Southside Lions Park offers plenty of trout, catfish, and space for an afternoon of fishing. Photo by David Garza.
Southside Lions Park offers plenty of trout, catfish, and space for an afternoon of fishing. Photo by David Garza.

The gift-giving element of Father’s Day is notoriously frustrating. Dads, as a group, do not often enjoy expressing their needs point-blank. It makes them feel vulnerable. A lot of them are also stubbornly Spartan in their tastes. If they do not need it, they do not want it. This tiring combination of inscrutability and rigorous pragmatism is one of the reasons why so many of us settle for silk ties, electric nose hair trimmers, and gift certificates to the local hardware store once June starts to creep around the corner.

But what if you abandoned that old model? What if you tried something different this Sunday? What if you decided to do something special with your dad by taking him out on the town? Our city offers a wide range of activities and special promotions for you to choose from, and many of them don’t require you to trek any further than downtown San Antonio.

After all, whether he is your father or a father figure, the one gift that is guaranteed to put a smile on his face is the pleasure of your company.

Of course, depending on the severity his condition, it might still be advisable for you to get him that nose hair trimmer. Better it come from family than a complete stranger.

Foodie Knows Best

Patrons enjoy drinks and wifi at the Boiler House at the Pearl. Photo by David Garza.
Patrons enjoy drinks and wifi at the Boiler House at the Pearl. Photo by David Garza.

Brunch is a meal we frequently associate with Mother’s Day, but who is to say that dear old dad would not like to be treated to the same? If he is amenable, try celebrating his special day at Boiler House Texas Grill and Wine Garden. Located in the historic Pearl Brewery complex on the River Walk, this restaurant specializes in Texas ranch-style cuisine prepared with items procured from local farms and markets.

They also have an extensive array of wines, many at affordable prices, and live music. They will be offering a Father’s Day brunch special from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. with a menu that includes Big Red sangrias, pan roasted salmon with a German potato salad, and peanut butter cream chocolate cake with chipotle raspberry sauce.

Cappy’s Restaurant on Broadway is another popular option to consider if you are brunching. You can enjoy their specialties, like New Orleans-style gumbo or poached eggs with hollandaise sauce. The restaurant also doubles as an art gallery, and every six weeks over 20 original pieces are displayed and sold. This winning combination of art and food is enough to make any aesthetically-minded pappy happy.

If rustic, stick-to-your-ribs fare is more your dad’s speed, John T. Floore’s Country Store in Helotes will be offering a Father’s Day buffet from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. It will feature cowboy eggs, country sausage, fried chicken, brisket, roasted potatoes, and much more. The Drugstore Cowboys will provide entertainment with an acoustic set. It is a pretty unbeatable fusion of good food and live music that is sure to have your dad tapping his toes and licking his fingers by the end of the meal.

If your father is brunch averse or a passionate carnivore, he may want to visit Fogo de Chão instead. There he will be able to gorge himself on authentic Brazilian churraso, roughly translated from Portuguese as ‘barbecue.’

There is nothing manlier than fresh meat that has been skewered onto a steel rod, roasted over a fire, and carved right at your table. It is primal, it is tasty, and the price for kids under 6 years old is complimentary. Plus, if you dine with Fogo on Father’s Day, your pop will receive a voucher for a free meal the next time he visits. If your dad digs meat, Fogo is definitely not a place he will want to forgo.

The Great Outdoors

For the dad who is an avid fisherman, it is not necessary for you to plan a trip to the coast in order to accommodate him. Thanks to the Texas Parks and Wildlife department’s Neighborhood Fishin’ program, urban dwellers can experience the joy of fishing by visiting small, nearby lakes that have been stocked with trout and catfish. Two such locations in San Antonio are at Miller’s Pond and South Side Lions Park. Grab some poles, bring some bait, and cast away to your heart’s content while you and your dad bask in the summer sunshine.

If your father is fitness-focused, he might appreciate some vigorous activity on his special day, such as riding bikes together while you explore downtown.

A selection of bikes at Bike World. Photo by David Garza.
A selection of bikes at Bike World. Photo by David Garza.

If you do not have your own wheels, or if transporting them is too cumbersome, you can conveniently rent some at Bike World, also located in the Pearl Brewery. Rent by the hour, or take them on a spin for a half-day or a full-day. Walk-ins are perfectly fine, but you can also reserve your cycles by phone or online.

A round of golf might seem like a great gift for dad, but it is not always the most family-friendly of activities. For an outing that is a tad more inclusive, particularly if you have little ones in tow, consider visiting Cool Crest Miniature Golf, located on Fredericksburg Road, just north of downtown.

