San Antonio is a beautiful and historic city filled with culture and purpose: from its humble beginnings as a mission serving the 73 Spanish settlers of Central Texas it has grown into the 7th-largest city in the United States, with upward of 1.4 million residents.
Students living at or near The University of Texas–San Antonio (UTSA) are in a great city to find options for spending downtime after especially tough days on campus. And while The Luxx boasts incredible amenities for our off campus apartment residents to hang out and relax alone or with friends, we are also in a great location to access many of San Antonio’s best places.
What follows is a list of what we think are San Antonio’s top spots for UTSA students to know.
After a day of brainwork, it may be time to reward yourself with a little shopping. Northstar Mall offers over 150 shops and department stores to cover all of your houseware or clothing needs, including retailers such as Macy’s, Forever 21, and Banana Republic. And don’t forget that Northstar is also home to the largest cowboy boot sculpture in Texas, which they also decorate annually for the holidays!
If you want to use shopping as your diversion, but also need some Vitamin D in your day, try The Shops at La Cantera, an open-air shopping experience with several boutique and upscale stores like Nordstrom. Catch lunch at Burgerfi, delicious gourmet burgers with indoor and outdoor seating.
Given the great weather all year around, your off-hours might best be spent enjoying The Block, San Antonio’s food truck court. The patio bar has a wealth of beverages both bottled and on tap, and there are often great events and live music going on here.
Just outside of the 1604 Loop, in San Antonio’s suburb of Helotes, you’ll find a grand Texas honky-tonk called Floores Country Store. Open since 1942, Floore’s has hosted some of the biggest names in Texas and American music, and people come from all over to buy staples like their mouth-watering bread and tamales.
San Antonio’s newest dancing and dining venue is one of the hottest places to be in the Alamo City. Their brisket and beers will give you the calories you’ll need to replenish after dancing for hours. And then you can wrap up the night with their amazing chicken fried steak.
This spring festival always delights visitors from all across the world. Since 1959, the Fiesta San Antonio Commission has helped to plan and protect the festival which benefits countless non-profits and tries to convey the heritage, culture, and art of San Antonio to all who attend.
If your relaxation plans include slipping on your Ariats and Wranglers and kicking up your heels, head to Wild West just north of the loop. If you’re really good, you just might win one of their frequent Country Dance Contests!
If you’ve been living with your nose in a textbook ever since you made it to San Antonio, we’ll forgive you if you don’t know about the public park that winds through the center of town, several feet below street level. The Paseo del Rio Association works very diligently to keep the Riverwalk’s entertainment and festivals relevant and exciting, and the tidbits you learn on the Riverwalk boat tour change with each new boat driver. We’d recommend at least going to see the Christmas lights after Thanksgiving—it’s really a beautiful sight to behold.
San Antonio’s top water park and attraction is open weekend and select weekdays, so check the schedule before you go. But once you’re there, revel in the spectacular exhibits and shows, including the educational show featuring SeaWorld’s signature species, the orca. Then ride some of their roller coasters and water rides before hanging out at one of several flavorful food vendors.
There’s so much to ride and experience at Fiesta Texas, you might have to make a whole weekend out of it. A great place to take visitors to our city, it includes miles of tracks for coasters and water rides. Check out The Batman and The Goliath if you like speed and excitement. If you’re looking to cool off during a summer visit, The Gully Washer will leave you squeaky clean and drenched.
For those who want to be legends on the links, you can get your practice in at Top Golf. This state of the art facility is a favorite of not just serious hackers, but also of those who have never picked up a club. Compete against friends in games of skill or take lessons from some on-staff instructors.
This festival was created and is maintained to showcase the musical talents of Mission City’s own young artists, and so every care is taken to include music from San Antonio’s top bands as well as from lesser-known but equally-talented artists. A portion of every ticket sold benefits Network for Young Artists, and is a great way to keep the beat going in San Antonio.
Quick Saturday break idea: head to The Rim shopping center, grab the newest titles from Game Stop, some tees from Nordstrom Rack, lunch at Potbelly, and finish it off with fro-yo from Menchie’s. You’ll be back at your place in no time!
Tired of cooking and don’t want a fast food dinner? Head over to one of our favorite chains, Kona Grill. We recommend starting off with the avocado roll as an appetizer before you hit the sushi! It’s right down the road from The Luxx, which would be dangerous to our waistlines if they didn’t offer several generally healthy options.
Big Lou’s is known for … well, pizza. It’s in the name. But they have expanded their menu over the decade they’ve been in business and now include several wraps and pasta options. They haven’t forgotten those who are gluten-free as they offer some amazing salads as well!
Rudy’s and County Line BBQ
We can’t be forced to choose sides between these powerful Texas BBQ forces. It really comes down to which one is closer to where you are when you get the craving for extra-moist brisket, hot sausage links, moist BBQ chicken, or perfectly cooked peppered turkey. As with any good Texas barbeque, you shouldn’t have to sauce it to enjoy it, but if you prefer it sauced up, neither franchise will disappoint!
On the West side of town, you’ll find the premier moviegoers experience. Casa Blanca is one of the movie and dining experiences that will give you the comfort of home and the service of a café. If you can spend a couple more dollars, spring for the theater with the reclining seats, and then sit back and enjoy the show.