Today, translators and interpreters around the world are gearing up for the 54th American Translators Association conference in San Antonio. I’m excited to meet everyone in such a uniquely Texan city. The downtown has a wonderful art deco feel, and the area still preserves a lot of flavor from its roots as a Spanish colony.
Of course, you can visit the Alamo. And any guide will tell you to visit the San Antonio Riverwalk, a special downtown hub for restaurants where you can ride a gondola or take a water taxi after dinner. But, there are a few other authentically San Antonio destinations that are well worth a little excursion.
- Boerne, Texas grew from communities founded by German revolutionaries who conversed in Latin. Now, it’s a lovely town with a nature center for birding and hiking, a Wild West theme park (open Saturday and Sunday only) and two living caves.
- Bandera, Texas is authentic cowboy country. Bandera hosts events almost every day, including a Western display on Saturday afternoons and a Cowboy Camp with traditional cowboy music on Sunday. You can also visit one of the dude ranches for hiking, horseback riding, fossil digging, and more.
- John T. Floore Country Store is part of a select group of Texas venues with terrible acoustics and a long history of hosting some of the biggest names in country music. It also also has a café where the food is named after musicians, and you can try country fried steak or fried pickles. There are shows on Friday and Saturday nights during the conference, and every Sunday Floore’s hosts a free dance with live music.
- King William Historic District. Named after King Wilhelm I, King of Prussia, this area offers a neighborhood full of 19th-century mansions and the historic Guenther House Restaurant. Guenther House is built on a flour mill property and gets very busy for brunch on the weekends, but in the meantime you can stroll the grounds and peruse the store for pancake and waffle mixes to take home as souvenirs. This District is located at the opposite end of the Riverwalk from the convention center.
- Japanese Tea Garden. An interesting, peaceful haven not far from downtown.
- Ranch at the Rim. By special request, I checked into the best place to buy cowboy boots and the answer was Ranch at the Rim. They offer boots, hats, and western accessories at a variety of price points. Click here for a free boot care kit with purchase. Cabela’s is another, less local, option.
- San Antonio Spurs. Basketball fans can catch a home game versus the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday night or the Golden State Warriors on Friday night.
- Legendary San Marcos outlets. I usually seek cultural and historical destinations rather than shopping, but these are not your average outlets. There are high-end stores like Burberry and Barney’s New York, and with 140 stores, there is a lot of price competition to attract buyers with the best deals. I’ve found some truly incredible deals on quality items. Serious shoppers make a week-long vacation out of this place. Tip: Guest services will sell you a $5 coupon book entitling you to a single-use additional discount on your entire purchase at many stores. Student, teacher, and military IDs can get you this book for free.
Finally, a mini attraction: I’ve got a few things up my sleeve for this conference. One is a special Texas edition sticker, and the other is a Galaxy Gear smart watch! Look for me around the convention center to get your sticker and a futuristic watch-camera portrait.
See you in San Antonio!