Things to do in San Antonio (1)
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Things to do in San Antonio

Welcome to San Antonio, the oldest city in the state of Texas. Founded in 1718 as a Spanish Mission as the first settlement in Texas, this city is a blend of Mexican, Hispanic, German, and Irish culture. From history to cuisine, San Antonio surely depicts its diverse culture and heritage. Immerse yourself in art, delve into history, indulge in entertainment, or simply unwind – this city offers a diverse tapestry of experiences to suit every mood.

History of San Antonio

The area was a Payaya settlement before the arrival of Spanish explorers. Post their arrival. San Antonio was founded as a mission outpost and military garrison for the Spanish Empire in 1718. They established the Alamo originally called Mission San Antonio de Valero, which later became a symbol of Texas resistance during the Texas Revolution. Post-independence, the city continued to be a vital center. 

10 Things to Do in San Antonio

Discover the top 10 Things to do in San Antonio by exploring the historic Alamo and strolling along the vibrant River Walk, offering a mix of shops, restaurants, and scenic views, for a quintessential San Antonio experience.

The Alamo

Alamo Plaza san antanio (1)

Immerse yourself in the history of the Battle of the Alamo. Originally called Mission San Antonio de Valero, explore the transition of this historic landmark from a religious outpost to a military fort. See the traces of the Battle of the Alamo through exhibits and artifacts. You can explore the historical events through guided tours, exhibits, and the battleground that takes you back in time. Entry to the Alamo is free however, you need to reserve your free ticket to enter the Church ahead of your visit.  The Alamo is one of the best things to do in San Antonio.

River Walk

River walk San Antanio (1)

Originally built for transportation and flood control measures the River Walk has evolved into an iconic landmark and a popular destination. Away from the vehicle traffic, this panoramic landscape makes you feel serene with only a soft river flow and relaxed conversations. The picturesque view of the vibrant establishments alongside of the river gives the Venice vibes. You can take a walk along the paths, explore the area with a guided boat tour, enjoy a hearty meal by the river or just spend some time people-watching. 

Brackenridge Park

Brackenridge Park (1)

Looking for a perfect spot for a family picnic over the weekend? Then Brackenridge Park is your go-to place. Surrounded by trees, lush gardens, and pathways the park would surely amaze you with its beauty. The Brackenridge Park was established in 1899 and is now recognized as a Texas State Antiquities Landmark. Steeped in history and stunning scenery, the park offers something for everyone, all year long. 

Visit the Witte Museum and delve into South Texas history with historic artifacts and photographs, Texas art, dinosaur exhibits, and more. Enjoy bike trails, waterfalls, and pagodas in the Japanese Tea Garden. The Picnic Areas and Grills provide tables and grills throughout the park for you to have a memorable family picnic. Indulge your inner athlete! Sports enthusiasts can use the Baseball fields tennis courts, and a golf course.

Bird-watchers can enjoy their favorite hobby as Brackenridge Park is home to several species of migrating birds. The areas near Joske Pavilion and Avenue A are famous for bird-watching in the park. Brackenridge park is one of the Things to do in San Antonio.

Main Plaza

Main Plaza (2)

Uncover the soul of San Antonio at Main Plaza! It was founded in 1731 and is one of the only surviving Spanish colonial plazas in the United States. With street performers entertaining the crowds and restaurants transforming sidewalks into bustling social spaces, Main Plaza’s lively atmosphere attracts locals and tourists alike. Main Plaza was the site of the first civil settlement in Texas. San Fernando Cathedral and the Spanish Governor’s Palace depict the rich history of San Antonio. Markers and historic plaques are placed to walk you through the battles, revolutions, and evolution of San Antonio over the centuries.

Tower of Americas

Tower of america san antanio (1)

Soaring 750 feet above the Tower of Americas provides a breathtaking view of the Alamo City. Built in 1968, it was originally known as HemisFair Tower and stands as a testament to the city’s commitment to innovation. The Tower of Americas has an observation deck providing a 360-degree view of the city and beyond. Relish a unique dining experience with the revolving restaurant, Chart House offers delicious meals along with the ever-changing view of the city. You need to purchase tickets to access the Observation deck, Flags Over Texas, and the 4D Theater Ride. Below are the ticket prices. Tower of Americas is one of the best Things to do in San Antonio for kids.

Tower of America Entry Ticket Price

Adult $18.50
Seniors & Military $15.00
Children 4 – 12 years $14.00
Children 3 years & under Free

Tower of the Americas & Go Rio Combo Ticket

General Admission $33
Senior/Military $26.50

* Prices do not include tax

* Ticket includes unlimited access to Observation Deck, Flags Over Texas & the 4D Theater Ride

San Antonio Missions National Historical Park

San Antonio Missions National Historical Park (1)

Explore the only UNESCO World Heritage site in Texas. The park consists of five Spanish frontier missions. These missions were established to spread Christianity among the native tribes. 

The Mission San Jose also known as Queen of Missions is the largest mission and was established in 1720. The Mission San Juan was established as Misión San Jose de los Nazonis in East Texas and was renamed and moved to San Antonio in 1731. Mission Espada, founded in 1690 as San Fransisco de los Tejas, is the first mission in Texas. It was renamed and moved to San Antonio in 1932. Mission Concepcion, founded in 1761, was used to convert Hasinai to Catholicism. 

