Verified Review icon check navigate-up navigate-left navigate-right expand mail svg-lightning svg-24hr svg-house svg-sleeps svg-bedrooms svg-bathrooms svg-stay svg-toilet calendar svg-report-flag pet-dog svg-multiunit Default Owner Icon heart-filled
Book Online or call HomeAway Booking Assistance 888-640-7927
Book Online or call HomeAway Booking Assistance 888-640-7927

Walk to the Alamo and Riverwalk! Historic Bungalow

Bedrooms 3
Space 1,500 sq. ft.
Property type house
Minimum Stay 3 nights


About the property

3 bed/2 bath in the heart of San Antonio

You cannot find a better location for seeing San Antonio than from our charming bungalow in the heart of the city! Park the car and walk throughout our neighborhood and the downtown to really get a San Antonio experience. Parks, arts galleries and activities, restaurants, historic sites, live music, cultural venues, movie theaters, comedy clubs and night clubs, and even places to hike, bike, golf, kayak, and shoot hoops -- it's all within a walk from here! This 1880 house was our home for seven years and is still my daughter's favorite house. Artists, writers, composers, critics, and one 'Dame of the British Empire' have made it a temporary home, and the aesthetic is well suited to 'creatives'. Our devotion to the arts is expressed not just in the unique details of this home, but in our commitments to arts education: A portion of all rentals helps support arts education in Southtown, through gifts to local organizations including Bonham Theater, Say Si, and grants to teachers of music, visual, and performing arts. Starting in fall of 2016, you will be able to see the works of local artists displayed here in the house, against the visually stunning backdrop of exposed bead board and plank ceilings, stripped but unpainted door frames, and retained chimney flues that reveal the 135 years and numerous generations that have come through these doors. It is a unique and character-filled home, suitable for people who love old houses -- not just historic mansions but the humble homes of real people who lived and worked here a century ago. When we saved this old house from decades of neglect, we renovated to make it function for our 21st century family without obscuring its past, and lived here with love.

Located just one block from South Alamo Street, the artery that connects the Alamo and downtown tourist district with all the local flavor of our vibrant arts and culture district, this house is arguably the best-sited vacation home in town. With dozens of local restaurants and unique shops, open-air eateries, 'ice houses' (our term for outdoor beer halls), and 'trend' destinations like great coffee houses, brew pubs, and cocktail lounges, this house and neighborhood has it all. This is a downtown neighborhood: It's not a gated community. You will meet real people of every stripe in our 'hood, from our septuagenarian neighbor famous for her fruit trees (including papaya), to the 'two Rudy's' (one collects our cans and rides a tricycle; the other is a retired high school principal who owns a ranch of miniature horses and plays the 'bajo sexto' -- a guitar-like Mexican 12-string instrument). This functioning neighborhood of real families is an alternative to 'tourist' San Antonio, while being close enough to do all the tourist things. The neighborhood is also 'kid friendly' and 'dog friendly'.

Southtown (an area that includes historic districts King William, Lavaca, and Baja King William) was reclaimed from the blight and despair that inflicted many downtown zones two decades ago by a loose assortment of 'alternative' types -- artists, writers, musicians and eccentrics. Although gentrification has brought us more doctors, lawyers, and retired bankers, the core population is still 'creatives'. Architects have built contemporary studios out of tin next to their craftsman homes (the Historic Design Review Commission oversees all designs and development), people grow tiny organic urban gardens, and many neighbors keep chickens (don't worry, the nearest rooster is a mile away). Down the alley a retired Army colonel has two pet goats. While the area is desired by visitors for its proximity to downtown, the neighborhood is mostly coveted by locals as a place where you can still be a little weird. While we don't have chickens, there are producing fruit trees -- if you visit in season you'll have fresh grapefruit or limes for your drinks. In fall you're welcome to enjoy the fresh, fallen pecans and take some home with you -- we always have more than we need.

To take a stroll to the River Walk: Turn right on South Alamo to hit it in the heart of downtown, or turn left and cut four short blocks through the 'hood past historic mansions to enjoy our pastoral and peaceful hike/bike area with walking trails and even a spot to put in a kayak! The ‘hood also has places to work out, do yoga, rent bikes – just about everything to make your stay invigorating.

