What to Do in San Antonio
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.
300 Alamo Plaza, San Antonio, TX 78205, USA
You haven’t truly experienced Texas until you’ve visited the hallowed grounds of the Alamo. Established in 1718 as the Mission San Antonio de Valero, the building is best known as the site of the 1836 Battle of the Alamo, a 13-day siege under Mexican president General Antonio López de Santa Anna that ultimately killed nearly all of the Texan defenders. To stroll past the limestone facade and envision the battle that played out here is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience. For a real treat, book an after-hours tour and get the Texas landmark all to yourself as you walk in the footsteps of the fallen soldiers.
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.
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.
17000 W I-10, San Antonio, TX 78257, USA
Whether you’re seeking roller coasters that will leave your heart pounding or family-friendly rides that will keep the little ones entertained, you’ll find them at Six Flags Fiesta Texas. From the Iron Rattler, which drops riders 171 feet and reaches speeds of 70 miles per hour, to Buckarooz, a bouncy tower created for “little cowpokes,” there’s something here for everyone. There’s also live entertainment, shopping, a variety of restaurants, and a water park that’s open during the summer. Dedicate a day to discovering this famous amusement park. Just be sure to wear sunscreen.
3903 N St Mary's St, San Antonio, TX 78212, USA
Located within the city’s popular Brackenridge Park, this 35-acre gem is home to more than 3,500 animals and 750 species. For a glimpse of what it takes to run a zoo this size, sign up for a special interactive experience such as Lory Landing, during which you’ll get to know hundreds of brightly colored, nectar-eating lorikeets, or hand-feed a giraffe a crisp piece of lettuce. If you’re traveling with children, don’t miss the Fun Farm, where you can get up close and personal with goats, chickens, and pigs.
16641 La Cantera Pkwy
To experience Texas Hill Country without leaving the city, book a treatment at Loma de Vida at La Cantera Resort & Spa. The 25,000-square-foot spa, which was recently overhauled as part of La Cantera’s $50 million renovation, incorporates “intentional spaces,” such as saline pools and private garden terraces, intended to help you better connect with your inner self. Don’t miss the Purple Haze sugar scrub, which incorporates lavender cultivated from the heart of the Hill Country.
434 S Alamo St, San Antonio, TX 78205, USA
The site of the 1968 World’s Fair, Hemisfair Park is now an iconic tourist attraction that houses the Institute of Texan Cultures, fountains, a playground, and frequent special events. It’s also home to the Tower of the Americas, a 750-foot local landmark—and an important part of the San Antonio skyline—that features an observation deck with absolutely stunning views of the city, the revolving Chart House seafood and steak restaurant, a bar, and an adventure ride that thrill seekers are sure to love. After your time at the park, rent a B-Cycle bicycle and explore the adjacent River Walk.
210 W Market St, San Antonio, TX 78205, USA
If you’re fascinated by the Wild West, you’ll love this fantastic museum, where culture and history come together to transport you back in time. Named in honor of late Texas governor Dolph Briscoe and his wife, Janey, the museum is located along the River Walk, inside San Antonio’s first public library. In addition to hosting exhibitions, educational programs, and special events, the Briscoe features a Wells, Fargo & Co. Nine-Passenger Western Mail Stagecoach replica and the beautiful McNutt Sculpture Garden, which brings the West to life through intricate bronze pieces.
2800 Broadway St, San Antonio, TX 78209, USA
Already one of the best cities in Texas to visit with kids, San Antonio became even more family friendly with the opening of a top-notch children’s museum in 2015. Little ones will love exploring the exhibits at the awe-inspiring DoSeum, where they can solve covert missions at the Spy Academy, create their own beats at the DJ Station, or take their imaginary puppy to the miniature veterinary clinic in Little Town. The three-story museum also includes 39,000 square feet of Southwest-inspired outdoor space, so good luck dragging the kids away from there.
5223 David Edwards Dr, San Antonio, TX 78233, USA
This amazing park offers free admission to those with special needs and serious disabilities, providing a safe, joyful space for families to spend a fun-filled day. Explore attractions such as the Sensory Village and the Wonderland Express, a 1930s-style train with wheelchair-accessible ramps so everyone can get on board. The park is closed in January and February, and a visit in the summer means you can stop by Morgan’s Inspiration Island, the world’s first ultra-accessible water attraction.
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.
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.
6701 San Jose Dr, San Antonio, TX 78214, USA
Unlike many national parks, San Antonio Missions isn’t just one location. Rather, the park comprises a chain of centuries-old Catholic mission churches snaking along the San Antonio River. A daylong tour introduces travelers to several of these structures and highlights what makes each one unique, from the architecture of Mission Concepción to the aqueduct at Mission Espada. Private vehicles can be arranged for the Mission Trail, but active guests may prefer to follow the Park Service’s map via bicycle. Check your hotel for local bike rentals or guided tour options before hitting the trail, and expect to pedal around 8 to 10 miles.
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.
3801 Broadway St, San Antonio, TX 78209, USA
Located on the beautiful San Antonio River, the Witte Museum is “where nature, science, and culture meet,” according to its description. Visitors can marvel at dinosaurs, witness how people lived thousands of years ago, explore Texas wildlife in the newly renovated Susan Naylor Center, or dive deep into history in the Robert J. and Helen C. Kleberg Texas Heritage Center. In the H-E-B Body Adventure building, children can experience four floors’ worth of immersive exhibits about health, wellness, and well-being.
224 E Houston St, San Antonio, TX 78205, USA
Built in 1929, the Majestic is San Antonio’s oldest and largest theater. A beloved historic landmark, it’s home to the San Antonio Symphony and hosts concerts, plays, and musicals three to five times a week. The magnificent interior seats up to 2,300 people and offers equally impressive entertainment, with past acts including the Gipsy Kings, Diana Krall, and Lyle Lovett, as well as Broadway hits such as The Book of Mormon and Wicked.