By: Amanda Eyre Ward | From: Travel + Leisure
The Museum Reach, a pedestrian park along the San Antonio River, is named for the many cultural institutions that line the banks. Many walk this route for the public art installations along the path — but they'll also wind past some of the most exciting hotels, restaurants, and shops Texas has to offer. Read on for seven notable stops.
A Chic Comfort Food Kitchen
In the Pearl District development on the northern end of the Museum Reach, chef-owner Jennifer Hwa Dobbertin has opened a permanent home for Best Quality Daughter, her buzzy “New Asian-American” pop-up. (Think vegan-meat potstickers and boozy bubble tea.) The restaurant occupies the historic Mueller House, built in 1904, its interior reimagined with four colorful rooms inspired by the Four Auspicious Beasts, figures from Chinese constellations.
A Luxe Landmark
Design studio Roman & Williams overhauled the 19th-century Pearl Brewery to create the 146-room Hotel Emma, which brings luxury to the building’s industrial aesthetic. Evening cocktails are hosted in the two-story library; in the lobby, the flywheel of an old generator has been transformed into an art installation. At Supper, San Antonio–born chef Jorge Luis Hernández — formerly of the Michelin two-starred Minibar by José Andrés — draws on the many influences that have shaped this city.
A Culinary Ode to South Texas
One of the city’s most ambitious recent openings is Carriqui, an 11,000-square-foot restaurant helmed by chef Jaime Gonzalez. At the end of the 19th century, the landmarked white-clapboard building housed a saloon frequented by brewery employees; after an eight-year renovation, it now packs tables with Gulf seafood, barbecue, and Tejano dishes like cabrito and beef-cheek barbacoa.
A Contemporary Café
Full Goods Diner serves scratch-made breakfast and lunch in a bright, greenhouse-style space. Restaurateur (and San Antonio native) Ryan Harms teamed up with chef Patrick Jackson to offer a seasonal menu that's equal parts edgy — the ricotta toast comes with peaches, pickled jalapeños, and guajillo gastrique — and traditional, with homemade pastries and a perfect pancake is served with brown butter, maple syrup, and flaky salt.
A Beloved Boutique
At the San Antonio outpost of Texas shirtmaker Dos Carolinas, designer Caroline Matthews stocks her signature handmade guayaberas, the button-front men’s shirt worn across Latin America, as well as dresses, pajamas, and her coveted (and frequently sold-out) seersucker “guayarobe.”
A Buzzy Beer Garden
At the expansive (and very popular) Elsewhere Bar & Kitchen, which opened just before the pandemic, you can sit on a porch swing overlooking the river and enjoy spiked lemonade, frozen espresso martinis, and a fried-chicken sandwich.
A Hotel With a View
The Thompson San Antonio–Riverwalk opened in 2021 at the western end of the Museum Reach, across the river from the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts. The 20-story tower has 162 pet-friendly, casual yet modern rooms. It also has an impressive art collection (including a Jeff Koons "Red Balloon Dog") and three dining venues: Cenote, a pool bar; rooftop lounge The Moon’s Daughters; and Landrace, by local celebrity chef Steve McHugh, where seasonal menus are sourced from nearly two dozen Texas producers.
A version of this story first appeared in the December 2022/January 2023 issue of Travel + Leisure under the headline "Meet Me at the Museum Reach."