This historic 19th century house in the heart of downtown San Antonio is a fully furnished three bedroom, two bathroom home. Utilize the daybed with trundle in the enclosed porch room or the click-clack sleeper in the living room to extend sleeping capacity to 10. The furnishings are casual but sophisticated, selected to accent each room's character: Nothing repeats. Historic details include wonderful long-leaf pine flooring, high ceilings, and transoms over doorways. This lovingly resurrected bungalow is still a work in progress, one that I will pass on to my daughter someday, who will no doubt keep restoring it one item at a time! It was once our family home, and we still live in this house or across the street at times throughout the year when we visit our much-loved downtown neighborhood. We have striven to preserve the home’s simple, personal, aged character while modernizing it enough for comfort.

My daughter was 3 years old when we moved in here, and she needed a home where the rooms felt very connected, as they do here. There is no hallway – the rooms open onto one another – so the house functions in an open and easy way. We had lived in a big house with a hallway that bisected the space, and she followed me from room to room: Here, she was confident that no matter what room she occupied, I could see and hear her from steps away. For guests that means you can easily interact from one space to another: The cook can also watch the kids while they play in the living room, folks can socialize more easily. The current kitchen was an empty room with white walls when we bought the house, but it was obviously the exterior of the original house. From the living room both a doorway and an original window (that would have looked onto the yard) open into the kitchen, creating continuity between the spaces that preserves a conviviality between those working in the kitchen and the family members idling in front of the television. The deck opens directly off the kitchen for outdoor dining or just relaxing. Much of the time it is sheltered by the shade of our giant pecan tree. The front porch makes a great space to hang out, too. There’s another pecan tree in front, and if you’re here during the season feel free to take home some pecans: There’s always more than enough!

The house has a 20' x 8' deck off the kitchen under the spreading pecan tree. Guests enjoy cooking out or serving at the table on the deck, which is also a great place for a morning cup of coffee. Resident squirrels chase each other around the tree and native birds are frequent visitors. There is a small side yard under the spreading pecan, where we reclaimed a bunch of old bricks by “excavating” the original pathways and have used them to create informal walkways and step areas that combine new patio stones with old bricks and blocks. To conserve water, we use native and heat- and drought-tolerant plants, and most of the yard is simply trimmed with monkey grass or spider grass, both of which make it through San Antonio’s climatological mood swings. We have allowed a native ground cover to dominate the small patch of yard where kids play or folks collect when using the grill. You can view the Hemisfair Tower – and its seasonal fireworks – from the outdoor deck. Out the back door is a small “dog run” – a fenced enclosure that opens only into the porch room of the house – to provide a secure kennel for visitors with pups!

From the street, it’s an easy walk to the Alamo, Convention Center, Fiesta, River Walk, Alamodome, and the soon-to-be completely Amphitheater. Swimming, parks, golf, tennis, movie theaters, and shopping are all nearby. The house is located on a quiet side street that’s only one block long, but we are merely steps away from nightlife and restaurants, including the famous Rosario's restaurant. Three of Texas Monthly's “50 best Mexican Restaurants” are located in the neighborhood which is the center of the arts community and nightlife for local San Antonio.

Bikes are available at the 'bike share' just two blocks away to enjoy San Antonio or the Mission Trails bike trail nearby. A neighborhood membership pool and health club takes short term memberships for a small fee ($50 at this time), so you can hang out at the pool or get some exercise. The public pool is 1 mile away in a park with a climbing wall, grills, basketball courts, and more, along the River Walk Mission Reach and near the golf course. Although we no longer live across the street full time, we are still nearby and can share information about the neighborhood or assist with any concerns. Our great neighbors also help out when I'm out of town for any reason. It's a very neighborly area! You can rent by the day (3-night minimum), week or month.

GIVING BACK: Contributions from this rental to local arts programs are targeted to expanding arts education for our urban at-risk population. We have a vibrant, affluent downtown, but share this diverse community with many children whose families cannot provide for extras like theater camp or art supplies. That's where we step in: Through personal gifts to lower income students and direct contributions to teachers and arts organizations, we help to expand the reach of existing programs, like our outstanding public school and nonprofit organizations, to children who might not otherwise be served.

Keywords: Historic home, bungalow, family

More Details

Member since: 2010
Premier Partner

This VRBO partner has demonstrated and is committed to fast response times, the best rates, and a great traveler experience.

Speaks: english
Response time:
Within 12 hours
Response rate:
Calendar last updated:
December 16, 2017

About The Owner

I'm a locally-known writert, an older single mom, active in this community and devoted to my neighborhood and my daughter.

We love it here. It's everything that's best about San Antonio. I transplanted from Chicago after a stint in NYC and college back east, so this Texas thing took adjusting, but now it is most definitely home.

