Whether it’s art, live music, nightlife or anything in between, one of my favorite aspects of San Antonio living is that there is never a shortage of things to do. Nevertheless, in a city as big as San Antonio, it can be hard to navigate the waters without a guide. Here is my list of the latest and greatest things to do in the Alamo City:
- First Friday/Second Saturday
On the first Friday of every month, the art galleries along South Alamo Street and in the Blue Star Arts Complex open their doors to the public for late night exhibition openings and art talks. South Alamo Street itself becomes a giant block party, featuring live music, food and local crafts for sale.
First Friday is a great introduction to the art scene near downtown San Antonio, but the real fun comes with Second Saturday, headquartered at the 1906 Gallery space on South Flores Street. Like First Friday, Second Saturday includes free gallery openings and live music, but on a much larger scale, spanning from the 1906 to surrounding galleries and bars in the area. Impress your friends with your impeccable taste in contemporary art, and grab a taco from Fajita Rita’s food truck while you’re at it.
A little-known fact around campus is that Trinity students receive free admission to the McNay Art Museum and the San Antonio Museum of Art (SAMA). SAMA is big enough to lose yourself in for a few hours, and also collaborates with Trinity’s radio station to host Art Party on the second Friday of every month. The events feature live music, food and drinks and viewings of their special exhibitions. SAMA also hosts sketching exercises in their galleries and meditation in their Japanese Gallery.
The McNay is a gorgeous museum housed in the mansion of a former art collector, and it’s worth going just to see the sculpture garden and the beautifully maintained grounds. The McNay hosts Second Thursdays on””you guessed it””the second Thursday of every month, featuring free museum admission and live music and food trucks on their spacious lawn. Trinity students also have access to the McNay’s expansive library, perfect for your art history final or just pure viewing pleasure.
- Movie Screenings
San Antonio hosts numerous free indoor and outdoor movie screenings, both mainstream and bizarre. Slab Cinema is the most popular, featuring outdoor movies at Woodlawn Lake, Hemisfair Park, the San Antonio Botanical Gardens and at the restored Mission Marquee drive-in theatre. Burleson Yard screens what I like to dub “modern classics” every Monday night, and for the more adventurous, the Paper Tiger hosts Beer Fang’s VHS Cinema every Tuesday night, presenting weird, wacky and obscure VHS movies that would otherwise be lost to public memory.
With the cost of going to the movies skyrocketing, San Antonio offers an alternative that’s both culturally rich and easy on the wallet.
- Farmers Markets
With new markets popping up every week, San Antonio is experiencing somewhat of a farmer’s market renaissance. The most popular is the tried and true Pearl Farmer’s Market on Saturday and Sunday mornings. Parking is a hassle, but it’s easily reachable by bike or even very motivated walking, and there’s a great mix of organic and local food vendors to check out””you know, for sustenance. Don’t miss the crepe stand.
Of course, if you’re looking for a truly great farmer’s market, there’s no need to look farther than Trinity’s backyard. The new Trinity Market takes place on Saturdays from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. in the parking lot behind the library and features organic produce, natural health and wellness products and fitness activities sponsored by TUFit.
Especially for students without a car, Trinity’s market is a great opportunity to bounce back from a late night with a healthy (and convenient) organic breakfast.
- Hidden Gems
These are the true beauties, the all-stars that didn’t quite fit into any category but are definitely worth mentioning.
The karaoke nights at the Limelight and at Tomatillo’s are not to be missed, and it’s probably better that you don’t see those places in the daylight anyway.
Afterwards, pick up a three-pound cinnamon roll at Lulu’s 24-hour diner for your friends, or just for yourself””I won’t tell. Hit up Hot Joy on Wednesday nights for six dollar wing specials, and bring a first date to the Toilet Seat Art Museum for an experience they’ll never forget.
If you’re feeling athletic, but not too athletic, take advantage of the unlimited bowling during College Night at Bowlero.
Lastly, get a great view of the San Antonio sunset from Artpace Gallery’s rooftop concert series and take in the San Antonio skyline. If you’ve done even half of these things, you’ll know what a great place San Antonio is.