San Antonio is the perfect city for finding unique, eclectic and utterly special gifts for friends and family during the holiday season.
The "Alamo City" is a town of culture and fusions, one that virtually straddles two countries. Many people live here from all over the world. During the holidays, a vast number of internationals shop here exclusively for the expansive options available, from the latest technological gadgets to one-of-a-kind artisan wares.
It doesn't get any more one-of-a-kind than original artwork, which can be found all over the city. December is a hot month for local art shows.
San Antonio artist Abraham Mojica, with his artwork "Bruja" — Photo courtesy of Kimberly Suta
One local artist, Abraham Mojica, has been quickly gaining worldwide attention for his mesmerizing large-scale paintings. Some of his original work is on display at the popular Latin restaurant Azuca, where you can also purchase his prints.
Artisan gifts can also be found at Mercado O'liva, an open-air market and gourmet Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program, which happens downtown on a monthly basis.
You'll enjoy a variety of hand-crafted delights, including blown-glass pieces like vases and spectacular ornaments, jewelry, photographs, soaps and so much more. Foodies will love their special CSA basket filled with an array of edibles you can't find anywhere else.
In fact, the whole of San Antonio is a treasure trove of foodie finds, from Sandy Oaks Olive Oil to all of the scintillating treats at Central Market, a high-end grocery store that features local as well as imported goodies, from Molli Mexican sauces made in Texas to Brazilian coffee.
Lucchese boots — Photo courtesy of Lucchese
Of course, when visiting Texas, it's practically required that you buy yourself a cowboy hat and boots. There are places all over the city, especially along the riverwalk, where you can find just about anything you can imagine.
But for custom-made boots, head to the Quarry Market, where you can find the perfect pair of leather boots at Lucchese. And if you're feeling generous, maybe you'll get a pair for your honey, too!
Besides the Quarry, another best place to shop in San Antonio is La Cantera on the northside, where you'll see all of the best chain stores, such as Nordstrom. There are more independently-owned and unique yet still upscale shops at the Pearl Brewery, not to mention the fantastic places to grab a leisurely lunch. You'll need it after an exhausting morning lugging around all those gifts.
Downtown, at Market Square and in the Southtown Arts District, is where you'll find more artisan options and Mexican trinkets, such as bags, blankets and colorful jewelry.
Just make sure to bring an extra suitcase, or you might not make it on the plane home!