Pet Travel. Made Easy.

Dog Friendly San Antonio: Beyond the River Walk

As I mentioned last week, our tour of dog friendly Texas Hill Country was inspired by an impromptu getaway to San Antonio. Rod and I met there a tad more than thirteen years ago, so it’s a sentimental place for us and we’ve been there several times. For reasons I cannot explain, not once during those previous visits did we venture beyond the River Walk. Don’t get me wrong – the River Walk is absolutely lovely, completely pet friendly, and in many places quite peaceful – but on this trip we vowed to expand our horizons and explore some of the city’s other offerings. We were not disappointed …

King William Area Walking Tour

King William Area - San Antonio, TX

For two people who live in an RV, we are alarmingly attracted to residential architecture – so it’s no surprise that a walking tour of the historic mansions in the King William district jumped right to the top of our list of things to do. Just south of downtown and easy walking distance from our hotel, this area was settled by successful German merchants in the late 1800s. Brochures with a map and a paragraph or two about each of the 46 homes on the tour can be found at the Anton Wulff House (pictured above) at 107 King William Street.

King William Area - San Antonio, TX King William Area - San Antonio, TX

We spent all morning strolling the quiet streets, admiring all the different design styles, and learning a bit about the area’s history. If your pup gets thirsty, there is a doggy water fountain in King William Park near the bandstand. On this particular day, the doggy fountain barely produced a trickle, so Buster tried the people fountain – Ty was too appalled to watch.

King William Area - San Antonio, TX King William Area - San Antonio, TX

The Carl H. Guenther House and Pioneer Flower Mills, which overlook the River Walk as it winds south, are conveniently located about half way through the tour. The grounds are not pet friendly, but there is a restaurant where you can pick up something to go. We took turns waiting with the boys while the other one went inside to look around the open areas of the house and place our order. (Note: the peach tea and strudel are killer.)

King William Area - San Antonio, TX

King William Area - San Antonio, TXAfter three hours out and about, the dogs were getting close to the overstimulation threshold and needed a break, so we started back toward the hotel to decompress.

La Villita

On the way, we wandered through La Vallita (The Little Village), which is one of the original settlements of San Antonio. Surrounded by a thick protective wall, the adobe houses have been restored and now contain shops, galleries, and small restaurants. The open plazas and narrow streets make it easy to imagine what living here might have been like for the pioneers.

La Villita - San Antonio, TX La Villita - San Antonio, TX La Villita - San Antonio, TX

San Fernando Cathedral

Cathedrals don’t usually make appearances on Take Paws – because they’re rarely pet friendly – but the gorgeous piazza in front of San Fernando Cathedral deserves a mention. It’s the perfect place to settle in with a cup of coffe and do a little people watching. Or you could read the intriguing history of the oldest cathedral sanctuary in the U.S. as you rest in the shadow of its spires.

San Fernando Cathedral - San Antonio, TX San Fernando Cathedral - San Antonio, TX

HemisFair Park

The 750-foot Tower of the Americas makes HemisFair Park a cinch to spot from anywhere in the city. The 92-acre park was created for the 1968 world’s fair, and I imagine the views from the tower’s observation deck and restaurant are spectacular. We enjoyed this green oasis in the middle of the city from the ground – admiring the tower’s underside and the fountain gardens around it’s base.

HemisFair Park - San Antonio, TX HemisFair Park - San Antonio, TX HemisFair Park - San Antonio, TX HemisFair Park - San Antonio, TX

Pet Friendly Hotel Choice

The pet friendly Drury Plaza Hotel was our choice for this trip. Not only do they welcome Ty and Buster without weight restrictions or additional fees, their prices are reasonable, they’re located right on the River Walk, and that nighttime photo of the cathedral above was taken from our terrace! Throw in the free breakfast, evening appetizers and drinks, and wifi and you understand why Drury is one of our favorite hotel chains.

Converted from an old bank, this hotel has all kinds of character. However, incorporating the old with the new often complicates the logistics and that is the source of our one and only complaint. The new rooms (with the terraces) are located in an addition to the old building, which means the trip to your room involves one elevator ride, followed by a trek down a winding hallway, followed by another elevator ride. If your pooch has a weak bladder, you might be better off requesting accommodations in the original part of the hotel.

Drury Plaza Riverwalk - San Antonio, TX Riverwalk - San Antonio, TX

Next Time

Now that we’ve taken a peek at some of the other sites in San Antonio, I think I’m ready to head back to the River Walk. That shot looking south from the Pioneer Flour Mills has me interested in getting away from the hustle and bustle of downtown and experiencing some of the quiet stretches and neighborhoods along the path. I’d also like to get out to Brackenridge Park – it looks like it might be similar to Forest Park in St. Louis, which we loved.

If you know of a pet friendly place in the area that we missed, please leave your tips below so other pet travelers can find it!

Planning a pet friendly trip of your own? We’ll make it easy:
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  • David says:

    It’s too bad you guys didn’t make it up inside the Tower. It’s the best view in town. I’m actually interested in climbing up via the stairs!

    My dog and I have hiked all over the city, mostly through its parks and riverwalk. It’s incredible how much history some of the parks have. Also, the riverwalk works in a very unique and fascinating way.

    I recently completed a guide which goes into great detail, and contains many photos of all the hiking opportunities. Yes, Brackenridge is also a very popular, dog friendly, and family friendly place. It’s near the head of the San Antonio river, it’s a wooded-urban combo, and is filled with attractions. The Tea Garden is dog friendly, but the Botanical Garden only allows dogs during special Dog Day Weekends.

    Do you guys travel to Texas State Parks as well? Which is your favorite? We’ve been to several, but are far away from the more popular ones. We’re thinking about transitioning to a traveling lifestyle one day, but for now we are glued to San Antonio, which isn’t a bad thing!

    • Amy at says:

      Thanks so much for your note, David! There’s some great information here for us and other pet lovers who visit your lovely city. We haven’t seen enough Texas state parks to pick a favorite – it’s something we look forward to doing more in the future. Thanks again, and waggin’ trails to you!

  • You bet, Bobby Lupher – that’s what we’re here for!

  • Bobby Lupher says: Thanks

  • Yes, the last time we were there, dogs were allowed on the river boats, Bobby. We hope you have a great trip!

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