Pokémon has been a colossal part of my childhood as for many of us twenty-somethings currently nearing adulthood. I had grown out of Pokémon slowly towards my high school years but always held a place in my heart for the earlier sets of pocket monsters. After having my son, Jude, Pokémon slowly crawled back into my life as he showed interest in the anime show and little toys I brought out from when I was a kid. It’s awesome. I get to relive this part of my childhood with my son. Now it has exploded with the new app – Pokémon Go. Accessible to anyone with a working smartphone it’s a phenomenon even greater than when Pokémon first came out and everyone was itching to get that holographic shadowless Charizard or the latest colored version for his or her Gameboy.

So if you’re new to Pokémon Go or have been playing since it first came out like I have I’m going to share my experience with the game and playing it here in San Antonio including some of my personal favorite spots to roam and become the very best that no one ever was.

downtownAlthough a large area to cover, Downtown San Antonio is crawling with all kinds of Pokémon and Poké Stops from monuments, bars, statues, and historic buildings alike. Even the Alamo itself is a gym! Haven’t we had enough battles at the Alamo? #RememberTheAlamo. The Alamo Plaza alone offers two or three spots where you can reach more than one Poké Stop to aid in your goal to catch em all. The Riverwalk holds home to many Tauros’ and a variety of water Pokémon. It’s a gamble downtown, but you are more likely to catch rare Pokémon (not your typical Rattata and Pidgey infestation) since they are more people around you playing. One area in particular downtown that I’ve had the most success with is near the Tobin Center. There is Baptist Church with a large parking lot (accessible by the public) that reaches three Poké Stops on the Riverwalk. Just recently I went and there were tons of people and Lures were being dropped on all three Poké Stops for about two hours. I caught tons of water Pokémon I wouldn’t have found otherwise including: Squirtle, Kabuto, Omanyte, Psyduck, Goldeen, Slowpoke, and Staryu.

Pearl_Southtown The Pearl and Bluestar area in Southtown are also very fun places to play Pokémon Go. With lots of overlapping Poké Stops for Lures and a number of different gyms to battle it’s a great place to roam and catch Pokémon. I’ve taken my son to The Pearl to play Pokémon so that we can walk around without worrying too much about cars and traffic. Also both areas provide a perfect spot to stop and grab some ice cream at Lick (Pearl) or a snack at Blue Star Provisions grocery store in the Southtown complex. Both of these areas are close to the Riverwalk where you can help your eggs hatch and pickup items from the Poké Stops that are scattered about every 30 yards. Plus you can reach Poké Stops on either side of the Riverwalk, which is great to stock up on items to help catch all the Pokémon you’ll encounter.

brackenridgeProbably my favorite spot to go catch Pokémon is Brackenridge Park. It is covered in Poké Stops and also doubles as a Clefairy nest. They’re seriously everywhere throughout the park, which is great if you’re wanting to level up and have a strong Clefable by your side. PLUS you can walk the number of beautiful trails that Brackenridge offers to get some exercise in and hatch those eggs. Every time I’ve been to Brackenridge to play Pokémon Go I’ve seen Lures put up on at least 3 Poké Stops. There are three or four spots in the park that you can reach up to 3 Poké Stops at a time, which is perfect for stocking up on Pokéballs, Revives and even Eggs if you’re lucky. From my experience, I’ve encountered mostly Clefairy, Nidoran (both male and female), Growlithe, Sandshrew, Dodou, Ponyta, and Abra at the park. I was also lucky enough to catch a wild Nidoqueen here! I’ve also spotted a Chansey, Magnetmite, Magmar, and Electabuzz on my tracker but never found them, maybe you can?

OP Schnapel ParkOverall, I personally don’t see Pokémon Go as a competitive game. I see it as a game we can all play together. I just enjoy playing with other people. I haven’t talked to more strangers in six months than I have in the last four weeks playing this game. My son and I have had a blast exploring the city and finding our favorite Pokémon and meeting new people along the way. It’s a game that has closed a generational gap between so many people. I had an older gentleman at La Cantera seeing me play and approach me to ask about some of the features and for any advice. He had just downloaded it and seemed genuinely excited to start playing. I see other groups of friends helping complete strangers where to find other Pokémon – “Oh yeah that Bulbasaur is right over there! Go get it!” I can’t wait to see how the game grows and the new features it adds.

Let us know where your favorite place to play Pokémon Go is!