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Checking Out San Antonio, TX  
User currently offlineGOCAPS16 From Japan, joined Jan 2000, 4334 posts, RR: 21
Posted (6 years 11 months 1 week 13 hours ago) and read 1073 times:

I have been selected to go to San Antonio, TX for a special 10 day class for my job pertaining to naval aviation maintenance at Lackland AFB. Since the Navy is providing me with a rental car, I plan on checking out the sights and sounds of San Antonio and the surrounding areas such as Houston, Austin, and perhaps a trip to Dallas, if time available.
I am also a private pilot and plan on doing some cross country flying to selected airports from San Antonio Intl Airport. Any suggestions on where to fly for a quick bite to eat? I will be there in mid June flying from Tokyo and then heading back to Japan during the last week of June. Thanks.

13 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineHPLASOps From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 1, posted (6 years 11 months 1 week 3 hours ago) and read 1056 times:

I think you're gonna love it in SAT, a beautiful city all around. If you're a golfer, I can give you a list of places to play around that city that are very good values. IIRC, Lackland AFB is on the southwest part of town, not too far from downtown.

As far as restaurants go, you're not gonna to find many bad restaurants. Good thing about Texas is them folks sure know how to cook, as my large stomach can now attest to that.

Honestly, don't waste your time going to Houston or Dallas. There are very large cities that have the standard amenities but don't really stand out that much. Austin is very cool city to visit and they have a nice downtown party scene. In between SAT and AUS is a town called New Braunfels that I love going to. Founded by German immigrants back in the early 1800s, it brings a lot of German culture to Texas. There's a restaurant on the south side of New Braunfels called Oma's Haus which cooks some really good German food. And of course, Schlitterbahn, the best waterpark in the United States.


User currently offlineGOCAPS16 From Japan, joined Jan 2000, 4334 posts, RR: 21
Reply 2, posted (6 years 11 months 6 days 13 hours ago) and read 1034 times:

Quoting HPLASOps (Reply 1):
I think you're gonna love it in SAT, a beautiful city all around.

So I hear. Go Spurs!

Quoting HPLASOps (Reply 1):
If you're a golfer, I can give you a list of places to play around that city that are very good values

Thanks. I don't plan on golfing there, not for 10 days. Just mainly gettin' my butt flying either out of Stinson Airport or San Antonio Intl Airport.

Quoting HPLASOps (Reply 1):
As far as restaurants go, you're not gonna to find many bad restaurants.

Sorry, I meant a good place to fly and dine. Some airports I know of, (St. Augustine, Flagler, FL) have fine places to eat for general aviation pilots. That's what I meant.

Quoting HPLASOps (Reply 1):
Honestly, don't waste your time going to Houston or Dallas

Well, I have a good buddy who works for the FAA that lives in Houston who I want to visit. Also, my mother lives in Dallas.

Quoting HPLASOps (Reply 1):
New Braunfels that I love going to. Founded by German immigrants back in the early 1800s, it brings a lot of German culture to Texas. There's a restaurant on the south side of New Braunfels called Oma's Haus which cooks some really good German food.

Thanks! Always plus for me since my family's German. And love the food, too.

[Edited 2007-05-17 10:12:59]

User currently offlineBezoar From United States of America, joined Nov 2001, 807 posts, RR: 9
Reply 3, posted (6 years 11 months 6 days 9 hours ago) and read 1020 times:

The River Walk downtown is a great place for food & live entertainment, especially in the evening. The River Walk Mall and an Imax are down there.

If you like historical things, the Alamo is downtown, and there are also other old missions in the area.

If you like Mexican food, there are fine restaurants all over from the old standards to the newer chains. Lots of them have places to eat outside. Don't forget barbeque, though.

The Hill Country north and northwest of SA is beautiful - from the 'larger' towns of New Braunfels, Fredricksburg, Kerrville and Uvalde. Don't take the interstate - enjoy the back roads. There's the tiny ones of Boerne, Luckenbach, and Wimberley. Corpus Christi is about 140 miles ot the south.

If you're a water person, there's the hill country rivers such as the Medina, Guadalupe, Rio Frio and others, many lined in cypress and crystal clear (or at least they were). There's Perdanales Falls State Park near Johnson City, Aquarena Springs in San Marcos, and Barton Springs in Austin. Many of these areas are great for fossil hunting.

For longer trips you could consider the canyons at Big Bend NP (also Alpine, Marfa), the Mexican border towns, and the coast. Between Fort Worth and Dallas, I would pick Fort Worth. (For beer in FW check out the Flying Saucer downtown.)

For anyone who has not been to Texas, the geography and flora/fauna there are rather diverse (http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/kids/about_texas/regions/). Watch for rattlesnake (and other venomous snakes, fire ants, scorpions, black widows, mosquitos, prickly pear, hail and lightning. And you might take some insect repellent....