Cool Crest mini-golf course before and after more than 50 years. Courtesy of the Metzger Estate / Annette Crawford.
Cool Crest mini-golf course before and after more than 50 years. Courtesy of the Metzger Estate / Annette Crawford.

It is actually one of the oldest continually-operated miniature golf courses in the world, possibly dating as far back as 1929. It has even been designated as a historically significant site by San Antonio’s Historic and Design Review Commission. It is practically an institution, so if by some chance your father does not have any fond memories of Cool Crest Miniature Golf, now would be a great time to make some with him.

“Pop” art

Henri Matisse (French, 1869-1954). Icare (Icarus), plate VII of XX from Jazz, 1947 Pochoir (stencil) on Arches paper; h. 16 ¾ in. (42.5 cm), w. 12 ¾ in. (32.4 cm). Bank of America Collection. Image courtesy of San Antonio Museum of Art. © 2014 Succession H. Matisse / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Henri Matisse (French, 1869-1954). Icare (Icarus), plate VII of XX from Jazz, 1947. From the Bank of America Collection. Image courtesy of San Antonio Museum of Art. © 2014 Succession H. Matisse / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

The San Antonio Museum of Art will be hosting several events of June 15 that your dad might enjoy. The first two are Special Exhibition Highlights, one from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. and the other from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. During these free talks, the SAMA docents discuss the works found in the museum’s collections and special exhibitions. The exhibitions currently on display feature art from the Baroque period as well as pieces by Diego Rivera and Bob Kuhn.  If you pay for admission, one additional event you can enjoy with smaller children is Matisse Art Activities: Celebrate Line, Shape, and Color from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the museum’s Stable Studios.

Believe it or not, the Ripley’s Odditorium will be sponsoring a special Father’s Day promotion. They have a coupon available on their website that allows dads to get in for free. You can print this page, have the coupon emailed to you, or even present it on a mobile device. If you want to stick around after you tour their bizarre galleries, you can also buy tickets to enjoy their 4D Moving Theater or Louis Tussaud Waxworks exhibit.

Tourist for a Day

If your dad has not visited downtown SA in a while, why not take him on a tour of the city? Start by visiting the Market Square Father’s Day Celebration, which runs from June 14 to June 15. There will be food booths, craft vendors, and special Tejano guest stars Gabriel Zavala and Robert Pulido.

One activity most San Antonians would not normally consider, unless they are hosting relatives from out of town, is taking a ride on a river boat cruise. Locals actually have an advantage here because they can enjoy the ride at a discounted rate. Residents of Bexar County only pay $6 and the price for children five years and younger is only $2, making this great option for larger families. You can even dine on your ride if you’re so inclined, just make sure nobody has severe motion sickness before you call to make the reservation.

A river boat tour glides along the Riverwalk. Photo by David Garza.
A river boat tour glides along the Riverwalk. Photo by David Garza.

After you have strolled down the Riverwalk, visited the Alamo, and taken in the sights, finish the day off by getting your dad a treat at Rio De Gelato.  They have authentic Italian ice cream, fresh-baked pastries, and artisanal coffees, so he is sure to find something there that he will like.

Hobbies and Miscellany

Does your dad have a special hobby that he rarely gets a chance to indulge? Why not take the time to help him explore it? For example, if he is automotively-minded, Traders Village will be hosting its fourth annual Dia De Los Daddys Car Show and Swap Meet.  There will be food offered at discounted prices and rides for the kids.

If your dad is a reader, why not take him to tour some of San Antonio’s best independent book stores? Requisite stops would be The Twig Book Shop at the Pearl Brewery, which specializes in small press works and Texas authors, and Imagine Book and Records. Treasure hunters with a nose for deals will love perusing stacks at the The Bookcellar, located at the lower level of the Central Public Library.  It is operated by the Friends of the San Antonio Public Library, and the profits made from sales are donated to the library to help run their programs.

Your dad’s hobby does not have to be exotic or extravagant for his Father’s Day excursion to be special. If he likes superheroes, take him to Heroes and Fantasies or Alien Worlds and let him pick out some comics. If he adores music, visit Hogwild Records together and treat him to some vintage vinyl. The point of accompanying him is to make the process itself meaningful. Spend time with him while browses. Ask him why he likes what he likes and reciprocate by sharing his interest.

*Featured/top image: Southside Lions Park offers plenty of trout, catfish, and space for an afternoon of fishing. Photo by David Garza.

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David Garza

David Garza is a native of San Antonio who graduated from St. Mary's University with Bachelor's degrees in Biology, English and a Master's degree in English Literature and Language. He is a freelance writing...