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Phil Collins Loves This Texas City, and You Will Too

Photo by Sean Pavone/Shutterstock San Antonio’s unique role in U.S. history has made it a city known for cultural richness. San Antonio has had a long record of attracting history buffs since its pivotal role in the formation of the Texas Republic. (Remember the Alamo?) Nowadays, this city is also embracing the new. A preservation and expansion project at the Alamo, which is adding a new exhibit hall and collections building featuring weapons,…

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CC-BY-SA 2.0 Sean Pavone/Shutterstock San Antonio is a city renowned for its cultural diversity due to its important place in American history.

With its significant role in the establishment of the Texas Republic, San Antonio has long been a magnet for historians. (Keep the Alamo in mind.) This city is also one of those that is open to new ideas and concepts these days. Now is a great time to visit the culturally significant city of the south in Texas, as a preservation and expansion project at the Alamo is adding a new exhibit hall and collections building featuring weapons, relics, and original documents. But that’s not all; San Antonio has also been stepping up its culinary game as of late, with the revitalized Pearl District to the north of downtown now housing a number of hip new restaurants and bars.

As part of its partnership with the James Beard Foundation, the inaugural Tasting Texas, Food and Wine Festival will take place this October, lasting a full four days. San Antonio has a rich past and vibrant culture, and there are plenty of unique cocktails to enjoy while you’re there.

Places to stay in San Antonio

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Thompson The Alamo City of San Antonio

Make your reservations now: Thompson That place in Texas where they have a lot of Tex

The Thompson Hotel, a 162 room establishment, can be found in a glass skyscraper. San Antonio, which opened in February, is close to downtown landmarks like the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts, but it feels like a world away thanks to its peaceful location. With their dark wood furniture, slate blue walls, leather chaises, and marble bathrooms, the rooms are intimate and moody. Significant perks include access to a swimming pool and spa (try the River Rock massage or Quartz Firming facial). Don’t forget to stop by the trendy Moon’s Daughters rooftop bar for some of their signature cocktails like the Yarrows Rosa, a mixture of grapefruit rose vodka, elderflower liqueur, and nectarberry salt.

A Hilton Canopy by Hilton

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Make your reservations now: Hilton’s Canopy

The chic Canopy by Hilton, which has been open for a full year and is located directly on the Riverwalk, is the place to be seen. The 195 guestrooms, all of which have windows that reach to the ceiling, are decorated in a muted color scheme of whites and grays that pops with San Antonio’s colorful art, textiles, and tilework. Domingo, the hotel’s restaurant, sits on the Riverwalk, and the upscale, rooftop Otro Bar is where the night continues.

Putting together a San Antonio dining and drinking itinerary

Images from the Pharmaceutical Industry’s “Gallery of Tables” English Countryside’s Finest, The Cotswolds and Wales (Condé Nast Traveler)

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While it may call itself an apothecary kitchen, Pharm Table in south downtown, close to the quaint King William Historic District, is a culinary highlight. Elizabeth Johnson, the restaurant’s owner and head chef, has created a menu that draws inspiration from cuisines all over the world. Pair it with a Za’atar Sidecar and relax in the sun on the patio.

Botika

Botika in the Pearl District serves up Asian Peruvian fusion in the form of crispy steamed buns, dragon rolls, and spicy eggplant noodles. Chef Geronimo Lopez, a former executive chef and instructor at the Culinary Institute of America’s San Antonio campus, is in charge of the kitchen.

The Club Room and Sternewirth Inn

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High ceilings, fireplaces, leather couches, and plenty of candles give the Sternewirth Tavern and Club Room in the 146-room Hotel Emma an industrial yet cozy vibe in the former Pearl Brewery warehouse. On the extensive 13-page list of drinks available, you’ll find house specialties like the Three Emmas, a blend of beer and rose cordial, Botanist gin and grapefruit, and Blanton’s Single Barrel bourbon.

Yes, I’m Roti

Mi Roti, located in the Pearl Food Hall, serves roti wraps stuffed with jerk chicken, curried chickpeas, and coconut spinach, making it an ideal choice for a quick bite on the go. You should pick one up on the way to the airport; you’ll be glad you did.

Beer produced by Roadmap Brewing Co.

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Already, just a few years after opening in 2018, Roadmap Brewing has won a number of prestigious awards for its brews, including a bronze medal at the 2021 U.S. Beer Open for its English Pub Ale. The Freudian Slip N’ Slide Vienna Lager and the Electric Skateboard Session IPA are also must-trys.

Plan Your Trip to Jazz, Texas, San Antonio Style

Check out tickets at jazztx.com. Prices may vary.

Tucked away in the Pearl Brewery’s basement is Jazz TX, a live music venue that features jazz, blues, and Texas Swing every night of the week. Enjoy the show from up close with a few rounds of whiskey or bourbon cocktails in hand.

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Cost of an Adult Ticket to the McNay Art Museum is $20 and can be purchased at mcnayart.org/visit.

The McNay Art Museum houses a collection of over 22,000 works, and can be reached by taxi or Uber. The museum is split between two buildings: the original, a Spanish colonial revival-style home owned by heiress and art collector Marion Koogler McNay, and a newer, more contemporary steel and glass pavilion built in 2008. The range of the collection is remarkable, including works from the Renaissance, Impressionism, Picasso, Calder, and even Southwestern art. The old house’s beautiful courtyard is a popular place to relax in San Antonio, and it has even played host to a few weddings and other special events.

Invasion of the Alamo: Reservations are required and tickets are free. www.thealamo.org/visit

Experience the Alamo’s 300 years of history in layers by listening to the self-guided audio tour and learning about its time as a Spanish mission, a garrison, and a symbol of the Texas Republic. The Alamo was founded in 1718 as Mission San Antonio de Valero by Spanish missionaries who sought to convert Native Americans to Catholicism while also providing them with a place to live and place of employment. (Along with the Alamo, you can also visit four other Spanish colonial missions.)

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Thirty adobe structures made up the Alamo complex at one point. Only the main chapel and the barracks remain from the original complex; the rest were torn down or lost as San Antonio expanded. Hundreds of people, including Davy Crockett, were killed in the 1836 siege and subsequent battle at the Alamo, but it ultimately led to Mexico’s defeat and the establishment of the Texas Republic.

This fall will see the opening of the first phase of a larger Alamo preservation project: a $15 million exhibition hall and collections building to display musician Phil Collins’ collection of Alamo artifacts (who knew?). There will be room for another ten thousand square feet of displays in the brand-new wing of the complex. To be continued… The Top 8 Barbecue Spots in Texas, According to a Real Texan

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