10 Places to Hang Out Near UTSA, St. Mary’s and OLLU

If you’re a new college student at UTSA, St. Mary’s or Our Lady of the Lake University, we have a few hot spots you should check out. From awesome pizzerias to scenic parks, San Antonio’s West Side has plenty of fun places to explore.


UTSA Main Campus

Munchies for Everyone
The Block
14530 Roadrunner Way, (210) 690-3333

The newest hot spot near UTSA’s main campus is the Block. Situated in a park-like setting near the campus, students can try different cuisine from a variety of gourmet trucks, drink a cold beer or play cornhole, the classic college tailgate game, with friends and classmates. It’s a post-finals must.

The Great Outdoors
Leon Creek
Old Babcock, (210) 207-8590

The Leon Creek Greenway system features 15 miles of paved, multi-use and natural surface trails with views of limestone bluffs, wildflower fields and beautiful cottonwood trees. With connections to O.P. Schnabel Park, Bamberger Nature Park and UTSA’s main campus, students can bike or jog their way to lots of breathtaking destinations.
St. Mary’s University

Grad Student Happy Hour
Lisa's Mexican and Bar Mosaica
815 Bandera, (210) 433-2531

Owned and operated by Alicia Cendejas and her daughter Carla Ruiz, Lisa’s has one of the best happy hours in San Antonio. The dim lighting and sparkling beaded curtains create a chill and cozy atmosphere perfect for an intimate date night or an after class drink with friends. This restaurant has a long-standing history in the city, so go ahead and pay them a well-deserved visit.

For Acting Out
Woodlawn Theatre
1920 Fredericksburg, (210) 267-8388

John Wayne, the ultimate Western badass (besides Chuck Norris), hosted the world premiere of his movie The Alamo at this theatre in 1960. Now the Woodlawn helps bring the arts to people of all ages, providing entertaining and educational programs. Catch the currently running Into the Woods, a fractured fairy tale by Stephen Sodheim, and mark your calendar for a musical version of Catch Me If You Can later this spring.

Pizza with Pizzazz
Deco Pizzeria
1815 Fredericksburg, (210) 732-3326

Put the Domino’s meal deal coupon down and try something new. Deco Pizzeria has it all, from homemade bread and fruit pizza to beer and a Sexy Second Sunday Brunch, featuring bottomless mimosas until 2:30 p.m.


Our Lady of the Lake University

Working Out or Laying About
Apache Creek Park
2901 El Paso, (210) 207-7275

The park offers a basketball court, which gives you the opportunity to impress your friends with Splitter-esque skills, and 3.8 miles of hiking and biking trails. Bring your picnic basket for a great date or kick around a soccer ball on the multipurpose field. It’s also a lovely place to crack open a good book and soak up some rays during sunny days.

Puffy Perfection
Ray's Drive-Inn
822 SW 19th St, (210) 432-7171

The self-proclaimed “home of the original puffy taco,” Ray’s has been a San Antonio landmark since 1956. So why not bite into one of the best greasy puffy tacos in South Texas, grab freshly squeezed lemonade and revel in some of San Antonio’s history? There’s a wide menu for all of your friends. Don’t forget to bring cash—this drive-in doesn’t accept plastic.

Devilish Food
Gallo Pizzeria
164 Castroville , (210) 264-0077

I dare you to try the Diablo pizza offered here; not only is it topped with jalapeños and habanero peppers, but also the eye-watering, flaming hot ghost pepper. The amiable atmosphere makes for a great place to enjoy some music and good pizza with friends after a long day at class, and vegan and gluten-free pizza options are also available.


UTSA Downtown Campus/OLLU

All Kinds of Art
Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center
1300 Guadalupe, (210) 271-3151

All good things come together at the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center: art exhibits, theater, music and dance, plus creative writing workshops created by the wonderfully talented Sandra Cisneros (author of The House on Mango Street, a must read.) Culture and the arts come together in this community based, multi-disciplinary organization. The gallery displays well curated local contemporary art and the lovely theater occasionally hosts special film screenings and festivals (like the upcoming respected Latino film festival CineFestival).

Feel-good Frappes
Guadalupe Street Coffee
1320 Guadalupe, (210) 212-6508

This coffee shop provides a comfortable place for students to access the internet while sipping some java and munching on sammies. The space also features an art gallery and job training opportunities. I have to say, an Apple Pie Latte sounds pretty good during a cold day in South Texas (which, no doubt, will be followed by a sunny, warm day of 80 degrees).