San Antonio, Texas is a vibrant metropolis rich in culture and a source of immense pride for Texans.
Best things to do in San Antonio, TX include the romantic River Walk, family activities, great hotels, RV parks, cruises, outdoor spaces, fishing, ziplining, wedding venues, day trips, and diverse free attractions. Be sure to leave plenty of time for sampling San Antonio's great burgers, breakfast, Italian and other food.
1. San Antonio River Walk
© Courtesy of f11photo - Fotolia.com
The San Antonio River Walk is a made up of a network of cypress-lined paved paths, quaint stone bridges and lush landscapes that gently wind through the city, offering both locals and visitors a chance to take in the beautiful natural scenery and soak up the city views. The pathway runs along the San Antonio River, which symbolizes the heart and soul of the city and gives access to several of San Antonio's top attractions, restaurants, hotels and other forms of entertainment. The River Walk features a section called The Museum Reach, which is a 1.33-mile extension that hosts a range of visual and audiovisual works of art, terraces landscapes with native plants and pedestrian access to the San Antonio Museum of Art and the historic Pearl Brewery complex. Visitors can explore the San Antonio River Walk by foot or bicycle, using the city’s bike-share program known as B-Cycle.
2. San Antonio Museum of Art
© San Antonio Museum of Art
The San Antonio Museum of Art is home to a comprehensive collection that represents more than 5,000 years of history and an array of cultures from around the world. The museum is one of the top San Antonio attractions.
Housed in a complex of buildings that were once the Lone Star Brewery on the Museum Reach of the River Walk, the museum is world-renowned for its impressive collection of Latin American, Asian, and Ancient Mediterranean Art. It also boasts a notable contemporary collection and Oceanic Art. The San Antonio Museum of Art is one of the best things to do in San Antonio, TX. The museum offers a variety of educational and community-based art programs for adults, students and children and hosts several events throughout the year, as well as rotating and traveling exhibitions.
200 West Jones Avenue, San Antonio, TX, Phone: 210-978-8100
3. San Antonio Missions
© Courtesy of kbose - Fotolia.com
San Antonio Missions National Historical Park is located about three miles from downtown San Antonio. It consists of four missions: Concepción, San José, San Juan and Espada.
The Missions were built in the 1700s to expand Spanish influence from Mexico to the North. They were built as Indian towns, and the Catholic Church functioned as the town focus. In the area, Catholic missionaries were converting Indians to Catholicism and attempting to make them Spanish citizens.
Besides the ruins of historic missions and the churches, the park has many other points of interest, including the mill at Mission San José, the Espada acequia, 270-year old irrigation system with its aqueduct and dam and ten-miles long Mission Riverwalk, a scenic trail perfect for birds watching, hiking, and enjoying the surrounding nature.
6701 San Jose Dr, San Antonio, TX, Phone: 210-932-1001
4. The Alamo
© Courtesy of dfikar - Fotolia.com
The Alamo is a complex located on Alamo Plaza in downtown San Antonio, which attracts more than 2.5 million visitors each year. This famous complex is the site of a ‘crossroads’ in Texan history, where many important historical events took place, from the first Spanish colonization and the independence of Mexico to the place where the Confederacy stood its ground.
One of the most popular attractions is the area where a small band of Texans, including James Bowie, David Crockett, and William B. Travis, held out for thirteen days against General Antonio López de Santa Anna and came to symbolize courage and sacrifice for the cause of liberty. Admission to the Alamo, one of the top San Antonio points of interest, is free.
300 Alamo Plaza, San Antonio, Texas, Phone: 210-225-1391
© Courtesy of visitsanantonio.com/Al Rendon
The Main Plaza is the central and historic heart of San Antonio, established to provide the community with a place to gather and enjoy a variety of entertainment. Dating back to the 1700s, this innovative public space features well-maintained landscaping, huge trees and shady sidewalks, water features, and tables for lunch.
