The Spanish Governor’s Palace in San Antonio, which served as housing for a series of Spanish aristocrats, is the only remaining 18th-century Spanish colonial townhouse in Texas. Along with the Alamo and other historic missions, the Governor’s Palace invites visitors to witness an important chapter of Texas history for themselves.
A National Historic Landmark, the 300-year-old Spanish Governor’s Palace once served as a capitol building in San Antonio and is now a public museum. “Palace” moniker aside, the structure is fairly modest, with white stucco walls and bright flowers on the exterior, rugged colonial furnishings inside, and a central courtyard with a fountain. You can take a self-guided tour through the 10 rooms, some original and some that have been added on over the years.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Save time and money by purchasing a hop-on hop-off tour that allows you to see several sites in one go.
- This is a small museum without a lot of bells and whistles, so it’s especially suited to visitors interested in Texas history.
- It takes about an hour to tour the entire property.
- The building is wheelchair accessible.
- There are public bathrooms in the courtyard.
How to Get There
The Spanish Governor’s Palace is located two blocks east of San Antonio’s Market Square in the west downtown area, and two blocks west of the San Fernando Cathedral. The River Walk is four blocks east. There is no parking on-site, but you can find a spot in one of the paid lots near Market Square. Two bus stops are in front of the attraction: Commerce Street and Dolorosa.
When to Get There
The palace is open Tuesday through Saturday, 9am–5pm and Sunday 10am–5pm; it’s closed on Monday. Although you’ll rarely face large crowds and can go at your own pace, keep in mind that the museum and grounds, which are not air conditioned, can get warm in summer.
Behind the Misnomer
The Spanish Governor’s Palace’s name is almost entirely incorrect. Originally called a Comandancia, or “Casa del Capitan,” the property was home not to a governor, but rather to the Spanish military captains of the San Antonio de Béxar Presidio in the 1700s through the early 1800s. In fact, no governor ever lived here. And although the grounds and housing are lovely, if you’re expecting a grand royal palace, you might be a bit underwhelmed.