Northeast San Antonio covers a broad area, and the sites explored here are from Highway 281 on the west to just beyond Interstate 35 on the east, with Austin Highway as the southern edge and Loop 1604 (and a few miles beyond) as the northern boundary.
In the mid-to-late 1800s, much of the land in what is now the Northeast part of the city was used for farms and ranches. With the advent of the automobile, the agricultural property gave way to residential subdivisions and commercial centers.
Earl Abel's Restaurant is legendary for fried chicken and fresh-from-the-oven biscuits. The whimsical Magic Time Machine restaurant’s servers dress as pop culture icons, seating areas have different themes and the soup and salad bar is a red 1952 MG-TD Roadster.
Crumpets Restaurant and Bakery serves fine European cuisine in a romantic setting surrounded by mature Live Oak trees, decorative ponds and soothing waterfalls.
Now in its fifth year of operation, Ranger Creek Brewing & Distilling is a brewer of beer and distiller of whiskey. Ranger’s beer lineup has something for everyone, from a refreshing hefeweizen to a unique Red IPA. On Saturday afternoons, the “brewstillery” near Northeast Loop 410 and IH-35, is open for tours and tastings, a great way to experience Ranger Creek’s beer, whiskey and unique beer cocktails.
The Big Bib BBQ, on Austin Highway, features a menu of made-from-scratch and slow-cooked baby back ribs, brisket, chicken, pulled pork, turkey and peach cobbler.
Vegeria Vegan Restaurant was ranked by Buzzfeed in 2015 as the top vegan restaurant to put on your culinary bucket list. Make sure to try specialties such as Mini Nopales Tacos With Pickled Jalapeño Cabbage and Spinach Huitlacoche Enchiladas.
MoMak's Backyard Malts & Burgers' enclosed 10,000-square-foot turf area, tree house and abundant playground equipment make it a great place for kids. The burgers, sandwiches, salads and beverages (including floats, shakes, malts, beer and wine) are delicious, so it’s also a great place for adults to sit back and relax while the kids have a ball.
Morgan's Wonderland is a 25-acre fully accessible family fun park for those with and without special needs. You’ll enjoy fishing in the 8-acre lake and exploring all of the rides, playscapes and activities. New in 2016 is the Whirling Wonder, a new wheelchair-accessible Ferris wheel that takes guests up high for a panoramic view of the unique theme park.
This part of town is also known for soccer action! The South Texas Area Regional (STAR) Soccer Complex for league play is located near Morgan’s Wonderland and has 13 full-size, fully lit fields. All proceeds from STAR help to subsidize free admission to Morgan’s Wonderland for all individuals with special needs.
Windcrest Golf Club now open to the public, is a nine-hole, par 68 course with more than 4,800 yards of tree-lined fairways.
McAllister Park covers close to 1,000 acres and features 15 miles of trails, about 200 picnic tables, several sports fields and a dog park.
Retama Park in Selma offers live quarter horse racing on summer weekends and live thoroughbred racing on fall weekends, as well as daily simulcast racing of thoroughbred, quarter horse and greyhound tracks. A wide variety of events take place every week, ranging from crawfish boils and concerts to costume and trivia contests.
Cowboys Dancehall offers more than just two-stepping. Live professional bull riding, concerts, mixed martial arts fights, teen nights and dance lessons all take place here.
Jack's Live Music Bar is a popular concert venue on Thousand Oaks with daily drink specials, including Pint Night on Tuesdays.
If you want to be a cowboy or cowgirl, visit Cavander's Boot City for Western wear for the entire family. The store carries a wide selection of boots, hats, belts, shirts, jeans, accessories and gifts.
The Forum at Olympia Parkway is one of the state’s largest shopping centers and is filled with well-known stores for clothing, electronics, jewelry and more, as well as many familiar restaurants.
Rolling Oaks Mall features indoor shopping at more than 100 stores, including Dillard’s, Macy’s, Sears and JCPenney.
Just north of Rolling Oaks Mall, Bracken Village offers a one-of-a kind shopping experience in carefully restored historic structures of the original Wiederstein-Burkhardt farmstead. Shop for home accessories, gifts, antiques and collectibles, clothing, jewelry, art, crafts and more.
Los Patios, a lush creekside complex featuring shops, courtyards and patios, also features the Gazebo at Los Patios for lunch, where your well-mannered dog is welcome to join you if you dine on the front courtyard patio.
Offbeat, unique or quirky finds:
Train enthusiasts will admire the working passenger railroad and model train layouts at the Texas Transportation Museum, which features the largest public “G” gauge, or garden scale, outdoor railroad in Texas. The all-volunteer museum also houses antique cars, fire trucks and horse carriages.