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Things to do in San Antonio

Things to do in  San Antonio

Welcome to San Antonio

San Antonio is a one-stop shop for experiencing the best of Texas. It offers a thriving food scene; a bustling downtown with trendy shops, cafes, and restaurants; and stately architectural landmarks dating from its Spanish colonial past. Get a scenic overview of the city on a River Walk cruise, hop-on hop-off trolley ride, or double-decker bus tour. A guide is the best way to learn about San Antonio’s unique history on tours of the Alamo—one of the five missions of the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park—as well as the 18th-century Spanish Governor’s Palace and San Fernando De Bexar Cathedral. Scratch your shopping itch in the preserved La Villita Heritage District and the colorful San Antonio Market Square Mexican marketplace; unwind in quiet reflection at the Japanese Tea Garden; and eat your fill of Tex-Mex at one of the city’s many excellent eateries. If you’re traveling with kids, San Antonio has a number of family-friendly attractions, including the Tower of the Americas (with its bird’s-eye view of downtown) and San Antonio Zoo. You can also head out of town to visit the Natural Bridge Caverns, a network of caves 180 feet (55 meters) underground, or explore the surrounding Texas Hill Country, with its rolling landscape of vineyards and orchards. Make a full day of it by stopping in the German town of Fredericksburg and Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park (LBJ Ranch), the boyhood home of President Lyndon B. Johnson.

Top 15 attractions in San Antonio

San Antonio River Walk (Paseo Del Rio)

The River Walk winds through the heart of downtown San Antonio, past several parks, historic missions, and other major attractions. Lined with shops, cafes, bars, and restaurants, this pedestrian- and bike-friendly waterway—home to the largest urban ecosystem restoration in the United States—is popular with tourists and locals alike, and is a must-see for any San Antonio visitor.More

The Alamo

The Alamo is one of the most famous sites in United States history, forever linked to the 13-day Battle of the Alamo in 1836, which ended with the deaths of defenders James Bowie, William Travis, and Davy Crockett. Today, the 18th-century Mission San Antonio de Valero complex—now known as the Alamo—welcomes more than 2.5 million visitors per year to its chapel, barracks, gardens, and small museum.More

Tower of the Americas

Located in the center of Hemisfair Park, this 750-foot (229-meter) Tower of the Americas offers one of the best aerial views of San Antonio. The Flags Over Texas Observation Deck affords a bird’s-eye view of iconic sites, while the rotating Chart House Restaurant offers upscale dining with panoramic views of the city.More

San Fernando Cathedral

The oldest continuously operating religious community in Texas, San Fernando De Bexar Cathedral was constructed between 1738 and 1749 and served as General Santa Anna’s headquarters for a time. Don’t miss the Alamo Coffin, located near the church entrance, which is believed to hold the remains of the men who lost their lives at the Alamo.More

La Villita Historic Arts Village

San Antonio’s historic roots are preserved at La Villita Historic Arts Village, the city's first neighborhood. This protected enclave has a history dating back nearly 300 years, with a collection of heritage buildings that today house boutiques, restaurants, and art galleries which collectively play host to more than 200 annual events.More

San Antonio Museum of Art (SAMA)

Just off the city’s River Walk, the San Antonio Museum of Art (SAMA) is a must for anyone with an appreciation for art. It houses the largest collection of Egyptian, Greek, Roman, and Asian art in the southern US, with more than 30,000 pieces spanning 5,000 years in its collection.More

King William Historic District

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.More

Spanish Governor's Palace

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.More

Mission San José

Built in 1782 out of Texas limestone and stucco, Mission San Jose is the largest mission in San Antonio, earning it the nickname Queen of the Missions. While portions of the church and its gristmill and granary have collapsed over the years, much of the structure has been fully restored to its original design.More

Hemisfair Park

The 15-acre (6-hectare) Hemisfair Park got its start in 1968 as the site of America’s first official Worlds Fair. Today, the green space attracts visitors and locals alike to its playgrounds, biking and jogging trails, native flower gardens, picnic tables, and one of San Antonio’s most prominent landmarks, the Tower of the Americas.More

Mission Concepción

Mission Concepción, built in Spanish colonial style and dedicated in 1775, stands as the oldest unrestored stone church in the nation. Originally built to help convert local indigenous communities to Christianity, the mission is one of several that comprise the UNESCO World Heritage-listed San Antonio Missions.More

The Guenther House

This restaurant, museum and store located in downtown San Antonio is stationed at the center of Bexar County and listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Travelers can saddle up to the stunning covered outdoor terrace, or relax inside at one of the comfortable tables and enjoy traditional southern and Tex-Mex fare in a unique environment. Visitors should plan to spend some time exploring this historic home and its unique gift shop. And the world-famous baked goods should not be missed!More

