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North America » United States » Texas
April 4th 2019
Published: April 7th 2019
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For years I had heard about how great San Antonio was in Texas. I had previously been to Austin for my cousin bachelor's party and had loved it, but I never went to San Antonio. I was intrigued to San Antonio and Dallas. I decided to take the trip on my own. It was my first trip by myself and the day of I was extremely nervous.

I took Uber to the airport and there was a decent amount of traffic. As a side note, Uber./Lyft is the way to go in San Antonio with it being cheaper and sites closer than in Dallas. I was told that Dallas was a very spread out city, but didn't realize it until I got there. The check in at the airport was easy and I flew through security. I ate at the Brooklyn Beer Garden at the JFK terminal. It was such a ripoff as it cost $35.00 for a beer and chicken sandwich that came with a small side salad. The food was decent, however the service was terrible as I asked multiple servers for a water and didn't get one, as well as the food taking awhile to come out. I had a middle aisle seat and figured to try and ask the woman at the counter if I could switch seats. I waited patiently for her as she had to do a couple things with the arriving plane that came in, however she thanked me so much for my patience. She allowed me to switch to the Emergency exit aisle seat which I was so appreciative. The service at Delta has mostly been good in most of my travels.

The flight was decent, though pretty crowded airplane. The only small complaint was a baby crying a lot towards for the last 20 minutes in a very shrilling voice, however it is what it is and I know it can't be easy for parents with a baby on the plane. As you approach the city, bright lights are all over the city looking so picturesque. I got the airplane and the airport was empty with most of the shops and restaurants closed. I got outside and it is super easy to fin the ride share area. It is on the outside lane and the taxis/passenger pickup is on the inside lane. The ground was wet from rain that had approached within the hour and waited about 7 minutes for my car pickup. It was a nice drive to the city talking to the driver who was originally from Colorado. I got to the Menger Hotel where I was staying and it just screamed old world charm. I walked into the lobby and found out that parts of the hotel date back to 1859. There was animal heads on the wall, high ceilings, beautiful antique clocks, books signed by guests in 1877, dolls, glass and flatware. The room I stayed at was part of the wing that dated back to the 1800's. There was big ceilings, fireplace looking item, and charming looking windows. The pillows wasn't the most comfortable and even with asking for different pillows it wasn't the best. The shower pressure would go from hot to cold and back so quickly that I wasn't a fan of that as well. The first night I didn't sleep great with people talking loudly at night, however the second night was definitely better.

I woke up the next morning had a nice 5 minute walk to breakfast. I was going to Schilos, which was the oldest restaurant in San Antonio that dates back to 1917. I found out that you get to make your own homemade root beer and even have a spiked root beer. I wasn't going to get this at breakfast. I approached the restaurant and it was very charming looking from the outside. It was very close to the Riverwalk and inside the restaurant looks like something out of the Wild West. I got a Papa Fritz breakfast which consisted of eggs, hash browns, biscuit and ham. The biscuit was soft and pillowy, with a delicious ham and hash browns perfectly cooked well done. The pricing was also pretty fair for breakfast. The service was excellent and continued to refill my water and coffee. When I got the bill I noticed I was accidentally charged for a coffee refill. The waitress removed it and apologized as refills aren't to be charged. It was pretty crowded in the restaurant so that was definitely the reason for the overcharge. I left the restaurant and noticed scooters for rental. I was told by the Lyft driver the night before that many rent them and get into accidents because they don't know how to control them. I went back to the hotel and departed for the Alamo tour.

I was suggest to buy the Alamo tickets online as it gets you right in and a little more information than exploring on your own. It was only a 1 minute walk from the hotel. I got a headset on and the guide explained to us that the Alamo Church and the wall you see are only part of the Alamo. The Alamo was a fight that encompassed many different areas around which was interesting to learn. The tour allowed us to see a part of the Alamo church that was closed off to regular visitors. It was an interesting tour inside the church and parts of it dated back to 1755. There was big antique chandeliers, as well as some preserved windows. The only downfall was the inability to take photos inside the church. There was flags in one area for the different states that participated in the Alamo battle and how many people died at the Alamo. The tour was about 1-1.5 hours long. I left the tour and made my way to the Riverwalk.

