Codeup is a tech career boot camp accelerator based in San Antonio. In 2013, Michael Girdley, Jason Straughan, and Chris Turner opened Codeup and its coding boot camp-style workforce development programs. CEO Straughan shares his favorite downtown places to visit, only a short walk from his Houston Street headquarters.

I’m a morning person, so my workday starts early. I’m usually the first in line at Revolución SA coffee shop when they open their doors at 7 am. From acai bowls to the chorizo, egg, and cheese tacos, it’s a hearty way to start the morning and a quiet place to enjoy my daily crossword puzzle with my coffee.

I’m lucky for many reasons, but one of them is because I work at the most walkable office location in downtown San Antonio. After walking only a block or so from Revolución SA, I’m at my Codeup office in the Vogue building at the corner of Houston and Navarro Streets.

Houston Street is one of San Antonio’s oldest and most popular downtown streets. Starting in the mid-1920s, Houston Street became the major retail avenue in downtown San Antonio.

By 1929, San Antonio’s oldest theater, the Majestic Theatre, opened just down the street from Codeup. The Majestic was restored in 1989 and is still in operation today. As a tech company, we’re fortunate to work in the middle of a historic theater district.

The 1935 Vogue building was restored most recently in 2020. Our space has these tall windows overlooking Houston Street, so I get to people watch from my window when my eyes need a break from my computer screen.

Some days I grab lunch and more coffee at SIP, where I get a panini and pastry. Other days, I’ll meet with some staff at a restaurant on the Riverwalk. There’s plenty of nearby places and almost all have wonderful outdoor patio space.

This time we enjoyed the Argentinian-inspired menu at Dorrego’s in the Hotel Valencia. Lunch on their outdoor balcony guarantees views of the Riverwalk and passersby.

Plenty of my staff like to grab something from La Panadería Bakery Café, which is in our building right at the corner of Houston and Navarro. I try to limit my bakery treats, but they have a tempting variety of Mexican-influenced desserts and long-fermented bread you can enjoy along with your breakfast or lunch.

Some days, I’ll go a couple of blocks down Houston Street to grab some wine and a pizza at Playland after work. They have a seasonal menu, but I really like their killer pizzas fired up in a massive wood-burning oven. They just renovated their basement and turned it into a (still unnamed) secret bar and lounge. I mean, where else can you stroll in a few minutes from work and take your pizza and wine downstairs to a swanky lounge space to hang out and decompress?

While my breakfast and lunch choices may change from day to day, without fail, I always take at least one daily walking break from my office to go visit the nearby Cenotaph at the Alamo Plaza.

The Centotaph at Alamo Plaza, credit San Antonio Tech District

The Centotaph at Alamo Plaza, credit San Antonio Tech District

When I was writing code, I discovered the best solutions when I could step away and get some distance from a problem I was working on. In between meetings, you’ll find me walking to the Cenotaph. It’s a great way to think and people watch.

I can’t help but think about how Alamo Plaza represents the beating heart of our city. We forget how beautiful our downtown is. I hope more people will join me to find out for themselves.


The featured image is of  Codeup CEO Jason Straughan outside his office in the Navarro Building. Credit Jason Straughan.