By Abby Opersteny

From April 19-30, Fiesta San Antonio brings the city to life in a whirlwind of music, color and celebration. The citywide festival hosts events every morning, afternoon and evening, featuring proud citizens, delicious food and dozens of those cute floral dresses you know you’ve always wanted.

Ever dreamed of living “la vida fiesta” in the Countdown City, but didn’t want to seem like a tourist? This list of gimmick free Fiesta San Antonio events will give you all the street cred of a cultured local, without the Riverwalk price tag. ¡Vámonos!  

Daytime Views: King William Historic District Street Walk

The iconic parade through the King William Historic District happens on April 28 this year, but if you want to see the quaint rows of antique Victorian homes decorated in pure fiesta flair, take a stroll through the neighborhood a few days earlier. Starting at King William Historic District, 122 Madison St., San Antonio, TX 78204 and taking a walk through the surrounding blocks will help you get your steps in while avoiding the crowds.

Night life: The Esquire Tavern

Founded in 1933, The Esquire is Prohibition-era charm meets moody millennial haunt. The “longest wooden bartop in Texas” and “oldest bar in San Antonio” is close enough to the Riverwalk to grasp the electric, Fiesta-seeped festivities without the touristy chaos of the Riverwalk itself. Complete with a secret elevator to a river-level club, The Esquire is your chic getaway from the buzz and bustle of Fiesta.

Shopping: Market Square

Nestled between two historic buildings in the heart of town, Market Square is your Fiesta San Antonio shopping destination. While the market is open year-round, making a trip during Fiesta will bode for extra festive goodies. Whether you’re looking for prints, medals, flower crowns or those adorable “puebla” dresses, Market Square will satisfy those souvenir needs. Stop by 514 W Commerce St., San Antonio, TX 78207 early to beat the crowds. Market Square opens at 10:00 a.m.

Brunch: Down on Grayson

The drinks and fare of this “casual, modern-American restaurant” are acclaimed among San Antonio locals. A Sunday stop at Down on Grayson will put you right off Highway 281 at the hip Pearl Brewery District, complete with trendy stops to browse and snack. A return trip to the Pearl specifically will bode for many fiesta-themed events, which can be found here. Down on Grayson is located at 303 E. Grayson, San Antonio, TX 78215 and is open for brunch at 11:00 a.m.

Coffee: Local Coffee

One of three locations in San Antonio, this Local Coffee is located on Broadway in historic Olmos Park. Local Coffee serves iced and hot coffee, tea and pastries to a tight-knit community, often featuring live music and art. A visit to Olmos Park during Fiesta is as picturesque yet understated as the neighborhood itself, as the height of festivities includes decorated storefronts and colorful art displays. Local Coffee is the perfect retreat in the middle of your trip, providing solace through a cold, crisp iced macchiato and a friendly face.

The Broadway Local Coffee is located on 5903 Broadway St., San Antonio, TX 78209 and is open from 6:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. on weekdays.

Mexican Food: Aldaco’s Stone Oak

25 minutes up Highway 281 North, you will find yourself in the affluent and rapidly-growing Stone Oak neighborhood, far away from Fiesta-seeking crowds. Aldaco’s offers an expansive menu of tacos, enchiladas and drinks with a complementary view of what begins the Texas Hill Country. Kind service, multigenerational customers and delicious Mexican cuisine await you at this northside hilltop favorite. Aldaco’s is located at 20079 Stone Oak Pkwy, San Antonio, TX 78258 and open from 11:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. on weekends, and Happy Hour is from 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. on weekdays.

A trip to San Antonio during Fiesta guarantees adventure, flavor and community. Whether you choose to keep it cool on the local route or indulge your inner tourist, there is something for everyone to love . As the San Antonians say: “Va, and party with a purpose.”