There was a huge statue of cattle having a lariat thrown over them, huge trees, ducks and colorful birds near the Riverwalk. It was a peaceful area to take photos and get lost in your thoughts. I signed up for the Go Rio Cruises. It took a little bit of effort to find the departure part of the cruise. There was great views on the tour and there was a love lock bridge similar to Paris where couples put their initials on the lock on a bridge. It was a 35 minutes cruise tour and the only downfall was the loud talking of people around you on the boat. After the cruise, I went to Villita for shopping. I was pretty disappointed with this area as not a lot of shops are in the area. I went to the Historic Market Square. This was a lot better of a shopping area with restaurants and greater variety of shops. I went to La Margarita for lunch and sat at the bar. I got this Flautas dish that was a crispy tortilla like shell with chicken inside of it. It came with a side of chips and dip, rice, beans, guacamole, sour cream and corn flour tortillas with a Freetail Brewing Bat Outta Hellas beer. It was a delicious meal.

I left the restaurant and got a Lyft to San Fernando Cathedral. This was an impressive church and the oldest in the city. The remnant of Travis, Boone, Crockett and others that died at the Alamo was in this rectangular looking chest in the front of the church. There was amazing statues of worship inside of the church. It was about a 10-15 minute walk back to the hotel and I got an iced coffee. The hotel had this amazing garden area with beautiful tall trees so I sat outside for an hour and relaxed there. I went back to the room and relaxed a bit before dinner. I got a tip from a chef friend in San Antonio who recommended Cure. I went to the Mentger Bar at the hotel. The bar was historic with Teddy Roosevelt meeting the Freedom Riders. There was a photo of him at the bar. I talked to this nice older couple from Connecticut and found out that the hotel was haunted especially the section which I stayed in. I wasn't too fazed by it.

The Cure restaurant was located in an area called the Pearl. This would be one of the most highly recommended areas to visit. The Pearl was based off Pearl Brewery that used to run operations there and parts of the brewery are still intact in the area. I walked through Hotel Emma, saw the Culinary Institute of America and saw this huge park with a lot of shops, kids playing, restaurants and very clean. The Cure restaurant you need to make a reservation for as they are known for a lot of different cured meats hanging up. It was a pretty fancy restaurant. I sat outside and the weather was perfect. It wasn't too hot or cold. I got a charcuterie platter which has meats aged 30 days to 12 months. I had apple jalapeno pork rillettes, bresaola, smoked duck ham with crackers, blackberries, blueberries and pickled cucumber. It offered a lot of interesting tastes and textures. I went back to the hotel to Kilwin for icecream. I got this fudge like flavor in a waffle cone that was so delicious. I went back to the room to relax and to bed. I definitely slept better the 2nd night better than 1st even with the so so pillows.

The next morning I had breakfast at the hotel. I got an egg sandwich with cheese and bacon on a toasted flatbread with country potatoes. It was a delicious meal, though somewhat pricy. I went back to the room to relax and departed to the Briscoe Western Art Museum. If you need to check out late, ask the hotel beforehand as they granted me a late checkout which definitely helped. The Art Museum was a 10 minute walk from the hotel. It was $10 dollars to get in and consisted of 3 floors of Native American and Wild West artifacts. I would highly recommend this for the amount of money and culture you learn about the museum. There was spurs, stagecoaches, saddles, guns, beautiful oil paintings depicting Native American/Western life, lasso, boots and other items. I was in and out in 45 minutes. I went back to the hotel to check out and then departed for Greyhound. I was taking a bus from San Antonio to Dallas with a stop in Austin.

I booked priority booking, however this was the biggest sham ever. There was no pre boarding for my group and no communication about putting on a luggage tag if the final destination was Dallas. If the luggage tag didn't go on, the bag would have came off at Austin. I had to get off the line as we boarded and put on the tag losing my good place in line. Also, some areas of the bus didn't have electrical outlets to charge my phone so I had to wait until we got to Austin to switch seats to one that had an electrical outlet. The bus did thankfully leave on time. On the way, we passed Elliot T. Bowers Stadium. There was a lot of shopping and malls on the first part of the trip, however after Austin it got pretty desolate for awhile seeing a lot of flat land and cows. It was supposed to be a total of 5.5 hours drive, however in Austin we stopped for an extra 30 minutes. A wife left her husband back at San Antonio bus stop and we had to wait for him to get onto another bus to get to Austin. Not sure how you can forget someone that important, but go figure.

