10 Things to Do in San Antonio – Spas, Fitness, Food and Fun
ABOUT SAN ANTONIO
San Antonio is a city in South Central Texas.
While its most well-known landmark is The Alamo, which attracts millions of guests exploring its rich historical background, visitors also flock to this beautiful city for its warm weather offering a wealth of outdoor activities, beautiful gardens and parks, fun and family-friendly tours, the river front shopping district, cafes, and nightlife.
San Antonio is considered part of the Texas Hill Country, which is famous for plentiful springs and pristine aquifer water. People often enjoy a natural feeling of well-being whenever they are these places that define “health by water.”
SAN ANTONIO SPA RESORTS AND DAY SPAS
The Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort is a beautiful San Antonio luxury destination featuring 500 deluxe guest rooms (select are pet friendly), golf course, a full-service spa, and a family-friendly 5-acre water park featuring a wave machine, water slide, three distinct swimming pools and two outdoor whirlpools, and the 950-foot lazy river experience. Windflower Spa, the resort’s spa and wellness center, sits in 300 acres of wildflowers. Treatments are inspired by the traditional harvest of native Texas herbs and wildflowers, given in an eco-friendly “barn” built from native stone and salvaged timber.
Our readers and team of Secret Spa Reviewers frequently nominate and vote the collection of Woodhouse Day Spas in San Antonio among their top picks. With four locations to choose from, including The Quarry Market, the Rim at La Cantera Parkway, the Hotel Contessa at the Riverwalk, and the Westin Hotel Riverwalk, there are numerous ideally located spas to choose from.
FUN and ADVENTURE
Head outside to experience these beautiful parks, trails, scenic areas and districts.
One of the most beautiful parks in the San Antonio Parks collection is its Japanese Tea Garden in Brackenridge Park. This beautiful garden has been a beautiful part of the city’s history for almost 100 years and is one of the city’s respected cultural resources. Enjoy a lush year-round garden, floral displays, shaded meandering walkways, stone bridges, a 60-foot waterfall and ponds filled with Koi, and the Jingu House Cafe. The garden is open daily from dawn to dusk.
For a garden of another variety, be sure to make a day of the Botanical Garden near downtown San Antonio. The garden attracts more than 150,000 annual visitors, including scores of children and families participating in beloved activities and events, including Families with Flashlights, Big Bug Days, concerts, Art in the Park displays, Pets in the Park events, guided walking tours of the Texas Native Trail, and more. The Garden has a lovely bistro for lunch, or pack your own picnic for dining on the expansive grounds. Rent the garden venues for your reception.
The historic Pearl complex is the site of the 19th century Pearl Brewery, which has been restored and transformed into an exhilarating cultural and culinary center. It is home to shops and cafés along the famed 39 mile River Walk on the San Antonio River, the Culinary Institute of Texas, Summer Dance Hall concerts, Food Festivals, San Antonio Museum of Art, and more. Don’t miss the splendid Pearl Farmer’s Market twice weekly, made wonderful by carefully vetted farmers, ranchers, and producers all within a 150 mile radius of San Antonio.
The Culinary Institute of Texas has a San Antonio campus in the historic Pearl complex, and guests are welcome to tour the CIA campus and enjoy its dining options. Tourists get to observe students cooking in the Skills Kitchens and sometimes catch a glimpse of a food enthusiast Boot Camp in action. Cooking Demonstrations include seminars by chef-instructors, tastings of the dishes they prepare, and take-home recipes. Campus tours are available Tuesdays and Thursdays in the afternoons.
Natural Bridge Caverns is a family-friendly destination for explorers. Travel through a half-mile of the largest and most spectacular caverns in Texas. Walk 180 feet below the ground with a tour guide, see ancient formations, cavern lakes and aquifers, stalagmites, stalactites, flowstones, chandeliers and soda straws. Above ground, enjoy a challenging maze, zip lines, gem and fossil mining, or bear witness to millions of free-tailed bats spiral out of Bracken Cave and take to the skies on their nightly hunt for insects.
RIO SAN ANTONIO RIVER CRUISES
Spanish Priest Damian Massanet established the first Spanish mission in East Texas and renamed the river after St. Anthony de Padua (San Antonio in spanish). The San Antonio River Walk pays homage even now to the history of Father Massanet with its frequent wedding ceremonies taking place in its more scenic spots. The River Walk has is 39 miles of shops, restaurants, galleries and unique buildings, which is best viewed on a long self-guided walk or on a 35-minute narrated river tours offered by Rio San Antonio River Cruises (especially lovely during the Christmas holidays).
WINE & DINE
Chef John Brand John is a uniquely American class of chef – self-taught, working his way up from teenaged dishwasher to nationally-recognized chef. John’s twenty-five years of impressive stints include The Little Nell in Aspen, The Broadmoor om Colorado and Keswick Hall in Virginia. Now, he helms Supper at the Hotel Emma in the Pearl Complex, where the setting is part farm table, part bistro table, but all mid western, fresh, and seasonal. On our table, last visit: Sorghum Roasted Carrots with Poppyseed Crema and Peanut Gremoulata.
Oh those savory, cheesy bean dishes, tacos, quesadillas, tamales and stews made rich by Mexican flavors and seasonings, corn, and fattening lard. Well, almost. Adelante Restaurant delivers all of those wonderful flavors so associated with Tex Mex Cuisine, but never uses lard and takes care to accommodate a host of palates, from Vegan to Vegetarian to Carnivores. Its goal is to deliver the most flavorful cuisine in the most healthful way possible. Taco Tuesdays are still on the menu, fitness fans!
There is a great German proverb on the website for The Clean Plate. “What the Farmer does not know, he does not eat.” This model of the farm-to-fork cuisine ethos is carried over to the menu for this delightful restaurant serving food which is sustainably and respectfully sourced — free of carcinogenic pesticides, genetically modified ingredients, and sourced locally whenever possible. Choose from homespun favorites like Chicken and Waffles, or interesting takes on Crispy Fried Beets and Short Ribs. On our plate last visit — Clean Plate Spring Rolls with Thai Peanut Sauce. Guests are invited to BYOB — we brought our wine from our Texas Hill Country Wine Trail visit.
Compiled by SpaIndex.com Guide to Spas and Texas Wellness Travel Contributor Kerry Franklin
What are you favorite places to visit and things to do in San Antonio? Let us know in the comments.