10 Reasons You Must Visit the Pearl, San Antonio
The Historic Pearl offers visitors who venture away from the thrill parks and Riverwalk of San Antonio a chance to see another side of the city! Once the headquarters of Pearl Beer, the brewery has been repurposed to create a community of restaurants, shops and public spaces.
The beer that was made from the “Country of 1100 Springs” built these buildings in the late 1890’s, and they were used to brew Pearl Beer until Pabst purchased the company and moved it to Fort Worth. Now it’s a destination for both locals and tourist, with plenty to see and do!
Every weekend, the Pearl Farmers Market brings farmers and artisans from within 150 miles to sell produce, meats, cheese, soaps, olive oil and much more. There were easily 45 vendors there on the day of our visit. Sundays offers more prepared foods, so come hungry! Always come hungry to the Pearl! To read more about the Pearl Farmers Market, click HERE.
The Hotel Emma still bears the piping and concrete floors of the brewery, but there’s a definitive line where the luxury of this beautiful boutique hotel on the San Antonio River begins. Even if you don’t stay in the hotel, walk around the lobby and stop and have a drink in one of the private tables inside the open, cylinder-shaped copper beer kettles!
Click HERE to visit the Hotel Emma website, check prices and availability and be sure to read about the history of Pearl Brewery owner, Emma Koehler, for whom the hotel is named.
First Responders and Military receive 15% off on their stay.
AAA Members receive 15% off and FREE valet parking.
There are 15 restaurants at the Pearl, but you just can’t beat a weekend brunch at Southernleigh, set in the original Pearl Brew House! Thanks to owner/chef Jeff Balfour, previously of Citrus on the Riverwalk and raised in Galveston, you’ll find a great marriage of Hill Country and coastal fare! I love that all his seafood is sourced from the Gulf.
Reservations are recommended, but don’t let that stop you, or turn you away from taking the kids. It’s surprisingly family-friendly, considering you’re in a giant brewing factory.
During our visit, possibly one of the nicest waitstaff in the world continued to tell me of their stellar selection of craft beer, all brewed there in new “brewing machinery” but behind a the facade of the old Pearl equipment. I’m just not a beer drinker, but even the customers at nearby tables were trying to persuade me to give it a try. Similar to peer pressure, I think it’s called Beer Pressure. I’ll stick with their mimosas, which were excellent!
There are about 15 retailers at the Pearl, each with unique items, like Ten Thousand Villages items (see picture above) all made from repurposed saris, and I love that they are dog-friendly! We also browsed through Bike World, because I’m not obsessed with the idea of pedaling all 30 miles of the Riverwalk and they rent bikes, Melissa Guerra and Roo and Me, a fun children’s boutique. Click HERE for a complete list.
Cured is what first brought us to Pearl earlier this year, after hearing that all the meats are prepared in house. Choose from their list of Charcuterie, which lets you choose 3, 6 or 9 meats, and is served with cheese and their house crackers. They may have other stuff on the menu, but I’ve never gotten past this. Kidding, not kidding.
Cured is located in the Pearl Brewery’s historic Administrations Building, and they also sell Pearl Beer.
A fun and informative 45 minute tour to learn about the history of the brewery.
Bring your kids in their swimsuit, or just let them play in their shorts, because during the summer they will dry off in about 30 seconds, anyway!
The Splash Pad is open from 10am – 8pm, 7 days a week through Labor Day.
A big green, fake-grass area next to the splash area, it’s dog and kid friendly. They offer tons of fun special events here, so check the calendar, or just bring a soccer ball and some bubbles to make your own event! Click HERE for a list of upcoming events.
Bakery Lorraine is located here, so grab something incredible to eat while the kids play! The cheese danish with fresh raspberries is pretty jaw-dropping. Click HERE to be made hungry.
Just one of the fun events at the Pearl is the Magik Theater this summer!
While you’re about a 30 minute walk to what most people think of as the Riverwalk, it actually runs for 30 miles throughout San Antonio, making it the longest linear park in the US. The Pearl Brewery was built on the river for access to the clear, clean water of the 1890’s. Today, it’s not what you want to brew a glass of anything from, but it’s still a pretty view.
River Taxis come about every 30–35 minutes, and will take you back to the main section of the Riverwalk.
Rent a Bike
Start your exploration of the San Antonio Riverwalk by bike at the Pearl! As I’ve already mentioned, Bike World rents bikes, but there is also a handy kiosk where you can rent a bike.
Obviously, the loop section of the Riverwalk, which houses all the main entertainment attractions, would be crazy to ride on a bike on a weekend, or most any time. Head up to ride on the streets, or just skip the loop. The dam and river locks are interesting from a boat, and I’m thinking would be cool to see via bike.
On weekends, you’ll often find live music all day!
Each Wednesday night during the summer, enjoy Sound Cream, a FREE, family-friendly concert in the park!The Dogs
One of my favorite things about The Pearl is ALL THE DOGS! It’s such a great, pup-friendly place, and many San Antonio dog groups meet here to walk their dogs, too!
I know this because it’s easy to start up a conversation with someone who has a dog. You already have something in common with them, you both like their dog. I was told about Nature Hounds in San Antonio, which is a dog walking meetup group. How cool! They meet, take dogs for walks, which allows people to get out and make friends, explore new places they might not otherwise, all while having fun with their best friend! Click HERE to visit their website.
There are several pup-friendly restaurants at the Pearl.
While Hotel Emma doesn’t allow pets, Hotel Indigo, just 15 minutes down the Riverwalk, does. Click HERE to visit their website.
Okay, you’re not going to visit the Pearl just to park your car, but you could, because it’s FREE. I’ll be honest, it was a little chaotic, but you’re parking under the highway bridge, so it’s also shaded!
Don’t want to take your car? Of course you could Uber, but why not take a River Taxi or ride a bike? There is also public transportation that stops at the Pearl on Avenue A.
The Pearl is also just a short walk from either the San Antonio Museum of Art or the DoSeum, both accessible from the Riverwalk!
303 Pearl Parkway
Click HERE to visit their website.
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