by Alex Lewis
on Friday, November 3rd, 2017 at 11:53am.
Long recognized as one of San Antonio’s main charms, the Riverwalk has beckoned tourists and locals alike. If you want to have a night out on the town in San Antonio, the Riverwalk is the place to go.
The Riverwalk is comprised of over 15 miles of cobblestone walkways, arched bridges, and restaurants, bars, and hotels galore. As you walk along the San Antonio river at dusk, skyscrapers and hotels soar overhead and you can see the reflection of cantina lights in the water below you.
You can also take a boat along the river! As of Oct. 1st, 2017, Go Rio San Antonio River Cruises is the main tour boat company in SA. This is a reasonably affordable way to see a lot and learn more about the San Antonio River.
Although the Riverwalk is easily navigated, the 15 miles of possibility mean that it is advisable to read about the must-see spots along this historic walkway. Most people visit the loop in the river around Market Street. But there are so many different experiences that you can have--so don’t limit your time at the Riverwalk to one crowded stretch of the river!
What to do on the San Antonio Riverwalk:
Beginning just south of Brackenridge Park, The Pearl is quite possibly San Antonio’s most beautiful development that has been built over the past couple years. Located in the old Pearl Brewery space, alongside a quiet part of the river, The Pearl now features several delicious restaurants, coffee shops, bookstores, and wine bars.
A notable mention in this converted brewery space goes to the homemade pop tarts at Bakery Lorraine, the Farmer’s Market that pops up every weekend, and a cold craft beer and fine southern cooking at Southerleigh Fine Food & Brewery (but this is just a small sampling!).
A few blocks down from The Pearl, just West of The Grotto, The San Antonio Museum of Art is a must-see with events rotating quarterly and the amazing galleries, art lovers will not be disappointed.
For a more tame Riverwalk experience, check out Ocho at the Hotel Havana for delicious mojitos and pan-Latin eats. This is a top spot for a classy date night.
A popular upscale American restaurant along the Riverwalk is Restaurant Gwendolyn. You’ll want to plan ahead for the intentionally laid-back (read slow) experience, but the great service makes up for the languid pace. When speedy service is a must, grab a bowl of ramen or some sushi at Kimura, which is conveniently located behind Restaurant Gwendolyn.
The most famous stretch of the Riverwalk is a loop that happens between San Fernando Cathedral & Market Street adjacent to the Alamo. Find the tourist’s dream lineup: Joe’s Crab Shack, Boudro’s, The Rainforest Cafe, Dave & Buster’s, and Fogo de Chão Brazilian Steakhouse. You can get just about any type of cuisine, from Italian to Japanese, along this stretch. Note that this area is typically very crowded, particularly at night during the weekend.
For Tex-Mex in this section, consider Casa Rio or the Iron Cactus Mexican Restaurant.
For drinks, check out Durty Nelly’s Irish Pub if you like a rowdy crowd, throwing peanut shells on the ground, and Irish-inspired food & beers. Lastly, for lunch you might try some affordable & easy German food at Schilo’s. Situated in a 19th century building, the old-world charm of Schilo’s is sure to win you over.
Moving several blocks south along the river, you’ll find the scenic Blue Star Arts Complex. Get a cold one at Blue Star Brewing Company or a cocktail and s’mores at Halcyon. For grub, try Stella’s Public House for farm-to-table pizzas and cold beers. If it’s sushi you want, check out Sukeban. Wander the several galleries in this complex to learn about San Antonio’s art scene in this southtown mainstay.
How to Tour the San Antonio Missions
In the early 1700s, Franciscans set up several distinct missions along the San Antonio River. It would be remiss to write about the restaurants and attractions along the river and not mention the trails from mission to mission along the river.