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Summer is high season in San Antonio and temperatures can soar above 90 degrees some days, making it a humid challenge for sightseeing. Book your visit between November to April, to avoid line ups at the major attractions and still catch some of the most special occasions, one being the Remember the Alamo weekend in March, and the other Fiesta San Antonio! in April, when the flower parades decorate the river and the streets.
Travelers flying into the San Antonio International Airport can grab a free shuttle to their hotel should they choose to stay near the airport. While budget hotels close to the airport typically receive poor reviews, a few are actually worth a stay, like the Red Roof Inn San Antonio and Studio Six San Antonio Airport*.
When heading for the core, an airport shuttle called Go Shuttle charges $14 a person, but this price is higher than a cab, which can cost only $11 if there are 2 or more people. A popular cab company is Yellow Cab.
Buses aren't that useful outside or inside downtown, even though some routes run every 15 minutes on busy roads. Other routes run every half so timing a tour of the sites can be annoying. Your could use the streetcar system that costs $1.10 per ride and goes from the Alamo Plaza and other sections of downtown. The fairest deal is the #7 Special Sightseer Bus, it costs 80 cents or $3 for a day pass and runs every hour, stopping at the major sites in downtown like Tower of Americas or the Governor's Palace.
Barring these other options, renting a car could cause fewer headaches. The key here is to avoid the 10% airport tax by not renting one at the airport. Take a cab or shuttle to downtown and rent one there. Some downtown rental car companies are: Advantage (450 3rd St.), Avis (506 Bonham), and Enterprise (920 Broadway).
Founded in the 1700s, San Antonio has an array of historic buildings that still exist today. There's no shortage of historic hotels with background stories that could fill a novel. The reportedly haunted Emily Morgan Hotel, built-in an atmospheric Neo-Gothic style is a must. The charming Hotel Havana, paying homage to San Antonio's Spanish roots takes a traveler to another period.
You'll also find a number of hotels and B&B's friendly to alternative lifestyles.
San Antonio has a hidden nest of luxury hotels, and at some reasonable prices too. A smart strategy is to book in advance or catch special offers during off-season. Instead of going in sweltering July, sneak in a May visit.
Another way to score a cheap luxury hotel is by being a hotel chain member or a member of an association such as AAA. Fact is, the friendly Texas hotels want to make your stay terrific, so book at Hotel Contessa, a chic European and Spanish designed hotel with amazing views in their rooms--floor to ceiling windows. Hotel Valencia Riverwalk exudes elegance without a large price tag by listing a variety of rooms that have leather furnishings, balconies, and private mini-bars.
Since there are a high number of attractions in the downtown, Midtown and the Alamo Heights areas, low-cost hotels are somewhat scattered around. Downtown usually commands higher prices, but booking the Red Roof Inn-Downtown or the Super 8 San Antonio/Downtown Riverwalk suits a frugal budget while still keeping you in the center.
If you don't mind being a little further, the Best Western Plus San Antonio East Inn & Suites is off Highway 10 and has clean, basic rooms with a kitchenette, and a free continental breakfast in the mornings.
Since many hotels fill up when crucial NCAA games come to town, sometimes all you can find is motels, B&B's, and the rare hostel.
The San Antonio International Hostel* might fit the bill when in a crunch. This one-storey ranch-style building with dormitory beds has a fully equipped kitchen, reading area, cable TV, coin-operated lockers, outdoor picnic tables, and access to a swimming pool, only open from March 1 to November 1 every year.
More a motel than a hostel, the Choice Inn Motel is conveniently located by the Alamodome, where the University of Texas San Antonio Roadrunners play football. Each room is basic, but has a 32-inch flat-screen TV with cable channels and a refrigerator.
Since San Antonio is such a popular tourist city there’s no shortage of Airbnb options. Single rooms in a home or townhouse equal many low-cost motels, with prices less than $80 a night. Renting entire homes parallels budget-minded hotels, which is fair deal for a set of rooms to yourself. With over 186 listings, it's a viable option.
Selecting attractions in San Antonio really depends on what kind of traveler you are.
History buffs should not skip historic neighborhoods La Villita and the King William District. Then take an afternoon tour of the Spanish missions along the San Antonio River. And, of course, history is not complete without standing on the spot where Texas fought bravely for her freedom from Mexico in 1836.
If nature calls, don’t head for the restroom, walk and explore the Texas Hill Country instead or take advantage of the green spaces teeming with native trees, flowers, and rare birds. HemisFair Park, Friedrich Wilderness Park, and the San Antonio Botanical Garden are gems worthy of seeing.
Family vacations call for fun times, so kids really go for animals, rides, and thrills. You’ll find all those at SeaWorld San Antonio, the Natural Bridge Caverns, or theme park Six Flags Fiesta Texas.
Sometimes travel is all about the beautiful environment, which makes the Witte Museum and the McNay Art Museum suitable for art connoisseurs. Then take a leisurely stroll down the River Walk, which has turned into the cultural hub of San Antonio.
To find out more about San Antonio, the Visit San Antonio website offers activities, maps, great dining suggestions, and unique tours that you can join. The San Antonio LGBT Chamber of Commerce has a directory listing business that support alternative lifestyles, including theatres and bars. To map out a transit schedule, download the Go VIA VIA app and the Next Bus app, both really handy if you’re on the move a lot!
With a superb mix of neat history, warm culture, and a diverse range of things to do, along with well-priced hotels and cheap transportation, San Antonio truly has something for everyone. Hipmunk provides you with simple, no-fuss tools to create an epic adventure to the second oldest city in America.
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© 2016 Hipmunk, Inc. Hipmunk is a trademark of Hipmunk, Inc.