Ben and I decided to have an unconventional thanksgiving in 2018, and have a weekend getaway in Texas. To my surprise, it was a delightful experience.
I have to admit, I was not very excited about the choice of location at first, because my ideal escape will always be traveling to the beach, but I went along with it because Ben wanted to do this for reasons that you will understand as you keep reading.
Our trips are short most of the time, due to our regular work and schedules, so we basically had to pull this Weekend Getaway in Texas in 6 days.
We left home on Friday one week, and we return home on Friday morning the following week.
I will tell you, in order to get excited about this weekend getaway in Texas I had to do a lot of research to make sure I was going to have a good time, and that taking this trip was going to be worth the effort and money.
Texas Weekend Getaway Ideas
The main reason for our weekend getaway in Texas was to be in Dallas for Thanksgiving, but I have to be honest with you. I’ve been to Dallas, and I think Dallas is OK, but I was not about to spend a week in Dallas without a good reason.
Being the planner that I am, I started to research and I think I came up with a fair amount of good ideas that I’m going to share with you in this post. Obviously we only able to execute in one for our weekend getaway in Texas ideas, but you might want to consider and explore the other ones.
- Road trip from San Antonio to Dallas
- Road trip from Houston to Dallas
- A week-long in Dallas ( To be fair I had to consider it)
Our chosen weekend getaway in Texas idea was number one above A Road trip from San Antonio to Dallas.
We flew into San Antonio Airport, from Anchorage, AK and spent a couple of days in San Antonio, drove to Austin. Spent couple of days in Austin, drove to Dallas. Did that thing in Dallas, and flew back home.
I’m always checking ticket prices, and I think I’m pretty savvy when it comes to buying them. Sometimes buying two – one way, other times combining airlines (as long as I get miles with all of them), and definitely checking close by airports.
As I mentioned before we flew Alaska Airlines to San Antonio one way. This was an extraordinarily long flight from Anchorage on purpose because I was going to be 67 miles short at the end of the year for Gold MVP, so I decided to route ourselves through Chicago to get an extra 400ish miles.
We rented a car one way in San Antonio and returned it in Dallas. Then we flew from Dallas back to Anchorage.
This ticket was about $200 cheaper per person than buying a round trip to Dallas or San Antonio at the time I bought the tickets.
Our weekend getaway in Texas was a 6 days trip: 2 days in San Antonio, 2 days in Austin, 2 days in Dallas.
Keep reading to see the best things to do in each of these cities.
Weekend in San Antonio.
I lived in Houston in the summer of 2000, while I was in grad school. There is this fond memory in my heart about the tortilla soup that I used to have on the weekends in the San Antonio Market. This soup was so good, that I would drive 4 hours from Houston on a Saturday morning, spend the weekend in San Antonio, just to have this soup.
I mean San Antonio was fun and all, but that soup was amazing.
Ben has never been in San Antonio, so I wanted to make sure he could experience also that amazing tortilla soup. The problem is that I couldn’t remember the exact name of the restaurant, but I was confident I could find it.
After flying all day from Anchorage to San Antonio, via Chicago (so I could get my extra 400 miles) we were exhausted and hungry by the time we checked in into our room at Wyndham La Cascada, located in Dwyer Avenue. I must say, this was a great place to stay: centrally located, clean and cozy. Wyndham La Cascada was the perfect stay for the beginning of our weekend getaway in Texas.
This hotel had valet parking, the staff was super cordial and the location was unbeatable. We were able to walk everywhere, and we felt safe at all kinds of hours during the day and night.
Since it was close to midnight when we checked in, we asked the friendly front desk clerk if by any chance there was a place we could have food. Any food would have done it for us, but as it was meant to be, he recommended us to go to Mi Tierra Cafe y Panaderia, located at 218 Produce Row.
Mi Tierra Cafe y Panaderia opens 24 hours a day, and it was “happening” at 1 am. I mean the place had a full restaurant, a bar, a bakery shop, a gift shop, Mariachis and lots of people. The food was delicious and it’s a must visit place when you go to San Antonio.
The best part of it all is that this was the place I used to go to have that heart melting tortilla soup 18 years ago.
So far, this weekend getaway in Texas has started with the right foot.
Day 1: San Antonio Riverwalk and surroundings:
The next day we got up and decided to head towards the San Antonio Riverwalk, which is an amazing place to eat, drink or sit down and people watch. It has walking sidewalks on both sides which makes it super convenient for walking alongside the river.