The Plaza is home to the world-renowned San Fernando Cathedral, the oldest cathedral in the country and one which tourists flock to see every year.
The Main Plaza also plays host to a variety of community and public events throughout the year, such as bustling farmers’ markets, art installations, live music concerts and the annual Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony.
6. McNay Art Museum
© McNay Art Museum
The McNay Art Museum was the first museum of modern art to be opened in Texas. Built by Marion Koogler McNay in the Spanish Colonial Revival style in the 1920s and later opened as a museum, the mansion has more than 20,000 objects, some of which create the finest collection of Contemporary Art and Sculpture in the country, a research library with over 30,000 volumes and the Tobin Collection of Theatre Arts.
In 2008, internationally renowned French architect Jean-Paul Viguier built the Stieren Center to display the modern collection of Jane and Arthur Stieren.
More than 150,000 visitors come to view the collections each year, most of which focus primarily on 19th- and 20th-century European and American art and include works by artists such as Vincent van Gogh, Pablo Picasso, Edward Hopper, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Georgia O'Keeffe, Paul Gauguin, and Jackson Pollock.
6000 N. New Braunfels, San Antonio, Texas, Phone: 210-824-5368
7.Natural Bridge Caverns
© Courtesy of kichigin19 - Fotolia.com
Natural Bridge Caverns are some of the largest known caves and caverns in the United States and are named for the 60-foot long natural limestone slab bridge that spans the amphitheater setting of the cavern's entrance.
The Caverns offer visitors a range of fun things to see and do, such as panning for gems, fossils and other treasures like miners at the Natural Bridge Mining Company and exploring the massive, otherworldly formations in the cave formed by single drops of water over time on the Discovery Tour.
Experience mysterious beauty on the Hidden Passage Tour, find your way through the 5,000-square foot outdoor maze in the AMAZEn’ Ranch Roundup, or zip line across the skies high above the caverns with the Canopy Challenge. The Discovery Village features several restaurants, cafés, and bars while the Discovery Village Trading Post offers gifts, jewelry, and souvenirs.
26495 Natural Bridge Caverns Rd., Natural Bridge Caverns, TX 78266, 210-651-6101
8. San Antonio Botanical Garden
© Courtesy of photojo 88 - Fotolia.com
The San Antonio Botanical Garden is a 38-acre botanical garden that offers visitors an opportunity to get up close and personal with nature.
The gardens feature several collections and exhibit areas, including formal and seasonal display gardens that include a rose garden, a sensory garden, a water-saving garden and a Kumamoto En Japanese Garden. The unique 11-acre Texas Native Trail features over 250 plant species in collections that represent three ecosystems, while the futuristic Lucile Halsell Conservatory takes visitors underground through a tunnel of soil into the Palm House, which is cut 20 feet into the earth.
Visitors to the gardens can enjoy self-guided or docent-led tours, as well as special bird-watching walks and a range of lectures, talks, and other garden-related events. If you are wondering what to do in San Antonio, Texas with kids, this is a great place to visit. Next read: TX beaches
555 Funston, San Antonio, Texas, Phone: 210-207-3250
9. San Antonio Zoo
© Courtesy of Pix by Marti - Fotolia.com
Tucked away in an old limestone quarry and open 365 days a year, the San Antonio Zoo is home to more than 9,000 animals of 779 species. Established in 1914, the zoo spans 56 acres and was one of the first ‘cageless’ zoos in the country.
The zoo has received several awards for their unique breeding program, which included being the first zoo to successfully reproduce the endangered white rhinoceros in North America, and has one of the largest collections of birds in America.
The best way to see and experience the zoo is on the historic San Antonio Zoo Eagle, a miniature train that chugs around the zoo, Brackenridge Park and along the San Antonio River, with various stops at the Witte Museum, Kiddie Park, and the Japanese Tea Gardens. Enjoy lunch at the train depot café located next to the train depot gift shop.
