ISTE 2017 in San Antonio: What to see, eat and do

By Team ISTE 5/16/2017 ISTE Conference & Expo

ISTE 2017 is packed with endless opportunities to connect with passionate educators just like you. But they don’t all happen inside the convention center. Keep the conversation going as you venture out for dining, sightseeing and meandering down the famous Riverwalk.

You can start by signing up for the Global PLN Scavenger Hunt, which will allow you to explore San Antonio while getting to know other ISTE educators. 

Or you can get a group together and explore on your own. If you’re ready and rarin’ to go, here’s a guide to help you find the best places:

Nearby sights

Riverwalk. The convention center is located along the legendary Riverwalk, a network of walkways along the banks of the San Antonio River lined by quaint restaurants and shops.  An excellent way to get your bearings is to hop aboard one of the boat cruises (there’s a dock at the River Center Mall as well as at the Aztec Theater and the Hilton) for a 35-minute narrated tour. The price is $10 for adults, with discounts for children and seniors. For landlubbers, there’s a hop-on-hop-off sightseeing bus and scooter tours available, too.

You can also rely on water taxis to connect you to the sites quickly. Or just stroll the sidewalks that circle the Riverwalk and see what special surprises you find. The Riverwalk covers a total of 15 miles, so there’s plenty of retail and nature treks along these banks.

The Alamo. This attraction, where the battle for Texas independence took place, is a must see. There’s no entry fee to tour the fort, and you can choose a self-guided walk through the fort if you’re short on time.

Battle for Texas: The Experience. This interactive museum, located just inside the Shops at Rivercenter, offers  an in-depth perspective on the Battle of the Alama. Gather a group to get a discount.

Museum Reach. This Riverwalk extension puts you within easy access to the zoo, the Japanese Tea Gardens and Brackenridge Park, which houses Smithsonian affiliate The Witte Museum, dedicated to Texas nature, science and culture. There are also four additional missions in addition to The Alamo open for your history fix.

Ripley’s Haunted Adventure, Tomb Rider 3D and Guinness World Book of Records museums. For some modern-day fun, pop into these specialty museums located across the street from the front gate of The Alamo. They, too, offer special rates for groups of 10 or more.

Tower of the Americas. Enjoy a bird’s eye view of this colorful city from this attraction. Book your Chart House dining reservation at the top now to stay and enjoy the scenery even longer.

It’s always time to eat

Speaking of dining, within minutes of the convention center, you’ll find everything from steaks and barbecue to homemade Italian pasta dishes, British pub fare, a biergarten and a churascaria. You can choose a themed meal at a Hard Rock Café or Dick’s Last Resort, an upscale experience like Landry’s, or strike out for one of the independent bistros eager to serve you.

But most visitors to San Antonio agree: It’s hard to find better Mexican food anywhere in the world, and the sheer number of cantinas devoted to tacos, burritos and enchiladas will make your mouth water for days.

Perhaps the most famous of the Mexican restaurants is Casa Rio, which opened in 1946 on land the King of Spain, Charles III, first granted title on in 1777. It was the first business to open its main doors to the Riverwalk, and today it’s going strong with visitors and locals alike. Expect a short wait to dine at any time of the day. Do ask for a seat under the often-photographed colored umbrellas riverside for a decidedly San Antonio experience.

Need to get away?

There’s plenty to do in San Antonio away from the Riverwalk as well. Check out these activities geared to families looking to combine a vacation with conference time:

SeaWorld San Antonio – a close-up encounter with ocean life in an amusement park setting.

Natural Bridge Caverns  – an underground wonder discovered in the Texas Hill Country just outside the city.

The Doseum – an interactive museum for kids, but adults love it too.

Six Flags Fiesta Texas – rolling, twisting, dipping screams of fun.

Splashtown San Antonio – a water park to wet your need for a summer cool down.

Government Canyon State Natural Park – rugged trails and canyon hikes for the nature lovers.


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