There are riverwalk boat tours of the river that you could take also to learn the facts about San Antonio.
We decided for the easy and laid back choice: eat, drink and people watch. However, we did walk to and from the hotel to get there, so that counted as our exercise for the day. About 15 minutes each way.
On the way there, we stopped by La Villita, which is a one-stop for the best artsy shopping experience in San Antonio. It’s literally a block away of the Riverwalk. What it used to be San Antonio’s first neighborhood is today a community of local artists and intriguing custom collections. I definitely recommend stopping here.
There was one thing I couldn’t get over though: The scooters! and I mean this in a good way. I’ve never seen this before going to San Antonio this time, and I thought it was simply brilliant.
They have these self-service scooters all over town, so people can rent them by the hour and cruise around the town. They are electric and get recharged every night. San Antonians considered them another way of transportation, at parity with the bus. (Since going to San Antonio I realized these are all over California as well, and probably other places I’m not aware of)
Our first day in San Antonio was a Sunday, and we did a stop at the Yard House so Ben could watch the Redskins game. That was an adventure, especially since they were playing against the Texans and we were in Texas… but besides that, the Yard house was surprisingly a nice atmosphere, with great food; the Vampire tacos we were a hit and you should definitely try them, and their beer selection was simply overwhelming.
We spent the rest of the day walking around, and we had dinner at Paesanos, an Italian Restaurant at the Riverwalk, which looked great and fancy, but I didn’t think it was that great. It was just OK, so I wouldn’t go back… I’m sorry!
Day 2: The Alamo and Shopping
Our second and last day in San Antonio, we went to The Alamo. Ben wanted to go, and I just wanted to make sure he could also have a say in the itinerary, so I happily got the tickets for us to go.
Before getting to the Alamo, we stop at the cutest restaurant (which apparently is an institution in San Antonio) and had one of the best waffles I’ve ever tried in my life. The place is called the Gutner House and it has a museum and gift shop on the premises. Never mind about those two things which we were great, but the waffles we were amazing!
Back to the Alamo day trip, I have to say, I’m so glad we went; and I can’t wait to take my kids back to San Antonio (not for a couple weekend getaway, but for a family weekend getaway in Texas) so they can learn and appreciate all the history that lays in that town.
The Alamo is very reasonably priced and it’s well worth every second you spend there. Don’t rush it. Take your time, so you can breathe in the history of such an important place.
After our 2 – 3 hours visit at the Alamo, he headed towards our next stop: Austin, but not before I got to experience some shopping at The San Marcos Premium Outlets, which was conveniently located on our way to Austin.
Gentlemen, you might want to reconsider skipping this stop. I thought I was going shopping, but at the end of the day, Ben got a lot more shopping done than I did, and he is not exactly the shopper type.
This is a great stop if you want to drive from San Antonio to Austin like we did in your weekend getaway in Texas, and enjoy super amazing deals from great brand stores.
What to do in Austin Texas
At last, after some shopping therapy, we arrived at our second stop on our weekend getaway in Texas: Austin, which is a place I actually have never been before this trip.
We stayed at the Wyndham Austin in 8th St, which was the perfect location to walk everywhere. Austin is a walking city, and you should consider that when booking your accommodations.
The Wyndham Austin was nice, classy and conveniently located. The staff was amazing too.
We arrived around 4 pm into Austin, and we had dinner reservations to go to 3 Forks, which is a super nice and upscale steak house. To be honest, I have mixed feelings about this place. The food was good, but I’ve had better steaks; the staff and the ambiance were sophisticated but for the love of God they couldn’t get my drink right.
However, on the last day, we went to a restaurant called Red Ash on Colorado St. O-M-G. Still, today, I believe having dinner at Red Ash was the highlight of our Weekend Getaway in Texas.
We tried to make reservations in an open table, but we couldn’t so we walked there and try to get seated right at opening, but it was completely full, so we sat at the bar where we were able to enjoy the full menu.
The food in Red Ash was simply delicious. One of those where you just want to lick the plate. The bartender was friendly and nice, the house Chianti was great. When I go back to Austin, I’m definitely going back to Red Ash and if you go to Austin, or if you are in Austin and you haven’t tried Red Ash, trust me… you need to.
Day 4: The Texas Capitol and Rainey St.
