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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)

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

King William Historic District

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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

San Antonio Museum of Art (SAMA)

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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

Spanish Governor's Palace

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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

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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

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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

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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

Buckhorn Saloon & Museum

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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

The Guenther House

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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

San Antonio Zoo

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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

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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

Trip ideas

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Top activities in San Antonio

San Antonio Haunted History Ghost Tour

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San Antonio Haunted History Ghost Tour

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Segway Tour of San Antonio and the Alamo
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San Antonio Full-Day Historic City Tour
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San Antonio Ghost Walking Tour

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Recent reviews from experiences in San Antonio

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Fun Introduction to San Antonio
Ruthjean_S, Dec 2022
Segway Tour of Historic San Antonio
It was an easy way to see a lot of the city, learn its history and culture.
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San Antonio international.
Dwayne_H, Dec 2022
San Antonio Full-Day Historic City Tour
We got to see so much of San Antonio as well as find out lots of meaningful and interesting pieces of information.
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Great tour of San Antonio and Missions.
Regis_R, Nov 2022
San Antonio Missions Tour with Hotel Pick Up
You not only get to see the three Missions, but knows and delivers much of the history of San Antonio stopping in town and showing photos of the same view and area from the past.
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Great Experience! Guide...
Ashley_L, Oct 2022
San Antonio Segway Ghost Tour
San Antonio is a great place to visit!
star-5
Seeing the best of San Antonio
Craig_M, Oct 2022
San Antonio River Walk Cruise, Hop-On Hop-Off Tour & Tower of Americas
Just interesting and fun, an excellent way to see a lot of San Antonio easily.
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Terrific
Russell_H, Sep 2022
River Walk Cruise, 3-Day Hop-On Hop-Off Pass and Tower of the Americas Admission
We found the hop on hop off bus a terrific way for us to see San Antonio.
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Money well spent
Patty_H, Aug 2022
San Antonio River Walk Cruise, Hop-On Hop-Off Tour & Tower of Americas
I would highly recommend this is the best wat to see San Antonio and learn about the history and story
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Great night tour
Anita_H, Aug 2022
Scenic San Antonio Night Tour
Driver explained the history, stories, and San Antonio activities adding so much more to the experience!
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Very knowledgeable and we...
Darlene_C, Aug 2022
Private Drunk History Tour: Lunch, Libations & History
Told us to visit SoHo Bar and Winery to get a taste of San Antonio.
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Fun and engaging bar crawl
Robin_K, Jun 2022
Death Warmed Over: San Antonio Haunted Pub Crawl
Great way to see and hear about some historical properties in San Antonio!
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Great Historical Tour
vivian_a, Jun 2022
San Antonio Full-Day Historic City Tour
We only had a few days in San Antonio so the tour was the best way to see the most.
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Don’t miss the UNESCO Mission tour!
Brooke_K, Oct 2022
San Antonio Missions UNESCO World Heritage Sites Tour
We really appreciated him bringing ample cold water for us and he altered the schedule slightly to insure we would get to see a particular site that sometimes closes early.
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Decent
Danielle_W, Sep 2022
San Antonio River Walk Cruise and Hop-On Hop-Off Tour
I didn't really enjoy the tour since there was not much to see and it was fairly quick.
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Good deal!
Mason_C, Aug 2022
River Walk Cruise, 3-Day Hop-On Hop-Off Pass and Tower of the Americas Admission
One of them that we rode several times had some kind of film that prevented you from being able to see out of the front 2 seats on the right side.
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Great value, book it now 👍😊
Rhonda_B, Jun 2022
Half-Day Morning City Tour of Historic San Antonio
He made a point to show us the San Antonio Library, not something you expect to see when touring downtown San Antonio.
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Scenic San Antonio nights...
Taniesha_H, Jun 2022
Scenic San Antonio Night Tour
I enjoyed going to the Towers of America and going to see the Alamo, taking pictures learning the history, seeing one of the oldest Cathedral's many sites along the way on the tour.
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Well worth your time and money to cram in a day of sightseeing and hot spots of San Antonio
Jack_F, May 2022
San Antonio Super Saver: Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour, Tower of Americas, Museum Admission, and More
Easy access to get around the entire city in A/C buses during summer time.
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Such a fun educational experience!
Monica_L, May 2022
The Haunted Ghost Bus Tour in San Antonio
It was very educational and fun way to see areas in San Antonio.
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San Antonio Riverwalk tour
Scott_F, May 2022
Best of San Antonio Sightseeing Tour
Tour encompasses main attractions and is worth taking.
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Great time!
sherry_y, Apr 2022
Best of San Antonio Sightseeing Tour
The tour itself is a great way to see all of San Antonio's top attractions!
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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.

Currency
US Dollar ($)
Time Zone
CST (UTC -6)
Country Code
+1
Language(s)
English

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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