Malú Alvarez

Just in time for the Alamo’s 175th Anniversary, T+L heads to San Antonio’s Riverfront.

Stirling Kelso

Stay

Guests wake up to Cuban espresso and sweet Mexican pastries at the 27-room Hotel Havana (doubles from $149), set in a newly restored 1914 hacienda. Twenty minutes from downtown, the JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa (doubles from $259) is one of the brand’s newest (and largest) properties, with 1,002 rooms done in leather, wood, and stone, six restaurants, a 26,000-square-foot spa, two golf courses, a greenhouse, nature trails—even a water park.

Eat

Chef Johnny Hernandez spent seven years in Mexico researching the country’s street foods for La Gloria (dinner for two $45). Grab a seat on one of the patios for potent lime margaritas followed by a sope, a crispy tortilla topped with spicy chicharrones (pork rinds), or skirt steak served in a molcajete (stone bowl). At the neighborhood’s new Il Sogno (dinner for two $110), industrial floor-to-ceiling windows offer views of the kitchen where chef Andrew Weissman whips up seasonal Italian plates, including house-made crostini and pasta allo zafferano—mussels, shrimp, and pancetta with saffron cream sauce.

Shop

In the same building as Il Sogno, cookbook author Melissa Guerra stocks hard-to-find housewares from Central and South America and Mexico at her Tienda de Cocina. Molinillos, hand-carved milk frothers from Mexico, and Chilean clay earthenware pots make useful souvenirs.

Art Scene

City officials have plans to extend the San Antonio River Walk to 15 miles by 2013. Phase one, which was completed in May 2009, already connects Pearl Brewery to the heart of downtown. The walkway, now four miles long, passes the San Antonio Museum of Art, Donald Lipski sculptures, and glow-in-the-dark murals by Mark Schlesinger.

Hotel Havana

When Liz Lambert opened Austin’s San José and St. Cecilia, she almost single-handedly revived two fledgling neighborhoods. Now the Texas pioneer has set her sights on San Antonio, breathing new life into a grand Mediterranean Revival castle on a wooded stretch of the Riverwalk district. The 27-room Hotel Havana’s tufted-velvet recamiers and club chairs and acres of dark Bastrop-pine floors create a breezy colonial feel. And it’s no surprise that the hotel’s bar—with red votives and dark, bordello-like nooks—is the city’s top spot for a nightcap.

Il Sogno

Industrial floor-to-ceiling windows offer views of the kitchen where chef Andrew Weissman whips up seasonal Italian plates, including house-made crostini and pasta allo zafferano—mussels, shrimp, and pancetta with saffron cream sauce.

San Antonio River Walk

Why It’s Cool: This granddaddy of river walks charms with four miles of cypress-lined cobble- and-flagstone paths along both sides of the narrow San Antonio River. Locals and visitors cool off on the horseshoe-shaped loop downtown, meandering past trendy shops and stopping at hot spots like Boudro’s for a prickly-pear margarita and guacamole prepared tableside.

Don’t Miss: The Museum Reach river walk section, which opened in 2009 and stretches 1.7 miles north, passes the San Antonio Museum of Art. Landscaped with native plants and small water cascades, the route features art installations under every bridge.

JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa

Twenty minutes from downtown, the resort is one of the brand’s newest (and largest) properties, with 1,002 rooms done in leather, wood, and stone, six restaurants, a 26,000-square-foot spa, two golf courses, a greenhouse, nature trails—even a water park.

La Gloria, San Antonio

Chef Johnny Hernandez spent seven years in Mexico researching the country's street foods for this restaurant. Grab a seat on one of the patios for potent lime margaritas followed by a sope, a crispy tortilla topped with spicy chicharrones (pork rinds), or skirt steak served in a molcajete (stone bowl).

Tienda de Cocina

Cookbook author Melissa Guerra stocks hard-to-find housewares from Central and South America and Mexico. Molinillos, hand-carved milk frothers from Mexico, and Chilean clay earthenware pots make useful souvenirs.

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