San Antonio

San Antonio is Texas’ number one tourist destination and the seventh largest city in the United States. A broad spectrum of cultures and traditions gives the city a distinct flavor that cannot be duplicated. San Antonio is best known for the Alamo (hence one of its nicknames, Alamo City) and for the River Walk in downtown, but has even more to offer: Families will find an array of world-class theme parks; nature lovers will appreciate the city’s proximity to Hill Country; revelers will enjoy festivals year-round; and art lovers will discover top-notch galleries and museums.

SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS - APRIL 14: Tourists visit the Arneson River Theatre and famous River Walk in downtown San Antonio, Texas on April 14th, 2016.

Photo By CrackerClips Stock Media/Shutterstock


Can’t miss things to do in San Antonio

Two of San Antonio’s iconic landmarks, the Alamo and River Walk, can be found downtown within walking distance from each other. Downtown is also home to many other major sites, including museums, monuments, and buzzing plazas like Market Square and La Villita. Beautiful Spanish architecture and picturesque scenery lie further down the river at the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park. Beyond its colonial roots, San Antonio is home to some charming Victorian neighborhoods. The King William Historic District, a short stroll away from downtown, has a mix of trendy restaurants and shopping off South Alamo Street. In Southtown, the Blue Star Arts Complex is a vibrant spot to view art and grab a bite by the river.

Food and drink to try in San Antonio

San Antonio’s dining scene is exceptionally varied. As expected, there is an amazing selection of taquerias, cantinas, and food trucks to satisfy Tex-Mex fans. River Walk offers a variety of family-style and upscale restaurants in scenic surrounds. The city is also home to a Culinary Institute of America campus, which has put it on the map as a foodie destination. Top chefs who are drawn to San Antonio’s casual vibe and love of down-home cooking have started opening restaurants with innovative menus that place an emphasis on quality ingredients. Most of these establishments can be found in the trendy King William and Southtown neighborhoods, just south of downtown, where visitors can eat side by side with locals.

Culture in San Antonio

For centuries, San Antonio has been a city where multiple cultures have coexisted and thrived. Its heritage is a mélange of Mexican Indians, Spanish settlers, Franciscan monks, cowboys, and German immigrants. During the 20th century, many American military bases set up shop, making the San Antonio area the second largest military complex after Washington, D.C. This cultural richness has fostered a strong sense of community and pride that is manifested in the city’s laid-back attitude, tight-knit neighborhoods, and flourishing art scene. A visit to the Institute of Texan Cultures provides visitors with an in-depth introduction to the city’s history and its multicultural roots.


San Antonio has some excellent shopping experiences for visitors. The Pearl is a mixed-use center converted from an old brewery that houses a smattering of local boutiques selling apparel, jewelry, kitchenware, books, and stationery. One of the city’s best farmers’ markets takes place there every Saturday in front of the old Brewhouse. Collectors willing to travel to the outskirts of town can sort through junk and treasures at the Ironside Antique Mall or Bussey’s Flea Market. Downtown, La Villita Historic Arts Village has a number of galleries that sell quality folk art and crafts. For Western wear, Lucchese has earned a reputation for producing handmade cowboy boots and leather accessories.

Practical Information

With mild temperatures all year long, there’s not really a bad time to visit. Spring and fall have the most comfortable weather for exploring, visiting parks, and participating in festivals. The city gets the most crowded in the summer, even though that’s when the heat and humidity are highest. San Antonio’s downtown is compact and easy to explore by foot, taxi, or bus. Most city attractions are located within the circular highway, Loop 1604. To the north lie many museums and the scenic, affluent neighborhoods of Monte Vista and Alamo Heights. The old Spanish missions are sprinkled in southeast and most of the theme parks are situated on the outskirts of town. Those planning to visit theme parks and Hill Country will want to rent a car.

Read Before You Go
Resources to help plan your trip
A family-friendly city, San Antonio is home to everything from amusement parks and children’s museums to gardens and historical sites. If you’re taking an adults-only trip, expect spas, art museums, and enough shopping to keep you busy for days.
Emerging as a destination for cultural explorers, San Antonio is a big city with an artsy appeal. If you’re into taking in a show, immersing yourself in history, exploring the outdoors, or surprising your palate San Antonio has you covered—and then some.
From some of America’s friendliest happy hours to outdoor patios with margaritas and live music aplenty, Alamo City is a top notch place to drink. San Antonio’s breweries are legend and one, Pearl Brewery, has been around so long that it has morphed into a destination all its own. Stop into the Hotel Emma on the River Walk for one of the city’s best cocktail menus.
Take San Antonio at a leisurely place with this perfect weekend anchored by the River Walk, a glorious boutique hotel (with a bar that serves stellar cocktails), an e-bike rental, and side trips that are both Bliss-ful and tasty. Yes, there will be margaritas too.
A week in San Antonio provides plenty of time to explore the city’s many historic landmarks, wander the River Walk, taste your way through the Pearly Brewery, and head out to Hill Country on a day trip or, perhaps, an overnight.
San Antonio caters to every traveler with a wide range of accommodations, from a design hotel in the Pearl Brewery district to a Hill Country resort with impressive amenities. Many offer award-winning restaurants or spas, while others put you in close proximity to the River Walk with its Tex-Mex restaurants and live music venues.
San Antonio’s a trip through time—think of top attractions like The Alamo and the UNESCO World Heritage site of Missions Concepcion—and around the world—off to the Japanese Tea Garden you go. But it’s also a wonderful city to walk and wander thanks to the San Antonio River Walk, the wineries of Hill Country, the San Antonio Museum, and so much more.
From folk art to cowboy boots, San Antonio’s rich history and geography continues to inspire local artisans. There are shopping destinations both enclosed and open air all around the city to please every taste, from the Shops at La Cantera to Blue Star Contemporary Arts and a nearby flea market that features a giant sign shaped like armadillo. Save Sunday mornings for brunch and shopping along the River Walk.
While San Antonio is known for Tex-Mex cuisine, the city’s restaurants have so much more to offer, with menu items from burgers and pizza to indulgent breakfasts and fine Southwestern fare. For one of the city’s best evenings out, combine a stroll along the River Walk with a meal at one of the area’s restaurants.
Morgan’s Inspiration Island is helping people of all abilities cool off this summer.
Sign up for our newsletter
Join more than a million of the world’s best travelers. Subscribe to the Daily Wander newsletter.