TravelLoveList: Southside San Antonio
I often hear from people that there’s nothing to do in SA; while as a local, you know things can get repetitive- hitting up the same hot spots- sometimes you’re able to find that hidden gem and discover essentially a whole new world.
So in my case I ventured my quiet little cozy house on the westside to a place I hadn’t been in since 2016. I used to work for Southside ISD. I loved that job. I loved working with the kiddos and making sure they reached their goals but I didn’t like the commute. I went back to the southside of San Antonio to see it through the eyes of people who grew up there. And so I fell in love with an untouched piece of San Antonio- that’s growing faster than it even knows. It’s a magical place full of history, beauty and tradition. So it’s your turn to fall in love with the Southside of San Antonio, one frame at a time.
Embassy Suites by Hilton San Antonio Brooks Hotel + Spa: I’ve always wondered about “staycations” like what’s the point of driving 20 minutes from home when your house is in the same city? It’s a hard concept to understand- until you take one. While on this trip, I had the luxury of staying at the Embassy Suites at Brooks. My room was super spacious and between you and me I dropped the temperature down to 65. I am a penny pincher so I survive with a cozy 78 at home. Also lil’ hippie me already sleeps with a pink Himalayan salt lamp so when they took us to the salt cave, I felt right at home. If I didn’t snore I probably would have fallen asleep.
TBH the best part of this was the Happy Hour that was offered as a courtesy to guests. You get drinks and a snack basically included in your stay. Not to mention the breakfast at 1917, included a build your own omelette station and was stocked with all the yummies.
This being a food blog- I spent a lot of time doing the hard work of eating ALL THE DAMN FOOD!
BB Smoke House: I could survive on BBQ alone. I’ve lived between here and Charleston, SC so trust me when I say I know good BBQ. Visiting the expanded restaurant that’s been in the Finley Family for a long time was kinda awesome. (support generational family owned business’ y’all). They’ve incorporated parts of the old building into their new version but kept the same smokey magic that’s been going on forever! Bruce (the owner) fulfilled my childhood dreams with a bounty of BBQ and sides. He brags about his chicken and I’ll stan that because it was amazing. This BBQ joint on the Southside of SA is a must if you’re trying to taste all the BBQ in the city.
Casa Azul de Andrea: I will flat out say this so you can crucify me. I don’t like barbacoa. I wish I did, I’d really like to but it’s never been for me. So when they presented us with a barbacoa quesadilla I was prepared to do the no thank you bite- instead I fell in love. The Casa Azul was inspired by Frida Kahlo and it’s one of the most accessible to those located in Downtown SA. It’s literally right there in Southtown. Other major recs: Agua de Melon, the corn in a cup and the fries!
Chamoy Dreams: I’ll be a repeat customer. That’s all I have to say to start this. I tried to go once but we couldn’t find it so I was finally glad I was able to get to try this. I got some weird cucumber worm on mango sorbet covered in sour powers, Chinese candy and chamoy. So if you spend the day at Pearsall Park make sure you plan to stop here after for a mangonada.
DRINK DRANK PUNK
Southside Craft Soda: While I spend 99% of my time drinking carb water (sparkling water) occasionally I partake in the luxury of soda. We met the founder, Andrew, who has a theory that there will eventually be a popularity in craft soda. It sounds out there- but hear him out or rather drive to HEB and buy a six pack and try that Texa-cola. It’s slightly different but trust me once you realize it’s not your average pop, you’ll be hooked.
Seersucker Gin Distillery: If I had to list my favorite alcohols in order, Gin would be number three. Mezcal + Tequila lead the list because blood loyalty. But Gin, especially Seersucker has become one of my faves at a rapid pace. I already celebrate the Kentucky Derby there by going there for their annual Cinco de Derby but I actually have bottles of all their line that I regularly consume. Make the drive out there and check it out!
Folklores Coffee House: When I first talked to Tatu about his new shop he mentioned it would be a third wave coffee shop. Meaning people can try coffee brewed in different ways. Now the shop has grown into a neighborhood spot. He has various specialty coffees and even a CBD shop. Plus Tatu + Emilie are some of my favorite people. That’s why this rec is literally just GO SEE MY FAVES!
Confluence Park: I’ve talked about Confluence Park before and mentioned how chill the vibe is. It’s so full of beautiful greenery and they’ve added an educational component. We will forever love green spaces.
Pica Pica Plaza: I grew up with swap meets, mercados and tianguis’. It was part of who I am. Finding treasures, finding creativity and inspiration. You meet different people and see so much new. I found a piece of my childhood there. Had I not been walking around with a dear friend I might have cried a little. Basically this is an indoor shops but it reminds me a lot of my youth. So GO THERE and pretend you’re me.
The Greenline: I can’t stop blushing with how good SA is doing setting up various green spaces in the city to make this a place that we can enjoy both indoor and outdoor. I also should mention a lot of great restaurants (that you might recognize from The Historic Pearl) are adding extra locations down here. Just don’t go in the middle of summer, in the middle of the day.
The San Antonio Missions National Park: I love history- rather I love stories. So visiting something like the Missions on the Southside was something I was really excited about. I’ve obviously been there multiple times (it’s something I take everyone that comes to SA to) and it’s a place that still gets me excited to go to. Shout out to the people who lived there in during the summer. It gets hot, but also there are areas where it gets super cool too which was surprising. Lastly, if you’re in the know- I’d suggest getting the national parks passport, you can get it stamped!
Garcia Art Glass: I could probably watch people blow glass all day! Seriously, shoutout to Garcia Art Glass please can I work out of your studio? I would probably not work due to distractions but nonetheless- this southtown art gallery should be on your list.
Mitchell Lake Audubon Center: one of the last stops before the Texas Coast, this magical wet wonderland is the perfect escape from the city. You’re able to connect with nature, check out native flora and bird-watch. Come early and stay hydrated.
Hot Wells Conservancy: A long, long time ago we used to have pools (baths) like the ones they have in Hungary, Baden Baden and the Iceland Blue Lagoon. Then the building fell apart and they were lost to time. The city has recently restored the building and is considering finding more water sources to have these return. Pray to the bath gods we get something like this- if not I’ll plan a trip to Baden Baden soon!
This stay-cation was sponsored by the South San Antonio Chamber of Tourism but all the opinions and thoughts are my own. As always be sure to follow my san antonio foodie instagram @sanantoniolovelist to keep up with the latest.