I’m sitting at an outdoor café, enjoying my beer and watching the sun set as a pair of ducks paddle by, and I can’t think of a nicer place to be right now than San Antonio’s River Walk. I’ve got a prime spot for viewing the boats as they float by, for people-watching and relaxing after a day of sight-seeing and shopping. I can hear the sounds of a strolling mariachi band and it’s the perfect ending to a great day.
I’ve been to San Antonio several times before and seen many of the major sights (you can read about my last visits in May and August of last year). I’ve perused the handiworks at Market Square’s El Mercado and I’ve “remembered the Alamo”. Today’s visit was all about exploring what the River Walk has to offer.
The River Walk consists of two parallel pedestrian walkways along the banks of the winding San Antonio River. The trails connect major tourist attractions in San Antonio, from the Alamo to Rivercenter Mall, the San Antonio Museum of Art and the Pearl Brewery, but the River Walk is actually a pretty big attraction in itself. Lined by restaurants with colorful café umbrellas, hotels and shops, the walkways are always full of activity and there are often planned activities and events going on. You can spend the day walking along the 5 miles of walkways, stopping for lunch or a snack and checking out the distinctive gift shops along the way. Or, do what I did – take a tour on a Segway for a fun way to maneuver among the pedestrians. Boat rides along the river are also a popular way to relax and see the sights. Some of the boats offer meals. I haven’t tried any of the floating restaurants yet, but I’ll make that part of my next visit. And, don’t forget your camera – the walkways are beautifully landscaped, with colorful gardens, waterfalls and picturesque bridges.
With Saint Patrick's Day approaching, the River Walk is preparing for their big, two-day festival when they dye the river emerald green, the barges ride down the river in a floating parade and you're more likely to hear bagpipes than mariachi music.
At first glance, the River Walk’s winding canals may conjure up images of Venice, but you’ll soon realize there is an unmistakable Texan flavor here, with plenty of Mexican flair sprinkled around. There’s no place else like it.