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What to eat, see and do in 2022

If you’re looking for a culture-filled vacation, San Antonio, Texas is simply packed with beautiful attractions, history, unique experiences, and truly incredible food. (After all, research says that immersing yourself in culture and the arts can positively affect your mental health.) In this wonderful city, you can stroll or cruise along the iconic River Walk. Pull out your phone to snap some photos of the Japanese tea garden, the interactive exhibits at the Hopscotch gallery, and the pearl farmers’ market. Immerse yourself in the rich history and architecture as you take a guided walking tour of the Alamo and add a lock of your own to the “Love Lock Bridge”. Or, if you are more into spooky haunts, you can even get to know the “spooky residents of the city” while sipping cocktails on a guided tour of the haunted pubs. Experience a rodeo and savor a good old-fashioned Texan barbecue, because when you’re in Texas!

I had the opportunity to visit San Antonio and quickly learned that it was the culture-filled vacation I never knew I needed. I stayed at the Thompson San Antonio, a luxury boutique hotel in a prime location that was easy to walk and take Ubers everywhere. Read on to find out more about my trip and everything else you’ll want to include in your itinerary.

Alessa Melardo

San Antonio’s River Walk, aka Paseo del Rio, happens to be the No. 1 in Texas: It’s easy to see why. This city park is a 15-mile stretch of restaurants, bars, shops, iconic landmarks, and more. You will be amazed as you visit San Fernando Cathedral, the King William Historic District and the River Walk Public Art Garden.

I boarded a GO RIO narrated River Walk cruise, which lasted about 35 minutes. The boats are all colored and of course I chose the pink one. It was such a fun way to immerse yourself in some of the famous sights in the city. We sailed from La Villita, the first real neighborhood of San Antonio. (This was also where General Santa Anna placed his line of guns during the Battle of the Alamo.) We also passed by The Esquire Tavern, which opened its doors just the day after Prohibition ended, and you can still have a drink there to this day.

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Split image for rooted wine tasting
Alessa Melardo

What’s a weekend without a local wine tasting (complete with an aesthetically pleasing cheese platter, of course)? I met Jennifer Beckmann, Certified Wine Educator & Sommelier who guided me through my wine tasting at Re: Rooted 210, which was one of many cherries, or should I say grape– in addition to my visit. Located in downtown San Antonio, the ReRooted: 210 tasting room truly brings trendy industrial vibes and is where the brand likes to “try new things”.

What’s really cool about ReRooted? Their barrel wine system makes it easy for travelers and locals to enjoy their blends, made with 100% Texas-grown fruit, by glass or growler. Try the refreshing Ghost Tracks 2019, a blend of 45% Sauvignon Blanc, 45% Albarino and 10% Fiano, or the Riverwalk Red (NV), which pays homage to the city’s iconic Riverwalk and is a blend of 90% Sangiovese and 10 % Cabernet Sauvignon. You can’t go wrong!

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Mission San Jose yoga
Alessa Melardo

Starting the morning by rolling out my yoga mat and stretching under a large oak tree in the San Antonio Missions National Historic Park was a book fitness experience. Not only was it relaxing; it filled my mind and soul with so much beauty. Mission San José is nicknamed the “Queen of Missions” and the architecture is certainly stunning. It is over 300 years old and is so eloquently described by the National Park Service as a “catch[ing] a moment of transition in history, frozen in time “.

Pharm Table iced tea and bow plates
Alessa Melardo

From plant-based meals to botanical cocktails that make you feel rejuvenated from the inside out to cozy neighborhood haunts that offer seasonal flavors, it’s safe to say that both my tummy and palate were overwhelmingly satisfied in San Antonio. The food really spoke to my soul; what’s more, I felt good after everything I ate, because it was all so fresh.

Lunch at the Pharm Table, an apothecary’s kitchen offering locally sourced food inspired by destinations around the world, was a real treat. The drinks menu itself is a fun journey, including many natural wines, pharmacy cocktails, non-alcoholic sips, teas and “digestives” to choose from. I opted for Earl Gray Lavender Cold Brew, made with lemon, lavender and Earl Gray tea. The unique presentation resembled an old fashioned one, complete with a large ice cube. As for the main course, the Tacos Farm to Table were out of this world, made with locally sourced mushrooms, black beans, fennel slaw with red cabbage, chin paste, Asian pickled carrot slaw, hemp seed sauce, cilantro, and heirloom corn tortillas.

split image dinner and dessert at Clementine
Alessa Melardo

Clementine really stole my heart for dinner. You have been assigned the best seat in the house, at the counter of a bar overlooking the chefs doing their magic. The staff were really delightful and she really drank and dined me. They offered me a variety of mouthwatering dishes, including Japanese eggplant with mildly spicy tomato sauce, herb butter, bonito and baharat, along with fresh ricotta cavatelli with broccoli pesto, Sichuan peppercorns, toasted pecans and parmesan. . My main dish was King Salmon, made with Sungold tomato buerre blanc, sourdough croquettes and Pimentón de la Vera. They call their dessert menu “The Best Parts” and who could honestly resist it? I had the Clementine Crunch Bar, made with chocolate mousse, toasted hazelnuts and clementine sorbet, because I was having dinner at Clementine after all! The chef also came up with handmade mini cakes with oatmeal cookies and dessert wine to finish the meal on the sweetest note ever.

split image cakes and buns in San Antonio
Alessa Melardo

Some of my favorite tips to consider on your itinerary? Dinner at the Carriqui, which serves botanical dishes that draw inspiration from the Rio Grande Valley along with typical South Texas libations; Bakery Lorraine, the cutest little French patisserie to order a chocolate quiche or croissant from before exploring the Pearl Farmers Market; Jardin, which is located in the historic Sullivan Carriage House at San Antonio’s Botanical Garden and has the improve focaccia; and La Panaderia for a morning cappuccino and delicious pastries for breakfast.