This day we went to breakfast at Walton’s Fancy and Staples. This place was amazing. The breakfast menu was long, the food was tasty, and we didn’t realize this until later but they had a spirts’ menu for breakfast too.
The neatest thing about the place is that it was founded by Sandra Bullock and it reminded me of a place that would exist in a very small town because the place was a restaurant, it had an all-day happy hour, but it also had flowers, gifts and offered catering. A super neat place that I highly recommend.
Austin is the Capital of Texas, and since we were there for our weekend getaway in Texas, we decided to tour the Capitol after finishing breakfast at Waltons. I have to confess, not my thing to do; but I’m so glad we went.
The building was beautiful, the marble floors, the old wooden stairways, the pictures of all the governors. It was super educational and free.
The grounds of The Capitol were clean and pretty, and we were blessed with this amazing sunny day and blue skies so I was able to take a website perfect picture of it.
People we recommended us to go to Rainey St, and 6th St; and categorized both as the “happening places”, so we walked from the Capitol to Rainey St. about 30 minutes walk.
This walk was great for the exercise, but be aware that there were few blocks at the end that felt a bit sketchy for my taste. The worst of all is that we didn’t realize that Rainey street was the “happening place” at night, not quite at 1 pm, so there wasn’t much of anything even opened at the time we got there. So, that was a bit of a disappointment. We hit 6th St on our way back but in my opinion, it wasn’t my cup of tea. I enjoyed more of the area closer to the hotel.
Day 5: Final Austin sightseeing and drive to Dallas
On our final day in Austin, we had breakfast at 1886 Cafe and Bakery located at the Driskill Hotel. This place was very tasty and eclectic. The only downside is that the orders took a while to come out, so if you are hungry maybe you should consider twice going here. However, if you are looking for a place with a nice atmosphere and you are in no rush, this is a place for you to consider.
Since it was the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, and we were driving to Dallas, we decided to leave Austin right after breakfast, especially since we’ve heard there was some construction in the highway on top of the already 3 plus hours commute.
In the end, the drive was OK, even though it took us close to 4 hours including the construction delays. On our way to Dallas I really wanted to stop by Magnolia to see Chip and Joanna (the stars from Fixer Upper) store, but since we were already late to meet some friends we didn’t stop.
Best attractions in Dallas
So here is the grand reveal and the main reason we decided to go to Texas for Thanksgiving. We had tickets to go see the football game on Thanksgiving Day between the Cowboys and Redskins.
We got into Dallas on Wednesday, met some friends for dinner and we stayed at the airport hotel because our flight Friday morning was super early. That worked out perfectly.
On Thanksgiving day, we went for lunch to Mercury Chop House (in Arlington, TX close to the AT&T Stadium). They had a choice of a Thanksgiving menu or their regular menu. We decided on the regular menu and had the most tender and amazing Prime Rib. I totally recommend it.
After such an amazing lunch, we headed towards the AT&T Stadium to end our Weekend Getaway in Texas in style, because we had floor passes to go into the field before the game. That was truly an unforgettable experience.
The Redskins lost the game, sadly for Ben; but being able to experience such an ionic game for the United States: The traditional Dallas Cowboys Thanksgiving Game, and watch Ben’s team as the pinnacle of our amazing trip was simply priceless.
This is what we love to do.
We love to travel, and we take any excuse we can get to make a trip a memorable experience. An experience that enriches our relationship and our lives, because Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer.
Of course, there are many things we could have done in our Weekend Getaway in Texas that we didn’t do, but the beauty of it all is that we can always go back, and you can always experience a weekend getaway in Texas too.
You can go as a couple, or you can go as a family. The decision is yours.
Other Weekend Getaway in Texas ideas
As I mentioned before, I know there are things we didn’t get to do, and so I always keep a running list of things of our next opportunity to have a weekend getaway in Texas.
The ideas I have so far are:
- Houston and Cruising out of Galveston to the Western Caribbean
- Houston, South Padre Island and Galveston
- Go back to Austin in the summer to see the bats at Congress bridge (we missed them by few weeks, as apparently, the bats go to Mexico in the winter)
- Go back to San Antonio for a family weekend getaway and go to SeaWorld, and Schlitterbahn Waterpark in New Braunfels
If you have any other ideas of things to do for a weekend getaway in Texas, please leave us a comment below with your suggestions.