In response to this whitewashed article by NatGeo: https://tinyurl.com/y97pjmru I offer you my own top 10 ways to explore this 65% Latino city like a local or I should say as a Southsider who works on the Westside.
#1 Dining at Don Pedros: This wrought-iron clad window and brick building invites you to have seat at the bar, a booth or table and start with a cool, refreshing margarita. I prefer the chamoy straw margarita with chamoy swirl. If you must eat, I highly recommend the chile relleno. My daughter prefers the carne asada steak, not the taco, but the large slab of steak. Chips and salsa til you die and don’t forget the flan dessert.
#2 Luby’s: If you rather look at a variety of food before deciding what to eat, go to Luby’s. There are several locations throughout the city. Seating is big and comfy to accommodate our wider hips. The Luanne platter is always a great deal. It’s deciding over having two carbs that’s the problem. Sometimes I’ll sneak in the jalapeño in between the greenbeans.
#3 Outdoor Relaxation: Head over to an Ice House. Yes, you can enjoy the great summer heat and feisty flies while sipping on a cold one. Head over to hear some great live Conjunto music at Bosmans, or drive by some historical and hipster murals on your way to Franky Diablos and Luchador. The 210 Sports Cantina had a shoot-out when it first opened or you could always stay in your car and get your drink on at the Beer n All.
#4 Siete Mares for Seafood: Thus far it’s my favorite Mexican seafood spot located across from Our Lady of the Lake University. Dishes don’t skimp on the shellfish and the waitstaff is always friendly. Prices are just right so order that appetizer (free if you check in on Yelp) and get that Corona. It’ll hit the spot.
#5 Historic places: Everyone knows about the Missions, but right next to them is the San Jose cemetery. If your family isn’t buried here, it’s still a serene stroll over soft rolling hills filled with lovely dedications and marble headstones going back to the 1800s. The quietness amidst the concrete angels, crosses, photographs framed in oval spheres and turtle/duck-filled pond is a beautiful way to appreciate life and honor our ancestors. San Fernando Cemeteries I and II have some local celebrities.
#6 BBQ: If it’s not my dad’s BBQ or a backyard party and I have to buy it, then I go to B&B BBQ. The cream corn! The ribs! The cream corn! They are expanding. Once finished you can reserve your party and invite the gang if you got it like that. The bill can add up but it is well worth it. If you’re on a budget, then Bill Miller’s will still make you happy. The potato salad! The pecan pie!
#7 Cruise down Military: They don’t do this anymore unless the Spurs are in the finals but if you’re ever lucky enough to witness the chaos, please do. This strip gets far crazier and more crowded than downtown Market/Commerce Streets. Back in the day, teens with cars would drive up and down the street and park at local businesses to people watch and hate on each other. The cops put an end to those wild Friday nights. If Military Dr. isn’t happening then head further east to Mission Rd past San Jose cemetery to the Ghost Tracks. Put your dusty car in neutral and feel the kids push you over the railroad tracks. Just don’t listen to the naysayers and enjoy the freaky experience.
#8 Murals: Be brave! Venture past Southtown and head to the hood for amazing street art. Some old, some new with the faces of our Latino people, our elders, military veterans, eagles and the venerated Virgen de Guadalupe. But for a guided tour, check out San Anto Cultural Arts and the Esperanza Peace and Justice Center. There are murals all around the historic Westside community at Guadalupe and Brazos Streets.
#9 Cultural Centers: To experience the true local San Anto flavor check out calendar of events at these venues: Centro Cultural Aztlan, Esperanza Peace & Justice Center, Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center, San Anto Cultural Arts, Say Sí, Carver Cultural Center, Centro de Artes, and look out for smaller galleries such as Lady Base, Galeria E.V.A., Presa House and so many more.
#10 Despite the fact that NatGeo can’t count and only listed 9 things to do, here’s my #10: Music Venues! You can’t say San Antonio without thinking about mariachis and you can find those on the Riverwalk or head over to Taqueria Mexico for Sunday brunch. Explore other South Texas vibes at Luna Jazz Club, the Squeezebox, Hi-Tones, Pan American Dance Hall, Cowboy Dance Hall, a few VFWs, Far West, Paper Tiger, the Mix and plenty of other bars and restaurants down St. Mary’s Strip. Last but not least, La Pulga! Local flea markets have live bands plus boots, herbal remedies, make-up, spandex, and car parts. Check your local listings.