Location: San Antonio
What You’ll Need: Significant Other
My husband and I have an annual tradition of going to San Antonio for the weekend—away from errands, our toddler, and everything else that keeps us too busy when we’re at home. It’s easy and inexpensive enough that even a short visit to the Alamo City feels like a mini-honeymoon. The perfect hotel for our getaway is the Havana Riverwalk Inn, which is situated on a secluded stretch of the River Walk. We love the four-poster canopy beds, vintage furniture, and eccentric twenties colonial theme. Tucked away in the basement is Club Cohiba, which serves up mojitos, tapas, and plenty of Nina Simone.
If we manage to get up early enough to explore the city, we like to start the day by walking the grounds of the recently restored Japanese Tea Garden, with footbridges, koi ponds, and a sixty-foot waterfall. Then we’re off to the McNay Art Museum, in nearby Alamo Heights, where we survey the private collection of Old World and contemporary art and watch brides-to-be have their portraits taken on its serene grounds. If the wait isn’t too long, we enjoy brunch at elegant but casual Paloma Blanca, where the chilaquiles and other interior Mexican dishes are first-rate. Sometimes we make our way to the other side of town to see Mission San José’s ornate Rose Window (according to legend, a carpenter carved the window for his fiancée, Rose, who died at sea on her way to meet him in New Spain). But more often, we skip the long and decidedly unromantic drive to the Mission Trail and spend the afternoon roaming the River Walk.
If we feel like splurging on dinner, there is the pitch-perfect $100 five-course tasting menu at Le Rêve, which is within walking distance of the hotel. But we also adore the charming—and much less expensive— Liberty Bar, an off-kilter (literally) former brothel whose sloping wood floors are a quirky backdrop for New American cuisine made from fresh, often locally grown ingredients (don’t miss the homemade buttermilk pie). I’m a terrible dancer, so I’ve never worked up the nerve to go to the vibrant Azuca Nuevo Latino, where