By: Leean Vargas | From: Texas Lifestyle Magazine

For those needing a Texas escape, visit San Antonio – after all, it is one of the oldest cities in the country, being over 300 years old. It’s understandable why its rich history, authentic culture, and vibrant scenery attracts many from all over the world. You’ll create memories here that will last a lifetime.

The newly renovated San Antonio Marriott Rivercenter on the Riverwalk is the perfect place to stay while exploring and enjoying all the city has to offer. The hotel places you in the heart of the city, just steps away from popular attractions, fine dining, shop-til-you-drop shopping, and the best entertainment.

In the lobby you’ll be greeted by gorgeous art glass by local artist Gini Garcia. You can stop by the first hot glass studio in downtown, Garcia Art Glass, which opened in 1998. Their studio has works all over the world with a unique flair that has garnered many awards and accolades.

The property has 38 floors, 45 event rooms, and over 70,000+ square feet of total meeting space. So whether you’re seeking an intimate conference suite or the largest hotel ballroom in the city, this is an excellent venue to carry out your vision and create memorable experiences.

You’ll need all the rest you can get to be the best version of yourself while exploring the city. Many of the hotel rooms (1000 rooms and 87 suites) have sensational city and riverwalk views, so no matter what you choose it will be worth it.

We recommend staying in the Commander One Bedroom Suite. The modern, elevated spacious suite contains one king that leads into the dining and living room area. If you want to take it up a notch – upgrade to a room with M Club access to enjoy the exclusive lounge with complimentary breakfast, snacks, and of course, beautiful balcony space and stunning city views.

Take a dip in the indoor/outdoor pool to cool off or get your workout on anytime at the 24-hour fitness center.

What to Eat

Café Boccadillo is the spot for some quick coffee or a grab-and-go type of snack.

Head to the ground floor for the hotel’s signature bar and restaurant Tributary, where you’ll find authentic flavors of San Antonio, all carefully sourced to promote freshness and sustainability. The food is farm-to-table and 90% of what you eat is made here in Texas. This is where you’ll find authentic southern Texas cuisine that pays tribute to the great state.

There’s so many tasty options to choose from at Tributary. Keep it simple with bar snacks like the Bavarian Pretzel with beer cheese, or the Twice Double Fried Wings. Keep it light with one of their salads and soups or flatbreads. If you’re wanting a hearty meal, go with one of their prime Texas steaks – your choice of NY Strip, Filet Mignon, or Ribeye – all sourced from Dean and Peeler prime beef in Floresville, Texas. Their classic Tributary Burger is deliciously easy to smash down. Seafood lovers can try the Red Snapper, Shrimp and Grits, or King Salmon. Additionally, their handcrafted cocktails will equally satisfy you, whether you’re wanting signature margaritas or classic old-fashioneds.

In case you’re wanting to branch out and eat elsewhere, the best part about the hotel’s location is that it’s just steps away from 100+ walkable restaurants and bars. We recommend checking out the locally owned barbecue spot on the Riverwalk – Smoke Texas Riverwalk – where you’ll find all the barbecue deliciousness you can ask for. I’m talking brisket, chicken, sausage, ribs, and appetizing sides, like mac & cheese, green beans, cream corn, and potato salad. This is the largest patio on the Riverwalk, so it’s a great spot to people-watch and sip on strawberry margaritas.

The Jardin, located in the San Antonio Botanical Garden, highlights fresh, bright flavors, influenced by Mediterranean cuisine. This hidden gem gives you the best of both worlds, cause right after you fill your stomach, you can head on a garden adventure. The curated menu is led by Chef Jason Dady, a James Beard Award semifinalist with an impressive line of restaurants he also oversees.

This is a great hotspot for those vegans and vegetarians. Start with a mix-and-match Mezze like the Grilled Goat Cheese Sandwiches, House-Marinated Feta, Sicilian Cauliflower, or Garden Bruschetta. We couldn’t get enough of the Greek Hummus. Treat the table to some fresh Focaccia pizza, cheese & charcuterie board, or some of the small plates and entrées, like the House-Made Edamame Falafel, Lamb Meatballs, Pan Seared Potato Gnocchi, and more. I especially loved their decadent dessert, just say yes to the Olive Oil Cake or Nutella Torte.

What to Do

After satisfying your belly with fresh, flavorful Mediterranean cuisine, head on down to the San Antonio Botanical Garden to explore the garden’s tranquil 38 acres of living imported plant life. It’s a must to check out the Imaginary Worlds: Once Upon a Time exhibit– showcasing giant, living whimsical sculptures, created by Mosaïcultures® Internationales de Montréal.

My favorite sculpture was the massive dragon on the conservatory lawn made of 14,916 plants and weighing 27,552 pounds (just as much as 9 cars!) The entire garden has an automatic watering system to water all the plants, but this bad boy has its own personal watering system to make sure all 14,000+ plants are watered properly. The sculptures even go into detail about the kind of plants they use. Aside from the massive 25-foot dragon, you’ll also find a mermaid lounging at the lake, a parading peacock with a 7-feet-long train in the formal garden, Rip Van Winkle snoozing under a giant Red Oak tree, and a Pegasus with a grass mane flowing in the wind. You’ll find 8-feet tall story books on display and of course many other beautiful plants and cacti. This is this place where you want to spend at least a few hours to get the full experience. Stop by before the exhibit ends October 29!

The Imaginary Worlds exhibit is a great daytime date, but another perfect date idea would be checking out Hopscotch San Antonio, an immersive art exhibition showcasing artwork in sustainable and creative ways. There’s plenty of photo op’s at each installation, so wear your best outfit and practice your poses.

Jump in the glowing ball pit, write your name in the laser graffiti room, leave a secret in a nearby phone booth or listen to secrets left by others. Every installation is unique and will leave you feeling light and joyful. The kids will love it too, and you yourself will feel like a kid again.

Another activity kids will love (and adults for that matter) is checking out the dinosaurs at The Witte Museum. It’s one of San Antonio’s most-visited museums for a reason, inspiring people to shape the history of Texas and learn how they can be a part of the future.

Step back in time to 200 million years ago and explore the Antarctic Dinosaurs exhibit where it once was a bountiful forest and habitat where dinosaurs thrived. The Tyrannosaurus: Meet the Family exhibit was especially interesting, because as we all may know, the T.rex is the most recognizable dinosaur in the world, but it’s not the only tyrannosaurus you should know about. You’ll learn more about the tyrannosaurus family, bringing all the latest discoveries to life. I enjoyed learning interesting facts about the dinosaurs’ characteristics.

Did you know that some dinosaurs had fur or feathers? It was also interesting to learn how a dinosaur fossilizes, as well as seeing the comparisons between the skeletons of birds to examine their family ties.

If you’re wanting to stay closer to the hotel yet still explore, The Alamo is only a half-mile away. The Alamo won top free attraction this year, and recently added hundreds of artifacts and historical pieces to see. The Ralston Family Collections Center just opened in March, displaying original artifacts such as Santa Anna’s swords, handwritten documents and personal belongings by William Travis, to a rifle used by Jim Bowie. The new exhibit has expanded and completely transformed the Alamo experience. They added a barrier that really makes you feel like you’re on the battle ground when you step foot on it. What you know about the Alamo isn’t what it used to be, so come and experience it in a new way!

You can explore the city by boat by hopping on one of the GO Rio Cruises tours, or simply walk on foot, as the hotel is also right next to a bunch of fun attractions like the AMC theaterLEGOLAND Discovery Center, Pearl District, Aquarium Sea Life, and more.