There was some traffic going into Austin and Dallas on the trip. We passed the town of Waco, which looked pretty cool. A few other random sites was racetrack, XXX store and a haunted house all in the middle of nowhere. As you approach the city of Dallas, tall buildings was on the horizon. The Greyhound was pretty disgusting in the city. There was scooters for rent similar to San Antonio. I took Lyft from the city and found out how spread out the city really was as it took 20 minutes from downtown to Northeast area of Dallas. The Courtyard Marriot wasn't the prettiest on the outside, however it had a beautiful lobby and hotel room. There was a pool in the back for usage, comfortable bed and pillows in the room. I met an old friend from high school Candice for dinner. She picked me up and went to Plano, Texas.

We went to this section that had beautiful restaurants and businesses all within a short walking distance. There was a valet that parked the car. We went to a restaurant called Sugar. It was a Mexican restaurant and we ordered guacamole with chips to start off. It was very delicious appetizer. I ordered the barbacoa tacos with spicy Mexican corn. The tacos was delicious, as well as the corn, though it definitely packed a punch in eating it. I also had a delicious margarita with mezcal in the drink. We walked to a dessert restaurant called Intermezzo. I ordered this Almond Tiramisu type dish. It was very tasty. There was a 36 page menu with drinks, coffees, etc of what you could order. They also had this large espresso machine that looked ultra fancy. It was a great night of conversation and went back to the hotel to go to sleep. The bed was comfortable with soft pillows but an elevated headboard which helped with sleep.

I woke up the next morning and went to Bistro cafe in the hotel. It was a breakfast stand that had breakfast items, Starbucks coffee and even mixed drinks/beer (at night time). I got a breakfast sandwich with fruit that was decent. I went to the rental car place and got this new Kia Forte. It was a great car and had a feature where you could see the text messages on the dashboard and reply by speak to them. It also allowed me to look at Waze for my GPS and other great features as I was driving. I drove to Arlington and passed a cool looking Six Flags on the way. As I approached the Dallas Cowboys AT&T stadium, you see this humongous stunning stadium. I did a VIP tour and would recommend again to do so. You walk upstairs and see all the names of retired great Cowboys players near the steps. You sit down to wait for the tour to begin in the seats and see the open field and this ridiculously large big screen. We found out on the tour that the screen goes from the 30 yard line of one team to the Cowboys side, just simply amazing. We sat in the club seats, saw a small room where Jerry Jones (Cowboys owner) and his sons sit. Interesting fact is during the game when they show the room it looks a lot bigger because of these mirrors that are on the back wall. There was glass that could go into the wall to allow the owners to be part of the stadium atmosphere.

The stadium holds 80k to 100k fans. We saw the AT&T star club, Bank of American founders club, American Airlines club where big events are held, cool photographs of different players and various art. We took the escalator upstairs and you saw the Texas Rangers baseball current and future stadiums right next to each other. There was a section of the AT&T Stadium with a huge fountain and a whole row of various Ford Trucks. There was a Cotton Bowl office with helmets of the teams that won and photos of former/current Cowboys players that played in the game. We saw the suite which hosts all the media folks during the game, press box, place that holds all banners that are hung up like Wrestlemania and football related ones. The cheerleaders locker room and Cowboys locker room was a little short of a visit but cool to see. The routine for the Cowboys cheerleaders was still on the wall from the Seattle Seahawks/Cowboys football game in the NFC playoffs. As you go from the cheerleaders locker room to the Cowboys locker room you can walk on the field and just the excitement of getting onto it was surreal. Our group was lucky as the turf and the field was just put down the week before with the weather warming up. You walk into the Cowboys locker room and see great players such as Ezekiel Elliot, Dak Prescott, Demarcus Lawrence and all of the other lockers. It was an awe inspiring to be in there, but wish we had more time. The tour continues with seeing the pressroom where the Cowboys coach will do questions and answers with the media then you make the way onto the field. You had as much time to take photos and just loved it so much.