3903 N. St. Mary's St., San Antonio, Texas, Phone: 210-734-7184
10.King William Historic District
© Courtesy of dav 820 - Fotolia.com
The King William Historic District is a historic area of San Antonio located just south of the city’s downtown district. The district was once farm land that belonged to the Mission San Antonio de Valero, which were later divided among resident Indian families or sold at public auction to be laid out into what are the present streets today.
The District has a long and rich history beginning with a large German settlement in the 1840s to the early 1950s revival and restoration of many of the old cottages and houses.
The area became San Antonio's first designated historic district in 1968 and today is listed as a National Register Historic District with much to offer visitors in the way of interesting architectural revival and a rich heritage to explore.
11. The DoSeum - San Antonio's Museum for Kids
© The DoSeum
The DoSeum is a fun-filled educational museum and one of the top family attractions in San Antonio TX. The Museum aims to provide children with a place to learn through thinking, inventing, dreaming, creating, building, making and playing with a range of interactive exhibits and hands-on displays.
The DoSeum’s 65,000-square-foot building features a wealth of state-of-the-art exhibits that will wow both children and adults, including an interactive puppet parade, a spy academy filled with math challenges, an ADA-accessible treehouse, an interactive robot named Baxter, a musical staircase, and a Children’s River.
The museum is also home to a large outdoor exhibit and shaded play area with water features. Relax over coffee at the DoSeum Café, or shop for fun memorabilia at the DoSeum Store.
2800 Broadway, San Antonio, Texas, Phone: 210-212-4453
© Morgan's Wonderland
Morgan's Wonderland is a unique theme park designed specifically for special-needs individuals. Located in Northeast San Antonio, the 25-acre park features a variety of wheelchair accessible rides, attractions, and experiences, including an antique carousel, a pirate island playground, a music garden and sand play area, a catch-and-release fishing lake and beautiful gardens with picnic areas.
The park’s Starlight Amphitheater plays host to a variety of shows, acts, music concerts and other events and a winding walkway around the lake provides lovely views. Morgan's Wonderland has been named one of America’s top theme parks for its bright, colorful themes, friendly, welcoming environment, a range of interesting and fun playscapes, and free admission for special-needs guests free.
5223 David Edwards Drive, San Antonio, Texas, Phone: 210-495-5888
© Courtesy of aerogondo - Fotolia.com
The Majestic Theatre is San Antonio's landmark and one of its most popular performing arts venues that features concerts, Broadway shows, comedians, and many other events.
The spectacular, incredibly ornate building is located in downtown San Antonio, Texas. John Eberson designed the Majestic Theatre, which was was built in 1929 in a Spanish Mediterranean style. After closing its doors in 1974, it underwent extensive renovations before reopening in 1989.
Meticulous restoration of the beautiful theatre’s decorative elements returned the building to its original glory. If you are looking for romantic date night ideas in San Antonio, watch a performance at the Majestic Theatre. A National Historic Landmark, the theatre has 2,264 seats and three balconies. It is home to the long-running series Broadway in San Antonio as well as a variety of concerts and performing arts attractions.
224 E. Houston Street, San Antonio, Texas, Phone: 210-226-5700
14.Briscoe Western Art Museum
© Briscoe Western Art Museum
As you stroll along the picturesque San Antonio River Walk, you will notice a magnificent, finely restored historic neo classical/art deco building from the 1930s, the campus of the Briscoe Western Art Museum.
The museum is a great place to immerse yourself in the rich traditions and heritage of the American West through its art and history. The museum has nine galleries that showcase permanent collections, temporary exhibitions, special events, and community programs.
Some of the museum’s most popular exhibits are Pancho Villa's saddle, an original Chuck Wagon, a diorama of the Alamo, and several works by Frederic Remington and members of Taos Society of Artists.
