A Well-Designed Day in San Antonio

A Well-Designed Day in San Antonio

A9b2474af14a5589cafb224b56c68b0f68a1fbad?w=240&h=240&fit=crop
Adrienne Breaux
Jul 15, 2016

Since moving to San Antonio's Southtown neighborhood in 2015, Hannah Lynn has made it her mission to show what an incredibly colorful, rich place the Alamo City is. She writes: "My personal blog shares my 365 day staycation experience in San Antonio and all the places that make it a great place to love. That was a typo, but love is more accurate than live."

Hannah continues: "I am just about to come up on my one year anniversary of living in the Blue Star Arts Complex in San Antonio. Rubbing shoulders with the King William Historic District in funky Southtown, it was the perfect neighborhood choice for a design lover."

Hannah is currently spending her summer working as the social media/blog intern for RATIO, a photography start up and lifestyle brand, and her Instagram feed reinforces her mission of showing off what a rad city San Antonio is. "Once I begin my BFA emphasizing in photography at Southwest School of Art this Fall, I'll be sharing my work on the blog and on Instagram, as well."


Downtown San Antonio boasts several lovely places to grab breakfast by the river, but none have the same stunning glass sunroom as Ocho. Open from early morning until midnight, Ocho in Hotel Havana makes a stunning stop for design lovers to grab a coffee or a cocktail. It's easiest on the budget as a breakfast spot.

(Image credit: Hannah Lynn)

Walking distance from Ocho is San Antonio's Central Library. When I first saw the "enchilada red" structure I thought it looked strikingly Barragán with its fountains and facade. I wasn't quite right but close; architect Ricardo Legorreta is considered a protege of Luis Barragán. There's a huge Chihuly sculpture at the heart of the building complementing the architecture. Southwest School of Art next door is also worth the visit for the galleries or yoga every Tuesday in the school's chapel with Mobile Om—my favorite yoga company.

(Image credit: Hannah Lynn)

The Deco District is one of the more colorful historic districts in town, with a unique blend of Art Deco architecture and mural art. Many of the businesses have Mexican roots including El Paraiso. There are almost 50 flavors of paletas to choose from but as of now orchata is my go-to. Fresh watermelon (seeds still in) is another one of my favorites. This place has so much love from us that we brought 50 on dry ice to Arkansas for the 4th of July.

I can't help but love the vernacular architecture of the building that screams ice cream. I get paletas in the morning, the afternoon, evening. It is always the right time to have one. El Paraiso means "paradise," and I agree it is paradise found.

(Image credit: Hannah Lynn)

The industrial luxe Pearl has plenty for a whole day in San Antonio. There are several restaurant options like the casual vegetarian spot Green up to mostly upscale eateries. But regardless of whether I'm at the Pearl to shop or eat or watch the ducks in the river, I always have to visit the interior design heaven Hotel Emma. It's a nice place to just pass some time.

However, when I'm already at the Pearl I can't resist my sweet tooth. Lick Honest Ice Creams with flavors such as dewberry corn cobbler or the Culinary Institute of America during pastry finals both make easy dessert stops. But like paletas at El Paraiso, it's always the right time for macaroons from Bakery Lorraine.

(Image credit: Hannah Lynn)

The Japanese Tea Garden made me fall in love with San Antonio all over again the first time I visited. I enjoy grabbing lunch at Jingu House overlooking the gardens (which are admission free). The waterfall is a favorite photo-op backdrop.

Closer to my home in Southtown is another admission-free local treasure. Mission San Jose is the grandest of the missions of San Antonio, and also the location for the main National Park Service Visitor's Center.

Every time I visit one of the five missions in the Alamo City I notice something new. Built in the 1700s and registered as UNESCO World Heritage Sites (and National Park Sites for four of them), the San Antonio Missions have plenty of recreation options beyond touring the grounds. B-Cycle rental stations are found at each of the missions extending to where I live at the Blue Star Arts Complex, and all the way north to the zoo and Witte Museum. All the missions are bike-able down the Mission Reach of the river trail and are mostly kayak-able as well.

For an afternoon pick me up, White Elephant Coffee Company welcomes all levels of coffee enthusiasts. Located in Southtown near my place, the minimalist baby blue exterior is a contrast to the trendy interior.

On First Friday White Elephant has joined with the nearby business Urban Farm Stand, where I get my free-range eggs, to celebrate Southtown's most hopping day of the month. Food trucks, music and art are all mainstays of the neighborhood's monthly First Friday.

I live in a converted warehouse loft in the Blue Star Arts Complex. Located by the river in Southtown, Blue Star is a mixed use complex of galleries, restaurants, the Blue Star Contemporary Art Museum as well as retail. The Brick is a bar and venue that puts on events all the time like Frida Festival this past Saturday. However, an art market complete with fresh empanadas is held every Sunday. With restaurants, bars and a late night coffee shop, the complex is a nice place to end the day. Especially for a resident like me that can just walk a few feet and be home.

We haven't toured Hannah's home yet, but she was generous enough to snap a peek of her hip San Antonio space for us.
(Image credit: Hannah Lynn)

Follow Hannah online:


Our "well-designed day" neighborhood guides are a visual tour of what a great day looks like from the perspective of a local.

You've loved the peeks inside gorgeous homes from around the world, so we thought we'd ask house tour stars to share their other homes—the neighborhoods and cities they live in. These are the stylish, colorful, bold and fun spaces that these locals would visit if they were designing a great day of stopping at favorite spots (or lounging around at home!). You can follow on our Instagram as we post images from their well-designed day and read more about this series.

Thanks, Hannah!

More posts in Well-Designed Day Neighborhood Guides by Locals
Created with Sketch.