know before you go: San Antonio (SAT)

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When I heard there was a rhesus monkey that somehow got loose in the San Antonio airport, I thought to myself, that’s so San Antonio.  He was probably just jonesing for some Raising Cane’s (IMO, the best food vendor in the airport).

One of the fastest growing cities in the US, San Antonio is a strange place, often overshadowed by its hip neighbor Austin.  It seems to be a nice place to live and work, and for some reason there are always conferences there.  I myself, have been to San Antonio several times and thus have passed through the airport where said monkey wreaked havoc yesterday.

Located about 8 miles from downtown/River walk, this airport has 24 gates split into two terminals.  Terminal A offers service from Aeromexico, Alaska, Allegiant, Air Canada, American, Delta, Frontier, and Southwest. Terminal B serves American and United flights and there’s a USO for the large military presence in SA.

Remember: ✈️ = Old Man Riverwalk to ✈️✈️✈️✈️✈️ = The Big Fundamental

Convenience to the city: ✈️✈️ (not too far and pretty easy to get to from the touristy Riverwalk area)

Security: ✈️✈️✈️✈️:  there’s a steady flow

Dining: ✈️✈️✈️ (McDonald’s, Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts, Raising Cane’s.  There has been a vast improvement since the first time I visited years ago, but taking off a plane for no whataburger)

Bathrooms: ✈️✈️✈️  (fairly well dispersed for a smaller airport)

Charging stations/wifi: ✈️✈️✈️ (free wifi available)

Amenities:✈️✈️✈️ (there a few mall stores, duty free, United lounge, USO)

36 hours in San Antonio

In celebration of the start of the Final Four tomorrow, culminating in an undoubtably fantastic NCAA championship game Monday (hopefully featuring my school, I won’t say which, but if you read this blog, you can probably guess), here’s to planning your weekend in San Antonio!

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Inexplicably, I’ve been to San Antonio several times for work.  Texas’s second largest city, it’s one of the fastest growing cities in the country.  There’s a huge US armed forces contingent there and is probably best known for being home to the Alamo and previously, Tim Duncan.

Beyond that, the food and drink scene in San Antonio is fantastic.  Not only do you have spectacular Tex Mex regional cuisine, but every restaurant has it’s own unique look and feel.  The decor in some of these restaurants–especially the ones in repurposed spaces is something to behold.  It’s a multicultural city with so many identities, and that’s what makes it a great place to create some memories.

Remember the Alamo…

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know before you go: Austin (AUS)

Austin-Bergstrom International Airport is small, but sweet.  Even though it isn’t huge (only ~ 25 gates), there’s actually quite a few international carriers that fly out of here, including discount European airline, Norwegian.  There’s not a ton to do here, but there’s local flair throughout the airport, and that’s huge if you’re having a layover where you can’t leave the airport.  It showcases the city and makes the visitor want to return for real.

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can’t fight this feeling of wanting an OREO SPEEDWAGON.  I LOVE PUNS.

There’s only two terminals: the Barbara Jordan is the main and then the much smaller South terminal which only has regional flights (so basically you’re going to see one).

✈️ = get me outta here to ✈️✈️✈️✈️✈️ = texas hold ’em here forever

Ease of navigating through terminals: ✈️✈️✈️  (very easy)

Convenience of security lines: ✈️✈️✈️✈️ (not that crowded, moves quickly)

Dining: ✈️✈️✈️✈️ (barely any chains, yes! Local legendary eateries: Salt Lick BBQ, Amy’s ice cream, Hill’s Cafe, Austin Java)

Bathrooms:✈️✈️  (could be more)

Charging stations/wifi: ✈️✈️✈️ (free wifi available, could have more charging stations)

Amenities: ✈️✈️✈️ (there’s live music and an ACL record shop, otherwise it’s small, so don’t expect that much to see)

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know before you go: Dallas (DFW)

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The Big D is so big, it has two major airports serving it, Love Field and the larger Dallas-Fort Worth.  Because I am a Southwest frequent flier, I’ve been through Love Field several times, but recently I had a very quick layover at DFW (like just barely made it).

It is gigantic, the third busiest airport in the US, behind Atlanta and O’Hare by flights.  It is second only to Denver in terms of actual acreage, and in that acreage is a plethora of eateries and shops.  Everything IS bigger in Texas.

There are 165 gates split amongst five terminals A-E, connected by a convenient skylink train.  Each terminal is semi-circular and when you look at the complex from above, it kind of looks like three turtles in a row (there is a future F terminal completing the last oval).

American Airlines has its hub at DFW, so every terminal operates its flights.  United, Frontier, JetBlue, WestJet, Air Canada and Spirit operate out of E and International flights are located in the D terminal.  This airport has the distinction of being one of the few airports that serve more than 200 destinations.