My daughter is a young actor who studied here at San Antonio's Northeast School of the Arts and now has a scholarship to a performing arts school in Los Angeles: We are located in LA throughout the school year (she's only 16 as of 2016) but we have great friends to look after you!

Isabel got here start working with Bonham Academy Theater (the great program at our local elementary/middle school). Bonham Academy does amazing things, while serving an urban population that includes a disproportionate number of at-risk children. The grants we are able to give from this house help those children who might not otherwise be able to do some of the things my more privileged daughter could do: costume fees at NESA, summer theater camp, or pay for framing and arts supplies.

The Owner purchased this house in 2002

Why The Owner chose Downtown

I bought this home in 2002 because I was Editor-in-Chief of a newspaper when 9/11 occurred. It was an intense week, and I vowed, 'Starting right now, I want to live where I want to live. I want to live HOW I want to live -- because anything can happen in an instant!'

This is the greatest neighborhood in San Antonio, the only place in town I really wanted to live. As to the house, the openness of the living space meant a lot to my daughter. In 2008 the economy tanked while I had a note on a nearby dilapidated, distressed, investment house to meet, and I got caught underwater with no money and two notes to meet. So I moved to that house to live in it and incrementally renovate (because remember when you couldn't buy, or sell, or borrow?? It was then).

Values in our neighborhood had really gone up dramatically and I realized that as a working single mother on limited means, I'd never be able to afford this house again! So I didn't really want to sell it even if the market improved. Besides -- it would break my heart if anybody ever painted over those beautiful exterior walls I stripped and exposed in the kitchen! Instead, I started renting it out and never looked back.

What makes this house unique

The neighborhood. Look it up online: King William/Southtown.

Guestbook comments from the owner

We live in North Texas and come to San Antonio often and this is the best place we've ever stayed. The house is different in every way from our house (on a lake and golf course) so it made me feel like I was stepping into an adventure to step "back in time" in this great old house. It was such a fabulous location we couldn't believe our luck. We've known the neighborhood for years, and stayed in bed and breakfasts here, but this was the BEST!
Sep 2014
  • 1 of 1


Downtown House Accommodation and Amenities

Property Type:
  • house
  • Guests provide their own meals
Floor Area:
  • 1500 sq. ft.
House Rules:
  • Max. occupancy: 10
  • pets considered ...
  • Events Allowed
  • children welcome ...
  • non smoking only ...
Location Type:
  • Downtown ...
  • Monument View ...
  • Family
  • Historic
  • Romantic
  • Sports & Activities
  • Tourist Attractions
  • Air Conditioning ...
  • Clothes Dryer ...
  • Hair Dryer
  • Heating ...
  • Internet ...
  • Iron & Board
  • Linens Provided ...
  • Living Room ...
  • Parking ...
  • Parking Off Street ...
  • Washing Machine ...
  • Wireless Internet ...
  • Coffee Maker ...
  • Cooking Utensils ...
  • Dishes & Utensils ...
  • Dishwasher ...
  • Kitchen ...
  • Microwave ...
  • Oven ...
  • Pantry Items ...
  • Refrigerator ...
  • Stove ...
  • Toaster ...
  • Child's Highchair
  • Dining ...
  • Dining Area
  • seating for 8 people
  • 2 Bathrooms
  • Bathroom 1 - toilet , combination tub/shower , Contemporary bath offers loads of hot water.
    Bathroom 2 - toilet , tub , shower , Historic clawfoot with shower surround in big master bath.
  • 3 Bedrooms, Sleeps 10
  • Bedroom 1 - 1 king , Spacious bedroom opens to living room, bathroom, kitchen
    Bedroom 2 - 1 queen , Front bedroom has private entrance and a 1910 piano.
    Bedroom 3 - 1 double , Peaceful 'green' bedroom is in the quiet rear of the house
  • King size beds (1), Queen size Beds (1), Double Beds (1), Sleep Sofa or Futons (1)
  • Books ...
  • CD Player
  • DVD Player ...
  • Satellite / Cable ...
  • Television ...
  • Video Library ...
  • Deck / Patio ...
  • Golf ...
  • Lawn / Garden ...
  • Outdoor Grill ...
  • Long-term Renters Welcome
Pool / Spa:
  • Communal Pool ...
  • botanical garden
  • churches
  • cinemas
  • health/beauty spa
  • library
  • live theater
  • museums
  • playground
  • recreation center
  • restaurants
  • ruins
  • theme parks
  • water parks
  • zoo
Leisure Activities:
  • antiquing
  • bird watching
  • horseback riding
  • miniature golf
  • scenic drives
  • shopping
  • sight seeing
  • sledding
  • walking
  • wildlife viewing
Local Services & Businesses:
  • ATM/bank
  • Babysitter
  • fitness center
  • groceries
  • hospital
  • laundromat
  • massage therapist
  • medical services
Sports & Adventure Activities:
  • cycling
  • golf
  • hiking
  • hot air ballooning
  • swimming
  • tennis


