The San Antonio River Walk, the number one attraction in Texas, is one of the most romantic Texas adventures to visit. It’s worth the splurge to reserve a hotel room with a River Walk view.
The River Walk central area, situated below the downtown street level, is the River Bend, where the San Antonio River makes a rectangular loop when looking at a map. You can walk along the river, stroll into restaurants and storefronts, and see landscaped gardens, arched stone bridges, and narrated riverboat rides for touring.
The River Walk is 15.2 miles in length, broken into three sections. In addition to the downtown River Walk, the Museum Reach extends approximately 4 miles north, populated with condominiums, apartments, hotels, and several museums.
The Mission Reach extends south, transforming an 8-mile area of the river into a wetland woodland ecosystem. The Mission Reach connects four of the five UNESCO missions. The Alamo is the fifth mission located in the downtown area.
Best Restaurants On The River Walk
Restaurants are plentiful along the River Walk. You’ll find just about any Mexican food venue you can think of, including Casa Rio, the first since 1946, with colorful umbrellas lined up along the river. Plus, find the Hard Rock Cafe, Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., Joe’s Crab Shack, Rainforest Cafe, Landry’s Seafood House, and many others. Let’s explore some smaller, individual culinary bistros that are unforgettable.
Three restaurants are located in the Hotel Emma in the Pearl Complex. The first is Supper, where Chef Jorge Hernandez prepares what’s in season, part farm table, and part bistro table. Order breakfast, like two poached farm eggs Benedict with country ham, ricotta, and market fruit or cinnamon pecan sticky buns. For dinner, share the roasted sweet peppers and eggplant. I recommend the gulf snapper adobo or roasted quail with gold rice grits. Save room for mascarpone cheesecake mousse. Reservations advised.
Larder offers a coffeehouse, fine groceries, flowers, wine, beer, baked goods, house-butchered meats, sandwiches, and prepared foods to eat in or take out.
Sternewirth, the hotel’s tavern and club room named Sternewirth Privilege, allowed 19th-century employees of breweries to drink free beer during the workday. You’ll find classic cocktails and hardy small plates. Sample a signature cocktail, The Three Emmas, made with Pearl beer, rose cordial, sherry, gin, grapefruit juice, and lemon juice.
Las Ramblas Restaurant In The Hotel Contessa
In a romantic riverside setting in the Hotel Contessa, Ambler serves modern Texas cuisine and cocktails. For breakfast, I ordered my favorite Riverwalk Omelet with three eggs, grilled veggies, and spinach served with bakery toast. For dinner, we shared char-grilled gulf oysters. My husband ordered the Texas New York strip with a merlot jus topper. I indulged in the blackened Gulf red snapper served with fried green tomatoes.
The Ambler Bar In The Hotel Contessa
The Ambler Bar offers cocktails and bar bites. We like to get the Ambler Sliders and the Texas-style guacamole and queso with salsa and warm tortilla chips. The Lavender Bee’s Knees is a favorite.
Dorrego’s At The Hotel Valencia
The only Argentinian-inspired eatery with influences from Spain, Italy, and France on the River Walk, the restaurant Dorrego’s highlights a Latin guitarist Tuesday through Saturday. The empanadas de carne, flaky pastries filled with braised beef, green olives, carrots, and caramelized onions, are a perfect starter. I like the pescado del dia, the market fish of the day. Don’t forget to save room for fresh seasonal berries with lemon curd and white chocolate ice cream. I can always find an Argentinian malbec on the wine list here.
Bold flavors, spectacular River Walk views, and a modern menu of Texas regional Mexican cuisine can be found at Acenar, located just steps away from the Hotel Valencia on E Houston Street. The margaritas are killer! I love the grilled shrimp tacos and the poquito de todo for two with skewered shrimp, carnitas, grilled marinated beef, spicy sausage, and charbroiled chicken served with chiles, grilled green onions, charro beans, guacamole, and pico de gallo. Enchiladas de Mole is the real thing. Save room for caramel flan or pastel de tres leches/three milk cake.
Ostra At Mokara Hotel And Spa
The executive chef oversees exceptional seafood, fresh oysters, crab, shrimp, and ceviche at Ostra, recently awarded the AAA four-diamond award. Enjoy a complete wine list, crafted beers, and specialty tequila tastings. The feature is the oyster bar. Indulge in the seafood tower with east and Canadian coast oysters, chilled shrimp, snow crab claws, ceviche, lobster tails, or seared diver scallops with charred leeks and butternut squash puree. You can get a filet mignon or New York strip as well. Save room for the five-layer chocolate torte.