I drove to Dealey Plaza and checked out the surrounding area with the Sixth Floor Museum, Dallas County Administration and Grassy Knoll all within a short walking distance. This was the area where JFK was assassinated. It is very highly recommended to buy your tickets online and get the specific tour you want as the tour lines for purchasing tickets that day was huge. The parking lot was a bit cluttered and not the best organized to park. You get your self guided tour headset and go upstairs and was interesting to learn about how all the different sites are related. It was very crowded to maneuver to the different displays, but learning about where he was shot, conspiracy theories on who might have shot him and the JFK legacy was the best part. I went back to the hotel to relax. I bought tickets to the Dallas Stars versus Pittsburgh Penguins hockey game at the American Airlines arena.

I drove to the Stadium and parked in a lot a decent distance away and it was $20. There was some light rain that day, but that was the only bad weather of the trip. It was a beautiful stadium. I had this Texas cheese steak sandwich that had guacamole, peppers, onion and cheese. It was a very messy tasty sandwich. It did take awhile for the sandwich to come out as the vendors messed up my order a few times, but it was relatively cheap. The stadium had a random 711 slurpee stand. I sat in Row d in the 300's near center ice and was decently priced the seats. There was a good amount of Penguins fans at the game. The stadium was very interactive with a lot of entertaining videos on the screen of Penguins falling, Jean Claude Van Dam beating up the Penguins mascot in the movie Sudden Death or the Penguins/Stars fans eating awfully on the screen like pigs. There was also an Adam Sandler reference from Billy Madison where he chases the invisible Penguin to get him back to the zoo. The Penguins won 3-2 in a very entertaining game and their fans went nuts after it was over. I left the Stadium and it took a little bit of time to leave the lot but the highway was right near the parking lot. I went to sleep and was excited for my last day.

I got picked up the next morning from my friend Matt from my Contiki Europe trip. We went to Tipico for breakfast to get takeout tacos. We got an assorted array of chorizo/bacon/sausage/potato on various types of tacos that came with salsa and chips. It was very slow takeout, but the food was delicious. It was great to see him. He dropped me back off at the hotel to check out and I departed for Fort Worth Stockyards. It was about a 40 minutes drive. You arrive down the street and see train tracks and cobbled type roads that remind you of the Wild West. There was cowboys/cowgirls on horses, mechanical bull, shops, restaurants, horses and little kid train rides all over. You need to get there early and park in the lot on East Exchange Avenue. There was a March of the Bulls at 11:30, but try and get there by 11:05-11:10 to get a good spot to watch. You see bulls and cowboys/cowgirls march down the street and it lasted about 5-10 minutes. After the bull march there was a very entertaining gun show at 11:45.

You walk around the area to see a petting zoo, Cow Town museum, shops, restaurants, mini train and horses to ride for kids/adults. I saw the Texas Cowboy hall of fame from the outside. I found out that Cow Town museum dates back to the early 1900's. My favorite part was seeing cannons from the Spanish rule of Texas. The big downfall of going on Sunday is that a lot of things are closed or open too late. You should only need 3 hours to walk around and see different shows and events. I left to fill up my gas and went to the airport to drop off the rental car. There was a shuttle at the rental car that was about 10 minutes from the airport. There wasn't much instructions once you got to the airport on where to go to check in. I got through security fine and went to TGI Friday's for lunch. Unfortunately there wasn't the best selection of lunch options so I settled on this place. The food was decent getting a chicken sandwich with sweet potato fries and a beer, though the quarters was very tight as I felt like I was sitting on top of the couple next to me.

Dallas Forth Worth airport was pretty decent to walk around to the shops. American Airlines allowed me to do as Delta did and change my seat from a middle to an aisle. I didn't mind checking in the bag in either flight if it meant to have an aisle seat. There was no TV on my flight, but I did have my headphones and a book to read. It was a great flight and I did get in somewhat early, but arriving at Terminal 8 at JFK makes you have to walk forever to get to your checked bag. It was a fantastic trip overall and would highly recommend to travel alone sometime as you find out a lot about yourself.

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