It’s been several years since, like Credence Clearwater Revival used to sing, we went “rollin’ down the river.” Or should I say River Walk. Last weekend I noticed several pleasant surprises. Oh, the infamous Casa Rio restaurant is still there with their reasonable priced plates of all things Tex-Mex and margaritas. I like mine on the rocks … no salt if you please.
The lush landscaping and fountains have expanded way beyond the downtown River Walk. And the Alamo is still located across the street from the Hyatt and historic Menger Hotels. No way anyone would be messing with my Alamo.
What I noticed this time was a new river taxi, with flowing checkered flags, that wasn’t there the last time we visited. The River Walk hasn’t gotten rid of their entertaining river barge tours. They cost between eight and two bucks per person depending on your age and last 35 minutes. Highly recommend this little tour if you are a newbie to the river. It’s a slow, lazy ride down and around the populated downtown part of the River Walk with lots of funny and historical commentary from the boat captain. Don’t miss the gargoyles on the insurance building.
The river taxi shuttle service (prices vary depending on your need and how far you want to go) will take you down the same parts of the river as the river barge tour, but also north to the museum district (lots of funky art hangin’ from the bridges in this area) and beyond, to the old Pearl Brewery area. And no, Pearl Beer is no longer brewed. But the historic area is being lovingly repurposed. There is a culinary institute (check out their bakery … we did), some shopping (linger at “The Twig Book Shop”), a few restaurants and venues for specials events like corporate meetings, weddings and receptions (the “Stable” was hosting a wedding reception while we were there). It is a few years away from being a real destination but certainly worth the trip up the river for a long peek.
And if that doesn’t convince you to check out the Pearl Brewery area, when you take the river taxi, your barge will have to pass through the only lock and dam in the whole state of Texas. It’s pretty cool if you don’t have the Panama Canal on your bucket list. Just saying.
I also noticed how much more accessible the River Walk was to strollers and wheelchairs. It hasn’t been that many years since we took a family vacation to San Antonio with our special needs daughter in tow. It was pretty much a disaster getting Mimi around on the River Walk. Not so today. Back then there was one elevator down to the River Walk but you couldn’t go far. This time I noticed two elevators and lots of ramping in areas that used to have steps.
But that’s the River Walk … it’s a great place to relax, eat a little Tex-Mex, drink a margarita, and watch the lazy river roll on by.