Rebelle In The Historic St. Anthony Hotel
The award-winning Rebelle in the historic St. Anthony Hotel is one of the finest seafood restaurants in San Antonio. The chef creates exquisite seafood with farm-fresh produce and unique cocktails. The Seafood Tower is over-the-top with one pound of king crab legs, a dozen jumbo shrimp, a dozen East Coast oysters, and additional accompaniments. The Moroccan spiced rack of lamb is tender, juicy, and unforgettably flavorful.
At St. Anthony, enjoy the Gallery on the Park for breakfast with St. Anthony Omelet, and for lunch, I recommend the crab cakes. Relax at the St. Anthony Club with distinguished art, an upscale atmosphere, and traditional cocktails like the Triple S.
It is almost impossible to get into Boudro’s without a reservation. I always start with a prickly pear margarita and guacamole for two, freshly prepared at your table with diced avocado, roasted tomato, serrano pepper, cilantro, fresh lime, and orange juices. Find the recipe using the link above. I love Boudreaux’s shrimp and grits, blue crab tostada, coconut shrimp, house-smoked jumbo shrimp, and Gulf crab enchiladas. You must save room for the lime chess pie or crème brûlée.
Best Hotels On The Riverwalk
The cornerstone hotels along the Riverwalk are the San Antonio Marriott Rivercenter, the Grand Hyatt San Antonio, the Hilton Palacio del Rio, The Hyatt Regency San Antonio Riverwalk, the Westin Riverwalk, and Drury Plaza Hotel San Antonio Riverwalk. You could probably find more competitive room rates at these hotels. However, I have chosen to feature the smaller, more unique, and historic hotels with special River Walk charm.
Hotel Emma, named after Emma Koehler, who ran the brewery after her husband died in 1914, was once a 19th-century Brewhouse. Now it’s a riverfront hotel with 146 rooms. The hotel is the headquarters for Pearl’s savory and inspirational community on the northern edge of downtown San Antonio along the River Walk. The Emma has seven top-floor suites, with a unique blend of old-world charm and modern, well-appointed elements. I was delighted to find Albuquerque’s Los Poblanos lavender shampoo, conditioner, hand soap, and body wash products here. Visit three restaurants in the hotel: Supper, Sternewirth, and Larder.
Hotel Valencia Riverwalk San Antonio
Near the city center, a half-mile from the Alamo and Market Square, this four-star luxury hotel on the River Walk features 213 guest rooms with pillowtop beds and Egyptian cotton sheets. Plus, you’ll find coffeemakers, bathrobes, a luxury spa, and a health club. Indulge in Argentinian-inspired cuisine at Dorrego’s and the full-service bar with your favorite small plates, cocktails, and River Walk views.
Hotel Contessa Luxury Suites On The Riverwalk
The only all-suite, AAA 4-Diamond hotel on the River Walk, the Hotel Contessa features 265 suites reflecting the local history and vibrant culture of San Antonio. Join Contessa Elite for rewards and special perks for members. Swim in the rooftop pool or visit the state-of-the-art fitness center. The spa offers rejuvenating treatments and rooftop views. Enjoy the Ambler Restaurant for gourmet eats and the Ambler Bar for daily cocktails and small bites.
Mokara Hotel And Spa
The Mokara Hotel and Spa, a relaxing retreat with first-class amenities, fine dining at Ostra, and a full-service spa, is the only Forbes four-star hotel in San Antonio. Join the Global Hotel Alliance Loyalty Program called Discovery. Relax at The Rooftop Cafe featuring beautiful downtown San Antonio views while enjoying sandwiches, salads, and cocktails.
St. Anthony, A Luxury Collection Hotel
My husband and I have stayed at St. Anthony for years, and I had to mention this hotel, just three blocks off the River Walk facing Travis Park, for its luxury, history, and recent over-the-top revamp. I have a photo of my daughter taken probably 25 years ago, standing beside the grand piano with the majestic row of chandeliers behind her. Designated as a national historic site, St. Anthony opened in 1909. I still marvel at the chandeliers, the French Empire antique furniture, the piano, paintings, tapestries, and museum-quality sculptures. Enjoy the Rebelle, a fine-dining seafood restaurant, and the Gallery on the Park for breakfast and lunch. Sip the Triple S, the signature drink at the posh St. Anthony Club. Take in soaring views from the Cabana Bar and Grill with a signature margarita overlooking the outdoor pool.
Pro Tip: The Amtrak Station is within a mile of the Downtown River Walk. How much more romantic can it get than arriving by train for this San Antonio dream getaway?