Guys, looking for a way to impress your wife with a romantic weekend? Ladies, looking to show your husbands how much you appreciate them? Well, if you live in Texas here is a trip that will impress your spouse and inspire romance in your relationship.
Everyone in Texas has heard of the San Antonio Riverwalk. I remember my 20’s going there to bar hop. Stay in a cheap hotel, walk to the river, and eat and drink from several of the famous (or infamous) bars and restaurants. If that is your thing, I can talk about that in another blog. This one is all about romance. Now that I am older (and wiser), I like something a little less chaotic. The Riverwalk can be chaotic, but can also be that romantic spot that will have you holding hands as you walk along the river, stopping in at a random restaurant for a bite to eat, maybe visit a quaint jazz bar, and then back to the hotel for a breathtaking view of the San Antonio downtown.
Our trip started like this… “Honey, I am planning a SURPRISE weekend getaway. All you need to do is put it on your calendar. Pack a bag that includes a swim suit, casual clothes with comfy shoes, and a nice outfit.” Bam, that’s it. The seed is planted and her mind starts to reel with guesses. Ladies, this works both ways. You can do it too, but I will speak from my perspective. Why the swimsuit you ask? Well, two purposes. Maybe you want to take a dip in the hotel pool…or maybe it’s just to throw her guesses off. Guys, don’t cave. It is very cool to plan this out yourself and surprise her. She will appreciate your effort. Ladies, let him have this moment! And when you get to your destination, praise him for his efforts! Ok, enough with the marriage counselling… Let’s talk weekend getaway.
Now let me start by saying, there are a million things to do in San Antonio. The Riverwalk is a great “jump-off point.” This article certainly won’t be all-inclusive, but just an example of what a little imagination can do. There are restaurants, every kind of bar you can imagine, shops, tours, sightseeing, the list goes on and on.
There are several hotels to stay at along the Riverwalk. Some old boutique-style and historic, others new, towering, and modern. Personally, my favorite is the Hyatt Regency San Antonio Riverwalk. Rates average about $200 a night, but it is spectacular. The hotel is situated directly across the street from the Alamo. Many of the rooms have this view. It has great restaurants and bars, and a beautiful rooftop pool. It not only sits right on the river, but the river runs through the lobby creating an impressive atmosphere. You can walk out the back doors and walk directly to the river, or the front and walk across the street to the Alamo or shopping mall.
I chose to stay at the Marriott Riverwalk for several reasons, one being it was on the river and within my budget. Not quit the same as the Hyatt, but impressive none the less. The Marriott has a beautiful pool, bar and restaurant, and a spacious lobby. The rooms are very comfortable. Be aware though, there is no smoking anywhere on the hotel property. One thing that I was impressed with was the elevators. This is a 30-floor building. If you’ve ever stayed in a tall hotel, the upper rooms offer the best views, but it can take forever to get there with the elevator stopping on several floors getting to yours. These elevators go to groups of 5 floors. So if you are on the 30th floor, it will wisk you to floors 25-30 non-stop. The parking garage was extremely small. Don’t even think about bringing your big pickup truck. The spaces and turns are tiny. In our little Explorer, we literally had to unload, then park so we could get out of the doors. Valet service was not available “due to COVID.” Self-parking was $20 a day! Now having said that, most downtown hotel parking is the same. It is tight and expensive, some as much as $30 a day.
Regardless of where you stay for your romantic weekend, you want to be on the river. This is key. Now having said that, not just anywhere on the river. The Riverwalk has expanded. You may see a hotel for $80 advertise “on the river,” but it is on the end where businesses haven’t developed yet. It’s cheaper there, but don’t spend all your time walking with nothing to see. In my opinion, the best locations on the river is the area of W. Crockett St. and N. Presa St. It’s no coincidence the Hyatt is close by. From here you can see or do just about anything on the Riverwalk. It is a central location to all the action and attractions. There are a variety of theme restaurants like Bubba Gump’s Seafood, Hard Rock Cafe, Rainforest Cafe, The Republic of Texas, as well as several local restaurants. Bars like Howl at the Moon and Dick’s Last Resort are close as well as major city attractions. Couple of notes here. Howl at the Moon is very popular. Reserve seats well in advance. If you've never been to Dick's Last Resort, their whole business model is built on sarcasm and trying to embarrass you. Not exactly for a romantic weekend. Back to suggestions, you can catch a horse-drawn carriage up on the street if you really want to impress her. I kind of got off on a rabbit trail here. None of this involves my romantic weekend, but just an example of all there is to do on the Riverwalk.
Once we arrived at the Marriott and got settled in, we set out for a walk on the Riverwalk. The scenery is beautiful and the weather was perfect. If you’ve ever visited the Riverwalk, you know the concrete paths are narrow, but right now the crowds are light so it didn’t seem to be an issue. As you walk along the river, you will notice the tour boats go by. Hop on one if you are so inclined. There’s a guide to tell you about the scenery. Me? I prefer the stroll along the water.
As we walked, we chose Cafe Ole for our dinner stop. The food was great and we were able to sit along the rail and people watch, one of my favorite pastimes. There are so many restaurants to choose from. This one just caught our eye. The mariachis will serenade you if you like. But here’s the kicker! A gigantic, big as your face, 60 ounce, top shelf margarita. It’s big enough to share, or try and drink one yourself if you are really brave. By the time we finished our food and drink, we were winding down, so we made our way back to the hotel.
Ok, here is the best part, so pay attention guys. This is worth the price of admission... Dinner and cocktails on the top of the Tower of the Americas. . The Tower was built in 1968 for the World’s Fair celebrating San Antonio’s 250th anniversary. It is 750 feet tall and provides the most spectacular view of the Alamo City. You will have to make reservations for dinner well in advance because seating is limited. Parking is $8-15, but take an Uber. It is way easier. There is no admission fee for the bar or restaurant. If you just want to use the observation deck and see the 4D Theatre Ride, that’s a modest $14.50 per adult. I am telling you, get the full experience though.
I suggest arriving at the Tower of the Americas a little early for your dinner reservations. They will let you wait at the bar. The bar is next to the restaurant, so you can check in with the hostess and have a cocktail while you wait for your dinner reservation time. While having that cocktail, you are treated to the most spectacular view in all of San Antonio. You will love the atmosphere and the service. The drinks are not overpriced, like you would think either. It’s no dollar beer night, but you will not break the bank.
phenomenal! The service was excellent as well. We did not feel rushed and in fact, felt very comfortable taking our time with drinks and a desert. It was a little pricey, but worth every penny. You’re going to pay a little more for that ambiance, but you leave feeling like it was worth it. Again, not as pricey as you would expect for that kind of experience.
From dinner, you can choose to visit any of a number of bars, shop, tourist attractions, or whatever your heart desires. As for us, we chose to go to a quiet spot near the river, sit with a bottle of wine, and talk until we were ready to go back to our room.
If you are living in Texas and looking for a romantic experience with your loved one, remember the Alamo! Check out the San Antonio Riverwalk and definitely include dinner at the Chart House atop the Tower of the Americas.