The blog for inspired travel with children

Friday, June 29, 2012

San Antonio, Texas

The bus at Kiddie Park - a favorite!

San Antonio keeps a low profile, but there is a surprising amount for families to do in this faded but beautiful city.  It’s an easy day trip from Austin and we go there pretty often. It’s the 6th largest city in the nation (as of 2010), but it often feels semi-deserted (outside of the downtown core anyway).  The lack of gentrification means that San Antonio still has oodles of charm. Aside from our chosen destinations, I just like driving around this city – we always come across charmingly funky old buildings dating from the 19th and early 20th centuries.  I especially love the 1920s Spanish-style architecture, which you see all over the city.

What follows is just our most recent itinerary – in future posts I’ll tell you about the Missions (not forgetting the Alamo!), downtown, a crazy restaurant called Mi Tierra, the zoo, and lots more.

First Stop: Kiddie Park!  This sweet little amusement park has been in operation since 1925 (local parents have told me that it was pretty run-down when they were kids – it’s lovely now).  It is refreshingly free of branded characters and in-your-face marketing.  Instead it offers 9 little rides, including an antique merry-go-round, a ferris wheel, mini airplanes, boats, and more.  It is, in a word, cute. It is also a pretty good deal at $13 for unlimited rides (there’s no admission fee).  There is a snack bar (candy, goldfish, pizza, etc.), but you’re welcome to bring your own food and sit at one of the many picnic tables.

After getting his fill of the rides (plus a few games of pinball), we still weren’t hungry for lunch yet, so we paid a visit to Alamo Fiesta.  This rambling store is basically a party store but also has clothing and decorative items.  The many rooms are stuffed to the gills with piñatas, paper flowers, garlands, hats, and more.  Oscar picked out a mini piñata for a souvenir and I picked up some big packages of crepe paper, which they carry in lots of colors (I’ll definitely be buying some more next visit, which I feel will be soon!)

For lunch we dined at La Gloria, in the recently renovated Pearl Brewery complex (now known simply as Pearl).  This bustling place is super kid-friendly (there’s a lawn for them to play on post-meal), but also nice for adults; I’d go there to meet a friend for a margarita anytime. 

My Tacos al Pastor

La Gloria Ice House

While at Pearl we checked out The Twig Book Shop, a small bookstore with a large children’s section (They do a story-time on Fridays).  Next door is Melissa Guerra Tienda de Cocina, which stocks kitchen equipment and tableware with an emphasis on Mexican cooking.  Across the street we found a new children’s clothing shop called Roo & Me – small selection, but worth peeking into if you have a minute…

Melissa Guerra  Tienda de Cocina

Finally it was time to head home - but not before a quick stop at Bird Bakery on the way out of town. This bakery is really all about cupcakes - and they are delicious! Not too large, and slathered in delicately tinted buttercream frosting. Yum!

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