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Weather aside, the quick answer to this ponderance is two-fold – midweek/midday and if you have a stroller or wheelchair.  I’ll explain.

The San Antonio River Walk is a city park in San Antonio, Texas, winding along sections of the San Antonio River, below street level, in and around the downtown area of the city. The River Walk curves and loops under downtown bridges with sidewalks on both sides of the river, much of it lined with restaurants and shops, while connecting the various tourist attractions in the center of the city.  You can reach the River Walk from street level entrances along the sidewalks of dozens of city blocks, as well as from San Antonio’s five Spanish historical missions and from some of the popular museums and galleries in the area.

San Antonio’s River Walk, created as part of a floodwater control plan after a disastrous flood in 1921, is open 24/7/365 and has inspired projects like it in other cities, such as the Little Sugar Creek Greenway in Charlotte, Denver’s Cherry Creek Greenway, Oklahoma City’s Bricktown Canal, which we have visited, and Santa Lucía Riverwalk in Monterrey, Mexico.

We first descended upon the City Walk in the first months of the pandemic, but San Antonio’s downtown was mostly locked down and tourist stops weren’t open.  We were very much looking forward to returning post-pandemic to enjoy the many food and beverage venues along the Walk, especially the brewpubs that have popped up recently.  With the pandemic waning at the beginning of winter and restrictions being relaxed, plus the fact we are both fully vaccinated with boosters, we decided to visit downtown when we had a free Wednesday.  We brought our two small dogs with us, along with their doggie stroller.

So, tip number one is that midweek is not a great time for a visit, especially in the winter.  Most of the bars and restaurants don’t open until late afternoon or evening, and some aren’t open midweek at all.  It’s still a pretty stroll along the river’s sidewalks, but food and shops just aren’t an option.

So, tip number one is that midweek is not a great time for a visit, especially in the winter.  Most of the bars and restaurants don’t open until late afternoon or evening, and some aren’t open midweek at all.  It’s still a pretty stroll along the river’s sidewalks, but food and shops just aren’t an option.

Tip number two is that if you plan to use a stroller or wheelchair, you’ll need to scope out the available ramps or elevators to enter or exit from the city street, even to enjoy a just few blocks of the river.  Like I mentioned, we had the doggie stroller and had to carry it up and down stairs several times over the mile-and-a-half we walked the river’s sidewalks. 

At one point, there were so many steps up and down over a river arch that we had to take the dogs out and walk them across the bridge.  This wasn’t a big deal for us, but it begged the question, what if one of us had been confined to a wheelchair?

During our walk we found a QR code on a sign that directed our phone browsers to an ADA-supported map of the River Walk, but those maps were very difficult to follow, and it highlighted even further that the Walk doesn’t seem to be very handicapped-friendly.

Now, I don’t want you to get the impression that we dislike the River Walk.  On the contrary, the tourist walk along the river is usually beautiful, clean and an enjoyable experience for able-bodied pedestrians.  The next time, however, we’ll leave the dogs at home and make sure we time the visit for a weekend evening.

Here’s a nice guide for planning your trip there:

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