San Antonio for Solo Travelers
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.
1410 Guadalupe St # 113, San Antonio, TX 78207, USA
San Antonio’s west side is one of the city’s cultural hubs. Latin and Mexican-American influences are vibrantly displayed through public art and murals. The area around Guadalupe Street is an especially rich place to explore. You’ll find art around every corner, cultural centers, theaters, coffee shops, and bakeries. One of the best resources I came across was the San Antonio Neighborhood Tours sponsored by the City of San Antonio Office of Cultural Affairs. You can download free PDFs of the guides here: http://www.saculturaltours.com/. We did the West Side Murals Y Mas Tour. It was an awesome experience that included more than 50 unique sites.
849 E Commerce St, San Antonio, TX 78205, USA
While many cities have rivers, few take advantage of their waterways quite like San Antonio does. One of the city’s most popular tourist attractions, the River Walk runs along the San Antonio River and features both quiet stretches for jogging and livelier areas lined with colorful bars, restaurants, and shops. For an immersive experience, take a boat tour and learn more about San Antonio’s history and architecture.
508 Villita St, San Antonio, TX 78205, USA
I love old churches and cathedrals. They often offer grandiose exteriors along with gaudy interiors, but the little church of La Villita is tiny and quaint. However, its charm makes it worth a visit if you find yourself exploring the San Antonio River Walk. Although the church still functions as a nondenominational place of worship there are a number of events that are held here throughout the year including artist exhibitions and the church is open to the public.
Avenida Guadalupe, San Antonio, TX, USA
I love street art and I seek it out in my hometown as well as in my travel destinations. I think it says a lot about a city when it advocates public art and commissions local artists to beautify the city. One of my favorite displays of public art in San Antonio is a piece by an artist named Jess Trevino. The La Veladora is a 3-demensional candle with an eternal flame. This is one of many great murals and displays of public art you’ll find on the west side of the city and a a walk down Guadalupe Street is a really fun experience.
San Antonio, TX 78205, USA
Festive Plaza in La Villita, a complex with shops run by local artisans, offers a more unique experience than the souvenir-selling El Mercado. Aside from shopping for authentic handmade goods, you can learn about its rich history. Self-guided walking tours (you can find many online for free) are a great way to explore this area. Browse shops while you learn about the surrounding landmarks and buildings.
514 W Commerce St, San Antonio, TX 78207, USA
No visit to San Antonio is complete without spending at least a few hours in Market Square, a sprawling indoor mall that’s among the largest of its kind outside of Mexico. Stroll past wares ranging from piñatas and pottery to accordions and cowboy hats, taking in all the different colors. Once you’ve had your fill of shopping, fuel up at one of the many on-site eateries, such as Mi Tierra or La Margarita, or head to the stage for some live entertainment.
2, 312 Pearl Pkwy #2102, San Antonio, TX 78215, USA
Even if you aren’t planning to take a cooking course during your visit to San Antonio, a trip to the Culinary Institute of America is worth a visit. It’s a great area to walk around in, and you can try coffee and pastries at the CIA Bakery Cafe. You can also eat at NAO, the award-winning restaurant at the CIA that’s also part of the student’s educational experience. Be sure to make a reservation.
3853 N St Mary's St, San Antonio, TX 78212, USA
Transport yourself to a different place and time with a simple stroll through San Antonio’s Japanese Tea Garden, a lush expanse full of shaded walkways, stone bridges, blooming flowers, and spectacular koi ponds. The garden was originally created between July 1917 and May 1918 using prison labor. Local residents donated bulbs and plants to beautify the landscape and, in 1926, a local Japanese-American artist named Kimi Eizo Jingu moved into the space and opened the Bamboo Room, where he served tea and light lunches. Thanks to a major renovation that concluded in 2008, the garden is as stunning as ever. It’s an especially wonderful spot for photos when visiting San Antonio.
303 Pearl Pkwy, San Antonio, TX 78215, USA
Pearl was founded in 1881 as a traditional brewery. These days, however, the bustling complex is less about beer than its 15 restaurants, dozen-plus retailers, and numerous family-friendly events, including a twice-weekly farmers’ market. Start with lunch at La Gloria, chef Johnny Hernandez’s nod to interior Mexico, followed by dessert at Bakery Lorraine, where you’ll find an enticing rainbow of Parisian-style macarons. If you’re in the mood to shop, pick up a tailored guayabera from Dos Carolinas, or a piece of handcrafted jewelry from Ten Thousand Villages. Pearl Brewery is even home to Hotel Emma, a true gem in San Antonio’s boutique-lodging scene, in case you don’t want to leave.
6000 N New Braunfels Ave, San Antonio, TX 78209, USA
Located in the former Spanish Colonial Revival home of art collector Marion McNay, this museum opened its doors in 1954 as the first for modern art in San Antonio and has been drawing crowds ever since with its diverse, interesting collection. The house—which has undergone several additions—and its surrounding grounds make for a beautiful visit, even before you lay eyes on the growing collection of more than 20,000 works, including medieval and Renaissance art, European and American paintings, and modern sculptures. When you’re done touring the galleries, you can also visit the on-site Tobin Collection of Theatre Arts.
110 Blue Star, San Antonio, TX 78204, USA
Dozens of artists from a myriad of backgrounds and cultures—American, Texan, Mexican, Latin American—sell their work at the San Angel Folk Art gallery in San Antonio. The gallery is stocked with paintings, ceramics, paperwork, textiles, glass, and sculpture, and visitors can easily spend the better part of an afternoon viewing the exhibits and browsing the wares. With such a diverse breadth of art, there’s a piece to appeal to every collector’s tastes. Image of tin art by Chris Ake courtesy San Angel Folk Art.