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We were just at the Hyatt Wild Oak 2 weeks ago and loved it. We had a most enjoyable dinner at the Fig Tree restaurant on the Riverwalk. It is relatively pricey but the food was excellent and the setting was spectacular - tiered outdoor tables on a hill in a beautiful setting overlooking and leading down to the Riverwalk. Some of the tables have a view of the Mexican Ballet Folklorico dance show performed at the amphitheater next door. For inexpensive BBQ we loved Rudy's which is very close to the Hyatt.
The Fig Tree sounds great. We are really looking forward to our trip. I wondered about Los Barrios in that Chow Hound people think it is a must go kind of place but then I have read reviews where people were very disappointed. It's nice to get a recommendation or two that are recent, like yours is. I also want to go to the big grocery store, Central Market, a branch of which I have seen in Houston. We don't have anything like that or Whole Foods where we live and it is fun to shop at a place like that.
We also enjoyed the Mexican restaurant Mi Tierra at Market Square. Besides the food and drinks they have an excellent bakery. I think you will enjoy San Antonio and the Hyatt Wild Oak very much. Don't know anything about Los Barrios.
The layout of Central Market in San Antonio is much different from that of the Houston location. The San Antonio store is a large supermarket, much like any large Safeway or Kroger store, rather than the conglomeration of smaller rooms that characterizes the Houston store. The good news is that the selection of items in San Antonio is just as large, if not larger than the Houston store.
One of the workers in the San Antonio store told me that Charles Butts himself visits from time to time, to insure that things are running smoothly.
What day of the week and time of day do you expect to be getting into town?
In general, unless you are arriving in the 7-9 am timeframe or the 4-7 pm timeframe on a weekday, you can go right through town. Just continue on I-10 West right into the middle of town. Then get on Hwy 90 W, which is right where I-10 takes a sharp turn north and it is the same as I-35 for a little bit. Wild Oak isn't too far from where Hwy. 90 intersects 1604, so when you go back in town to the Riverwalk or other central stuff, you will get back on 90 East. If you end up on 410 anyway, 410 around the south has less traffic than 410 around the north side. There is also some construction on 410 north of I-10.
Also, I haven't heard of Los Barrios. But, honestly, in this part of the country, Mexican restaurants are a dime a dozen, and I don't think there are huge differences between a lot of them. I just now scanned some reviews of Los Barrios on Tripadvisor, and they were pretty mixed. I would recommend Mi Tierra or one of the ones on the Riverwalk, unless you are a conniseur (ok, I didn't bother to look up how to spell that) who can tell subtle differences.
San Antonio is fun. When are you going? If you are going to be there for a week, there are good day trips, also.
The trips you might be interested in will depend on where you are from and where you have been before, probably, but I will list some options:
1. Fredericksburg is a small German-heritage town northwest of San Antonio (about an hour's drive) that is a popular destination for visiting shops and restaurants. There is also the Museum of the War of the Pacific there (don't know exact new name - it used to be called the Nimitz Museum).
2. In association with a trip to Fredericksburg or separate, there are numerous wineries in the general area of Fredericksburg.
3. My personal vote as the most beautiful drive in the eastern 2/3 of Texas is on 337 between Medina and Vanderpool, west of San Antonio.
4. Gruene is a small town just on the north edge of San Antonio that has lots of little shops, some restaurants, and Gruene Hall, the oldest dance hall in Texas. On Sundays, there is free music all day until the admission-required evening shows start (which are also great!).
5. Austin is to the north about an hour or 1.5 hr. It is not as tourist-oriented as San Antonio, but the capital building/tour and grounds are interesting, as is the Bullock Museum of Texas History. The Henry Ransom Center (free) is small, but has rotating exhibits from its collections. The Elisabet Ney Museum (scupture) is a small, often overlooked museum that is pretty interesting. There are lots of restaurants downtown, but not so many shops. For quirky shops, go to South Congress, just across the river from downtown. There are plentiful restaurants there, also.
6. If you like barbecue, there are many small towns in central Texas that have great barbecue. Between San Antonio and Austin is Lockhart, which has both Black's and Kreutz. Both are good (although I prefer Kreutz!).
7. A little farther afield, Corpus Christi is about 2 hours south, on the coast. It has the U.S.S. Lexington aircraft carrier, which has a lot of historical information and is interesting to see, as you can visit much of the ship. There is a nice waterfront with some decent restaurants, etc. Not much shopping.
We live in Baytown, Texas, which is about 30 miles east of Houston on I-10. Our last trip to San Antonio was to evacuate a sick relative due to Hurricane Ike. Usually, we go to San Antonio because my wife likes the River Walk. I refer to it as the Retail Walk. However, the River Walk is quite charming and there are numerous good places to eat. There are several historic hotels in the near the Alamo. The Menger Hotel is right next door. The bar at the Menger is where Teddy Roosevelt recuited the Rough Riders. I love to sit inside that bar eventhough I am not a drinking man. It is the second most beautiful bar I have ever seen. The most beautiful bar I have ever seen is in the Tremont Hotel in Galveston. Unfortunately, I do not yet know what condition it is in since Hurricane Ike.
I have taken my wife for her birthday in October to Galveston on many occasions. This year we are going to Marble Falls. This beautiful little town in the hill country reminds me of Colorado. It's about a 20-30 minute drive from Fredricksburg, which has also been mentioned in this thread. Marble Falls is a direct shot from San Antonio if you go north on 281.
If you want to go to Fredricksburg, you would take I-10 West to 87 North. Fredricksburg is by intersection of 87 North and 290. If you were to continue a little bit west on 1-10 past North, you would run into Kerrville. I have friends I worked within Baytown, who have chosen to retire in Kerville and in Marble Falls. Both towns are really lovely.
We just got back from Hyatt Wild Oak in San Antonio. Previous posters were right: it is a lovely place and we enjoyed it very much. One of the high points of the trip was the drive from Medina to Vanderpool on 337 and walking at Lost Maples Natural Area. Favorite meal was at Chuy's which is also in Austin and Houston. It is Tex-Mex and very fresh tasting. There are a million taquerias and other Mexican places to eat. Los Cocos, a fruteria, was highly recommended but we didn't get to it. We ate at Chacho's which was extremely noisy and chaotic. If I went there again, I would go for the "Pile of Nachos" and a margarita.