Things to do in San Antonio

Things to do in  San Antonio

Make it your mission

The site of the legendary Battle of the Alamo, San Antonio is a center of Mexican-American culture in the heart of south-central Texas. While the River Walk, a lattice of lovely riverside paths from downtown to San Antonio Missions National Historical Park, is the biggest draw, you'll find many other things to do in San Antonio. Venture from the river and tour the Alamo, Spanish Governor’s Palace, and San Fernando De Bexar Cathedral. Catch bird's-eye views from the Tower of the Americas, marvel at the culture of the American West at the Briscoe Western Art Museum, and dine on Tex-Mex, the favored cuisine.

Top 15 attractions in San Antonio

The Alamo

The Alamo is one of the most famous sites in United States history, forever linked to the 13-day Battle of the Alamo in 1836, which ended with the deaths of defenders James Bowie, William Travis, and Davy Crockett. Today, the 18th-century Mission San Antonio de Valero complex—now known as the Alamo—welcomes more than 2.5 million visitors per year to its chapel, barracks, gardens, and small museum.More

San Antonio River Walk (Paseo Del Rio)

The River Walk winds through the heart of downtown San Antonio, past several parks, historic missions, and other major attractions. Lined with shops, cafés, bars, and restaurants, this pedestrian- and bike-friendly waterway—home to the largest urban ecosystem restoration in the United States—is popular with tourists and locals alike, and is a must-see for any San Antonio visitor.More

San Fernando Cathedral

The oldest continuously operating religious community in Texas, San Fernando De Bexar Cathedral was constructed between 1738 and 1749 and served as General Santa Anna’s headquarters for a time. Don’t miss the Alamo Coffin, located near the church entrance, which is believed to hold the remains of the men who lost their lives at the Alamo.More

Tower of the Americas

Located in the center of Hemisfair Park, this 750-foot (229-meter) Tower of the Americas offers one of the best aerial views of San Antonio. The Flags Over Texas Observation Deck affords a bird’s-eye view of iconic sites, while the rotating Chart House Restaurant offers upscale dining with panoramic views of the city.More

Spanish Governor's Palace

The Spanish Governor’s Palace in San Antonio, which served as housing for a series of Spanish aristocrats, is the only remaining 18th-century Spanish colonial townhouse in Texas. Along with the Alamo and other historic missions, the Governor’s Palace invites visitors to witness an important chapter of Texas history for themselves.More

La Villita Historic Arts Village

San Antonio’s historic roots are preserved at La Villita Historic Arts Village, the city's first neighborhood. This protected enclave has a history dating back nearly 300 years, with a collection of heritage buildings that today house boutiques, restaurants, and art galleries which collectively play host to more than 200 annual events.More

San Antonio Historic Market Square

San Antonio’s Historic Market Square is filled with the wonderful sights, sounds, smells, and tastes you might typically associate with life south of the border. Stroll the indoor/outdoor malls filled with more than 100 vendors selling handcrafted pottery, leather goods, clothing, toys, and jewelry in the largest Mexican marketplace outside of Mexico.More

San Antonio Museum of Art (SAMA)

Just off the city’s River Walk, the San Antonio Museum of Art (SAMA) is a must for anyone with an appreciation for art. It houses the largest collection of Egyptian, Greek, Roman, and Asian art in the southern US, with more than 30,000 pieces spanning 5,000 years in its collection.More

King William Historic District

Take a tour of San Antonio’s King William Historic District for a peek into the city’s first suburb, settled by wealthy German merchants in the late 1800s. Stroll throughout the 25 blocks of historical mansions—many of which have been converted to shops, cafés, and museums—to admire the district’s Greek Revival, Victorian, and Italianate architecture.More

Mission San José

Built in 1782 out of Texas limestone and stucco, Mission San Jose is the largest mission in San Antonio, earning it the nickname Queen of the Missions. While portions of the church and its gristmill and granary have collapsed over the years, much of the structure has been fully restored to its original design.More

Hemisfair Park

The 15-acre (6-hectare) Hemisfair Park got its start in 1968 as the site of America’s first official Worlds Fair. Today, the green space attracts visitors and locals alike to its playgrounds, biking and jogging trails, native flower gardens, picnic tables, and one of San Antonio’s most prominent landmarks, the Tower of the Americas.More

Mission Concepción

Mission Concepción, built in Spanish colonial style and dedicated in 1775, stands as the oldest unrestored stone church in the nation. Originally built to help convert local indigenous communities to Christianity, the mission is one of several that comprise the UNESCO World Heritage-listed San Antonio Missions.More

The Guenther House

This restaurant, museum and store located in downtown San Antonio is stationed at the center of Bexar County and listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Travelers can saddle up to the stunning covered outdoor terrace, or relax inside at one of the comfortable tables and enjoy traditional southern and Tex-Mex fare in a unique environment. Visitors should plan to spend some time exploring this historic home and its unique gift shop. And the world-famous baked goods should not be missed!More

Buckhorn Saloon & Museum

Stuffed critters and a shooting gallery make having a drink at this 130-year-old saloon a memorable experience. The historic locale is also home to two museums: the Buckhorn Museum, showcasing some 520 species of taxidermy wildlife, and the Texas Ranger Museum, highlighting artifacts from a century of Ranger history.More

