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Rendering courtesy of courtesy of Giles Design Bureau / Clayton & Little Architects

It's the most wonderful stressful time of the year! We get it — the holidays can be heavenly and challenging at the same time. If you're in dire need of a cozy escape from it all, give these local restaurants/coffee shops/bars a try. At the very least, you'll find plenty of Instagrammable Christmas opportunities and chances to escape from the stress of the holidays. Don't be a grinch, just get away!

Poetic Republic Coffee & Wine Co
Poetic Republic Coffee feels like San Antonio's own slice of Stars Hollow (here's looking at you Gilmore Girls fans) nestled on South Presa Street. Order yourself one of their handcrafted specialty lattes (they've got a seasonal menu out now with options like a Marshmallow latte), sit down with a nice book and take a breather. Don't forget to grab a bag of Writers Fuel coffee beans on the way out! (Did we mention they also serve wine?) 2330 S. Presa St.

La Frite Belgian Bistro
If you've been dying to take a European vacation but have no desire to step foot in the airport during the holiday season, head over to La Frite Belgian Bistro instead. The city's only authentic Belgian bistro feels like a mini European getaway tucked in Southtown. An order of La Frite mussels with a side of their signature frites is mandatory if you visit. 728 S. Alamo St.

Bar Du Mon Ami
After you've checked out the Light the Way display at UIW, drive a bit further down Broadway for a handcrafted cocktail at the Bar Du Mon Ami. If you caught a chill in this unusually cold winter weather, warm up with a $8 Bar Du Mon Ami hot toddy. This cozy bar is open every day of the week. 4901 Broadway

Miracle Pop-Up at the Esquire
The Miracle on Commerce Street Christmas pop-up at the Esquire Tavern is tucked away in the Esquire speakeasy (marked by a stocking on the doorway to the entrance). Warm yourself up with a naughty or nice shot and enjoy this quintessentially Christmas downtown escape with plenty of photo opportunities and fun, seasonal cocktails. For any aspiring Carrie Bradshaws out there, make sure to order yourself a Christmapolitan! (You'll thank us later). 155 E. Commerce St.

Coffee Crush
If you're looking for a cute caffeinated getaway on the North East side of the city, check out Coffee Crush. The locally owned and operated coffee spot recently celebrated its first anniversary, with many locals loving the shop's prime seating area, cute decor/vibes, and fresh pastries (and they usually have vegan options too). Coffee Crush's signature espresso shakeratos always get the job done if you need a caffeine fix after Christmas shopping! 18010 Bulverde Rd., #109

Brasserie Mon Chou Chou
If you've already explored Belgium thanks to La Frite, check out San Antonio's own little slice of France thanks to Brasserie Mon Chou Chou. The restaurant's Christmas decorations are not to be missed, and we loved that they even had options on their menu for guests with dietary restrictions (for example, the Couscous Aux Legumes Et Piment D'Espellette is warm, hearty, and completely dairy and egg free.) If you're okay with dairy, the Sandwich Au Fromage Raclette is a guaranteed crowd pleaser or good for the 'Gram if you're dining solo. 312 Pearl Parkway

Bonus: San Antonio Pets Alive!
If you're in need of some unconditional love and want to help pets in need, consider volunteering for a shift or two at San Antonio Pets Alive! The local pet shelter is always in need of fosters for pets looking for loving homes too, particularly during the holiday season. What better way to escape holiday stress then with a hearty dose of puppy love? Click here for more info about volunteer opportunities.

Further afield:
If you're doing some holiday shopping up in Austin and need a break, the Omni Barton Creek Resort & Spa is a serene spot with multiple restaurants, spacious grounds, and fun Christmassy opportunities open to hotel guests and visitors just stopping by like their Holiday in the Hills light trail, and a Holiday in the Hills Snowdown light display.

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Where to see the once-in-recorded-history green comet approaching San Antonio

Seeing green

The world is buzzing with news of an approaching astronomical body, Comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF), more often referred to in the news and social media as "the green comet." Its most recent appearance was 50,000 years ago — compared to the about 200,000 years since modern humans emerged.

"While the pictures of it have been impressive, its visual appearance differs greatly," explains Joe Wheelock, public program specialist at the McDonald Observatory at the University of Texas at Austin. "Currently you might glimpse it with the unaided eye as a fuzzy patch of light[,] but you would need to be away from city lights. Binoculars or a telescope would improve the view, and you might even glimpse a faint tail."