Jack Guenther Pavilion, 210 W. Market Street, San Antonio, Texas, Phone: 210-299-4499
15.Institute of Texan Cultures
© Institute of Texan Cultures
The Institute of Texan Cultures, a part of the University of Texas, San Antonio, investigates and promotes ethnic, heritage, historical, and social issues through exhibits, programs, and special events such as the Texas Folklife Festival.
The museum celebrates the stories of immigrants who made their lives in Texas and became a part of the Texas multicultural society. The museum is located a short walk from the River Walk and the Alamo. Established in 1965, the facility has 65,000 squarefeet of interactive displays and exhibits.
The library, located on the third floor, contains rare books, manuscripts, personal documents, more than three million photos, and about 700 recorded oral histories.
801 E. Cesar E. Chavez Blvd., San Antonio, TX, Phone: 210-458-2300
16.Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch
© Courtesy of gudkovandrey - Fotolia.com
Ostriches, zebras, giraffes, and buffaloes in Texas? Only at the Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch, a 400-acre natural safari park on the outskirts of San Antonio not far from New Braunfels, Texas.
You can see more than 500 animals from 40 species, some native, some exotic, and some endangered, from all corners of the world living happily in the vast green space, which is as close to their native habitat as the zoo can make it.
Visitors can admire the animals while driving through verdant rolling hills, among enormous live oaks, and across the creek beds, watching them go about their lives without disturbing them. If you cannot go on a safari in Africa or Asia, you can still take an exciting to Natural Bridge Ranch.
26515 Natural Bridge Caverns Rd, San Antonio, TX, Phone: 830-438-7400
17.SeaWorld San Antonio
© Courtesy of Natalia Bratslavsky - Fotolia
SeaWorld San Antonio is a 250-acre marine park and oceanarium located in the Westover Hills in San Antonio, Texas. Opened in 1988, this popular park is the largest marine theme park in the world.
It offers a huge number of attractions and activities such as roller coasters, shows, rides, tours, live animal attractions, and a huge range of family-friendly activities.
Animal lovers will be happy to learn that the park is home to dolphins, penguins, seals, sea lions, otters, sting rays, eels, tropical fish, a number different sharks, American alligators, whales, and flamingoes. The most popular shows feature trained killer whales, belugas, and dolphins.
10500 Sea World Dr, San Antonio, TX, Phone: 210-523-3000
© Liberty Bar
Liberty Bar is one of San Antonio's longest-standing bar and eatery institutions, originally opened in 1984 and housed within a renovated Benedictine convent building. The popular King William historic district bar serves up a high-quality menu of south-of-the-border-influenced gastropub fare throughout the day, including housemade fettuccine entrees prepared simply with thyme and garlic or with hearty and unique toppings such as shrimp and spicy chile morita sauce. Excellent land and sea entrees include salmon encilantrado, lamb sausage patties with aioli morita, codorniz con mole verde, and venison or wild boar sausage links served with grilled potatoes and Creole mustard. Pot roast bowls and puntas norteñas are also offered, along with creative sandwiches and burgers and excellent shareables such as the bar's minguichi queso, prepared with goat and feta cheese and poblano peppers. An extensive drink menu showcases non-alcoholic Mexican sodas and iced teas alongside creative cocktails, beer, and wine.
1111 S Alamo St, San Antonio, TX 78210, Phone: 210-227-1187
© Courtesy of WavebreakMediaMicro - Fotolia.com
Brackenridge Park is where San Antonio residents go to relax, jog, walk their dog, play ball with kids, or celebrate a birthday.
This beautiful 343-acre public park established in 1899 includes the banks of San Antonio River, the serene Japanese Tea Garden, the San Antonio Zoo, Sunken Garden Theatre, a senior center, ball fields, and several pavilions for all sorts of celebrations and events. It is wonderful space to spend the day, have a picnic, work on a tan, or play a game with a group of friends.
