When we visited San Antonio Texas as a family, I did some research to find the most family-friendly areas in the city and beyond. While I had initially never heard of the historic Pearl District, it seemed like the perfect place to be added to our list of things to do in San Antonio during our stay.
The Pearl San Antonio is a district in the city with a rich history. Initially home to the Pearl Brewery, which operated from 1883 to 2001, the Pearl district offers shops, a twice-weekly farmers market, restaurants, apartments, an outdoor park area, the Culinary Institute of America, and the Hotel Emma. We loved spending the afternoon there, and would definitely recommend a visit during your San Antonio vacation.
During our visit to San Antonio, we stayed right on the San Antonio River Walk. The Pearl is located in the Northeast part of San Antonio, and you will need a car to get there if staying by the River Walk and the Alamo. I would recommend getting a rental car anyway because you’ll need one for other local attractions.
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Guide To Visiting The Pearl San Antonio
When visiting the Pearl, you’ll be able to park and then walk around the 22-acre district. There are several different parking options for visitors. We opted for the free lot, which is a quick walk to the shops and restaurants.
There’s also a parking garage, which also offers free parking. Another closer lot offers paid parking. We visited during a weekday but had no issue getting a parking spot in the free lot.
Here’s what you’ll find when you get to the Pearl.
This trendy boutique hotel was initially the Pearl Brewery. We didn’t stay at the Hotel Emma but did walk around the lobby and bar areas to check it out. It’s definitely worth looking at, even if you aren’t staying there.
Amenities at the Hotel Emma include a bar, the Sternewirth tavern, a fitness center, a spa, and a culinary concierge. The hotel offers both rooms and suites, and it would definitely be a fun, unique place to stay – especially for a trip with just adults or older kids.
Read more about the Hotel Emma here.
River Walk Extension
During our visit, we loved walking along the River Walk extension by the Pearl. It’s very quiet, with lots of green space and flowers to look at. We even saw turtles in the water.
Because we arrived a little early for lunch, we spent quite a bit of time just walking around this area on a beautiful sunny day. It’s so different from the main River Walk, as you can see from the photo above. Be sure to visit when the weather is nice so that you can enjoy a walk.
Shops at the Pearl
At the Pearl San Antonio, you’ll also find quaint shops and cafes. These include the following:
- Curio – located in the Hotel Emma
- Bike World – selling bikes and cycling accessories
- The Sporting District – upscale clothes and accessories for men
- The Twig Book Shop – local and national authors
- Leelee – accessories and clothing
- Feliz Modern Pop – candy and gifts
- Lawrence Markey – art gallery
- Adelant Boutique – apparel and accessories
One of our favorites is Ten Thousand Villages. This unique gift shop offers ethical and fair trade goods including apparel, jewelry, and home goods. My daughter and I spent a good amount of time (and money) in this shop.
You’ll also find a number of restaurants and cafes in the Pearl, so it’s a great place to visit for lunch or dinner. Options include:
- Bakery Lorraine – offering authentic French pastries
- The Boiler House – with authentic Texan cuisine
- Cured – with cured regional foods
- Savor – from the Culinary Institute of America
- Mi Roti – Caribbean food
- Tenko Ramen – Japanese food
- Brasserie Mon Chou Chou – French food
During our visit, we had dinner at La Gloria, located by the River Walk section of the Pearl. This is one of several La Gloria locations, including one at the San Antonio Airport.
La Gloria was one of my favorite restaurants during our San Antonio vacation. The tacos and ceviches were delicious, and my kids loved the quesadillas. The location is beautiful too, and there is outdoor seating if the weather cooperates.
Because I loved it so much, I made sure to get lunch at the airport location before departing San Antonio. I would definitely make sure to visit La Gloria on any San Antonio vacation.
Other Features at the Pearl
There are lots of other aspects of the Pearl beyond the tourist activities. This includes work lofts, apartments, a spa, and more.