There’s two main words that come to my mind when I think about this state: HOT and DIRT. For those who’ve had the minor displeasure of driving through this giant space of flat land and brown dirt, I empathize with you. I will never forget the one and only massive dust storm I’ve ever been in. It was in 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. I flew into S.A. both times I went, but I’ve driven through the panhandle twice on both of my cross-country drives between California and Illinois, as well as drove the long, endless stretch from Amarillo to the New Mexico border on the way to Roswell (that drive was 5x worse than the Panhandle drive. It was just endless miles of cow farms and factories. At least the Panhandle takes you through Amarillo). Overall, 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 dry.
So be prepared.
Downtown and The Alamo
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 its 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 as a civilian, by yourself, like just wanting to take a day trip or something. Civilians (non-service members or their families) need special clearance, or they need a service member (or someone with the proper I.D., like a dependant or retired service member) to “sponsor” them while on the base. Basically, the military is saying, “We trust you because you have clearance, babysit your guests and make sure they stay in line.” Also – non-military members cannot buy anything on base due to the no tax rule. Sooo, 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, something 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, I strongly feel like everyone should visit this important piece of history while it still stands.
The River Walk is also high on my recommend list, and it cuts right through a giant 3 story mall called Rivercenter. 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”. Rivercenter Mall is humongous and even offers gondola rides if you so choose.
Cowboys Dance Hall
Another great spot in S.A. is Cowboys Dance Hall, located right off the interstate, located at 3030 NE Interstate 410 Loop, San Antonio, TX 78218. It’s open Wednesday through Saturday, from 7pm to 3am. It’s a massive 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, so call.
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. Located at 418 Villita St, San Antonio, TX 78205, and its open Thursday through Saturday from 10am to 6pm, and on Sunday from 11am to 4pm. It is very artistically centered, with many vendors selling their 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 I know I’ve trashed Texas a bit in this blog, here’s the part where I tell you that I want to go back! There are two cities I’d love to visit: Dallas and Houston. I want to see the Space Center, the grassy knoll and Dealey Plaza, the Texas School Book Depository, the USS Texas, and so much more. I honestly have no idea when I will get the opportunity but it’s on the list!