Even if you’re lodging elsewhere, it’s worth dropping by the elegant Hotel Paisano (207 N. Highland Ave., 800/662-5517, www.hotelpaisano.com ). Opened in 1930, the hotel was a gathering place for cattlemen and ranchers as well as a destination for railroad travelers between San Antonio  and California. The Paisano’s Spanish Colonial–style architecture features colorful ceramic tile, ornate woodwork, and wrought ironwork.
It became legendary in the 1950s when it served as headquarters for the classic movie “Giant” starring Rock Hudson, Elizabeth Taylor, and James Dean. Several suites are named in their honor, and a display case in the lobby contains movie memorabilia.
Visitors can enjoy a cocktail at the Paisano’s courtyard patio, with its soothing fountain and pleasant atmosphere. The restaurant is also a major draw, featuring upscale dishes of contemporary and Southwestern fare.