Our Top Five (Hot!) Destinations for Winter Road Trips, #3

Parts one and two of our series on enticing escapes profiled cities by the sea. For part three, we move inland, though water remains crucial to the fun.

Rustle up the gang; we’re road tripping to: San Antonio.
Why San Antonio?
San Antonio has such an enduring connection to its history that even if you leave it off your itinerary, you’re unlikely to ever forget the Alamo. Still, as one of the country’s fastest-growing cities, San Antonio is speeding toward the future, and some of its best sites merge the historic with the modern.

The San Antonio River Walk crosses the city’s downtown like the sash on a beauty queen, and while portions of the 2.5-mile stretch are now occupied by national chains, there are still venues for those looking for local flavor.

The Esquire Tavern, the oldest bar on the walk, opened in 1933 to celebrate the end of Prohibition. In 2012, the saloon received a James Beard Award nomination for “Outstanding Bar Program.” Stop in for house cocktails like the Aviacíon (tequila, maraschino liqueur, hibiscus and mezcal cordial, lime) that will have you floating down the rest of the river.

Tucked behind the oxbow by South Alamo Street and marked by the Arneson River Theatre is La Villita, one of San Antonio’s oldest neighborhoods, which has evolved into a small arts district celebrating the region’s past. For enthusiasts favoring a more current take, several nearby museums showcase new styles and approaches.

In 1954, the McNay opened as Texas’ first modern art museum, and the collection currently blends works from the Renaissance to the present-day. Blue Star Contemporary Art Museum arose in the 1980s with a grassroots effort to support local artists, and three new exhibits open December 5th. Artpace, located in a former auto dealership, brings creators from across the state and around the world for two-month residencies culminating in eight-week exhibitions.

San Antonio Cocktail Conference, Jan. 16-19
Asian Festival, Feb. 1
San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo, Feb. 6-23

Day Trip
During the day, Luckenbach looks to be little more than a ghost town. But on nights and weekends, the dance hall and outdoor “picker circle” fill with visitors and musicians drawn to the small hamlet with the Texas-sized personality, which has drawn acts like Willie Nelson, Pat Green and Robert Earl Keen.