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Guest Bill Eldridge

San Antonio layover - leave train for nightlife, or get some sleep?

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Guest Bill Eldridge

I'm travelling from Poplar Bluff, MO, to Emeryville, CA. It's a three day journey, so I've gotten a room on the train. Now, that said, the train ride itself is basically my vacation - when I get to California I'm starting grad school, so I want to enjoy myself on the way. I know there's a long layover in San Antonio, since I've taken the Texas Eagle heading north from there before. I also know that the Riverwalk area that the station is in has a lot of nightlife. What I want to know is, is it worth my time to hop off, go enjoy a night out at the bars, or should I just get some sleep in my room?

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Believe it or not, but downtown San Antonio which is a Major Tourist and Convention area, is pretty quiet during week nights unless something Major like Christmas, Fiesta or Battle of Flowers is going on.

 

The River Walk has lots of Bars,Clubs and Places to eat,but tend to be dead after about 11pm except on Weekends or if Major Conventions or Sporting Events are in town.

 

Since the Southbound Eagle arrives anywhere from 930pm till Midnight depending on the OTP,the River Walk can start closing before you reach it.

 

There are several Clubs/Bars on East Commerce close to the Amtrak Station but they tend to be quite too but are,OK for a Drink. There is also a B-B-Q place called Smoke close to the Station thats good. There is a 24/7 Dennys close to the River Walk on East Commerce also.

 

As for sightseeing, the Alamo grounds are closed at night, but it's Lighted and lots of Tourists are around till late.IF you do this,cross the Street in front of the Alamo and walk down the Walk into the Hyatt Regency River Walk. There is a Lighted Stream ( artificial) with Falls that runs into the Lobby and empties into the San Antonio River on the Riverwalk.

 

The famous Menger Hotel is next door, with the Bar where Teddy Roosevelt recruited his Roughriders.

 

If you like tourist stuff, you can go up to the top of the Hemisphere Tower ( like the Space Needle in Seattle) and get a good view of the Huge area that is Greater San Antonio lighted up @ night.

 

You might want to just stay aboard and sleep, which lots of people do, but if you do visit the River Walk, you can't re-board 'till they start boarding the Sunset Ltd. #1 about 215am after the Switching of the thru Cars from the Texas Eagle.

 

Hope this helps,nice trip!

Edited by Bob Dylan

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On Thursday, Friday, and Saturday the River Walk bars should be reasonably busy even late at night. Other days you might be better off drinking at one of the bigger hotel bars. Last call in Texas is 2AM. Asking if one course of action is "worth" more than another course of action is hard to evaluate for a stranger. That being said, if I had never been to San Antonio I would absolutely go for a drink and a walkabout.

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Maybe it was just an Amtrak employee going rogue, maybe it was because of the ten-year-old in the party. After my small three-person group had done an evening explore of San Antonio, and returned to the train while the various car movememnts were still underway, we were allowed into the SSC to wait for our sleepers to be reconnected, rather than banished into the station.

 

It might also have been because we came along the platform from the open end on the main street into the Riverwalk area, rather than through the station.

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My recommendation is to get off the train and walk around the platform area a bit and then get some sleep. Be sure to walk up to the old SP station and look around. DO NOT and I repeat DO NOT walk toward the Alamo Dome as that is a very dicey area. Then get back into the Sleeper and enjoy some sleep, though you will be jostled around a bit. Just remember next morning to walk the other direction to the Diner.

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I usually sleep through SAS, but when I'm up my destination is Mi Tierra! A quick Lyft or Uber ride, in the downtown area but a long walk. It's open 24 hours, awesome margaritas and Tex-Mex. It's a San Antonio legend.

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Guest Bill Eldridge

Thanks for the advice everyone. I've decided to go for it; I'm a big walker, and I realized about an hour after I posted this, I realized that other than San Antonio, I'd have no other option to really stretch my legs for three days!

 

- Bill Eldridge

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