San Antonio Zoo

With more than 3,500 animals and upwards of 750 species, the San Antonio Zoo is home to many of the world’s creatures. Walk the zoo's winding paths to encounter giraffes, lions, elephants, tigers, pelicans, hippos, crocodiles, and other creatures in habitats designed to be engaging for both you and the animals.More

Trip ideas

Top activities in San Antonio

San Antonio Missions UNESCO World Heritage Sites Tour
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Taste of Fredericksburg Small-Group Wine Tour from San Antonio
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San Antonio Attractions Pass

San Antonio Attractions Pass

San Antonio Full-Day Historic City Tour
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Texas Hill Country and LBJ Tour From San Antonio
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Small-Group World Heritage San Antonio Missions Guided Tour
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All about San Antonio

When to visit

Visit San Antonio during spring (March to May) and fall (September to November) for pleasant weather, fewer crowds, and outdoor experiences. Texans do the same when visiting the city to avoid the punishingly hot summer. While summer is hot and humid, it’s also festival season: things to do include the Pride River Parade, Fourth of July celebrations, the Fiesta Noche del Rio song and dance performances, and Saturday night rodeos. Winter brings mild weather and lower hotel rates.

Getting around

If you’re not driving, the VIA metro buses are your best bet for getting around. From downtown the routes can access most corners of the city, reaching, for example, the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park on the outskirts in about an hour. The River Walk is built for walking and remains relatively cool during hot weather. Other transportation options are typical for any major US city (cabs, rideshares, and bike shares), with one exception—water taxis on the San Antonio River.

Traveler tips

On its journey to the Guadalupe River and the Gulf of Mexico, the San Antonio River continues past the River Walk through parts of Brackenridge Park, a local favorite and home to the Japanese Tea Garden, the San Antonio Zoo, and some walking trails. Take a break from the Riverwalk’s carnival-like atmosphere and head to the park for a peaceful picnic and quiet walks in a green urban space.

Local Currency
US Dollar ($)
Time Zone
CST (UTC -6)
Country Code

A local’s pocket guide to San Antonio

Kristin Dorsett

Kristin grew up in Texas and went to San Antonio for many a family vacation, later returning often as an adult to stay with friends and sample San Antonio’s best-in-class Tex-Mex.

The first thing you should do in San Antonio is...

take a stroll on the River Walk and get a margarita. It’s lovely at night and lined with terrific bars and restaurants.

A perfect Saturday in San Antonio...

involves spending all day riding roller coasters at Six Flags Fiesta Texas, which has everything you’d expect, as well as some Texas flair in the form of shows and themed rides.

One touristy thing that lives up to the hype is...

the Alamo. It’s smaller than you might think, but the museum has a great mix of plaques and audio-visual exhibits. And the weapons display is excellent.

To discover the "real" San Antonio...

visit the Historic Market Square to get a feel for the strong Mexican influence. You’ll find delicious Mexican and Tex-Mex food and drinks, as well as tons of vendors selling unusual handmade goods.

For the best view of the city...

the top of the Tower of the Americas is unbeatable. I’d recommend going for happy hour and skipping the overpriced dishes at the restaurant.

One thing people get wrong...

is thinking San Antonio is small, when it’s a proper city with a booming economy. And it’s Texas’ second city after Houston, bigger even than Dallas.


People Also Ask

What is San Antonio best known for?

Does “Remember the Alamo” ring any bells? The legendary fort, where outnumbered Texas revolutionaries died fighting a Mexican siege, lies at the heart of the city. Visitors also flock here to explore the River Walk, a European-like maze of canals, bridges, and waterside pathways along the San Antonio River.

What is there to do in San Antonio for 3 days?

Tour the River Walk and the Alamo on the first day. Then, see the European and American collections at the McNay Art Museum and visit the Mission San José, also known as the queen of the Texas missions. On the third day, visit wineries and orchards in Texas Hill Country.

What is there to do in San Antonio for a romantic weekend?

After a picnic at Brackenridge Park, visit the old-fashioned carousel and Japanese Tea Garden. Then, cozy up on a boat ride along the San Antonio River; after-dark the River Walk is illuminated. Finally, take a wine tasting trip to Texas Hill Country, and your romantic San Antonio weekend is complete.

What do locals do in San Antonio?

San Antonio is home to fine urban parks and gardens. Locals with families visit Yanaguana Garden, with its play structures and colorful mosaics, or the Quadrangle, which has a public petting zoo on the grounds of Fort Sam Houston. For hiking, biking, and kayaking, locals head to Confluence Park.

What types of tourist attraction are found in San Antonio?

This city is known for historic attractions like the Alamo, Fort Sam Houston, and San Antonio Missions National Historical Park. The River Walk is a network of canals and walkways along the San Antonio River. Also of note is the McNay Art Museum, with its American and European art collections.

Is San Antonio worth visiting?

Yes. San Antonio is one of the most attractive and storied cities in Texas. Many top attractions also happen to be free to visit, including the legendary Alamo, the European-like River Walk, and the four missions south of town at the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park.

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