San Antonio makes a great destination for a mini-break with kids, combining a wealth of history and cultural influences with modern attractions. Here’s how to spend a fun-filled weekend in the city, from the best rodeo night to the most relaxing resort for families.
Four things you must see and do in San Antonio
Get your Stetson ready, as Saturday night is rodeo night in San Antonio, Y’all! Head to the family friendly Tejas Rodeo Steakhouse and Saloon to witness the self-proclaimed ‘Greatest Show on Dirt’. Arrive early to dine at the BBQ food stalls or onsite steak restaurant before taking a seat in the dusty arena to watch bull-riding, barrel racing and team roping displays. The highlight of the evening is the awesome mutton bustin’ competition, which involves kids hugging a sheep as it runs around the arena.
While older children and thrill-seekers might prefer San Antonio’s Six Flags Fiesta mega amusement park, for younger children, a trip to Morgan’s Wonderland is a refreshingly relaxed theme park experience. This ultra-accessible non-profit park caters to kids of all ages and abilities. The rides, including a Ferris wheel, carousel and off-road driving track, are all so gentle that even babies can participate. There’s also a pier where kids can try out catch-and-release fishing and a vintage style steam train that will take you on a tour of the park.
Right in the heart of San Antonio, this Spanish mission and fortress compound brings history to life for children, with characters in period costume and live firing demonstrations (earplugs advised!), plus hands-on activities such as fire starting and textile weaving. Brush up on the famous 1836 Battle of the Alamo, then stroll around the picturesque gardens and church. And the best news is entrance to The Alamo is free.
Dino-fans will love a visit to the child-friendly Witte Museum, which has a permanent gallery showcasing the dinosaurs that roamed Texas 110 million years ago. Kids can excavate bones in the dino-pit, compare prehistoric jawbones and examine ancient footprints. My seven-year-old loved the H-E-B Body Adventure area, which teaches children about staying healthy through interactive activities.
Where to Eat in San Antonio
This independently owned local gem is a haven for families, managing to keep everyone happy with healthy food, a vast play area and some great live music. The food and drink at The Cove are based on Ayurvedic principles, so there are no processed nasties on their menu. Inside you’ll find a bar where bands perform onstage in the evenings while the cleverly designed climbing frame outside is positioned so you can see your kids playing from every table in the courtyard.
You can’t visit Texas without sampling some of their famous BBQ brisket. Like so many Texan culinary success stories, Smoke Shack started life as a food truck, and has now transformed into a hip Broadway restaurant, serving up meat plates, sandwiches and Southern sides such as fried okra and spicy cream corn.
Nola brings a slice of New Orleans cuisine to San Antonio with their popular brunch menu that features all the classics, including shrimp and grits, oysters rockafella and a fantastically tasty blue crab omelette. The house speciality are the beignets, which are deep friend pastry parcels stuffed with either lemon curd or coffee and chicory pastry cream. Topped off with a mountain of powdered sugar, the pastry treats are made in-house and ready to be devoured with a side order of steaming hot coffee.
Best Ice Cream
Amy’s Ice Cream
This Austin institution now has a handful of branches throughout Texas, serving up over an mouthwatering menu of 350 flavors on rotation, ranging from their famous Mexican vanilla to inventive specialities such as Key Lime Pie flavor or the locally inspired Hill Country Crunch. Amy’s Ice Cream also serves up milkshakes and frozen yoghurts, or homemade ice cream cakes for special occasions.
Where to stay in San Antonio
La Cantera Resort & Spa
Surrounded by beautiful Texas Hill Country landscape, the luxury La Cantera Resort & Spa offers a peaceful retreat for families while being just 30 minutes from the hustle and bustle of San Antonio. The villas are the perfect size for groups and also have private gated pools with Jacuzzi. There’s plenty to keep the children occupied with an activity-packed kid’s club plus a fantastic naturalists program where children learn about the local wildlife through adventure hikes and craft activities. Parents can grab a moment of tranquillity in the heated infinity pool that overlooks the hilltop vistas or at the blissful day spa onsite.