Experiencing San Antonio, Texas, Like a Local: Where to Stay, What to Eat, Where to Go

Traveling to a new city and seeing all the main sights and doing touristy things is fun. They don’t call it “main sights” for no reason. However, if you want to dig deeper and get an authentic feel for San Antonio, you should go where the locals are to allow yourself a different perspective on Texas’ second biggest city with its Latin-American charm and rich Mexican history. Here’s how you can experience the real San Antonio.

Image via  Flickr

Image via Flickr

Find Yourself Private Accommodation

The easiest way to see how the locals live is to stay at a private bed and breakfast. If you want to get a feel for the real local life, another option is to surf someone’s couch as you don’t just live like a local but you stay with one. Alternatively, stay in cheap hotels in San Antonio.

Energize for an Active Day 

Pancakes are what many people associate with an American breakfast — in San Antonio; it’s also what the locals eat. Head to Magnolia Pancake House and indulge in the “best pancakes.” You can find Tito’s in Southtown. Go there for a hearty Tex-Mex breakfast on a budget. For a diverse, organic breakfast, try Twin Sisters Bakery & Café. Another local favorite is the Guenther House. Savory or sweet? Get it here. Afterwards, you can buy delicacies at its shop.

Texan Food Is Not for Vegetarians

If you are a vegetarian, a true cultural food experience will hardly be possible, for especially in San Antonio with its strong Mexican influence, meat is the order of the day. Fajitas, burritos, BBQ grill, chili — it’s not for the faint-hearted, and beef or pork come in many varieties. Maybe if you ask nicely, you get the fajita without the grilled sliced beef? However, you’ll miss the real taste. Yet, there’s always chips and salsa. Find more restaurants here.

Learn about the History and Shop at Flea Markets

Knowing about the rich religious and cultural history of San Antonio gives you a better feel for the city and its inhabitants. Alamo City is the perfect hunting spot for unique little treasures and a place many residents go. Check out Ironside Market, Bussey’s Flea Market or Traders Village for gems. Last but not least, explore the King William Historic District and head to the Alamo. Also, grab a B-Cycle for people who are active. There's more you can do to grasp the local spirit.

Live It up Like a True Local

If you’re in San Antonio, you have to experience the buzzing nightlife. The Bonham Exchange is a top address. It is a very popular gay bar, but you won’t just find gay people. Great vibes characterize this place. If you want to get an insight into South-Texan tradition, you need to dance the two-step. You can do so at Leon Springs Dance Hall or John T. Floore Country Store, for instance. If you travel during the Christmas season and are into theatre, you’ll find discounts here or, alternatively, look here.

To understand San Antonio, its residents and the city’s history, there’s just one thing you can do: embrace it; this means you should go to the places the locals like and do the things not everyone passing through this city would ideally do. It starts with traditional food and ends with the two-step dance at night. 

This piece was written in collaboration with Hipmunk in the course of the Hipmunk City Love Project.