Things To Do In San Antonio
San Antonio is a wonderful city to live in and a great place to visit. From historical sites and a rich cultural heritage to natural wonders, there are no shortage of attractions in Alamo City.
To help you plan your trip, here are our picks for the 15 best things to do in San Antonio.
1. The Alamo
San Antonio is known as the Alamo City. And if there’s one site in the city that’s a must, it’s the Alamo. A former mission and a UNESCO World Heritage SIte, the Alamo was the site of one of the most famous battles in US history.
It was here that a small group of Texans, including legendary figures Davy Crockett and James Bowie, fought and lost against a much larger Mexican army in 1836. Explore the Alamo on a self-guided or fully guided tour. See artifacts belonging to the men.
Learn more at the on-site museum and research library. Afterwards, spend some time exploring the surrounding Alamo Plaza.
2. River Walk
Spending time at the River Walk is one of the best things to do in San Antonio. Also known as the Paseo del Rio, River Walk is a network of shaded paths set below street level.
It stretches for 15 miles along the San Antonio River, but the 5-mile portion downtown is the most popular. Here you will find many different cafes, bars, restaurants, shops, museums and more. Walk or bike the path and enjoy the pretty scenery.
Then enjoy a meal al fresco on the waterfront. Another popular way to explore is from the comforts of a sightseeing or dinner cruise along the river. For the best value, combine a river cruise with a hop-on hop-off bus tour.
3. San Antonio Missions Historical Park
San Antonio is home to five Spanish missions. No other city in North America has more. Besides the Alamo, the remaining four missions (Mission San Jose, Mission Concepción, Mission San Juan and Mission Espada) form the San Antonio Missions Historical Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
You can drive between the missions. But a more pleasant way is to walk or bike the 8-mile Mission Trail along the river.
You can explore the mission grounds on guided tours. Or attend a service at these still active Catholic parishes. For a hassle-free experience with an expert guide, join a guided tour.
4. Brackenridge Park
Brackenridge park offers many attractions and activities. It’s one of the best things to do in San Antonio to enjoy the outdoors. Spanning 343 acres, the park includes a stretch of the San Antonio River.
Enjoy activities such as hiking, biking, bird watching, boating, fishing, ball playing and more. Play a round at the oldest municipal golf course in Texas. Kids will love the Kiddie Park and taking a ride on the Brackenridge Eagle miniature railway.
Other attractions include the San Antonio Zoo, the Witte Museum, the Sunken Garden Theater and the Japanese Tea Garden.
5. Six Flags Fiesta Texas
For a fun-filled day of thrills, head to Six Flags Fiesta Texas. It’s one of the best things to do in San Antonio for families and thrill seekers.
The popular theme park offers many different rides and entertainment over seven distinct themed areas. Enjoy classic theme park rides, extreme thrill rides, family-friendly rides and kiddie rides. In the summer, cool off at the White Water Bay water park.
There are also plenty of games around the park and live entertainment throughout the day. The park also offers multiple dining and shopping options on-site.
6. Tower of Americas
Enjoy great views of San Antonio at the Tower of the Americas. Built for the 1968 World’s Fair, it’s the tallest building in San Antonio.
Head up to the Flags Over Texas: Observation Deck for panoramic views. You’ll also find interesting exhibits covering different landmarks and local history. Also included is a ride on the Skies Over Texas: 4D Theater Ride.
Afterwards, spend some time exploring HemisFair Park, the site of the World’s Fair. In addition to pretty gardens and fountains, it’s also home to several cultural attractions.
For the best value, get a combo pass that includes the Tower of Americas, a river cruise and a hop-on hop-off bus tour.
7. San Antonio Botanical Garden
The San Antonio Botanical Garden is one of the best things to do in San Antonio for nature lovers. There are many different garden areas in the 41 acres. Popular gardens include the Rose Garden, Water Saver Garden, Culinary and Family Adventure Garden.
Explore different ecosystems and hundreds of plant species along the Texas Native Trail. See exotic plants at the futuristic looking Lucile Halsell Conservancy. Enjoy a drink at the Sullivan Carriage House or snacks from the Garden Gift Shop.
Different tour options are available, including self-guided, docent-led and bird watching. In addition, the garden offers lectures, cooking classes and other events throughout the year.
8. Pearl District
Grab some food and drinks, and browse for unique items at the hip Pearl District. The site of what was once the largest brewery in Texas, the Pearl Brewery, the district is fast becoming a cultural and culinary hub.
It’s filled with historic buildings, independent shops, art galleries and trendy chef-owned and operated restaurants. Don’t miss Nao Latin Gastro Bar, the signature restaurant of the Culinary Institute of America, which has a campus here. The Pearl Farmers Market is held here on the weekends.
