Take a tour of San Antonio’s King William Historic District for a peek into the city’s first suburb, settled by wealthy German merchants in the late 1800s. Stroll throughout the 25 blocks of historical mansions—many of which have been converted to shops, cafés, and museums—to admire the district’s Greek Revival, Victorian, and Italianate architecture.
Highlights of the King William Historic District, once affectionately nicknamed Sauerkraut Bend for its German influence, include the Guenther House and Pioneer Flour Mills, Villa Finale, and Edward Steves Homestead. Many of these offer paid tours or quaint cafés.
The best way to familiarize yourself with the King William Historic District is through a guided tour. You can take a walking tour, a scooter tour, or a hop-on-hop-off bus or trolley tour that will allow you to cover several key sights around the city. Some tours include a San Antonio River Walk cruise.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The King William Historic District is a must-do for fans of architecture and history.
- Plan to spend about two to three hours for a walking tour of the district.
- Some of these historical buildings have limited wheelchair accessibility.
How to Get There
The King William Historic District is located south of downtown San Antonio, and King William Street is its main thoroughfare. Madison and City streets run parallel to the east and west, with Turner Street on the north and Guenther Street to the south. Take the VIA Metropolitan Transit city buses or Blue Line Trolley to South Alamo and South St. Mary’s streets or Market and Alamo streets. You can also rent a bicycle from bike-sharing stations around the city.
When to Get There
King William Historic District homes that offer tours, as well as museums, shops, and restaurants, all have varying hours, so check before you go. Generally, house tours run from late morning to early afternoon (from about 10am to 3pm), and houses may be closed for holidays and special events, so plan your itinerary accordingly to avoid disappointment.
Did You Know?
The King William Historic District is home to the oldest continuously operating flour mill in the state of Texas. Carl Guenther immigrated to Texas from Germany in 1851 and established the Pioneer Flour Mills in 1859. King William Street was named for Kaiser Wilhelm I of Prussia, a reflection of the cultural influence of German settlers in Texas in the 1800s.