A little more than eleven years ago, Rod and I met at a conference at a hotel on the San Antonio River Walk. San Antonio is just 80 miles south of Austin, making it a great day trip or weekend get-away location. We spent a couple nostalgic days showing the dogs around the city where this adventure really got started.
When you see a place with your dogs, it’s like seeing it for the first time. Though Rod and I had been to San Antonio twice before, we didn’t have a feel for how the city would rate on pet friendliness. We were excited to find out that San Antonio’s popular tourist attraction – the River Walk – is entirely pet friendly!
Actually a public park, the River Walk is more than 5 miles of paved walkways, passes and bridges. Parts are lined with restaurants, shops and businesses. Other sections are so quiet and green, you could easily forget you’re in a city.
Durty Nelly’s, where Rod and I had our first drink together, is a fun bar right in the thick of things. The salty piano player draws the crowds here, and like most bars and restaurants on the River Walk, they have outdoor seating with a view of the river – the perfect perch for people watching.
We learned that San Antonio has some interesting rules when it comes to dogs and restaurants. Lori, currently a San Antonio resident and author of the blog, According to Gus, told us that restaurants with pet friendly outdoor seating areas must obtain a special permit from the city. This requirement has caused many eateries to be “unofficially” pet friendly – meaning that if you ask, your pet will likely be welcome, but the restaurant won’t be advertising the fact.
Finding a pet friendly hotel in San Antonio will not be a problem – we have more than 125 listed on the GoPetFriendly.com website. There are also plenty of pet friendly campgrounds to choose from. We stayed at Traveler’s World RV Resort, which was a nice park close to downtown. They have an off-leash area and are right on the hike and bike path (though both were closed during our visit due to improvements being made to the path). It’s also on the bus line, which makes it easy to get downtown without worrying about RV parking!
Evenings on the River Walk are crowded, and there is no barrier that would prevent you or your pup from falling in the river. While it’s not deep, it wouldn’t be a pleasant way to end your evening. If your pooch is like ours – too big for a pocket book and without a firm grasp on the concept of “heel” – I suggest avoiding the throngs. Either stroll the downtown section during the day, or check out the new Museum Reach Extension for a real treat.
Beautifully landscaped and far less populated, the Museum Reach Extension runs 2.5 miles from downtown out to Pearl Brewery, a museum and the site of the Culinary Institute of America.
If you’re driving there is also plenty of parking around the Pearl, which is located just off Broadway at Newell Avenue. There are few cafes and restaurants on the Museum Reach Extension, so pick up a picnic lunch at the food market near the entrance to the River Walk and enjoy the scenery!
More recently we visited San Antonio to explore the dog friendly sites beyond the River Walk.