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San Antonio River Walk: An Oasis of Food, Friends and Fun!

- Will

Officially a City Park, The San Antonio River Walk is a hub of restaurants, hotels, and stores built along the banks of the San Antonio River, which snakes through and out the center of San Antonio, Texas. The River Walk lies one story beneath the streets of San Antonio, so the only traffic comes from people and river taxis. Whether you’re looking for a place to stay, out with the family looking for some great food and fun, or just want to take a nice walk in some beautiful weather, the Riverwalk has it all.

For about a two-mile stretch in the center of the city, the River Walk is the heartbeat of the city. It is packed with large, beautiful hotels like the Drury Inn & Suites, Crowne Plaza, and the Westin. The biggest attractions on the River Walk lie in the eateries, though. There are literally hundreds of restaurants, ice cream parlors, and bars along the water.

Hard Rock Cafe
If you’re not feeling adventurous for lunch or dinner, you can play it safe and head to the three-story Hard Rock Cafe, where you can eat in the classic 80’s-esque rock n’ roll environment. See famous memorabilia that has become synonymous with the Hard Rock Cafe on all three floors, all while listening to the best classic rock. You can also eat outside on the patio, but due to the constant foot traffic going past the restaurant, I’d recommend staying in the air conditioning for this one. As for the menu, they offer a little bit of everything: steak, hamburgers, pasta, salads, etc., so there’s something for just about everyone! Oh, and before you leave, make sure to stop by the gift shop to pick up something as a souvenir!

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The County Line: Legendary Bar-B-Q
If you’re feeling like tasting some authentic and delectable Texas barbeque, the County Line: Legendary Bar-B-Q is the place to be! Even though it’s in a contemporary area, you can cross the threshold of The County Line and instantly be taken to a west-Texas ranch, complete with Ox horns mounted on the wall, wooden tables, and neon signs. Having received high ratings from magazines like Texas Monthly, and online rating bureaus like Zagat, The County Line has a reputation to uphold, and in my opinion, they absolutely do. They serve large portions though, so come hungry!

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A Softer Approach
While the main area of the River Walk is in the city center, the river itself does not stop there. The River Walk is 13 miles in its entirety, and continues out of the hubbub of city life towards the quieter parts of San Antonio. Combined with the ducks and foliage that are characteristic of the entire River Walk, you can enjoy a long, quiet walk to enjoy nature. The River Walk goes out towards the old Pearl Brewery, which has been rebuilt and developed into a small community, complete with brand new apartments, cafes, shops and even a farmer’s market.

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Transportation with a Twist: the River Taxi
Walking can be fun, but the river meanders aimlessly about, so a five-minute walk on the streets above could become a 25-minute walk if you go along the River Walk. If you have a reservation to meet, or someone in your party doesn’t take well to long walks, the river taxi is a fun alternative. The river taxis are long, flat (the river is only 3-5 feet deep), motor-powered boats that seat about 30 to 35 people, and are piloted by a local guide who shares information about things as you pass them on the water. The taxis are set up to cruise the river perpetually from 9 am to 9 pm. There are over 39 stops placed intermittently along the river, so simply hop on, tell the pilot where to go, and relax as you cruise the river.
For the downtown area, you can pick up a one-way ticket for $5.00, or unlimited pick-ups over 24 hours for $15.00. There are also coupons on the backs of the tickets for some of the restaurants on the River Walk, so don’t throw away your ticket without looking at the back!

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The San Antonio River Walk is an incredible place. You can have a bustling, high energy atmosphere with award winning cuisine, and a calmer, quieter sample of Texas nature, all within walking distance from your River Walk hotel. If you don’t want to walk, you can hop on a river taxi and cruise up and down the river, but wherever you go, you’re bound have some fun!

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