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13 Things To Do in San Antonio, Texas

13 Things To Do in San Antonio, Texas

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San Antonio is proud to boast sites like the Alamo, San Antonio Missions National Historical Park, and the Spanish Governor’s Palace. San Antonio’s museums, such as the San Antonio Museum of Art, are also worth visiting. This city is also a great place to take a family vacation – with educational and adrenaline-pumping activities. Both SeaWorld and Six Flags Fiesta Texas will thrill you and your kids. There is no complete trip to San Antonio without strolling along the River Walk, a 3-mile-long path that crosses the San Antonio River. One of the best San Antonio tours can help you navigate the city’s top attractions.

# 1. Brackenridge Park in San Antonio

Brackenridge Park in San Antonio

Take refuge from the heat and the crowds of tourists at Brackenridge Park when the River Walk seems too crowded. On its 343 acres, visitors can relax with its rustic stone bridges and shaded walkways. The Japanese Tea Garden and San Antonio Botanical Garden also beckon botanists. Dress casually to enjoy Brackenridge’s jogging trails, golf course, and athletic fields. Sunken Garden Theater also hosts outdoor concerts. The Witte Museum and the San Antonio Zoo are also nearby attractions.

#2. The Alamo

The Alamo

The Alamo is San Antonio’s most famous landmark. Formerly a Franciscan mission, it was here that 189 Texans lost their lives during a 13-day siege by Mexican ruler, President Antonio López de Santa Anna, in 1836. Texas’ struggle for independence began with this fight. Today, the Alamo stands as a tribute to these men by displaying artifacts belonging to some of the Alamo’s most famous defenders, such as Davy Crockett and James Bowie. After visiting the Alamo (either independently or with a guide), head around back to the small museum and research library that provides further insight into the siege. The gift shop offers a variety of souvenirs to help you “Remember the Alamo.”

#3 San Fernando Cathedral

san fernando cathedral san antonio

You can’t miss the San Fernando Cathedral if you’re in San Antonio. As one of the oldest churches in the country, the cathedral was built by colonists from the Canary Islands in 1738. General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna revealed his plans for the Alamo and married Wild West legend James Bowie here. Many heroes from the Alamo (including Davy Crockett) are believed to be buried here in an unmarked tomb. While it suffered damage from a fire in the late 19th century, the San Fernando Cathedral still maintains its antique appearance, beckoning you to explore its breathtaking interior.

#4 River Walk

river walk san antonio texas

It is generally considered that the best way to see San Antonio is by taking a stroll down the River Walk or Paseo del Rio. The San Antonio River meanders through the city center, connecting significant attractions such as Brackenridge Park and the San Antonio Museum of Art. It is the city’s most popular tourist attraction. The River Walk is lined with dozens of restaurants, boutique hotels, sidewalk cafes, and street performers who fill the air with mariachi music. In January, if you’re in San Antonio, don’t miss the River Walk Mud Festival and Parade, when the river is drained, and the muddy riverbed becomes the main venue for celebrations.

#5 San Antonio Missions National Historical Park

San Antonio Missions National Historical Park

San Antonio’s historic missions – Mission San José, Mission Concepción, Mission Espada, and Mission San Juan – are all located here, making it a must-see site for history buffs. These missions were founded in the 18th century by Franciscan friars along the San Antonio River as a testament to Spain’s success in spreading Catholicism through the Southwest and into Mexico. From the undisturbed frescoes at Mission Concepción to the Romanesque arches of Mission San Juan, each mission (located approximately 3 miles apart) is beautiful in its way.

#6 San Antonio Museum of Art

San Antonio Museum of Art

It may not be as large as other art museums, but the San Antonio Museum of Art is a cultural gem not to be missed. There are top-notch collections of Native American, Spanish colonial, and Latin American art. The museum is also home to the most extensive collection of Asian art in Texas, not to mention a good grouping of more contemporary pieces.

#7 Spanish Governor’s Palace

Spanish Governor's Palace

Despite never being a palace, this adobe building looks like one with rooms filled with 18th-century furnishings and a stunning patio. Both history buffs and art lovers will enjoy exploring this National Historic Landmark and former seat of the Spanish government (dating back to when San Antonio was the capital of Spain’s territory in Texas). You can explore the property on your own or tag along on a guided tour during which staff members can explain everything from the building’s general history to the intricate carvings on the doorways.

#8 San Antonio Zoo

San Antonio Zoo

For animal-loving families who don’t want to spend a fortune at SeaWorld San Antonio, the San Antonio Zoo is a great alternative. The 56-acre facility houses one of the largest animal collections in the country (more than 700 species). Butterfly exhibits, four-legged friends from the African plains, and colorful critters from the Amazon await. Special events, such as animal feedings and various festivals, occur throughout the year.