Excellent! 4.6/5 -
(30 traveler reviews)

80% Complete
13% Complete
0% Complete
3% Complete
3% Complete
Walk to the Alamo and Riverwalk! Historic Bungalow
average rating of 4.633333 based on 31 reviews
Toronto, Canada

San Antonio charmer!

  • 5 of 5

If you're looking to for something more than just a tourist experience in San Antonio, this charming home should be on your radar!

Our family of four absolutely loved the exquisite attention to detail evident in the restoration of this old house, while enjoying modern amenities like a fully working kitchen and two bathrooms with ample hot water and good water pressure (a 'basic' that can sometimes be elusive in rentals!)

The beds are ultra comfortable, and the linens and pillows are excellent quality.

The house is truly within walking distance to everything, from the gorgeous King William neighbourhood, to the River Walk, to the Alamo, and to some very cool restaurants as well. We loved Rosario's, and had a good time outside in the backyard of the Monterey.

We especially adored the friendly neighbourhood animals, from the delightful Melon (Retha's darling chi-weenie) to the many beautiful kitties. We'll especially miss the delightful Roger, a super-friendly girl (yup....we just called her 'Ginger' because of her colouring) who adopted us for the duration of our stay.

We also enjoyed chatting with Retha and her lovely daughter, Isabel.

We look forward to returning to this lovely home on our next trip to San Antonio!

  • Submitted: Feb 25, 2013
  • Stayed: February 2013
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
Owner's Response: One thing that I find really gratifying is being able to offer this wonderful old house to people who truly appreciate it. I'm so pleased when families respond to our home -- we lived there for years and it's still "ours" -- because it makes me feel connected with folks from all over the world! We share a common love for funky wonderful old structures with character, for a sense of history, a sense of "place"... I really loved these guests, and hope they come back -- and hope we have more time to visit with them. We try to be "real" here, not "touristy". If you like our environs and the character of the house, you will be happy and feel at home.
Did you find this review helpful?
7 0

Fantastic location

  • 5 of 5

My husband and two 20s sons and I stayed here for the thanksgiving holidays. Everyday we walked the .8 mile into downtown. The city is so walkable and accessible from this charming house. Not to be missed is the Briscoe western museum and a bike tour of the San Antonio missions.

One day we rented a car and drove to see the LBJ ranch. It took less than an hour and half and was a great change of pace.

The beds were comfortable and ample.

Come check out San Antonio and this fantastic bungalow.

  • Submitted: Nov 26, 2017
  • Stayed: November 2017
  • Source: HomeAway
Did you find this review helpful?
0 0

Great location near the River Walk

  • 4 of 5

Was here over Labor Day weekend for a guy’s getaway.

While the river walk is technically walkable, the neighborhood is under redevelopment and we felt better with a short $5.00 Uber ride. There are plenty of good restaurants and bars that are within a couple of blocks of the house. The home is being renovated but that did not stop our enjoyment. Beds were comfortable, the baths adequate and the kitchen fully equipted.

The only suggestion I would make is to upgrade the cable TV as only a few channels were available and that did make a difference for guys trying to watch college football.

I have no hesitancy in recommending this property and would gladly stay here again.

  • Submitted: Sep 6, 2017
  • Stayed: August 2017
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
Did you find this review helpful?
1 0

Perfect for our dance family of 8!!!

  • 4 of 5

This amazing and charming home was just minutes away from our dance competition and downtown San Antonio. It was great not worrying about the amount of noise my 5 and 7 year old grand-kids were making because we were not in a hotel room. Plus Retha had games like Twister and Hungry Hippo for them to play, and a wonderful piano that everyone played!!! I do have to say at first glance I was taken back a bit, but the home just grows on you with its history and's high ceilings, quaint furniture pieces, a kitchen completely stocked with everything you need, comfortable beds, great hot showers with super water pressure, washer and dryer, WiFi for my 13 and 15 year old grand-kids, TV, quiet and safe neighborhood, excellent family owned restaurants within walking distance, plus more, and Retha who answers her emails in minutes! Thank you, Retha, we loved your rental home! If we come back to San Antonio, we hope to stay again if it is available!!!