There are 2.8 miles of trails for bikers and joggers and a fun kids’ playground for the little ones. You can play golf at the oldest golf course in Texas, check the art exhibition at the Witte Museum, or take the kids to the zoo.
531 Brackenridge Ave, San Antonio, TX, Phone: 210-826-1412
20.Six Flags Fiesta Texas
© Courtesy of yuriybojan - Fotolia.com
Six Flags Fiesta in San Antonio, one of America's most popular show parks, sits on 200 acres of land and includes an incredible range of rides and shows for all ages and interests.
Thrill-seekers will enjoy Thrilling Rattler and the Goliath roller coasters, and the whole family can have fun watching the Roadhouse Country show or spectacular summer night Lone Star Nights Laser and Fireworks production. The ZoomJets or the Buckarooz will absolutely thrill the little ones. And if you did not get enough adrenaline rush, try Batman: The Ride, the first 4D free-fly coaster in the world.
It will lift you 120 feet up the hill and flip you head-over-heels six times before dropping you down. You will not go hungry at Six Flags, as there are restaurants for any taste, and you can find everything from juicy burgers to Italian pizza, Mexican and Asian food, snacks, sweets, and much more.
17000 IH-10 West, San Antonio, TX, Phone: 210-697-5050
21.River City Run
© Courtesy of steheap - Fotolia.com
Get fit and explore San Antonio at the same time on a River City Run. River City Run is unique running tour through the heart of San Antonio and caters for all ages and level of runner or jogger.
The five-kilometer run takes place every Saturday and Sunday morning and passes through many of the key attractions that the River Walk and Downtown area has to offer.
The runs are led by a tour guide who will share interesting and entertaining trivia about the history of the city as you run past a variety of landmarks and famous sights. The running tour is done at a comfortable pace for all levels and there are frequent stops along the way.
© Confluence Park
Confluence Park is an urban park about half a mile from San Antonio’s Mission Concepcion, sitting along the pathway that connects the San Antonio Missions UNESCO World Heritage Site. There is a range of events that cover diverse interests, making the park an attractive community gathering place. The 3.5-acre park is a project led by the San Antonio River Foundation. It features educational facilities and meticulous landscaping overlooking the convergence of San Pedro Creek and San Antonio River. The former CPS storage yard has been converted into a gateway to the Historic Mission Reach part of the river where local students can take part in hands-on learning about water resources and ecosystems. The most noticeable feature of the park is the BHP Pavilion, which features vertical concrete forms that catch and channel rainwater into an underground 100,000-gallon storage tank. The striking structure also provides shade over a large area of the park.
310 W Mitchell St, San Antonio, TX 78204, Phone: 210-224-2694
23.Ranger Creek Brewing & Distilling
© Ranger Creek Brewing
Named after a small creek in San Antonio, Ranger Creek Brewing and Distilling is an industrial microbrewery and distillery that produces a selection of handcrafted beer and whiskey, as well as offers Saturday tasting tours.
The only “brewstillery” in Texas, Ranger Creek produces a range of small batch craft beer, including Oat Meal Pale Ale and Red Headed Strangler and well as Texas Straight Bourbon and Whiskey and White Whiskies.
The Tasting Room is the best place to sample the brewstillery’s products along with a simple rotating menu of seasonal fare that is the perfect accompaniment to the golden liquids. A unique, educational Brewstillery Tour is offered on Saturdays where you can learn about the beer and bourbon-making process.
4834 Whirlwind Dr, San Antonio, TX, Phone: 210-775-2099
24.Central Market Cooking School
© Courtesy of sitriel - Fotolia.com
Learn how to cook or improve your culinary skills with a cooking class at the Central Market Cooking School. Based at one of the many Central Market locations across Texas, including San Antonio, guests can choose from a range of cooking classes offered.
Learn how to cook game meat at the ‘Texas Parks and Wildlife: Game for the Holidays’ class. ‘Holiday Entertaining: Southern & Sumptuous’ is a delight for those who love Southern-style cuisine and ‘Decorate A Gingerbread House’ promises fun for both adults and children.