Buckhorn Saloon & Museum

Stuffed critters and a shooting gallery make having a drink at this 130-year-old saloon bar a memorable experience. The historic saloon is also home to two museums; the Buckhorn Museum showcases some 520 species of taxidermy wildlife, while the Texas Ranger Museum highlights artifacts from a century of Ranger history.More

San Antonio Zoo

With more than 3,500 animals and upwards of 750 species, the San Antonio Zoo is home to many of the world’s creatures. Walk the zoo's winding paths to encounter giraffes, lions, elephants, tigers, pelicans, hippos, crocodiles, and other creatures in habitats designed to be engaging for both you and the animals.More

Japanese Tea Garden

Tucked away in a Texas city known for its vibrant Mexican-American culture, San Antonio’s Japanese Tea Garden offers a refreshing, peaceful space that gives visitors a glimpse into another cultural treasure. The gardens, large pagoda, koi pond, and 60-foot (18-meter) waterfall make for impressive photo backdrops for locals and visitors alike.More
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Trip ideas

How to Spend 2 Days in San Antonio

How to Spend 2 Days in San Antonio

Top activities in San Antonio

San Antonio Attractions Pass

San Antonio Attractions Pass

US$ 89.99
San Antonio Haunted History Ghost Tour

San Antonio Haunted History Ghost Tour

US$ 27.00
Hard Rock Cafe San Antonio

Hard Rock Cafe San Antonio

US$ 38.50
San Antonio Segway Ghost Tour

San Antonio Segway Ghost Tour

US$ 74.69
Segway Tour of San Antonio and the Alamo
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All about San Antonio

When to visit

San Antonio is at its best and busiest in April, when Fiesta San Antonio comes to town. Founded over a century ago in honor of those who fought at the Alamo, the event now comprises parades, live music, and more. Spring is generally a good time to take in local highlights like the River Walk before the sweltering summer months.

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A local’s pocket guide to San Antonio

Kristin Dorsett

Kristin grew up in Texas and went to San Antonio for many a family vacation, later returning often as an adult to stay with friends and sample San Antonio’s best-in-class Tex-Mex.

The first thing you should do in San Antonio is...

take a stroll on the River Walk and get a margarita. It’s lovely at night and lined with terrific bars and restaurants.

A perfect Saturday in San Antonio...

involves spending all day riding roller coasters at Six Flags Fiesta Texas, which has everything you’d expect, as well as some Texas flair in the form of shows and themed rides.

One touristy thing that lives up to the hype is...

the Alamo. It’s smaller than you might think, but the museum has a great mix of plaques and audio-visual exhibits. And the weapons display is excellent.

To discover the "real" San Antonio...

visit the Historic Market Square to get a feel for the strong Mexican influence. You’ll find delicious Mexican and Tex-Mex food and drinks, as well as tons of vendors selling unusual handmade goods.

For the best view of the city...

the top of the Tower of the Americas is unbeatable. I’d recommend going for happy hour and skipping the overpriced dishes at the restaurant.

One thing people get wrong...

is thinking San Antonio is small, when it’s a proper city with a booming economy. And it’s Texas’ second city after Houston, bigger even than Dallas.

People Also Ask

What is San Antonio best known for?

Does “Remember the Alamo” ring any bells? The legendary fort, where outnumbered Texas revolutionaries died fighting a Mexican siege, lies at the heart of the city. Visitors also flock here to explore the River Walk, a European-like maze of canals, bridges, and waterside pathways along the San Antonio River.

What is there to do in San Antonio for 3 days?

Tour the River Walk and the Alamo on the first day. Then, see the European and American collections at the McNay Art Museum and visit the Mission San José, also known as the queen of the Texas missions. On the third day, visit wineries and orchards in Texas Hill Country.

What is there to do in San Antonio for a romantic weekend?

After a picnic at Brackenridge Park, visit the old-fashioned carousel and Japanese Tea Garden. Then, cozy up on a boat ride along the San Antonio River; after-dark the River Walk is illuminated. Finally, take a wine tasting trip to Texas Hill Country, and your romantic San Antonio weekend is complete.

What do locals do in San Antonio?

San Antonio is home to fine urban parks and gardens. Locals with families visit Yanaguana Garden, with its play structures and colorful mosaics, or the Quadrangle, which has a public petting zoo on the grounds of Fort Sam Houston. For hiking, biking, and kayaking, locals head to Confluence Park.

What types of tourist attraction are found in San Antonio?

This city is known for historic attractions like the Alamo, Fort Sam Houston, and San Antonio Missions National Historical Park. The River Walk is a network of canals and walkways along the San Antonio River. Also of note is the McNay Art Museum, with its American and European art collections.

Is San Antonio worth visiting?

Yes. San Antonio is one of the most attractive and storied cities in Texas. Many top attractions also happen to be free to visit, including the legendary Alamo, the European-like River Walk, and the four missions south of town at the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park.


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