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Best of SA 2013: 4/24/2013
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City Guide 2013

Cycling San Anto

Photo: Photo by Michael Barajas, License: N/A

Photo by Michael Barajas


You'll finish sweatier, dirtier and smell like the receiving end of a VIA bus tailpipe. But biking is, and will remain, the best way to move in and around downtown San Antonio. Expect more of us traveling to and from work, running errands, or heading out at night on two wheels as SA continues to grow in a bike-friendly way. While navigating the traffic outside the city center remains risky, the streets in and around downtown sport ever-increasing bike lanes, and businesses continue to set up racks hoping to reel in the two-wheel traffic. Ride defensively (and with a helmet, I'm obliged to say), and the worst you'll likely face is a lame remark from some asshole motorist, like, "Get a car, hippie!" – Michael Barajas

EAST SIDE

The recently revived Hays Street Bridge has grown into a mecca of sorts for SA cyclists. Closed in 1982 and slated for demolition by 1994, preservationists helped revive Hays and re-open it in 2010, and now the bridge connects downtown to the city's woefully under-traveled East Side. For afternoon rides, fill up at nearby Boneshakers, known for good eats and killer Texas microbrews on tap. Or pack a bag to eat and booze it up on the bridge itself (my obvious preference). From Hays, cross the bridge east and explore Dignowity Hill. You can head south on Palmetto to peruse a handful of intriguing East Side cemeteries. Heading west on Commerce will loop you right back around into downtown proper.

More than just a microcosm of everything San Antonio's striving to become (a city of multi-use development, hip shops, top-notch dining, and bougie apartments), the Pearl's a good start for any fun weekend ride. Within biking distance from virtually anywhere downtown, you can stop in for a rest, or keep heading east for coffee and pastries at Bakery Lorraine. From there, head out into the East Side, or hop one street over to Josephine to catch the Museum Reach bike path. After winding through a golf course, it'll spit you out right at the south end of Brackenridge Park. Grab lunch at nearby W.D. Deli, get a good book at Half Price Books, and find a spot to read in Brackenridge Park before biking back downtown.

WEST SIDE

If you want public art, bike out to the near West Side. My preferred route from downtown is west on Martin Street, biking past the Bexar County jail and homeless shelter Haven for Hope, then heading south on Colorado until you hit Guadalupe. In and around the Guadalupe Street corridor, venerable West Side institution San Anto Cultural Arts has commissioned and catalogued over 40 murals on the sides of apartments, schools, and local businesses. Contact San Anto Cultural Arts for a list of locations, or see if you can hook up with one of the organization's Saturday morning mural bike tours.

SOUTHTOWN / MISSION REACH

So much has grown up around Southtown/King William in recent years that roaming the area is almost self-explanatory. But in case you need the help, here are some staples that are always stocked with really, really good beer: the Tap Room at the Filling Station, the Friendly Spot, or the Blue Star Brewery. From Blue Star, you can head straight out onto the newly expanded Mission Reach. Take the path down for miles along the river, or detour at any of the marked stops to see all the Spanish Colonial Missions — all, that is, except the Mission de San Antonio de Valero, or the Alamo, as it's known.

CRITICAL MASS

Most days, there's little reason to bike past the Alamo, except for maybe to buzz some tourists as they confusedly cross the street like a lost puppy. But the last Friday of each month cyclists from all over town converge on Alamo Plaza at 9 p.m. and ride out into the city. When it's well attended, the ride resembles a true Critical Mass-like event, with cyclists filling and shutting down streets. Each month, the route is undetermined (or at least unannounced), so come prepared for what could be a long ride. Also, the crew takes several pit stops in parks or parking lots along the way, so BYOB.

