There’s two main words that come to my mind when I think about this state: HUMID and DIRT. I’ve been to this massive state multiple times – once driving from the eastern side of the panhandle down into Clovis, New Mexico, and onto Roswell; twice straight through the panhandle, staying in Amarillo once; and twice to San Antonio. I will never forget the one and only massive dust storm I’ve ever been in. It was during my first trip through the panhandle of Texas, and it was terrifying and awe-inspiring all at the same time. After escaping what felt like near death, we continued to drive towards the Oklahoma border and I remember being so relieved that I was starting to see green grass again.
Please don’t get me wrong, the people of Texas are great, and both times I visited San Antonio (S.A.) it was pleasant and fun, but the place kinda looks like Mars on Earth. San Antonio, the far western half towards New Mexico, or the panhandle, it’s pretty much the same everywhere. I’ve spoken to people who’ve driven through other parts and they’ve all said the same thing. Hot, flat, and humid. If you head out to the flat, western half towards New Mexico you’ll get to see lots of cow farms. So, that’s cool, I guess.
Either way, be prepared.
It’s not all terrible though! I went to S.A. twice to visit one of my best friends while her husband was in the Army and stationed at Ft. Sam Houston. This particular Army post was the first one I ever stepped foot in. It’s own little world and it’s completely surreal. With no exaggeration, the entire city of San Antonio could burn to the ground and the post could continue operating like nothing ever happened, that’s just how self-sufficient a military base is.
***An important note***: You cannot enter a military post alone as a civilian, like wanting to take a day trip. Civilians refers to any non-service member or non-member of a service members immediate family. Civilians need special clearance to enter, or they need a service member (or someone with the proper I.D., like a “dependent” or retired service member) to “sponsor” them while on the base. Also, non-military members cannot buy anything on base due to the no tax rule. Most people will just have the “sponsor” buy the stuff for them.
Downtown S.A. is very nice and this is where the famous Alamo is located. If you’re ever in the area, I highly recommend a visit to it. Admission is free, but you can pay for audio or guided tours, which we did not do (in my old age, I regret this. Nobody is ever too dorky for an audio or guided tour). It’s right in the middle of downtown and not difficult to find. Its located at 300 Alamo Plaza, San Antonio, TX 78205, and the hours are 9am to 5:30pm, open 7 days a week. Just don’t take any pictures inside because they are strictly forbidden and an angry worker WILL yell at you. I was able to sneak one single picture though. It’s rather small, with some important pieces of Texas history sprinkled throughout. It is not a large museum by any means, but regardless, try to visit this important piece of history while it still stands.
The River Walk is also high on my recommend list. It’s located at 849 E Commerce St, San Antonio, TX 78205 and is open 24-hours a day (this is to walk through it, as the mall and restaurants will close). According to Google, “The San Antonio River Walk is a city park and network of walkways along the banks of the San Antonio River, one story beneath the streets of San Antonio, Texas”. The river cuts right through a giant 3 story mall called Rivercenter. This mall is massive and even offers gondola rides through the canal if you so choose.
Another great spot in S.A. is Cowboys Dance Hall, located right off the interstate, at 3030 NE Interstate 410 Loop, San Antonio, TX 78218. It’s open Wednesday – Saturday, from 7pm to 3am. It’s a enormous building which you cannot miss. Ticket prices vary because they have a lot of events and specials, so it’s best to call the day of and find out how much. Tickets typically cost $7 to enter for 21 and over, but again, they have all kinds of specials and events that can change this.
There is one main dance floor, with a giant stage in front and multiple bars (if I remember correctly, there were 3, spread throughout the main floor.) There is an upper floor, but it is mainly roped off unless they’re having an event. They also hosts concerts, as well as have an automatic bull you can ride. I’ve been to Cowboys 3 times and I have never yet had a bad time.
We also took a day trip to a place called La Villita Historical Village, located in downtown S.A., not too far from the Riverwalk and Rivercenter Mall. It’s located at 418 Villita St, San Antonio, TX 78205, and open Thursday – Saturday from 10am to 6pm, and on Sunday from 11am to 4pm. It is extremely artistically centered, with many vendors selling their crafts and creations. According to Wiki, “La Villita Historic Arts Village is an art community in downtown San Antonio, Texas, United States. There are art galleries, stores selling souvenirs, gifts, custom jewelry, pottery, and imported Mexican folk art, as well as several restaurants in the district“.
While San Antonio isn’t high on my “favorite places traveled” list, if I came back now (almost 10 years later), I think it’d be a better time. I mainly came to S.A. to visit my best friend and her family, not to visit the city. Also, this was very much pre-blog days and taking pictures was not front and center in my mind, so I had to work with what I had! But in the end, my friend and her family lived in S.A. for almost 2 years and enjoyed it, so it must be a city with more to offer than what I saw. I hope to go back one day!