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San Antonio Itinerary


Two Day Tour

A two day's stay provides one a little more flexibility and variety of choices.  My token itinerary is:

Day 1
Day 2

Day 1

The morning is a copy of the one day itinerary. 
(a)  This morning take a leisurely and quite pretty stroll along the Riverwalk to breakfast.  You must do this.  I will not be held responsible for the enjoyment of your trip if you do not.  After this morning's meandering you will ask yourself why you aren't living here, it is so delightful.  Leave your hotel and find your way to the Riverwalk area.  The entire stroll is very pretty however if you've slept too late you might want to shorten the stroll by starting on the south side of the Riverwalk "bend".  Stroll along the Riverwalk heading south to Guenther St.  It doesn't really matter on which bank you are on.  Just keep heading south.  As you walk you will see towering over the trees ahead of you a tall building with "Pioneer Flour Mill" written on the top.  This is where you are heading.  Ultimately, if you are on the left bank, you'll have to cross over to the right bank just before you get to end of your walk, as the left bank ends before you get to Guenther St.  The side walk along the right bank of the river ends at Guenther St. so there come up to the street level and make your way about 80 yards to the left along Guenther St. to the Guenther House Restaurant for breakfast.  Guenther House is on the grounds of the Pioneer Flour Mill.    If you get to the Guenther House much after 9am you may have a wait.  At 10am the other day it was a 45 min. wait.  While waiting take time and look at this historic home.  Be sure to go upstairs and look at the furnishings of this historic home and enjoy the ambiance.  If you don't feel like waiting, if the wait is too long, ask where the Mad Hatter Restaurant is.  It's only a block away on South Alamo St. heading back towards town.  It's not as good as the Guenther House but it's an acceptable alternative.
   One more thing.  When departing, if you are into real, real contemporary art, you might want to stop by the Blue Star Contemporary Art Center since you are so close.  It's across South Alamo St. from the Guenther House, but you have to exit the Restaurant on the back side.  The opposite side that you entered.  Just ask someone.

(b)  After breakfast find your way to King William St., quite literally just a few paces away, and stop at 509 King William St. at the Steves Homestead.  This home is an historic home which has guided tours every 1 1/2 hours or so.  But what I want you to do here is walk to the visitor's center at the rear of the property.  Near this visitor's center, at the entrance which comes off from the side street, is a dispenser, hopefully, stocked with a free walking tour brochure of homes in this King William area of town.  Grab one.  Now meander up King William St. back towards town looking at some of the beautiful homes built here, most all of them in the late 1800s.  (If you're smarter than me you will notice on the cover of this free guide that it has a picture on it that refers to the descriptive architectural terms used to described the homes in the tour.  Only took me several times to make the connection.)  When you get to 130 King William St. stop in (Tues-Sat 10am-2pm) at the San Antonio Art League museum.  It's free.  Only take you 5 minutes to make the scan of hanging art.

(c)  At the end of King William St. find your way up So. St. Mary's Street to Durango.  Go over one block to South Presa St. and head north along this street until you get to La Villita area.  Take the rest of the morning and meander around here paying particular attention at some of the historical markers and also at some of the building's construction styles.  This is the oldest neighborhood still extant in town.  And yes, these small homes were nestled on top of each other, something almost out of a Dicken's novel.  Unfortunately only a few remain.

(d)  When through here, find your way to Arneson River Theater (it's at La Villita) and walk down to the River's edge.  Head to the right and towards the primary Riverwalk area.  When you get towards the Hyatt Hotel you can walk through the hotel following the water stream and out it comes in front of the Alamo.  Don't visit the Alamo yet.  It should be lunch time about now, so pick a spot; back along the Riverwalk or perhaps at Schilo's a block away on Commerce St.

(e)  For the afternoon I suggest a short trip.  Find your way along Commerce St. to South St. Mary's Street intersection.  You're heading to a bus stop for Route 42 along So. St. Mary's Street  (this stop is just a few paces from the Drury Inn & Suites).  For 80 cents hop on the bus (exact change).  Departures are roughly every 30 minutes so it's best if you check the schedule first for the day you plan to travel so you don't waste too much time.  You're taking a 26 min. bus ride to Mission San Jose.