Classes are conducted by well-known chefs and culinary experts and all ingredients and equipment is supplied. Evening classes include wine-pairing and special children’s classes are perfect for holiday entertainment.
4821 Broadway Street, San Antonio, TX, Phone: 210-368-8600
25.Blue Star Arts Complex
© Blue Star Arts Complex
The Blue Star Arts Complex is an arts-oriented, mixed-use development located in the former area of historic warehouse buildings along the San Antonio River in San Antonio, Texas. The complex includes galleries, performance spaces, shops, artists’ studios, and the Blue Star Brewery. It is the beating heart of San Antonio’s art and performance world. The Blue Star is also home to a number of non-profit arts organizations such as the Blue Star Contemporary Art and Jump-Start Performance Co. The complex also includes a number of bars and restaurants, which together with tours of artists’ showrooms, attract a large number of San Antonio folks.
125 Blue Star 6, San Antonio, Texas 78204, Phone: 210-354-3775
25 Best Things to Do in San Antonio, Texas
- San Antonio River Walk, Photo: Courtesy of f11photo - Fotolia.com
- San Antonio Museum of Art, Photo: San Antonio Museum of Art
- San Antonio Missions, Photo: Courtesy of kbose - Fotolia.com
- The Alamo, Photo: Courtesy of dfikar - Fotolia.com
- Main Plaza, Photo: Courtesy of visitsanantonio.com/Al Rendon
- McNay Art Museum , Photo: McNay Art Museum
- Natural Bridge Caverns, Photo: Courtesy of kichigin19 - Fotolia.com
- San Antonio Botanical Garden, Photo: Courtesy of photojo 88 - Fotolia.com
- San Antonio Zoo, Photo: Courtesy of Pix by Marti - Fotolia.com
- King William Historic District, Photo: Courtesy of dav 820 - Fotolia.com
- The DoSeum - San Antonio's Museum for Kids, Photo: The DoSeum
- Morgan's Wonderland, Photo: Morgan's Wonderland
- Majestic Theatre, Photo: Courtesy of aerogondo - Fotolia.com
- Briscoe Western Art Museum, Photo: Briscoe Western Art Museum
- Institute of Texan Cultures, Photo: Institute of Texan Cultures
- Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch, Photo: Courtesy of gudkovandrey - Fotolia.com
- SeaWorld San Antonio, Photo: Courtesy of Natalia Bratslavsky - Fotolia
- Liberty Bar, Photo: Liberty Bar
- Brackenridge Park, Photo: Courtesy of WavebreakMediaMicro - Fotolia.com
- Six Flags Fiesta Texas, Photo: Courtesy of yuriybojan - Fotolia.com
- River City Run, Photo: Courtesy of steheap - Fotolia.com
- Confluence Park, Photo: Confluence Park
- Ranger Creek Brewing & Distilling, Photo: Ranger Creek Brewing
- Central Market Cooking School, Photo: Courtesy of sitriel - Fotolia.com
- Blue Star Arts Complex, Photo: Blue Star Arts Complex
- Cover Photo: Courtesy of f11photo - Fotolia.com
Whatever big event is happening in San Antonio – from a Spurs game to a Janet Jackson concert – it is happening at the AT&T Center. This enormous indoor multi-purpose arena is located on the east side of San Antonio, and it can seat up to 19000 people, depending on the event.
Completed in 2002 and operated by Spurs Sports and Entertainment, the center is home to the San Antonio Spurs, the five-time NBA champions, the hockey team San Antonio Rampage, the San Antonio Silver Stars, and the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo.
The center also hosts professional wrestling shows, the Harlem Globetrotters, and spectacular concerts by music legends such as The Rolling Stones.
1 AT&T Center Parkway, San Antonio, TX, Phone: 210-444-5000