time to be away from our routine. A quick break without breaking the bank or being away from our dog for too long. I know, priorities.
But first... coffee at Love Local...
...hot chocolate if you're 7.
We stayed at the Thompson Hotel on the Riverwalk and can't remark enough about how beautifully decorated the hotel was. From the unique art on display, the general aesthetics, and the friendly staff - we were pleased with our choices. The hotel was decorated in deep tones and fabrics, all with comfort still in mind. We didn't eat at the restaurant nor get to stay in the rooftop bar (that's 21 and up only), but we did have a couple snacks from room service one night that hit the spot - including artichoke hummus and french fries. I'll have to make a kid-free trip in the future so I can experience those rooftop vibes!
The first thing everyone asks when you mention San Antonio is, "what attractions are you going to?" because there truly is so much to see and do here... it's a valid question. Are you going to the Alamo? Umm, no. My 7 and 8 year old's probably give two shits - as do I frankly. Fiesta Texas? Nope again pal. Running around an amusement park in the winter with younger-aged kids doesn't sound like my idea of a good time. I went the practical route - as usual - and opted for indoor options mostly so that regardless of weather we'd enjoy ourselves. Not many things ruin a good time like kids - or mom really (it's who I am) - bitching about being cold.
Our first stop was a Cirque-style Holiday Acrobatic/Magic/Variety show at the historic Majestic Theater. Since the girls are in art school and I am a theater nerd, I thought it'd be a great way to show them a different take on stage performances they hadn't experienced just yet. And y'all... it was SO MUCH FUN! They absolutely loved the beauty of the theater, the spectacle of the acrobats, and the utter humor and fun the host provided. Mila's favorite/what she would do was to be the emcee/host - the humor, outfits, and acting was up her alley. Poppy could see herself being the aerialist (as could I) flying high above and doing amazing bendy tricks. We all pegged me as the singing host, no surprise. Let me put on a sparkly outfit and sing my heart out to set the stage? Yes please!
Our full-day in town involved the important "S's"... shopping and Sea World!
The crystal shop we stopped at was amazing. The girls got some trinkets and we saw some really cool "rocks". If I had a spare $30K laying around, we'd probably have a new art piece!
Yes... Sea World is largely outdoors, so I was taking a risk at this time of year. But I know how much my girls love animals and you don't get the opportunity to see whales and sharks and sea lions - oh my! - regularly, so I was willing to risk it. We got so lucky and the weather was just perfect. No jacket needed! And being the holidays, it wasn't overly crowded like it gets in summer. Lines still existed, but at least you weren't standing in the 100-degree heat while getting your wait on.
The girls want to go back to Sea World and actually spend a couple of days there doing all the things. I didn't realize how much of an "adventure" park it had become, so a multi-day trip is probably best in the future when they are a little bit older - not much though!
After a fun-filled day at Sea World we did the required activity and hit up the Riverwalk! The girls loved it and all the lights they had out for Christmas. We tried to get on the water boat tour but the line was so long I knew waiting for 5 more boats to come by wouldn't be something they'd enjoy (even if they didn't know that yet). Next time ladies... next time. We also tried to catch a lighted horse-drawn carriage, but the only options that weren't a super long wait was a shared carriage with 10 people we didn't know, which isn't the vibe I was going for. Again... next time ladies. I promise.
The final day was perhaps one of the girls favorites. As we begrudgingly gathered our belongings to head home from, what the girls called "The best trip ever with the best mom ever!", we wrapped up with an educational adventure at just one of San Antonio's amazing children's museums, the DoSeum. A fully hands-on interactive STEM-style learning experience. They loved it. I had to drag them out of the place, especially once they discovered the outdoor playground and water-play experiment area. Mom's timeline for leaving was shot... we were going to be getting in later than anticipated without a doubt. But they enjoyed it so much I couldn't not! You cannot skip the "Spy" adventure. We could have spent our entire day in there accomplishing all the "missions". Truly... an experience none of us will forget.
So... if anyone knows anything at all about San Antonio... the food scene is pretty solid. It used to be more focused on the traditional Mexican and Tex-Mex fare, but today... you can eat your way through San Antonio and not touch the surface of culinary delights!
Had this been a "mom-trip" you'd be exposed to the more upscale side of the dining offerings, but since I had the girls, it's a more kid-friendly experience this time around. Keeping it "simple" was the name of the game.
On our way down, we stopped at Chuy's in Austin (required - sorry not sorry!) and enjoyed nachos and yummy soup! Full from our Mexican food adventure, we had a quick sushi snack at KK Thai, Lao & Sushi before the show at the Majestic and man... I wish we could have stayed and tried more items. The restaurant was quaint but I felt all the "bomb food" vibes here. The lighting was super fun too! After the show is when we hit up the hotel room service for a nightcap! No pics of that... I was tired.
Day two involved breakfast at a local coffee shop, Revolución Coffee + Juice. We each ordered our own individual toasts, but quickly realized we had overcommitted and agreed that next time we'd share! My avocado toast was bomb and Poppy's cashew-butter toast was so good... but Mila's banana toast took the cake. So good that Mila and I both concurred it might be our fav food item of the trip! Perfection. For lunch we stopped at a place I had been once before, Viola's Ventanas, as I knew the food was good, the patio was prime, and they had a playground for the kids! It was also a short 7 minute drive to our Sea World destination! Only downside was the bees...
After our Sea World adventure, we hit up the Riverwalk and had a wonderful meal at the Westin's restaurant Zocca Cuisine D'Italia. I chose this place because word on the street was the Fettucine Alfredo was bomb (a fav of the girls) and the photos of the patio along the river were calling my name. I was disappointed to find them in "renovation" season and the patio relocated... but the service, atmosphere, and food were still worth the reservation. The fettuccini alfredo with chicken was, in fact, BOMB!!! I almost regretted getting short-ribs and polenta for myself... almost. You could not beat the location on the quieter part of the Riverwalk. Best time and look forward to the renovated restaurant and patio next time around!
Day three was equally as special. I happened to find a coffee shop with my oldest baby-girl's namesake... Mila's Coffee. It was a food truck and surpassed any expectations I may have put upon it. Y'all... I'd go here every damn day, that's how good the coffee, food, and atmosphere were for us. Once I finally peeled them away from the DoSeum I figured it was best if we filled our belly's (no "hangry" moments needed ladies) before we hit the road for home, so I found a place that was chill and had a playground for the kids... while mom enjoyed a motivational libation. At the Backyard, the food was so good (Chicago dog!), atmosphere and service great, and the kids had an absolute blast making all the new friends (their fav)!
We all left with different "favorite" moments. Mine was the stage show, Mila's was the DoSeum, and Poppy's was Sea World. All on the same journey - all ending with different favorite experiences. San Antonio... we'll be back... sooner than originally anticipated probably.
What a great experience to have with my girls... see y'all on the flip!