(f)  Upon reaching Mission San Jose spend the rest of the afternoon taking in the Mission and its structure.  The oldest structure in Texas is the granary building here.  What I want you to key upon is how the mission church is surrounded by an exterior wall, along which are multiple rooms serving as dwelling and storage or workshop places.  Also notice the twin spires of the mission.  The reason for noting this, is that the Alamo was originally built along the same lines.  It was a twin spire church enclosed by protecting walls. I think it preferable that you see Mission San Jose before really taking in the Alamo.  Mission San Jose is the most perfect mission structure remaining of the five missions built along the San Antonio River.

(g)  When through here catch the northbound Route 42 bus, again it departs roughly every 30 minutes.  Get off at Navarro and Crockett Streets and call it a day. Head for the nearest margarita and relax before setting out for dinner.

Day 2

Best to have breakfast at Zuni Grill which is on the Riverwalk.  This place is not too far down river from the Hyatt Hotel and they have a great buffet breakfast.  Sit outside and enjoy the freshness of morning.  I have heard from some folk who have enjoyed the Guenther House Restaurant so much that they have gone back a second time.  If you do you don't have to walk back as I describe on day one.  You can walk to the corner of So. Alamo St. and take the streetcar (local bus) back to the Alamo.  Check the Guenther House location map for directions. See also the Getting Around page for link to bus routes, etc.

(a)  After breakfast make your way to the Alamo.  Here's my exhortation again, take my walking guide tour!  It can be rushed in a few hours, but the best and leisurely way to do it is to spend all day meandering along the path.  I would propose that you spend this day doing just that.  You will see a lot.  In fact, you will see everything of real importance in town.  And by taking a day to do it you will allow yourself time to piddle at those places you wish to investigate further.  It even allows you to do some side shopping along the way if you wish to digress.  If you take the tour you will end up at Market Square.

Regardless of whether you take the walking tour, both day's options will start at the Alamo.  Having seen Mission San Jose yesterday, imagine that the Alamo had at one time the twin spires like Mission San Jose and was also surrounded by a compound wall.  If so, then realize that the battle was fought in front of the Alamo and along the periphery walls.  You can stroll inside the Alamo, everyone does, but realize that what you see inside and behind the Alamo is of little significance as regards the battle.

You will most likely want to meander around the Alamo for a while.  In what is called the "Long Barracks" of the Alamo grounds they have a free short film every 15 to 20 min. which will put the history of the battle into some sort of perspective for you.

If you're taking the walking tour, you're on your own for the remainder of the day.  You've got your marching orders.  Take it easy and enjoy the walk.
No? Don't want to take the tour, then my suggestion after the Alamo visit is:  

(b)  Hop on a streetcar trolley (yellow one heading west; catch it at South Alamo and Commerce Sts.) and go to Main Plaza and San Fernando Cathedral, have a peak inside.

(c)  Walk the block over to Military Plaza and seek out the Governor's Palace.

(d)  Make your way to 228 So. Laredo St, the Jose Antonio Navarro house.

(e)  Next make your way to Market Square and tour the tourist curios stores.  There is absolutely nothing at Market Square, but you will feel I've cheated you if you didn't get to see for yourself.  Depending upon your speed of sight seeing have lunch along the way or a late lunch here at Market Square.  

For both groups, who find themselves at Market Square, to return to the Alamo suggest you take a streetcar trolley back.  Try the Red one, pick it up where you got off earlier.  It goes right to the Alamo.  However the Yellow one will also take you back, but you have to get off at So. Alamo and Market St., otherwise you're in for a long detour.

If anyone gets tired of what they're doing, may I suggest for the afternoon several alternatives depending upon your interests.  I think very highly of the Institute of Texan Cultures and think it worth while.  I also find the Buckhorn Saloon very entertaining if you are disposed to wildlife.  If you're at the Buckhorn you may want to go an extra block and look inside the St. Anthony Hotel and see what you missed by not staying there.  A grand hotel of a by-gone era variety.

This completes a full day.  If you've still got time on your hands see my remarks on A One Day Itinerary for options of visiting museums late in the day for selected days.

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