We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Stay in San Antionio then drive to Austin or vice-versa?

Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
8 posts
11 reviews
Save Topic
Stay in San Antionio then drive to Austin or vice-versa?

Hello all!

Hubby and I are planning to go to Texas this November 11/2-11/6. We were not sure if it's better to fly in and stay in San Antonio then drive to Austin or vice-versa. Which city has more things to do and places to see. We wanted to drive to Corpus Christi too see the gulf-side but It think it will be too far. We like seeing historical sites, scenic sites, and love food! We are planning to rent a car too. I would like to know if either of the two airport is big and have a long walk to their rental places in the airport.

We originally planned on going to Houston but I heard there's not much to see compared to San Antonio/Austin.

Thank you! :)

Mentioned in this post
Grapevine, Texas
Level Contributor
1,917 posts
59 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Stay in San Antionio then drive to Austin or vice-versa?

That truly is a near impossible call as both cities are so unique to themselves and offer so much for all the interests you expressed. Since you want to spend time in both, I guess I'd split it down the middle and fly into one, out the other with 2 nights in each. I assume at best, that would be about a day and a half per city (there's plenty too see/do in outlying areas and more between!), which will not do either justice, but if that's what you have to work with...... it would give a "feel" for both and you can always return!

Austin, Texas
Level Contributor
4,473 posts
205 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Stay in San Antionio then drive to Austin or vice-versa?

I agree with KarinLB. With four nights, if you want to see both, I think your best bet is to spend two nights in each. If you are flying Southwest from Chicago, it shouldn't be a problem to fly into one and out of the other. Corpus Christi isn't very far from San Antonio, but with your limited time, I would skip it.

There is a University of Texas football game on 11/2, so to avoid high hotel rates, you should consider visiting San Antonio first and then coming to Austin. On your way to Austin from San Antonio you could stop off in Gruene, or venture to the east a little for BBQ in Lockhart. Spending Monday and Tuesday nights in Austin would give you some time to visit the capitol, the Texas State History Museum, and the LBJ Library, as well as explore the city's food scene.

Mentioned in this post
Austin, Texas
Level Contributor
4,811 posts
49 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Stay in San Antionio then drive to Austin or vice-versa?

Events you might want to know about on your dates besides the UT home game:

Texas Monthly Magazines BBQ Festival in the Long Center (downtown Austin)

http://www.tmbbq.com/events/tmbbq-fest-2013/

Austin, TX Celtic Festival at Festival Gardens in E. Austin (Parking can get complicated unless someone is pulling our or you get there early).

http://www.austincelticfestival.com

San Antonio Pearl Brewery complex near edge of downtown:

http://atpearl.com/calendar/meatopia

New Braunfels is a quaint Texas town on IH-35 right in the middle of San A and Austin. The Wurstfest is a huge annual event. It would take about 10-15 mins to get to it from IH35. Lots of fun and good German food.

http://wurstfest.com

Edited: 24 September 2013, 21:26
Mentioned in this post
Corpus Christi...
Destination Expert
for Corpus Christi
Level Contributor
6,403 posts
75 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Stay in San Antionio then drive to Austin or vice-versa?

I would not split my time. I like to get to know a city just a bit. I would pick San Antonio, since the UT football game will drive up accommodation prices, and save the other for anither trip. Each city is worth more than a brief cursory look. San Antonio is easier for tourists to manage with a vibrant downtown and great history, Austin more eclectic with better live music and food.

Mentioned in this post
San Antonio, TX
Destination Expert
for San Antonio
Level Contributor
7,683 posts
78 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Stay in San Antionio then drive to Austin or vice-versa?

Agree that four days is really not enough time for all. You might want to do more research on specific things and then choose. We travel to Austin several times a month, usually for live music or art. Most of the time we drive back home.

Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
8 posts
11 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Stay in San Antionio then drive to Austin or vice-versa?

Thank you so much everyone for your reply! OMG! There's so many things to do so little time. We will try to split it. If not, we will just do a day trip and pick-out best spots to go there and then probably just come back again next time to explore it more. We're also meeting our friends who are driving from College Station for the weekend. Looks like there's a lot of events coming up to so that's good. So, the best BBQ is in Lockhart then? We will be celebrating our anniversary too so any suggestions on a place to dine for that night?

Thanks again everyone for all your inputs/advice. I appreciate it :D

Mentioned in this post
Houston
Destination Expert
for Houston
Level Contributor
4,378 posts
366 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Stay in San Antionio then drive to Austin or vice-versa?

Even though you've chosen to omit Houston (the best food city in Texas), I'll throw in my two cents' worth. Lockhart is the self-proclaimed BBQ capitol of the world, with three BBQ joints (I hesitate to call them restaurants) that have been featured on TV shows, magazine articles, etc.: Kreutz Market, Smitty's, and Black's BBQ. I'd say they're really more suitable for a big lunch than for dinner, and you could make a case for stopping at all three for comparison. (Of course, John Mueller Meat Co. in Austin puts out a pretty fair BBQ itself without having to drive to Lockhart--I believe it made Texas Monthly's Top 50 list.)

San Antonio is rightfully famous for having the best Tex-Mex food in the state, although it also has some other good restaurants. Austin has an incredible food truck culture, and a diverse restaurant culture, so the better restaurant scene would probably have to go to Austin. It's been awhile since I've dined there, so for specific recommendations, I'd have to defer to those who do dine there regularly.

Now if you want food as good as Chicago, you'll need to drive to Houston, but that's another trip...

Edited: 26 September 2013, 19:32
Mentioned in this post
San Antonio, TX
Destination Expert
for San Antonio
Level Contributor
7,683 posts
78 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Stay in San Antionio then drive to Austin or vice-versa?

You trying to pick a fight, Gene? :)

Grapevine, Texas
Level Contributor
1,917 posts
59 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Stay in San Antionio then drive to Austin or vice-versa?

Best BBQ in Lockhart? My prejudice is Smitty's, but that topic will be argued till the end of time with no conclusive outcome! :) Where ever you end up - go early in the day as it's not unusual that they run out of one meat or the other as the afternoon progresses.

Doing "a BBQ Crawl" is quite easy and fun, particularly since you will have another couple with you. The trick is: don't fill up on sides.... in fact, don't even order them! Since you pay for the meat by the pound, order only a small amount at each BBQ joint (1/2 lb brisket slices, 2 ribs, 1 sausage link, burnt ends (if they have them), etc), then share! You can then taste test among multiple smokehouses and don't have to pigeon-hole yourself to only one. 3 rules: Always order both lean and fatty (s/b deliciously rendered) slices of brisket, don't over order and taste the meats without sauce - good TX BBQ does not need sauce! 4th rule: Enjoy and have fun!

Edited: 26 September 2013, 21:12
Mentioned in this post
Houston
Destination Expert
for Houston
Level Contributor
4,378 posts
366 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: Stay in San Antionio then drive to Austin or vice-versa?

Octoboy--If I want great Tex-Mex, I'll come to San Antonio, but I still say Houston is one of the great food cities in the country--if only the critics didn't know where they were, but did a blind tasting, I'd be willing to bet they'd agree! Come over sometime, and I'll show you what I'm talking about (I won't even ask you to pay for my meal if you agree!) LOL

Mentioned in this post