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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.

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Top 10 attractions in San Antonio

The Alamo
#1

The Alamo

The Alamo is one of the most famous sites in US history, forever linked to the 13-day siege in 1836 that ended with the deaths of defenders James Bowie, William Travis and Davy Crockett. The 18th-century Mission San Antonio de Valero complex became known as the Alamo after it was fortified by Mexican soldiers. When the complex was taken by Texan troops in December 1835, the fight was on between the Texan defenders and Mexican attackers. After the events of the 1830s, the Alamo’s semi-ruined buildings were used as a garrison and storehouse. Over the past 100 years, the Alamo has been restored and now receives more than 2.5 million visitors a year. Tour the chapel and barracks, small museum, diorama and gardens to learn more about the Alamo and early-Texan history....
Spanish Governor's Palace
#2

Spanish Governor's Palace

A National Historic landmark, the Spanish Governor’s Palace is perhaps the last remaining early-Spanish mansion in Texas. A poignant reminder of San Antonio’s early-18th-century past, the former capitol building is almost 300 years old. Now a museum, the building has a Spanish colonial design built around a lovely central courtyard and fountain. The white stucco walls are fringed with purple bougainvillea, and the interior is decorated with rugged colonial furnishings, whitewashed walls and a sturdy timber roof....
La Villita Historic Arts Village
#3

La Villita Historic Arts Village

San Antonio’s historic roots are preserved at La Villita Heritage District, a protected enclave of heritage buildings. The arts village is a living and breathing part of San Antonio, with boutiques, restaurants and galleries taking up the historic old buildings. On a walking tour of the precinct you’ll see Cos House, one of the oldest buildings, dating back to before 1835. Other old buildings include the 1873 house occupied by Villita Stained Glass, and the 1839 cottage known as Losana House. Shops in this vibrant quarter include Texan outfitters, art and craft galleries, souvenir shops and jewelry stores. You’ll also find a couple of typically Texan grills and cafes for snacks, meals and cocktails....
San Fernando Cathedral
#4

San Fernando Cathedral

The oldest continuously operating religious community in Texas, San Fernando De Bexar Cathedral was constructed between 1738 and 1749. In fact, the dome of the original church was the point from which all mileage in Texas was measured in the 1700s. The cathedral is well-maintained, and mass still goes on daily so make sure to be respectful when entering. One major attraction inside the sacred space is 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. The cathedral played a part in the battle, as it was President-General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna’s headquarters during the siege of the Alamo, and from where he sent a terrifying message. Instead of flying the tri-color Mexican flag from the church’s belfry he flew a blood-red flag, letting the defenders of the Alamo know he would kill them even if they surrendered....
Tower of the Americas
#5

Tower of the Americas

Located in the center of HemisFair Park, this 750-foot tall tower offers one of the best aerial views of San Antonio in the city as well as a variety of experiences. First there is the Flags Over Texas Observation Deck, which allows you a bird’s-eye view of iconic sites -- either through the telescope or by using photographs on the deck floor that show you where to find specific buildings and landmarks. Additionally, you can learn about over 300 years of Texas history through a mural exhibit on the walls. Included in your admission ticket is also a 4D Theater Ride, “Skies Over Texas.” The interactive ride takes you on a sensory journey through the state to watch NASA astronauts train at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, attend a local football game, view horses running in the wild and visit some of San Antonio’s most important attractions....
King William Historic District
#6

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....
Mission Concepción
#7

Mission Concepción

This mission was originally established in 1716 as Nuestra Señora de la Purísima Concepción de los Hainais in East Texas with the purpose of converting local Native Americas to Christianity. It was moved to San Antonio in 1731, and today stands as the best preserved of the Texas missions. An interesting fact about these missions is they were not churches but Indian towns with the church as the focus where Native Americans learned to become Spanish citizens -- a process that required becoming Catholic. Visiting the site today, you’ll get a clear sense of what mission life was like hundreds of years ago. It’s also interesting to take in the stone building with its Spanish Colonial architecture. Notice the intricate Renaissance details, colorful Moorish designs, Romanesque attributes and gothic arches. On the grounds, you can still see the quarry from which the Native Americans collected the stone to build the mission....
San Antonio River Walk (Paseo Del Rio)
#8

San Antonio River Walk (Paseo Del Rio)

San Antonio makes the most of its river winding through town, with the San Antonio River Walk - or Paseo del Rio. Away from the traffic, beneath ground level, the landscaped walkways bordering the meandering San Antonio River are lined with shops, cafes, bars and restaurants. Following the walkways is a great way to get around town, from sight to sight, without having to negotiate traffic. You can also take a cruise along the River Walk, to see how a little imagination and good civic planning can turn a river into a truly unique city feature....
San Antonio Zoo
#9

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....

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