The Cyclones will face off with the Washington State Cougars in the 2018 Alamo Bowl Game in San Antonio, Texas. San Antonio is known for a wide array of sights and sounds for game attendees to do during their trip to the Alamo City. In addition, the trip to Texas from Iowa is littered with things to see to break up the long trek through Kansas and Oklahoma. Here is a Cyclone’s guide to San Antonio for the 2018 Alamo Bowl.
Christmas time is the best time to see the San Antonio Riverwalk, lit up with Christmas lights and decorations. Add in 20,000 Iowa State fans, and there will be lots of entertaining times to be had if no other events are occurring. The Riverwalk has been expanded in recent years, so make sure to explore beyond the highly populated spots. There are many fantastic shops, restaurants and bars to explore while traversing the riverwalk.
San Antonio Missions
These old relics of the Spanish Southwest date back to the 17th Century. Although quiet, this type of history cannot be found in the midwest.
Mexican Food – not at the riverwalk
San Antonio has some of the best Mexican food in America. Take a trip slightly outside of Downtown and find a local taqueria or spanish bakery. These real Mexican ingredients and recipes date back centuries and are light years better than anything you’ll find in Iowa. Use apps like Yelp or Zomato to help find some of the local hot spots. You will not be disappointed.
Pearl Brewery District
This newly revitalized district of San Antonio is along a section of Riverwalk not often seen by tourists to the Alamo City. The renovated Brewery, along with adjacent shops and restaurants are an incredible example of urban development and a slight step away from the bustle of the riverwalk.
Yes, go see the Alamo. Go take your selfie with it and make a joke about the basement. Then turn around and go back to the Riverwalk and find something more interesting to see. Its a great historical site, but I’m always left underwhelmed.
Tourist Traps along the Riverwalk
Ripley’s “Believe it or not” can wait until your next generic vacation when there isn’t a bowl game or more cool things to see.
Whales and dolphins aren’t natural species in San Antonio. Don’t waste your time.
Along the Way (or slightly sidetracked)
Whataburger – (everywhere south of Edmond, Oklahoma on I-35)
Get the Patty Melt. You’ll thank me later.
Gruene Hall – New Braunfels, Texas
“Gruene Hall, built in 1878, is Texas’ oldest continually operating and most famous dance hall. By design, not much has physically changed since the Hall was first built. The 6,000 square foot dance hall with a high pitched tin roof still has the original layout with side flaps for open air dancing, a bar in the front, a small lighted stage in the back and a huge outdoor garden. Advertisement signs from the 1930s and 40s still hang in the old hall and around the stage.” – www.gruenehall.com
Luckenbach, Texas is another famous country music destination, located in hill country north of San Antonio near the Lyndon B Johnson ranch. This area of Texas, northwest of San Antonio is a beautiful drive in the countryside of Texas Hill Country.
After wetting your whistle in Luckenback, and dragging your wife a thousand miles from home for a football game, take her to Fredericksburg, Texas. This charming small town in Texas Hill Country is home to countless antique and gift shops, along with wineries, great food, and festivals. Don’t worry guys, the beer gardens here are great too.
Magnolia Market – Waco, Texas
These silos in Waco were made famous as Chip and Joanna took HGTV by storm with their hit show, “Fixer Upper.” This market serves as their home base and sees hundreds of thousands of tourists each year.
Spoetzel Brewery – Shiner, Texas
Known worldwide as the home of Shiner Beer, this brewery is the most famous in Texas, and is a quick drive east of San Antonio in Shiner, Texas.
Turner Falls – Davis, Oklahoma
Once you get past Oklahoma City, your eyes will be bleeding after driving from Central Iowa all the way to Southern Oklahoma. Luckily, Southern Oklahoma is home to the Arbuckle Mountains, fried pies, and this beautiful water fall which will break up your trip nicely before you hit bumper-to-bumper traffic in Fort Worth.