  • Submitted: Jul 14, 2017
  • Stayed: June 2017
  • Source: Vacation Rentals, from HomeAway
Did you find this review helpful?
0 0

It was a charming house with lots of character

  • 4 of 5

The owner was so nice to deal with. She got right back to us when we had questions.

  • Submitted: Jun 29, 2017
  • Stayed: June 2017
  • Source: HomeAway
Did you find this review helpful?
0 0

Lovely, Authentic Home in Southtown San Antonio!

  • 5 of 5

This is a lovely home in an amazing location. I'm a San Antonio born and bred, and I was returning for a weekend "at home". As a native, I can attest that this home is very authentic to the town itself, and a very comfortable stay. It is in an amazing location, walkable to all the things that are perfect for tourists and natives alike. The riverwalk, of course, is a classic tourist attraction, but rightfully so! Its beauty and its culture are great snapshots of Ol' San Antone. The missions provide wonderful glimpses into the history of Texas, Mexico, and the whole "New World". The dining opportunities are abundant, and full of life. Great for partying, and also relaxing. Neighborhood joints like "The Friendly Spot" provide amazing opportunities to meet and interact with the natives of the neighborhood. The art is also one of the best facets of the neighborhood, with galleries like those in The Blue Star Arts Complex showcasing work from local artists. I got to stay during Fiesta (an annual celebration, and much of why I came home). This "party" (which is what the spanish fiesta means) is a fantastic way to experience the classic San Antonio traditions as they change and grow to welcome in our new era. This house is perfectly poised to help avoid the noise and clutter of such a large "partay", while still being exactly close enough to be a part of the fun. A great way to be a part of the crowd without being crowded. The neighborhood is a great blend of the old and the new, from the historically important Alamo to the burgeoning art scene, and this lovely Bungalow is a perfect stay, right in the heart of it all!

  • Submitted: Jun 28, 2017
  • Stayed: April 2017
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
Did you find this review helpful?
0 0


Nearest Airport
13 Miles
San Antonio International Airport
Nearest Barpub
0.1 Miles
Azuca; La Frite
Nearest Golf
2 Miles
Riverside Park
Nearest Train
1 Miles
Nearest Motorway
0.5 Miles
Nearest Restaurant
0.1 Miles
Rosario's; La Foccaccia; Azuca; La Frite; Mr Tim's
Nearest Beach
120 Miles
Padre Island
Car: not necessary

Steps away from the Alamo, La Villita, Convention Center, Alamodome, art galleries, First Friday, and more!


Rates & Availability

Taxes and fees are additional

Additional information about rental rates

Cleaning $100 + Tax
Property Damage Protection $59
Tax Rate 16.75%

Rental Agreement:
We want you to enjoy your stay in the heart of San Antonio! While you are here, please observe “good neighbor” behavior and be aware of the policies in this agreement: They are binding.
The home is fully furnished and includes a full compliment of bedding, bath necessities, and kitchen goods, as needed for a standard home this size. You are responsible for replacing anything used in full, lost, or broken during your stay.
This is an older house and we welcome families: We are aware that there is normal “wear and tear”. In the course of regular use repairs will become necessary. You are responsible for damages that result directly from your stay, and you must not make any material changes to the house. This is a non-smoking property. Smoking is permitted only outside. As with any home, unforeseen problems can arise at any time. Repairs and maintenance will be provided on your request by calling the number online. Please exercise reasonable caution. You are in a downtown area of a major American city.
Should the house become unusable prior to your stay our liability shall be limited to the return of your funds in full. Once you have commenced your stay there are no refunds. Should you experience any problems, concerns, or issues with the house, please bring them to our attention immediately upon discovery and allow us to make necessary corrections or improvements. You will make no public complaint about issues that are not expressly brought to our attention during your stay. Daily/weekly housekeeping is not provided.
NO LIABILITY IS EXTENDED OR IMPLIED BY THIS CONTRACT FOR USE. You shall be exclusively and responsible for your safety and the safety of guests or children in your party. You hereby indemnify the property owner from any and all claims that may be associated with the stay including accident, illness, and damage to personal property. Your online booking or deposit indicates you have read and agree to these terms.

Owner's Cancellation Policy

100% refund if canceled at least 60 days before arrival date.