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River Walks and Runs

The San Antonio River Walk is saving me from obesity.

I’ve been eating my way across the city for four days now, enjoying the best of San Antonio’s food during the annual Culinaria celebration. The events have included elaborate lunch and dinner affairs, a Mexican tasting event and a fancy soiree that featured some of the area’s leading chefs offering small bites of their very best dishes. Needless to say, I’ve consumed more calories than my body has required.

After all of this eating, my waistline would be expanding rapidly were it not of the San Antonio River Walk. I’ve been stayinig at the beauiful Westin hotel, located right on the River Walk in the heart of the scenic downtown district. The San Antonio River and the charming district built up around it may be the most iconic image of San Antonio (save for the Alamo itself), and it makes an ideal place for visitors to stay, eat, shop and explore.

It’s also an ideal place to excercise. The river winds through the downtown and neighborhoods such as La Villita, which give it a distinctly Mexican ambiance. Along both sides of the water, the River Walk offers paved pedestrian access, where visitors can stroll alongside the river and well-landcaped gardens that run along either side. Though the weather is already heating up for the summer, the River Walk provides a welcome respite from the heat, so I’ve been taking advantage of the setting to run a few miles each morning before beginning my touring for the day. Along the way, I pass plenty of other walkers and runners.

The River Walk is San Antonio’s best toursim asset, and the city has gone to great effort to expand it in recent years. An expession project currently underway has added several miles of walkable riverfront extending from the downtown area in either direction; when the project is finished, there will be more than 8 miles of walkable riverfront. The expansion projects allow pedestrians to walk north to the city’s museum district, and south to the grand homes in the historic King William neighborhood.

Of course, running isn’t for everyone, and the city offers other ways for visitors to experience the River Walk. Groups can take a boat tour of the downtown district, with guides who tell the history of the River Walk and point out some of the area’s most interesting spots. River taxis also ply the waters through town, picking up visitors along the River Walk and ferrying them to wherever they want to go. There’s even a lock system that allows the boats to ride up river to areas of higher elevation.

I think my morning runs along the River Walk are helping me stay in shape during this trip — or at least that’s what I tell myself. Even if I’m not burning off all of the calories, though, I’m certainly enjoying the view.


A group explores the River Walk via boat.


The River Walk includes stone bridges, shade trees and great architecture.


Visitors can use the River Walk to access hotels and museums.

Brian Jewell

Brian Jewell is the executive editor of The Group Travel Leader. In more than a decade of travel journalism he has visited 48 states and 25 foreign countries.