"There are none so blind as those who will not see."
User currently offlineHomer71 From United States of America, joined Jul 2001, 2239 posts, RR: 15
Reply 4, posted (6 years 11 months 6 days 8 hours ago) and read 1015 times:

Quoting Bezoar (Reply 3):
If you're a water person, there's the hill country rivers such as the Medina, Guadalupe, Rio Frio and others,

And there's Canyon Lake, northeast of San Antonio, although I haven't been there in a while...



"On spaceship earth there are no passengers...only crew."
User currently offlineCaptOveur From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 5, posted (6 years 11 months 6 days 8 hours ago) and read 1011 times:

I live here and seriously wonder why the hell people visit.

The restaraunts downtown are all WAY overpriced and honestly aren't that good.

It really isn't that beautiful unless you think a worn out drainage ditch, dried out lawns, and trees that more resemble shrubs are attractive. And don't mind the urine smell downtown, SAPD keeps the homeless guys and day laborers a good 2 blocks from the tourist traps during the day. With summer coming you can still smell them though when the wind is right.

Mexican food and BBQ is about all you can get that isn't an absolute insult to what it claims to be. BBQ places are pretty hit or miss ever since Rudy's went to hell. the Mexican places are well, Mexican. Which means its ok once in a while but it gets old fast.

Traffic sucks. Don't get on the highways between 7am and 9am and 4pm and 7pm, you won't be going anywhere. Also, downtown is pretty much gridlock during those times. Also I don't think the I-10 construction zone has yet had a fatal accident, so its due. (if you saw it you would get it)

For food go to Austin, that city actually has some culture. I am not sure you understand just how far away Houston and Dallas are. Those are also great cities, they are just really far from San Antonio.


User currently offlineGOCAPS16 From Japan, joined Jan 2000, 4334 posts, RR: 21
Reply 6, posted (6 years 11 months 6 days 8 hours ago) and read 1010 times:

Quoting Bezoar (Reply 3):
Between Fort Worth and Dallas, I would pick Fort Worth. (For beer in FW check out the Flying Saucer downtown.)

Thanks Mr. D. Another reason to visit Ft. Worth is to visit your son there. Tell Jon I said hi.

Quoting CaptOveur (Reply 5):
I live here and seriously wonder why the hell people visit.

Well, this is business for me but still it's a vacation.

Regards,

Kevin

[Edited 2007-05-17 15:17:03]

User currently offlineCMB320 From United States of America, joined Oct 2000, 408 posts, RR: 6
Reply 7, posted (6 years 11 months 6 days 4 hours ago) and read 986 times:

Quoting CaptOveur (Reply 5):
The restaraunts downtown are all WAY overpriced and honestly aren't that good.

It really isn't that beautiful unless you think a worn out drainage ditch, dried out lawns, and trees that more resemble shrubs are attractive. And don't mind the urine smell downtown, SAPD keeps the homeless guys and day laborers a good 2 blocks from the tourist traps during the day. With summer coming you can still smell them though when the wind is right.

Mexican food and BBQ is about all you can get that isn't an absolute insult to what it claims to be. BBQ places are pretty hit or miss ever since Rudy's went to hell. the Mexican places are well, Mexican. Which means its ok once in a while but it gets old fast.

All SO true. I couldn't stand San Antonio anymore, so I moved away and have never looked back. Had to drive through once in the last 3 years and compared to where I've been, San Antonio looked like a run-down, antiquated, shit-hole.


User currently offlineBezoar From United States of America, joined Nov 2001, 807 posts, RR: 9
Reply 8, posted (6 years 11 months 6 days 4 hours ago) and read 980 times:

Quoting GOCAPS16 (Reply 6):
Tell Jon I said hi.

I will. He's having a great time in FW. Give him a call. He's borrowing a 172 for a while, so you could probably convince him to visit. His grandfather still lives in SA.

I lived in SA from '74 to '78 going to college and medical school. I have fond memories of the place, at least the spring and fall months. I'm happy not living there, though, preferring the small towns with less congestion and gangs and such. Sure, there are some crappy areas and lots of destitute folks, but I'd like to know what large city isn't beseiged by that.

The restaurants that I enjoyed while I was there include the following, though tastes may differ....
Mi Tierra's which is open 24-7. It's downtown, though not on the riverwalk.
Pappasito's (northwest on I-10 outside the loop)
La Fogata (north of downtown, just inside the loop)
Blanco Cafe (north of downtown, inside the loop)



"There are none so blind as those who will not see."
User currently offlineCaptOveur From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 9, posted (6 years 11 months 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 959 times:

Quoting Bezoar (Reply 8):
Mi Tierra's which is open 24-7. It's downtown, though not on the riverwalk.