Pearl District

Pearl District

A melting pot of history, culinary treats, art, and modern living awaits at the Pearl District. Initially founded a Pearl Brewery in 1883, the district showcases the industrial heritage restored into restaurants and dining complexes. The district has a farmers market on weekends, an Amphitheatre, Dining Places, and a historic boutique hotel named the Hotel Emma.

Sea World San Antonio

San Antonio SeaWorld (2)

Welcome to the largest and one of the three Sea World Parks in America. As the largest marine-life theme park in North America, it is dedicated to conservation, animal rescue, and education. The park has various shows and rides for everyone. Rides like Texas Stingray, the Great White, Steel Eel, and Journey to Atlantis are some of the famous and most visited rides in the park. The shows beluga whales and Pacific white-sided dolphins at Beluga Stadium, and Sea Lion and Otter Shows in Sea Lion Stadium are a must-visit. The entry tickets and packages for the theme park can be booked from the official website

McNay Art Museum

McNay Art Museum (2)

In the mood to do something creative this weekend? Maybe explore some galleries or museums? Visit the McNay Art Museum. Founded in 1954, this art museum is the first modern art museum in Texas. With the focus on 19th and 20th Century European and American Art, the museum houses various collections like Paul Cézanne, Pablo Picasso, Paul Gauguin, Henri Matisse, Georgia O’Keeffe, Diego Rivera, Mary Cassatt, and Edward Hopper. The museum admission ticket cost ranges from $10 to $20. Below are the ticket prices – 

Category Price
McNay Members Free
Children 12 & Under Free
Active Military & Veterans Free
Recipients of SNAP, WIC, and MAP Free
Adults $20
Students with I.D. (20+) $15
Seniors (65+) $15
Teens (13-19) $10

Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch

Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch (2)

Embark on a safari adventure at Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch. This ranch houses species that are endangered and is a Texas Land Heritage Property. Interact with Giraffes, Rhinos, Ostrich, and many other animals. There are Safari options for you to choose from – Self-guided tour, Guided Tour, Giraffe VIP Experience, Group Adventures, Educational Adventures, Prehistoric Experience and Aviary Experience. You can book the package as per your liking at the official website.

Best Time to Visit San Antonio

As the city has hot summers and mild winters, the best time to visit San Antonio is from November to April. There are many San Antonio festivals that occur during these months making your visit more enjoyable and memorable.

With a perfect representation of history, culture, and modernity, San Antonio is not just a city; it’s a feeling. The captivating beauty of the city and mouthwatering Tex-Mex cuisine is an experience that lingers long after you leave. So, get ready to be charmed by San Antonio!

FAQ: Travel Guide San Antonio

Certainly! Here’s a travel guide FAQ for Things to do in San Antonio:

What are the best times to visit San Antonio?

San Antonio experiences mild winters and hot summers. The best times to visit are spring (March to May) and fall (September to November) when the weather is pleasant.

How do I get around San Antonio?

San Antonio has a public transportation system called VIA Metropolitan Transit, which includes buses and streetcars. Rideshare services like Uber and Lyft are also available. Many attractions in downtown San Antonio are within walking distance of each other.

What are some affordable accommodation options in San Antonio?

San Antonio offers a range of accommodation options, including budget-friendly hotels, motels, hostels, and vacation rentals. Consider staying in areas like downtown, near the River Walk, or in the vicinity of major attractions for convenient access.

What are the must-try foods in San Antonio?

San Antonio is known for its Tex-Mex cuisine, including dishes like tacos, enchiladas, and fajitas. Don’t miss out on trying the local specialties like puffy tacos, breakfast tacos, and barbacoa.

Are there any free attractions in San Antonio?

Yes, many attractions in San Antonio offer free admission or are accessible for free. These include The Alamo, San Antonio Missions National Historical Park, and the Japanese Tea Garden. Additionally, walking along the River Walk is free.

What are some family-friendly activities in San Antonio?

Families can enjoy attractions such as the San Antonio Zoo, Six Flags Fiesta Texas, and SeaWorld San Antonio. Exploring the San Antonio Missions is also a great educational experience for families.

What outdoor activities are available in San Antonio?

Outdoor enthusiasts can explore the San Antonio River Walk, hike or bike along the Mission Reach Trail, or spend time at Brackenridge Park. Natural Bridge Caverns and nearby state parks offer opportunities for outdoor adventure as well.

Are there any cultural events or festivals in San Antonio?

San Antonio hosts numerous cultural events and festivals throughout the year, including Fiesta San Antonio (April), Dia de los Muertos celebrations (November), and various music and arts festivals. Check the city’s event calendar for upcoming events during your visit.

Is it necessary to rent a car in San Antonio?

While having a car can provide flexibility, it’s not necessary to explore downtown San Antonio and many of its attractions. However, if you plan to explore areas outside the city or prefer the convenience of driving, renting a car may be beneficial.

What safety precautions should I take while visiting San Antonio?

Like any major city, it’s essential to stay vigilant and aware of your surroundings. Avoid walking alone at night in unfamiliar areas, keep your belongings secure, and follow any safety guidelines provided by attractions or accommodations.

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