After the recent days of snow and ice and canceled school, it’s easy to forget that sunny days are near and Spring Break is less than eight weeks away. Instead of braving the airport and possible flight delays, why not load the fam in the car and explore your own state, or even your own city, with our ultimate Texas playlist as your background music. Over the next few weeks leading up to Spring Break, we will share itineraries for how to spend the week in locales around Texas. First up, we’ve created a four-day family-friendly itinerary in the city that will celebrate its tricentennial this May.
Spend the morning at the DoSeum (2800 Broadway), a three-story children’s museum full of interactive exhibits like a little town, complete with a grocery store and trolley to the spy academy, where older kids can use math skills to crack codes and solve missions. For lunch, make the drive across town for a well-worth-it savory burger at Chris Madrid’s (1900 Blanco Rd.), where they’ve been cooking up classic cheeseburgers and nachos since 1977 in a festive environment that welcomes junior diners. Check in to the Hotel Emma (136 E Grayson St.) While there are many great hotel options in San Antonio (check out five historic hotels we love here), our top pick for a vacation with kids in tow is the Hotel Emma for its rooftop pool and its location in the Pearl development, which that touts many kid-friendly spots, like a splash pad right next to the hotel and the green lawn in front of the historic Cured. Pick up snacks from the Pearl’s food hall, Bottling Department (312 Pearl Parkway), where options include Cajun fare from Bud’s Southern Rotisserie, ramen from Chef Quealy Watson and Jennifer Dobbertin’s Tenko Ramen, and many more. After a day full of activity, the kids will easily go down for the babysitter back at the hotel, so freshen up, drop them off, and walk over to Jazz, Tx (312 Pearl Parkway), located underground beneath the Bottling Department. Reservations are recommended to enjoy the music and a round of Fine and Dandies, a seasonal old-fashioned made with bourbon, rum, cherry syrup, angostura bitters, pineapple, and cherry. Or, use the Emma’s river taxi service and head downtown for drinks in the Hotel Havana’s (1015 Navarro St.) moody underground bar.
Share a quiche at Bakery Lorraine (306 Pearl Pkwy.), a short walk from the Hotel Emma, before heading to Yanaguana Garden (434 S Alamo St.) at Hemisfair, 4.1 acres of climbing structures, public art, a sand-digging pit, and splash pad. Soon the historic homes on the property will be renovated into a coffee shop, bakery, brewery, and cafe. For lunch, head to the hip and happening Southtown neighborhood and stop at the Friendly Spot (943 S Alamo St.), an outdoor eatery with an extensive beer list and sandwiches and tacos. Then drive over to catch the San Antonio Zoo Eagle Train (3903 N St. Mary’s St.). Insider’s tip: instead of going all the way around and getting off the train where you started, get off at the second-to-last stop, the Japanese Tea Gardens (3853 N St Mary’s St.). Head up to the top of the tea gardens and grab a popsicle at the cafe to be enjoyed while walking among the lush sunken gardens. For some old-school fun and a break from the heat, head to the delightfully retro Rollercade (223 Recoleta Rd.) and enjoy the vintage charm retained from when it opened in 1959. Grab dinner at El Mirador (722 S St Mary’s St.)—recently renovated by San Antonio native turned celebrated Austin designer Joel Mozersky—where you can sit outside and kids can roam free.
Start the morning the way every day should begin, with breakfast tacos at Commonwealth (118 Davis Ct.). If tacos aren’t your thing, they also bake authentic French pastries from scratch each day. The $100 million renovation of the Witte Museum (3801 Broadway St.) transformed the ninety-year-old institution into a state-of-the-art facility with much to see for people of all ages. Spend the morning checking out the full-size replica of a Tyrannosaurus Rex, the McLean Family Texas Wild Gallery, and high-tech elements like a video installation that simulates the activity in Bracken Cave Preserve, home to the world’s largest bat colony north of San Antonio. Dine al fresco along the San Antonio River at beloved Chef Johnny Hernandez’s La Gloria (100 E Grayson St.) before shopping in the Pearl. Some of our favorite stops include women’s fashion boutiques, Adelante and Tiny Finch, and dapper dads will love The Sporting District. Reward the kids for being patient shoppers with a cone from Lick Honest Ice Creams. Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownie? Yes, please! Another kid-friendly shopping stop sure to entertain is the iconic Fiesta on Main (2025 N Main Ave.), a Mexican gift and party supply shop. The floor-to-ceiling filed piñata room is sure to impress them. End the night at Mi Tierra (218 Produce Row), open 24 hours and always a party with mariachis playing and sweet aromas from the authentic Mexican baker wafting through the air. The family-owned business opened in 1941 and has become a tradition for many other families as a gathering place throughout the years.
The historic King William neighborhood with its grand historic homes and funky cool residents is one of our favorite communities in Texas. Begin the last day of your trip there with breakfast at the Guenther House (205 E Guenther St.), along the river. After breakfast, walk along the river and through some of the storied streets to take in the beautiful architecture. After lunch at La Tuna (100 Probandt), rent a bike at the Blue Star Arts Complex (1414 S Alamo St.) across the street and ride along the river down to Confluence Park (310 W Mitchell St.), which was designed by San Antonio’s most famous architecture firm, Lake|Flato. Make a pit stop at Halcyon (1414 S Alamo St.) at Blue Star and toast with a beer to a successful and low-key spring break as the kids roast their own s’mores at the table, one of Halycon’s signature treats.