(Being that San Antonio is the home of OriginalGamer.com, we feel that it's our obligation to offer some guidance those traveling to San Antonio for PAX South about this great city.)
Come for the convention, stay for the attractions. Gamers can find their fun away from PAX South within a few miles or even a few blocks of the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center. This multi-part guide will serve as a map to both tourist hotspots and the favorite hangouts for the locals. Whether you’re new to the city or call San Antonio home, there is plenty to experience and explore.
The Alamo & Alamo Plaza
It’s almost a law to visit the fabled Alamo while visiting San Antonio. Located less than a mile from Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center, the Alamo stands proudly in the center of Alamo Plaza. You can visit the site of the rebel Texans' stand against Mexico for independence all weekend from 9 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. The true magic of the area is best seen at night, just mind the ghosts.
And no, the Alamo does not have a basement.
While in the Alamo Plaza grab yourself a raspa from the local vendors before visiting thrilling popular attractions such as Ripley’s Haunted Adventure, Tomb Raider 3D and The Guinness Book of World Records Museum located just across the street. For the less adventurous, Louis Tussauds Wax Works, the Ultimate Mirror Maze and the Buckhorn Saloon are close by.
San Antonio Spurs
Put down your copy of NBA 2K15 and catch a real-life Spurs game. There are few things the locals love more than seeing the Spurs play hated rivals, the Los Angeles Lakers. The two teams will face off Jan. 23 at the AT&T Center. The defending champions also take on the Milwaukee Bucks Jan. 25. You'll need your own wheels or catch a ride to catch a game.
North of the River Walk is the Pearl, a newly renovated area of the Pearl Brewery where gamers can spend their evenings with good food and plenty of drinks. The Pearl area is home to various casual and upscale eateries ranging from Mexican street food to vegetarian and vegan cuisine.
The vibrant and colorful culture of San Antonio comes alive on the banks of the San Antonio River on the famed River Walk. Travelers can revel in the beautiful landscaping, stone bridges and numerous restaurants making the River Walk a perfect destination for a night out with friends or a romantic evening with that special someone. It's only a few minute by car or try something new and take a river taxi.
River boat tours are a great way ride in style while learning about the rich history of the area. Tours and river taxis are a very affordable way to travel along the Mission Reach area and run from 9 a.m. - 9 p.m. at the earliest. Some companies will accommodate later rides based on demand.
Tower of the Americas
Rounding out the three must-see attractions of San Antonio is the Tower of the Americas, which stretches 750 feet high, providing a breathtaking view of the Alamo City. The Tower of the Americas offers more than a panoramic view of the city, visitors can dine in the more upscale Chart House Restaurant or venture to the Observation Deck to experience the 4D Theater Ride.
Being the site of a famed battle, there are plenty of ghosts roaming the streets of downtown San Antonio. If you’re feeling daring, Sisters Grimm offers ghost tours on a nightly basis around Alamo Plaza and the Menger Hotel for $15 for adults and $10 for children. Don't worry, as long as you're pure of heart, the ghosts won't steal your soul.
Like a fine wine, nothing pairs better with visiting The Alamo than stopping by the Alamo IMAX Theater to see the famous battle unfold in the flick “Alamo: The Price of Freedom” or the latest blockbuster films. If you have a car, you can travel a little further to the Alamo Drafthouse. The Drafthouse offers a low-key and casual outing experience by pairing dinner and a movie, but whatever you do, don't text while in the movie or else you'll end up like this lady:
Lovers of the outdoors will find their playground at the Mission Reach hike and bike trails that links the San Antonio River together with the four other historical missions in the area. The reach offers eight miles of family-friendly pathways dedicated for hikers and bikers looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city.
Travelers can make their way across the city with Uber and Lyft drivers, but will most likely see higher rates during busy weekends. VIA, the local bus system, offers a one-day pass for $4 each and goes to most areas of the city.
In part 2 of our tour guide, we'll give you the places to eat and drink while staying downtown.