City Guide 2013
  • Groveling For a Grocer Downtown San Antonio has an ever-expanding roster of eat spots – from food trucks to high dining – to choose from, but good luck finding somewhere to stock up... | 2/28/2013
  • Wonder Twins Julián Castro quickly rocketed past the heights of political celebrity Henry Cisneros, San Antonio's once best-known mayor, reached in the 1980s. | 2/28/2013
  • VIA Buses A public transit system that is extensive and useful, and extensively used, has long been one of the hallmarks of a thriving metropolis. For over 30 years... | 2/28/2013
  • Cycling San Anto You'll finish sweatier, dirtier and smell like the receiving end of a VIA bus tailpipe. But biking is, and will remain, the best way to move in and around... | 2/28/2013
  • Walk the City Creeks Sure, you know the River Walk, and may have explored the Mission Reach that strikes south from the Blue Star Complex towards the green land surrounding... | 2/28/2013
  • Santikos Bijou Once dubbed "Ramboville" by movie distributors who assume that its taste in movies is not subtle, San Antonio boasts many state-of-the-art facilities for viewing... | 2/28/2013
  • Museums A city without museums is hardly a town, and though San Antonio prides itself on retaining a small-town feel, our museums are known internationally — as... | 2/28/2013
  • Live Music With national and regional talent taking increasing notice, and local heroes making the big time, it will soon be impossible for even the staunchest... | 2/28/2013
  • Walley Films rolls camera, takes action, and visits Tía Chuck Meet Mark and Angela Walley, the dynamic dyad of arts advocates and documentarians professionally known as Walley Films. After studying film at Northwest Vista... | 2/28/2013
  • On Stage Community theater in SA has roots a century long. Here is our short list of favorite venues, specializing in repertory theater, new works, and... | 2/28/2013
  • Rackspace San Antonio was recently ranked #3 on Forbes' list of New Tech Hot Spots. One of the main companies leading the advance is Rackspace Hosting... | 2/28/2013
  • Green Dreams When we first met Brandon McKelvey two years ago, his food truck was still in construction. "I'm going to put solar panels on this puppy someday... | 2/28/2013
  • Rackspace San Antonio was recently ranked #3 on Forbes' list of New Tech Hot Spots. One of the main companies leading the advance is Rackspace Hosting... | 2/28/2013
  • Early Art School If you want to be an artist, don't wait till college to make your move. Young eyes (and minds) have the best shot at attaining this life/work goal. | 2/28/2013
  • DIY There comes a time, for some people, when working for a company just doesn't make sense anymore — unless it's their own. But the typical business strategy of... | 2/28/2013
  • Flea Markets Here in San Antonio we have fine flea markets, influenced heavily by the vast indoor/outdoor mercados of Mexico. Looking to get a sonogram and a haircut... | 2/28/2013
  • Thrift Shops Whether it be your deep-seeded need for a unique piece for your home or your newfound love for Macklemore that brings you there, thrift shops are the... | 2/28/2013
  • The Cook's Tale Stefan Bowers, Feast Stefan Bowers, the driving food force behind Southtown's Feast, grew up in Berkeley and spent time in the Navy as a rescue swimmer, and then served... | 2/28/2013
  • Southtown Bliss Serving up American cuisine, Mark Bliss' menu rotates, based on availability of seasonal ingredients. Menu staples include the Australian... | 2/28/2013
  • Pearl Anchored by the campus of the Culinary Institute of America, the Pearl is poised to become the city's most concentrated dining destination; quality taken into... | 2/28/2013
  • Eat Local Farmers markets offer an abundance of delights such as charcuterie, fermented foods, salsa plump tomatoes, and select seasonal fruit, and it is a good place... | 2/28/2013
  • Taco Town Tacos for breakfast, tacos for lunch, tacos all the time! SA is awash with taco joints — many are quite good, and most of us have faves. Here are four that continue to amaze with homey goodness. Henry's Puffy Tacos Henry's Puffy Tacos has been a family aff | 2/28/2013
  • Pit Stops Texas is a national contender for BBQ king, with the pits in the Hill Country strong advocates of tradition. But in SA, the trend is towards chef's... | 2/28/2013
  • Vegetarian A list of vegetarian and "veggie-friendly" establishments that will help tender eaters survive in Meat City. | 2/28/2013
  • Michelada Madness The michelada, or 'mixed chela' (chela meaning beer in Spanish), is a type of cerveza preparada that includes varied combinations of lime, beer, tomato juice... | 2/28/2013
  • Cocktails Cocktail culture hit SA with an obsession the last year, with crews of young mixologists (yes it really is a word — from the early 1900s) in eager... | 2/28/2013
  • Microbreweries BRANCHLINE BREWING CO. Branchline Brewing Co. officially opened and started selling beers on the market in early February. A snazzy tasting room is... | 2/28/2013
  • Brewpub Guide Even if you're not a beer aficionado, there's something about drinking a well-crafted brew and a meal only steps away from both were made. In the last... | 2/28/2013
  • Sports Bars Whether you're looking for a place to watch the game or just a place to meet with friends, San Antonio has much to offer in the way of sports bars. The key... | 2/28/2013
  • Dance Clubs When the sun goes down and you're achin' to strap on your dancin' shoes, there's only one thing that can be done: find a spot out on the nearest dance floor... | 2/28/2013
  • Ice Houses The Texas ice house is a steadily disappearing landmark. Once dotting the street corners of San Antonio, much like Starbucks does today, they provided... | 2/28/2013
  • Wine Texas is beer country, but even before the cocktail scene exploded, wine bars were offering an alternative, providing us with a less-rowdy atmosphere to participate in the cult of Bacchus. Here are our steady favorites. | 2/28/2013
  • Fab Finds Desperately seeking a Kabbalah from 1874? Can't sleep without an 'N Sync pillow? For treasure, oddities, and other things you never knew you needed,... | 2/28/2013
  • Dos Carolinas The origin of the guayabera is debatable, but its name likely refers to the Cuban farmers along the Yayabo River who used the shirt's lower pockets to store... | 2/28/2013
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