As tempting as it is — and as much fodder as its made on social media — this experience will not be easy for most Texans to photograph and share. "The pictures that have been posted on various websites were taken by experienced astrophotographers and in most cases cameras designed for astrophotography," Wheelock warns.

Some logistics to note when planning a viewing:

  • The comet will be closest to Earth (thus, likely the most visible) on February 1.
  • Wheelan says placement will also be good in late January and early February, and it will be best viewed after midnight. Since the new moon was on January 21, every day the moon will compete with it a little more.
  • The McDonald Observatory posts daily stargazing tips, so viewers will have a few chances at seeing something special, even if the comment doesn't work out.
  • Getting out of San Antn is the best bet against light pollution.

Those who are willing to make a trip out of the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity should consider their best chances at out running the city lights. The closest popular option to San Antonio proper is McAllister Park, which sometimes hosts stargazing events. For a more structured approach, the Curtis Vaughan Jr. Observatory at the University of Texas at San Antonio hosts first Friday stargazing nights after sunset. The McDonald Observatory, although it is an entity of the University of Texas at Austin, is in Fort Davis, about 400 miles from San Antonio.

The International Dark-Sky Association (IDA) maintains records of some of the world's least light-polluted skies and works to protect them, ensuring that these places stay available for reliable stargazing retreats. There are four IDA-certified Dark Sky Parks in Texas: Enchanted Rock (90 miles from San Antonio), South Llano River (120 miles), Copper Breaks (370 miles), and Big Bend Ranch (490 miles).

In addition to the certified parks, there is a smaller group of Dark Sky Sanctuaries, which are especially dark and carefully protected. There are two in Texas: Devil's River State Natural Area (170 miles) and Black Gap Wildlife Management Area (390 miles).

For more in-depth reading on the comet's trajectory and context, Wheelan suggests an article in Sky & TelescopeSky & Telescope.

San Antonio suburb among the richest places in Texas for 2023, plus more top stories

Hot Headlines

Editor’s note: It’s that time again — time to check in with our top stories. Here are five articles that captured our collective attention over the past seven days.

1. San Antonio suburb cashes in among the richest places in Texas for 2023. Alamo Heights has been renamed the third richest place in Texas for 2023 in a recent study.

2. San Antonio home sales slowed in December 2022, report finds. San Antonio sold 36,477 homes all year, a 10 percent decrease from 2021.

3. Here are the top 5 things to do in San Antonio this weekend. Nina Simone, Pink Floyd, the Beatles and more music-centered events made our roundup of the best things to do in Alamo City this weekend.

4. San Antonio Home & Garden Show returns with HGTV star. Ati Williams will headline the San Antonio Spring Home & Garden Show, which takes place February 24-26.

5. H-E-B opens first location in growing San Antonio suburb. The state-of-the-art facility offers 110,000 square feet of floor space, providing everything from cat food to charcuterie.


Popular Pearl brunch spot remixes with new weekend DJ nights

OONCE OONCE OONCE

Though Full Goods Diner has barely been open for half a year, it has already become a San Antonio staple for working weekday lunches and lingering Sunday Fundays. Now the Pearl eatery is looking to be a hot spot after dark.

Via release, the popular local haunt just announced a new limited-time music series, Full Goods at Night. Starting on February 2, Full Goods Diner will open select evenings throughout the month.

The Full Goods at Night series will feature popular local San Antonio DJs, including El West Side Sound, Hector Gallego, DJ Plata, Steven Lee Moya, and Cami Gee. Guests can enjoy live sets while indulging in a specially curated food and drink offerings.

The menu will include some of Full Goods Diner's best—selling items, such as French toast sticks, barbacoa waffle fries, and jumbo cheesy tots. Libations like the Attaboy Negroni, Royal Bermuda Daiquiri, Pink G&T, and more will fuel the festivities.

In addition to enjoying moonlight brunch, guests can relish some prime people-watching. And, of course, the restaurant is just a hop from other nightlife destinations like Pink Hill, 3 Star Bar, and Summer Camp Bar, making it the perfect party starter.

The series runs every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday from February 2-25, 6-10 pm. The complete DJ schedule is listed below.

February 2 — El West Side Sound·
February 3 — Hector Gallego
February 4— DJ Plata
February 9 — El West Side Sound
February 10 — Steven Lee Moya
February 11 — Cami Gee
February 16 — El West Side Sound
February 17 — Steven Lee Moya
February 18 — Hector Gallego
February 23 — El West Side Sound
February 24— Steven Lee Moya
February 25 — DJ Plata