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Cool Eats

Finding a refreshing snack, with a local flavor, in downtown San Antonio is easy. You just have to know what to look for along the streets and in the plazas and markets.

Here are some recommendations:

Raspas

Summer in San Antonio is not complete without a raspa, also known as a snow cone, from a sidewalk vendor. Keep your eyes open, and your mouth ready, for the snow-cone carts dispensing relief. They have shaved ice and jugs of fluorescent-colored flavors such as lime and tamarindo.

Paletas

Equally enticing are paletas— popsickle/ice cream bars—also sold from carts in flavors such as coconut, mango with chile, pecan and even pickle.

Fruit Cups

Or try a refreshing fruit cup, chockfull of cut fruits—and often cucumber—and dusted with chile and drizzled with lime juice. They're sold all over town from shops with windows open to the street, but a downtown source is Angie's in the Farmer's Market Food Court at Market Square. Aguas frescas, blends of water and fruits such as watermelon and cantaloupe, along with flavors such as cinnamon-spiked horchata, are also found here.

Ice Cream

Ice cream from more mainline sources includes the legendary mango ice cream, favorite of presidents, served at the Menger Hotel's Colonial Room. On the River Walk, swing over to Ben & Jerry’s Scoop Shop for classics like Cherry Garcia and Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough and then head to Justin's Ice Cream Parlor for homemade gelato, sherbet and more.

For something a little exotic, check out Lick Honest Ice Creams at Pearl for flavors such as Texas Sheet Cake, Roasted Beets & Fresh Mint and Goat Cheese, Thyme & Honey.

Root Beer

Cool drinks are another summer heat-chaser, and though San Antonio was once a beermaking Mecca (think Lone Star and Pearl), that mantle is now taken up by microbreweries such as Blue Star Brewing in the similarly named arts complex and Alamo Beer Company. But a long-time soft drink fixture remains: the housemade root beer at Schilo's Delicatessen; it's perfect with a coolly classic deli sandwich.

Margaritas

OK, we don't actually make tequila in San Antonio (it has to be made in a specific region of Mexico in order to use the name), but we drink enough margaritas to make you think so. Enjoy these frozen concoctions on the River Walk at places such as Ácenar, Rio Rio Cantina and Rita's on the River. Or head to Rosario’s Mexican Restaurant & Lounge, Viola's Ventanas de los Barrios or El Machito for margaritas frozen, blended or on the rocks.