Remember: ✈️ = D-town (Dallas’ worst nickname) to ✈️✈️✈️✈️✈️ = jerry’s world

Ease of navigating through terminals: ✈️✈️✈️ (immense distance, made better by train)

Dining: ✈️✈️✈️✈️✈️ (Wingstop, Chick-Fila, IHOP, McDs, Starbucks, Peet’s, Caribou, ethnic foods, Cantina Laredo and other airport mainstays.  But it gets a 5 plane rating for Garrett’s popcorn alone)

Bathrooms: ✈️✈️✈️  (clean, well spaced)

Charging stations/wifi: ✈️✈️✈️ (free wifi available via AT&T)

Amenities: ✈️✈️✈️✈️  (American and International Lounges, a few luxury shops including Kate Spade, Tumi, Longchamp; XpresSPa, 7-Elevens, Yoga Studio, Animal hotels)

 

36 hours in San Antonio

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Inexplicably, I’ve been to San Antonio several times for work.  Texas’s second largest city, it’s one of the fastest growing cities in the country.  There’s a huge US armed forces contingent there and is probably best known for being home to the Alamo and previously, Tim Duncan.

Beyond that, the food and drink scene in San Antonio is fantastic.  Not only do you have spectacular Tex Mex regional cuisine, but every restaurant has it’s own unique look and feel.  The decor in some of these restaurants–especially the ones in repurposed spaces is something to behold.  It’s a multicultural city with so many identities, and that’s what makes it a great place to create some memories.

Remember the Alamo…

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3 days in Austin

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They say everything’s bigger in Texas, and they’re right.  You will have a hugely gratifying experience when you visit Austin.  The capital city is a mix of college town, music hub, antique treasure trove, yuppie wonderland; there are so many facets to it, all enjoyable. Austin is famous for many things, but SXSW and Austin City Limits festivals are held here and are awesome.  I’ve yet to attend SXSW, but ACL is one of the most well run festivals.  Since it’s ACL time soon, this guide takes that into consideration for your plans, from Friday to Sunday.

Austin will always hold a special place in my heart, as I once saw Flea from the Red Hot Chili Peppers walking around and he gave me a head nod there.  I haven’t washed my eyes since.

the stars at night are big and bright, deep in the heart of Texas…

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hometown hits: Houston

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Because we on this blog are from all over the United States, from the west to the East, the Midwest to the South, we decided to create a series of “hometown hits,” where we cover different neighborhoods from one of our many home regions.

With the devastating rains and flooding of Hurricane Harvey temporarily obscuring the true landscape of Houston, Texas, we wanted to shine a spotlight on this wonderful metropolis.  And what a metropolis it is, the fourth most populated city in the US, the largest city in Texas–and we all know everything is bigger in Texas right?  Nowhere is that more true than in this city that sits on Galveston Bay; there are big buildings, big hospitals, big space exploration and big hearts in abundance here.

One of us on this blog was raised and has roots in this fantastic city, so we hope that underscoring a vibrant neighborhood will act as a reminder of the Houston that is and will rise again.  And while this disaster may be a temporary setback, and the rebuilding efforts will take time, this city and its people will unite, they will persist and they will come back stronger, and better than before.

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photo from visithoustontexas.com

Montrose has to be one of the most interesting neighborhoods in all of Texas, if not all the world.  They say keep Austin weird, but it also applies here.  They call this Bohemian area the “heart of Houston” and it does exemplify the diversity this city has to offer.

Montrose became a hub of the counterculture movement in the 60s, however in the past 20 years it has become more and more high end without losing its charm.  There are artists, antique and thrift shops, musicians, communes, spendy boutiques, a large LGBT faction, tattoo parlors, upmarket mansions, hipsters, and bars and restaurants galore. Literally everything you need to have a good time is in this one area. It’s supremely colorful and ecclectic, both in its people and in the buildings/homes.

Close to the museum district, this area also boasts several notable collections at The Menil and at the Rothko Chapel (features works by Mark Rothko and Philip Johnson).  It is also close to all the universities in town, attracting all comers, who are all welcome.

Standouts include:

Barnaby’s: if you look up the definition of a cozy cafe, this is what you’ll find

Black Labrador Pub: literally the cutest British pub, human sized chess board!

Chapultepec Lupita: 24 hour Mexican with dozens (plural) of tequila selections.

El Real Tex Mex: the famous neon marquee of the old Tower movie theater sits near the very recognizable Westheimer and Montrose at the heart of this district

Indika: modern Indian cuisine in a expansive setting (it’s walls are tikka masala color)

La Mexicana: cozy, homey Mexican establishment that’s been around for 30 years

Les Ba’Get: modern fusion Vietnamese brick and mortar of a beloved food truck

Niko Niko’s: it’s all greek to me, especially when delicious and served out of an old gas station (I have a thing for those kind of places: Joe’s KC and Vinsetta’s Garage)

Riel:  sophisticated global cuisine that is literally all over the map…but it works

Ramen Tatsu-Ya: yeah I know it’s from Austin, but it’s ramen and I like it

The Dunlavy: the most picturesque views of Buffalo Bayou from floor to ceiling windows in their dining room

Torchy’s Tacos: also from Austin, their tacos are amazing

Underbelly: this butchery showcases the diverse multicultural flavors of this city, often with fish sauce (umami city)

Everyone has always known the resiliency and strength of the people of Houston, but now more than ever, we’re seeing it.  From the first responders to the good samaritans driving boats down to help the rescue efforts, we send our thoughts, prayers, and love to its citizens.  If you are able to help, the American Red Cross and United Way are reputable charities that have a high donation value.  Several celebrities such as JJ Watt and Kevin Hart also have youcaring and crowdrise pages, respectively, where you can donate as well.  Other ways to help include donating care packages and blood, and supporting anyone who may be feeling helpless or upset over the situation.

Don’t mess with Texas, cause we’ve all got their back.