I recently reviewed the Sheraton Gunter Hotel that I stayed at in San Antonio, essentially a pretty average Sheraton, however this article is about some of the things to do and a review of some of the gay bars.
I had two full days in June there, so the weather was pretty warm, perfect for floating down the river or “toobing”. Essentially get a cooler, fill it with beer (or your favourite alcoholic beverage) and float down the river in the sun. It was pretty awesome actually.
The Saturday morning we went for breakfast at Cracker Barrel. For me, this was a first, a restaurant and chintz store attached. The food wasn’t bad, but the coffee was terrible, however very reasonably priced.
Suitably fuelled, we decide to go to the “Rockin R River” tubing in New Braunfels, TX, a short drive outside of downtown. There was the whole cross section of people floating along the river, families, couples, gays, big party groups and certainly some eye candy to look at!
That evening we went out to a few of the gay bars in San Antonio. There’s a number to choose from, although things don’t start to get busy until gone 22.00.
Quite a few are located on what is locally known as “The Strip” which has a few places next to each other.
There’s Pegasus, which is a pretty large place that has a number of different bars in the same place, all playing different types of music from dance, to country and there’s even karaoke there as well.
Next door is Sparky’s Pub which is both a pub and a wine bar next door. This place is apparently more popular with the ladies, however was a pretty mixed crowd when I stopped by on Sunday evening.
There’s also Knockout which is billed as a sports bar, having that day’s big game on one of the large screen TVs. It tends to attract more of the #masc4masc crowd, and given there are a number of large military bases around the city, there’s certainly some eye candy if that’s your thing.
A few minutes down the road, there’s another bar called Essence. I went there about 20.00 on a Saturday and it was still pretty quiet by that point, however a few people had started to get there.
There’s also what’s billed as a gay club in San Antonio, called the Bonham Exchange, which is located downtown. It’s located in a converted Synagogue which being Jewish myself felt kind of strange!
There are a number of rooms there, with different types of music. My American friends seemed to enjoy it, but I wasn’t a huge fan of the place. It also wasn’t really very gay – I’d estimate no more than 10% max, with the rest being straight couples. There was also a male stripper who was fairly poor, and they’re unfortunately not even allowed to get naked. Boo!
The next day after waking up with a hangover, we decided to head down a deep, dark hole so we drove to the Natural Bridge caverns about 45 minutes away from the city.
That part of Texas is mainly limestone and due to a number of geological processes there are some fantastic caves which they have a number of guided walking tours through. It’s all a very easy stroll through the caves, so no hiking equipment needed, and actually I was quite impressed. The tours are about $25 each, and isn’t bad value. We didn’t do any of the zip-lining as most of the other activities were aimed at kids. Finally, I’m not going to post any of the photos as frankly they’re pretty rubbish and don’t do the caves justice.
After that, any trip wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the Alamo, which is the feature photo of this article. It’s free to enter but they don’t allow photography inside the shrine as it’s actually a church. Overall, it’s actually pretty unimpressive. There’s a small museum attached with some artefacts to look at, but very little explanation of their relevance – there seemed to be more of a focus on naming the donors. So overall, worth a visit as it’s free, but probably not worth more than an hour of your time.
Finally, downtown is worth a walk around. There’s a huge area that’s on the river and has lots of bars and restaurants. Yes, it’s pretty touristy, but unlike so many American (or Texan) cities, there’s a vaguely coherent feel about downtown, there’s actually some nightlife and it’s all walkable.
Overall, I really enjoyed my weekend. It was pretty relaxed, hanging out with friends, and San Antonio is a really fun place to visit for a weekend. Definitely worth a visit.