San Antonio, a city filled with many influences and a vibrant culture, that many don‘t know about. It’s in Texas, but it’s different from the state’s other big cities. It’s the seventh largest city in the U.S. with over 1.4 million people. We discovered many unique places and activities that you have likely never experienced before!

Exploring the city through a guided sidecar tour with the creators of “SiDeCaRs San Antonio”

To get a first impression of a city, city tours are highly recommended. The typical approach is either by bus or on foot. However, in San Antonio, you can experience the coolest kind of city tour – by Vespa with a sidecar (just see how nostalgic it looks in our photos). The “inventors” of the tour are Nick and Lizz, both natives, making them the best city guides. They know hidden spots, many stories of the city’s buildings, and also introduce visitors to tasty (in our case, Mexican) food spots. They began by renting accommodation through Airbnb. As a little extra, their guests received a city tour in the sidecar. With their infectious positive energy and kindness, it’s no wonder their concept of guided city tours with their so-called “Sidecars” has taken off.

What’s special about Lizz and Nick’s tour is that they fully cater to your wishes. For example, if you want to see a specific region or make a stop at a local establishment during your tour, they are more than willing to customize your tour and leave no wishes unfulfilled. You can also individually inform them about the desired starting and ending locations of the tour. We went on the tour in the early evening, which was the perfect time to see a lot in daylight, but also experience the twilight and the onset of evening life on the Vespa.

So, for those looking for a few fun hours, a breeze of wind while driving, the best vacation recommendations from locals, and minimal organizational effort… Oh, nonsense! We genuinely and wholeheartedly recommend the tour with the sidecars to everyone!

Experience Rodeo up close at “Tejas Rodeo”

Looking for pure Texas vibes? If you’re in San Antonio, you must visit a real rodeo show. During this sporting event, you’ll see cowboys and cowgirls competing live in rodeo disciplines like bull riding, barrel racing, and calf roping. We visited the Tejas Rodeo grounds and were quite surprised that we seemed to be among the few tourists there (you could probably tell from our pride in what seemed like a great choice).

The rodeo show lasted about 2 hours, but it didn’t feel that long. The diverse disciplines made it fly by. The audience – from young to old. There was something for everyone, making it a fantastic event for the whole family. Additionally, after the show “Tejas Rodeo”, you can wind down the evening with a country music concert or you can visit the adorable store that offers a complete cowboy getup. There’s even a bull riding bounce house machine for the kids. If we could have passed for under 16, we would have definitely tried it out. In conclusion: It’s not likely to get boring here anytime soon, yet you can still enjoy a relaxed atmosphere and momentarily escape from the city.

P.S.: The personal steakhouse on the Tejas Rodeo grounds was an absolute blast!!!

  • Duration: 1.5 hours for the rodeo, followed by live music
  • When: From March to November, every Saturday, 7:30-9pm for the rodeo, 9 pm – 1 am for live music 
  • Where: 401 Obst Road, Bulverde, TX 78163
  • Learn more here: https://tejasrodeo.com/

San Antonio Botanical Gardens

On some vacation days, you just want a break from the hustle. If you’re looking for a more relaxing experience but don’t want to miss out on a noteworthy place, we recommend the Botanical Garden in San Antonio. As you might know from our two blog posts: It can get hot in Texas, and outdoor activities might not always seem appealing. During our visit to the Botanical Garden, we experienced 35°C (95°F) temperatures, but contrary to expectations, it wasn’t that bad.

Why did we visit the Botanical Garden, especially when many cities have them? Well, there’s something special about this one! It’s excellently maintained with a lovely shaded pathway around a lake (where turtles swim, how cute is that??). It feels like every plant is trying to outdo the next with the most incredible shades of green. And our absolute favorite was the cactus house. Even though we visited without kids, we would still recommend it to anyone with children. All paths are accessible and the distances within are manageable. If you’re bringing children, don’t forget to pack some water, shoes and change of clothes. The garden’s dedicated ‘Family Garden’ offers ample space for kids to run, climb, and splash around. The garden’s restaurant, “Jardin,” serves Mediterranean-inspired dishes that we found to be truly delicious. A short walk from the Botanical Garden takes you to the unique ‘Japanese Tea Garden’ – a true oasis for quiet reflection and nature admiration. Especially for those looking for a brief stop after the Botanical Garden, the Japanese Tea Garden is perfect, as entry is free.

  • Duration: Flexible
  • When: Daily 9am – 5pm (November – March) / 8am – 5pm, Wednesdays 8am – 9pm (March – October)
  • Where: 555 Funston Pl, San Antonio, TX 78209, United States
  • Learn more here: https://www.sabot.org/

Murals Bike Tour

Ah, we can wholeheartedly recommend the Bike Tour by Mural Mike Tour with Bryan. Bryan, born and living in San Antonio, decided in 2015 to join the city’s growing bike community and to photograph the art he encountered on the streets and post it on Instagram. What began as a simple Instagram page named @mural_ride and a group of friends and family admiring the city’s street art on bikes, is history today. Since 2018, you can book city bike tours with Bryan.

Right off the bat, we can tell you that this tour was a major highlight of our trip. Bryan knows the city like the back of his hand, and he primarily focused on our safety and traffic, ensuring we never felt uneasy in this 2-million-inhabitant metropolis. Additionally, San Antonio is very bike-friendly, offering wide bike lanes, and overall, there’s relatively little traffic downtown. Through this tour, you not only get to know the city but also gain deep insights, if not more, into San Antonio’s art scene. Bryan possessed in-depth knowledge about each graffiti or art project and even personally knew some of the artists. While on the bike, he provided us with facts about the neighborhood, artwork, or further route using a microphone. And don’t worry about the physical effort: We were given e-bikes, allowing us to focus solely on the art. Along the way, there were about 10 stops for cool photos of the walls or us (you’ll find many Instagram-worthy backgrounds, promised ;)). By the end, we had seen so many stunning artworks, more than most might see in their entire lives.

The Pearl

Do you know the feeling of discovering places that are brimming with life? That’s exactly the feeling you get when you visit the bustling district “The Pearl” in San Antonio. Whether a tourist or local – everyone gathers here, and in the most relaxed way. The Pearl captivates not only with its vast green space, clean alleys, various markets, connection to the Riverwalk, and excellent shopping opportunities, but its history, shaped by the “Pearl Brewery”, is equally enchanting. Sadly, the once very successful brewery no longer exists here. However, today’s “Hotel Emma” has made every effort to remember the past of the brewery building. I don’t need to say much more than that the foyer, the bar, and especially the library of Hotel Emma are absolutely fascinating. You can only get a brief glimpse of the library through the door since access is reserved for hotel guests. However, those interested in history and architecture can visit the bar without booking a room, and appreciate the unique architectural style and the famous history of the former brewery on the walls.

For those who’d rather enjoy the lively scene outside, you can relax on the well-maintained green space. Here, you can bring your own food and drink and just go with the flow. Live music is always playing from somewhere, children and dogs play around, and on Saturdays, you can find a fantastic farmers market here. Especially on warm summer evenings, it’s a particularly lovely place to spend time. In conclusion: A very cool and laid-back place!

PS: We also booked a walking tour in Pearl and were pleasantly and casually guided through the district’s highlights by Sissie, our tour guide. The history surrounding the old Pearl Brewery includes both love and murder, and Sissie’s food recommendations treated us to a wonderful dinner.

  • Duration: 1.5 hours
  • When: Saturdays, check availability at GetyourGuide
  • Where: Pearl Brewery District, at the corner of Pearl Pkwy & Avenue A.

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