WAAAAY overpriced and pretty lousy.. If you can't leave downtown walk an extra 2 blocks to Pico DeGallo (next to UTSA downtown campus at the corner of Buena Vista and Pecos La Trinidad). It isn't 24/7 but the food is way better (and its even owned by the same family). It still isn't the best Mexican food in town, but it is less dissapointing. Note: If you have been drinking don't turn the wrong way on Buena Vista after about 11:15 or you WILL get pulled over and get a DWI from a bored University Cop. Just a heads up.

The biggest thing that compromises the quality of mexican food is when it starts being made in industrial quantities.. which is exactly what MiTierra does.

Quoting Bezoar (Reply 8):
Pappasito's (northwest on I-10 outside the loop)

WAAY overpriced too.

Mexican food should cost about $5 for more than any normal human can eat... It isn't the absolute best (thats like asking an AA MD-80 pilot exactly which MD-80 is his favorite) but I highly reccomend Cha-Chos.. Its at I-10W and Callaghan, just outside loop 410. The food is pretty good, the prices are excellent, the margaritas are good, and reasonably priced. It is truly where the locals go to get drunk and eat a pile of Mexican food, and it is also 24hour. Most good mexican places shut down at around 2pm and are rarely open on Sundays.

If you are at Lackland the location at Bandera and Huebner might be closer.

One Exception.. If you get to Helotes, El Chapparal (Loop 1604 at Bandera, drive about 5 lights outside the loop on the left) is pretty damned amazing.. Probably the best refried beans in the world without making your own. It will cost around $10/person to eat dinner there, so it is still reasonable. Its a good lunch spot too, and closer to Lackland than a lot of people think (highway 90, to 151, to 1604 north, about 4 exits)... probably 15 minutes away in light traffic.

For good BBQ you are going to have to drive about 90 minutes out of town http://www.saltlickbbq.com/ The BBQ is so good there you will start playing with yourself at the table. Also, driving the back way to The Salt Lick you will get a pretty good view of the hill country.

Locally, I have heard Gradys is good but I haven't felt inclined to try it myself.

Avoid Rudy's at all costs, no matter what people tell you.. It is NOT what it used to be. The last 3 times I went it was incredibly dissapointing, the brisket was like rubber.


User currently offlineMDorBust From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 10, posted (6 years 11 months 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 957 times:

Quoting HPLASOps (Reply 1):
There's a restaurant on the south side of New Braunfels called Oma's Haus which cooks some really good German food.

An absolute must stop for anyone passing throught town. So is the Smoke House.

If you have time, take a trip up 281 northside of San Antonio. Beuatiful country, great drive.


User currently offlineBezoar From United States of America, joined Nov 2001, 807 posts, RR: 9
Reply 11, posted (6 years 11 months 5 days 19 hours ago) and read 951 times:

In the early '80's I ate at a place I believe was called the Texas Inn. It was in the hills several miles north of San Antonio, and they served up great barbeque family-style. They had an old limestone building, there, but we ate outside. I'm not even sure what road it was on - Hwy 16 or 281. Anyone recall this place?

Quoting CaptOveur (Reply 9):
WAAAAY overpriced and pretty lousy.

My review is admittedly a bit dated! I'm sorry to hear Mi Tierra lost their touch along the way.



"There are none so blind as those who will not see."
User currently offlineBoeing4ever From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 12, posted (6 years 11 months 5 days 17 hours ago) and read 944 times:

Sadly I didn't have time to visit San Antonio when I was working in Texas last summer. I've always wanted to see the Alamo.

But, I can say with certainty, if you go to the Dallas/Ft. Worth area...stick to Ft. Worth. The only thing in Dallas of "touristy" value is the school book deposatory. I've driven by there...seems very disappointing and unassuming for such a historical spot.

 airplane B4e-Forever New Frontiers airplane 


User currently offlineLonghornmaniac From United States of America, joined Jun 2005, 3243 posts, RR: 45
Reply 13, posted (6 years 11 months 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 938 times:

Hey, if you're coming up to Austin, drop me a line, and perhaps we could meet up!

As far as stuff to do, I'm sure you don't want to get into the too touristy things, but definitely go to Schlitterbahn in New Braunfels. It has been voted the #1 waterpark in America by the Travel Channel like 5 years running. It is a BLAST, especially on a hot Texas summer day. But because of this, it seems like the whole world shows up. It's crowded, day in and day out during the summer, so if you do go, get there before the park opens, so you can SPRINT (I mean it!) to the top of the water coasters. You'll pay the price if you wait. I've waited in line for 2.5 hours for the Master Blaster (the best ride ever)

I can vouch for the Salt Lick as well, it might be a place to go on the way back to San Antonio if you visit Austin, as it's significantly closer to Austin.

Have fun, San Antonio is a fun place, but the Hill Country is nice too. It's very pleasant. Make sure to jog up I-35 to Austin, too!

Cheers,
Cameron


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