Welcome to Texas, ISTE!

Flickr: “the Brit”

San Antonio is one of my favorite Texas cities and there’s lots to see and do there!  The weather should be cooler than normal and there may even be a little rain from the tropical storm on the coast.

San Antonio has a brand new section of their convention center which will surprise those who have attended ISTE there in the past.  The old convention center and new convention center connect in some quirky ways, so allow a little extra time to get places.  (For example, to get to some 2nd floor rooms in the old convention center, the fastest route is to ride up to the 3rd floor of the NEW convention center and then go back down a floor into the old one!).  There are a couple of food venues in the new areas as well as one in the old, plus 2 restaurants in the Grand Hyatt which now connects the two.

Some of my favorite restaurants are in San Antonio, too…some on the Riverwalk and some nearby for those who want to venture out.

Along the Riverwalk and Downtown, check out:

Schilo’s German Deli — a staple for “old” San Antonio — they have ice cold root beer on tap, and hearty German food plus simple deli sandwiches for lunch and inexpensive breakfasts.  It’s just up on the street above Casa Rio restaurant, so it’s close by.  Try the pimento cheese sandwich or German potato salad.

County Line BBQ — an Austin favorite, and authentic Texas BBQ(rather than a chain) on the Riverwalk.  Try the smoked peppered turkey, too.

Boudro’s on the Riverwalk — Boudro’s makes guacamole table-side.  Need I say more?  (Also, make a reservation!)

Biga on the Banks — another Riverwalk staple; excellent food, need reservations

Iron Cactus — an Austin staple and now on the Riverwalk too!  Amazing margaritas and great food.

Mi Tierra at MarketSquare — Delicious Mexican food in an Mexican folk style restaurant that has to be seen just for the decor; also great Mexican bakery.  They have great Mexican breakfasts too.  (It is in Marketsquare, not on the Riverwalk. MarketSquare has fun shopping with curios from Mexico)

Las Ramblas at Hotel Contessa — off the beaten path, but that means it won’t be as crowded and it’s a short stroll down the Riverwalk. The restaurant faces “marriage island” and if you are lucky you can watch riverboats floating by and see a wedding, too.

La Fonda on Main – in my opinion, some of the best Mexican food in San Antonio.  It’s about ten minutes from downtown, and has a beautiful patio and great food and margaritas.  Worth the drive for more interior Mexican food.

Restaurants at Pearl Brewery — the Pearl Brewery is a whole “campus” at the site of the old Pearl Beer Brewery.  They have a number of excellent restaurants including il Sogno, my favorite.  About a five minute drive from downtown.

Southtown restaurants — Just south of downtown, in the historic mansions of the  King William District, is SouthTown.  There are a number of really good restaurants of all kinds including Rosario’s Mexican food, Feast,  and my favorite that just reopened, El Mirador, that are worth checking out after a stroll past some of the beautiful mansions.

If you need some non-Mexican food, there is a Landry’s and Joe’s Crab Shack, plus Republic of Texas on the Riverwalk.

If you arrive early, some great museums and art to check out:

McNay Art Museum — in an old Mediterranean home about ten minutes from Downtown with beautiful grounds and major paintings.

San Antonio Museum of Art — built in the old Lone Star brewery–has a great art collection and a cute restaurant next door.

Institute of Texan Cultures — a huge museum dedicated to Texas history right behind the convention center that was opened during the Hemisfair World’s Fair in the 1960’s.

Briscoe Museum of Western Art — opened a few years ago on the Riverwalk it’s very close to everything and a beautiful Western Art collection.

San Antonio Zoo — a great zoo next to Breckenridge Park (huge park along the San Antonio River)

Witte Museum — if you have family with you, this is a great family natural history museum with a TreeHouse of Science for the kids, and a great Whale exhibit going on.  Newly renovated, it’s a beautiful space on the banks of the San Antonio River.

Of course, the Alamo Plaza!

Other tips:

Breakfast is hard to come by downtown, so be prepared to grab muffins ahead of time or to eat at your hotel.  Schilo’s is the best spot for a quick inexpensive sit  down breakfast downtown.

Enjoy the city!  It’s friendly, easily walkable, and a great place for ISTE!  Tweet me @technolibrary, too!




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