Much more than the Alamo...

I was headed to San Antonio, Texas, for the week for my full-time job and couldn’t wait to discover the town’s treasures. But because of the hustle and bustle of getting ready for my work meeting, putting up our family’s Christmas decorations, and taking care of kids with pink eye, I was not able to do my research on San Antonio. 

From the moment I got into the Uber with the elderly British driver, I could tell I was going to enjoy my time in San Antonio. The quick-witted fellow kindly offered to give me a “driving tour” on the way to my hotel. We passed by a parking lot filled with Airstream campers, an unusual sight that spontaneously caused me to ask the Brit to stop. I persuaded him to hang out with my luggage while I checked out the scene.

I came across what would become one of my favorite San Antonio discoveries, La Casa Frida. Ruby and Gabby converted a 27-foot Airstream into a colorful and eclectic mobile shopping boutique. I instantly gravitated to their shop because they obviously share my love of Frida Kahlo, and everything about this wondrous boutique-on-wheels is so bright and colorful. I bought the most beautiful hand painted tin mug from them. I cannot wait to sip Oaxacan hot chocolate from this mug. Check out these lovely ladies and shop online or at their pop-up Airstream.

Ruby and Gabby converted a vintage 27-foot Airstream into a mobile boutique. Photo courtesy of La Casa Frida Facebook page.

The warm weather in San Antonio did not last long, in fact, by midweek the weather was downright cold and rainy 40°F, almost like Chicago. So it made exploring a bit more difficult because I did not come prepared with my Chicago wardrobe. I did not spend any free time along the River Walk, which I know is a favorite for many that visit San Antonio. And I am equally embarrassed to admit that I never saw the Alamo.

One cold and rainy night, I did discover a little restaurant called Ocho, attached to Hotel Havana, which is situated in the Museum Reach District, just north of downtown San Antonio. This area is away from all the touristy parts of the River Walk and has only recently been developed in the past eight years. Ocho is a beautiful glass conservatory restaurant overlooking the River Walk, and the hotel itself is a restored residence dating back to 1914. Read more about the restoration of this building here When I stepped into the hotel, it truly made me feel like I was in someone’s house, the entrance had tiles that spelled The HAVANA, and the dark wood floors and rustic lobby gave me the sensation of stepping back into Old Havana.

Ocho restaurant is attached to Hotel Havana in the Museum Reach District. Photo courtesy of M18 Public Relations.

The final stop on my trip was to the historic Pearl area, which was located just north of downtown, a quick $6–8 Uber ride. The Pearl “campus” is a mix of shops, dining, The Culinary Institute of America and the AMAZING Hotel Emma.

Hotel Emma is a boutique hotel with 146 sleeping rooms, four dining establishments, a library with a stunning staircase, and a private collection of books to read while you stay at the hotel. The hotel was  once a 19th-century Brewhous, and the Sternewirth tavern actually repurposed the brew tanks to be little private spaces for hanging out.

This hotel had such a mix of textiles, leather accents, exposed brick, and a cozy fireplace where I could have easily spent all weekend.  But all too soon, it was time to make the trek back to Chicago.

P.S. - Does anyone know the name of this kind of chair style?

 Every inch of the Sternewirth tavern had textiles.  This was my favorite because I love the chair style.  Photo taken by me (can't you tell)!


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