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Whether you’re an Alamo City native, born and raised here, or you’re visiting the Alamo City for the first (or second or third!) time and want a fantastic guidebook with an insider’s view to San Antonio, Denise Richter’s, “100 Things to do in San Antonio Before You Die,” has something for you. I’ve lived in San Antonio for most of my life and I’m finding all sorts of new-to-me places to visit. Best of all, Denise keeps families in mind while taking readers through our historic town, providing more than 30 fun places and events appealing to kids of all ages (see her Fun with Kids itinerary at the back of the book).
Picking just five of our favorite free (or almost-free) things for families to do from “100 Things to do in San Antonio Before You Die” is no easy challenge. But we pared down a list of must-see places you and your family want to be sure to visit in San Antonio!
“Leave no paleta untried”: page 58
If you’ve lived in San Antonio for any amount of time or if you’ve visited during the summer months, you know: it gets HOT. Which is the perfect excuse to try a cold, delicious paleta or two (or twenty! They’re just 50 cents each or less when you buy in bulk). At the start of the summer, our family visits El Paraiso with an ice chest. We each pick 20 paletas in our favorite flavors (they have more than 20) and we fill our freezer at home with sweet, icy goodness that lasts the whole summer (or maybe only a few weeks – these babies are so good, they disappear quickly!).
“San Antonio’s city parks and natural areas” page 96 and page 109
San Antonio has more than 185 beautiful, clean, and accessible city parks. In 2014, my family and I visited 20 San Antonio parks and San Pedro Springs, San Antonio’s oldest park (and the second oldest in the U.S.), is one of our all-time favorites. In addition to plentiful shade from tall trees, there is a playground, plenty of picnic tables and BBQ grills, and a swimming pool that’s free to use in the summer. And, some San Antonio parks offer free or low-cost events for kids and families. One of our favorites was visiting with snakes at Phil Hardberger Park.
“Browse The Alamo City’s Public Libraries” page 5
There are 27 library branches in San Antonio and every one offers free events and activities for families throughout the year. Denise says the Landa Branch Library is her favorite. It’s one of ours too, because you can’t beat a historic home turned into a library, surrounded by grassy, shade-filled areas with park benches, and playgrounds for kids, both little and big.
“Take in San Antonio’s Art Museums and Galleries” page 4
Not only are San Antonio’s museums fun, educational, and interesting. Nearly all of them offer free days and times to visit. My kids’ favorites? The DoSeum, The Witte, The Briscoe, and The San Antonio Museum of Art.
“You won’t go Hungry (or thirsty) at Pearl page 70 and 77
Every Saturday and Sunday, the Pearl Farmer’s Market draws producers of local food and goods from around the city and just beyond. My kids love roaming the market, munching on incredible pastries, watching a variety of dogs—big and small—pass by, listening to live music, meeting vendors to learn how they grow their food or create their wares, and chasing each other through one of San Antonio’s prettiest riverside attractions.
In her book, Denise reveals the vivid flavors, colors, and celebrations associated with our great city while weaving interesting bits of history, folklore, and personal anecdotes throughout. “100 Things to do in San Antonio Before You Die” is more than just a guidebook. It’s a well-crafted tour, told by a warm and welcoming voice, whose deep love for San Antonio comes shining through.
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