HOPP Favorites: In San Antonio
We just got back from a factory visit in San Antonio again to perfect production on our upcoming Fall collection and now fancy ourselves somewhat of an expert on SA. So we decided to round up our favorite things about this up-and-coming city. It's still got solid Texan charm but definitely giving Austin a run for its money as the hip destination in the Lone Star State. Be sure to check out these places next time you're in the SA vicinity!
We always make a point to stop by this unique SA label and retail store located in the Pearl District every time we visit. Sophisticated San Antonian women are loyal to the brand and their aesthetic is best described as Cache meets Chicos meets Eileen Fisher. One of their constants is textured, interesting fabrics, which we love! Definitely a must visit.
This 'wearhouse' is your go-to for real Texas westernwear - boots, hats, jeans and even handcrafted pocket knives. Everything you need to look the part of a cowboy or cowgirl, save a lasso.
Big box (read: cheap) stores are where you shop for secondhand clothing here in SA. You can score great finds at prices that range from $1.99 - $9.99. Be prepared to rifle through which is part of the fun! Two of our favorites are Texas Thrift Store, with several locations, and Community Thrift Store located along Military Drive, near all the Walmarts and El Pollo Loco's.
For cool, quirky home decor, the Tiny Finch is the place to go. We love their offerings of modern design mixed with a Western and Southwestern aesthetic. They also carry easy, simple dresses as well as bath and aroma products. Stop in after an iced coffee from Local Coffee next door in the Pearl District.
Of course we had to include SAS (our manufacturer and initial SA tour guide) who has a huge store that carries not only its current impressive array of shoe styles (with all the sizes available, including up to 6 different size widths!) but also offers special pricing on shoes from the factory that don't meet SAS's rigorous quality control measures. The store is reminiscent of an old-timey general store and they sell all kinds of handcrafted artisanal local products such as canned preserves and salsas. They also house an old fashioned ice cream parlor, a popcorn stand and sell coffee for 5¢! Drop by for some shopping and make sure to take a tour of the factory nearby while you're there!
For eating and drinking:
Hands down our favorite coffee joint here, Local boasts a "fearless brew" and has its own roasting facility. With four locations now, it's fast becoming more than the 'local' neighborhood café.
The two chefs behind Bakery Lorraine both had stints, and met, at Thomas Keller's Bouchon Bakery in Napa Valley, and you can tell. Their pastries and baked goods are perfection, and there's usually a line for them at the counter. They also have full service dining for brunch and lunch. Treat yourself at one of their two locations!
After any 3 hour-plus flight, we like to hydrate with a freshly made juice or smoothie. Since One Lucky Duck here closed (R.I.P.), we found a very worthy replacement in Urth Juice Bar. Avocados in a smoothie is pretty much the best thing ever, and now, we can't have one without!
We love the delicious vegetarian and kosher food at green, and we also love what they stand for -- an all-green lifestyle. They strive to be a truly sustainable restaurant using energy-efficient ways of operating including having a thermal roof barrier, a cistern to catch rainwater, using recycled kitchen equipment and biodegradable packaging. Now with two locations in SA and expanded to Houston, we're glad their brand of 'green' is catching on in Texas.
One of our favorites for Tex-Mex and Mexican, we're lucky to have Los Valles Produce just down the street from the SAS factory. Their tortilla chips are the thick crunchy kind and they're addictive, as is the salsa that comes with. We also like their tortas, tacos, fajita platters, and horchata (their menu is pretty extensive). Oh, and did we mention it's fast and more than affordable? Perfect for a quick and delicious sit-down lunch.
A former 19th century brewery, Hotel Emma is the epicenter of the Pearl District. Its renovations and interiors rival any NYC or LA boutique hotel, with a Texas twist (think lots of leather armchairs and restored wagon wheels as decor), and the food and drink are also no exception. Supper is its restaurant which offers farm-to-table New American and we especially like having a cocktail, or two, at Sternewirth, the hotel's bar. There you can lounge in one of their steel barrels-turned-semiprivate booths, one of many salvaged elements transformed as an homage to the former brewery.
Founded by Marion McNay in 1954, the McNay Art Museum was the first modern art museum to open in Texas. Housed in McNay's Spanish-colonial style home, with an added exhibition space designed by French architect Jean-Paul Viguier, the museum showcases over 20,000 works of mostly 19th to 21st century European and American paintings and also includes some Medieval and Renaissance art. A highlight was the Southwestern art wing with works and decorative arts by members of the Taos Society of Artists, one of which is a favorite of ours, Georgia O'Keeffe.
Texas is known for having quite a bat population, and where there are bats, there are caves. The Natural Bridge Caverns are one of the largest natural caverns in Texas, and it certainly does not disappoint. The natural formations are awe-inspiring and makes you feel like you're on some alien-inhabited planet or, more accurately at times, inside of an alien being itself. They offer many different guided tours and is worth the half hour's drive north of the city.
We discovered the ingenious self-started yoga company that is MobileOm a few trips back and have attended classes on every visit to SA since. The idea is to practice yoga where it makes most sense -- outside in visually-inspiring and calming settings. MobileOm is literally 'mobile' as the classes are held in different locations throughout the city. One of our favorite classes is at sundown, on the historical Hayes Street Bridge, a now pedestrian- and bike-only wood slatted bridge that overlooks a distant railroad and the Alamo Brewery.
Hiking is one of the easiest ways to reset ourselves and connect with nature, and we like to do it every chance we get, especially at some place new. Friedrich Wilderness Park is a great respite from the city but still easy and convenient enough to make it a last minute morning outing. Its location at the southern end of Texas Hill Country makes for a nice, hilly hike.
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