Find more than 45 vendors from within a 150-mile radius of the city. The area is also home to the Museum Reach, a 1.33-mile extension of the River Walk featuring public art, an amphitheater and a park.
9. Historic Market Square (El Mercado)
Enjoy a taste of old Mexico with a visit to the largest Mexican market in the country. The Historic Market Square, also known as El Mercado, is a festive indoor market and outdoor space.
Stretching for three blocks, the market features more than 100 locally-owned shops, stalls and restaurants. A great place to pick up unique souvenirs, you can find hand-crafted items, pottery, artwork, clothing, jewelry and much more. Sample traditional Mexican food while listening to the sounds of Tejano and Mariachi music.
On the weekends, there are often live performances, dancing and other special events across multiple stages.
10. Natural Bridge Caverns
Explore an incredible underground world at the Natural Bridge Caverns. It’s the largest show cave in Texas. Opened to the public in the 1960s, the caverns are named after the 60-foot natural bridge at the cave’s entrance.
Multiple tour options are available. See massive stalactites, stalagmites and more on the classic Discovery Tour. Wile more adventurous visitors can opt for the longer Adventure Tour, which involves climbing and rappelling.
The adventure doesn’t stop underground. Above the cave, additional attractions include a maze, zipline, canopy ropes course and a gem and fossil mining experience for kids.
11. San Fernando Cathedral and The Saga
Located on Main Plaza, the San Fernando Cathedral is one of the oldest cathedrals in the country. Believed to be the burial site of many of the Alamo heroes, the cathedral is still an active place of worship.
Visitors are welcome during the day. But come back at night to see The Saga. Every Tuesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday night, a unique video art show is projected onto the facade of the cathedral. Created by French artist Xavier de Richemont, the 24 minute video, set to music and narrated, takes viewers through the history of San Antonio.
The show is free and should be on your list of must-do items.
12. SeaWorld San Antonio
Get up close to sea creatures, and also enjoy thrilling rides, at SeaWorld San Antonio. It’s one of the largest marine theme parks in the world.
See turtles, sharks, penguins, otters, polar bears and more. Watch an animal feeding, or live shows featuring trained dolphins, sea lions, belugas and killer whales. Then kick up the adrenaline on exciting sea-themed thrill rides, such as The Great White or The Steel Eel. Cool off at the Aquatica water park.
There are also plenty of rides and attractions for younger visitors to enjoy, as well as dining and shopping options.
13. Buckhorn Saloon and Texas Ranger Museum
Located near the Alamo, the Buckhorn Saloon and Texas Ranger Museum is home to the two museums, a cafe, gift shop and shooting gallery.
The Buckhorn Saloon is one of the most famous bars in San Antonio. Founded in the 19th century, you used to be able to exchange deer antlers for drinks. Today, it has a collection of more than 500 species, including a prehistoric elk and a record-breaking marlin.
At the Texas Ranger Museum, see a collection of more than 200 Texas Ranger items, including badges, guns, photos and more. With five venues in one, it’s sure to be a hit with the whole family.
Enjoy a day of educational play at DoSeum, one of the most innovative children’s museums in the country.
The 65,000-square-foot building offers many interactive and hands-on exhibits that encourage kids to be creative. They also help kids learn about math, science, art and more. Popular areas include Explore, Little Town, Sensations Studio, Innovation Station, Spy Academy and Imagine It! There’s a tree house, shaded play areas and water features outdoors.
Grab snacks at the on-site cafe, or souvenirs at the gift shop. And while DoSeum is mainly forchildren, they do offer adults-only evenings as well.
15. San Antonio Museum of Art
The San Antonio Museum of Art is one of the best things to do in San Antonio for art lovers. Located along the River Walk, this world-class museum features more than 30,000 pieces of art spanning 5,000 years.
The museum houses the largest Egyptian, Greek, Roman and Asian art collection in the south. Other notable collections include Latin American art, Native American art and contemporary art. There’s also a gallery dedicated to Texas art. The museum also hosts numerous special exhibitions and events throughout the year. There’s also a restaurant and gift shop on-site.
If you plan to sightsee in San Antonio, consider getting a multi-attraction pass. They are a great value, and several different types are available. Options include the Super Saver Pass, Explorer Pass, and Gold Pass. For a complete experience, try a guided tour. Specialized tours, such as walking, Segway, electric scooter and helicopter tours are also available.
And if you’re looking to explore outside of the Alamo City, check out our guide on the best day trips from San Antonio.