#9 SeaWorld San Antonio

SeaWorld San Antonio

Take the kids to SeaWorld San Antonio to beat the Texas heat. You can cool off in the pools and water slides at the adjacent Aquatica water park or get close to penguins, dolphins, sharks, and sea lions in the walk-through habitats. When your fingers begin to prune, you can dry them off on one of SeaWorld’s many rides, such as the Steel Eel “hypercoaster” or the Great White inverted roller coaster. Alternatively, grab a bite to eat at one of the dozen concession stands located throughout the parks.

#10 Witte Museum

Witte Museum San Antonio

Take your kids to the Witte Museum for an educational afternoon primarily air-conditioned. With exhibits showcasing everything from dinosaurs to mummies to tarantulas, this usually overlooked site delves deep into natural science, anthropology, and Texas history. By exploring the historic log cabins on the grounds, you can also get a deeper insight into Texas’ intriguing past. And don’t forget to check out the rotating special exhibitions covering space and other fascinating topics.

#11 Natural Bridge Caverns

Natural Bridge Caverns

Natural Bridge Caverns is the most extensive commercial cave system in Texas. Some above-ground activities include ziplining, a ropes course, a maze, gem mining, shopping, and dining. But the primary reason to visit the caverns is to partake in one of the five underground tour options, which include tours lit by only lanterns and others that explore the caverns’ hidden passages.

#12 Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch

Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch

Natural Bridge Wildlife Park is located about 25 miles northeast of downtown San Antonio and brings the feel (and some animals) of an African safari to Texas. The ranch covers over 450 acres and is home to animals such as southern white rhinoceroses, lemurs, and Damaraland zebras. Hungry visitors can stop at the Safari Camp Grill, while the Safari Trading Post provides several knickknacks for purchase.

#13 Six Flags Fiesta Texas

Six Flags Fiesta Texas

Six Flags Fiesta Texas is located about 17 miles northwest of downtown San Antonio, a year-round destination for families and adrenaline seekers. The park’s more than 50 attractions range from coasters to slides to pools to go-karts. With shopping options and an assortment of restaurants to boot, spending an entire day (or three) at Six Flags Fiesta Texas is not hard.

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11 thoughts on “13 Things To Do in San Antonio, Texas”

  1. Wow, San Antonio looks like a blast! There is something for everyone on your list, which makes it a great post! This city has been on my bucket list for several years, and even more enthusiastically now.

    I am intrigued that the Cathedral is supposed to be where Jim Bowie is buried, after being killed at the Alamo. And the art museum looks amazing! Very interesting that it houses the largest collection of Asian art!  I do think I would be inclined to avoid the Mud Festival, but otherwise am ready for a visit any time!

    Thank you for your post!

  2. San Antonio is the largest tourist destination in Texas. In addition to the rich history and charms of the Old World, the city of Alamo is located in some of the most popular and unique attractions in the state of Lone Star, providing visitors with many options for what to see and do during a visit to San Antonio. All recommendations.

    1. San Antonio is a big city and a great tourist attraction. If driving in San Antonio on weekends and evenings watch out for street racers. 

  3. Thank you for sharing this article about San Antonio.  I enjoyed reading through this piece because I love vacations and exploring new places.  I have not been to Texas and have never heard of San Antonio  but familiar with San Francisco. If I have the opportunity to visit San Antonio, River walk is the first place I would love to visit. It looks beautiful and colourful.

  4. I love travel blogs, but this one is particularly interesting.  My son is being a job that will take him between Houston and San Antonio on a monthly basis.  He has asked me to visit both cities with him to look at apartments.  I know about the River Walk and Alamo in San Antonio, but, until I read this article, those were the only two places I knew.  I will be there for a few days.  Its going to be nice exploring part of the time and now I have some destinations.

  5. Visiting San Antonio is worth the trip. This blog post is quite compelling to convince you that. If you live in a cold place in east coast for months, it can work like a charm to be at San Antonio with these tourists’ attractions. The weather is enjoyable.

    Go deep in your heart and get into the enormous history with Alamo with its small museum and library. It is the landmark of San Antonio. It will remind you of the  you of the sacrifice of Texans freedom which would not be easy to take off from your memory in a lifetime.

    There are lots of attractions for everyone to like which are quite memorable. It’s  history built-in from Spanish invasion of Texas, architecture, food, music, the caves, animals from Africa in the zoo

    Not to miss the six flags particularly if you are accompanied by kids. I loved the caves where you go around with lanterns.I wish I would have visited this site before. I was twice in Texas for 2 different weddings not too long ego. I really feel bad and definitely plan for a winter trip to escape from cold. I have found food is cheap and fresh at least in Texas and affordable hotels. It’s a few hours drive from Houston airport. I am just curious to know how many days you need to visits all of these places if you stay in downtown?

  6. Wow, I would never have expected to see so many things one can do in San Antonio. There is a diverse amount of attractions and certainly something for everyone. From the Six Flags Fiesta to the Spanish Governor’s Palace, it all seems well worth a visit. San Antonio is also steeped in history. 

    My favourite is the walk next to the canal. Thank you for sharing such an inspiring list. 

    1. Walking next to the canal is very pretty and gives us a chance to see the beautiful scenery while getting some needed exercise. 

  7. Hiya,

    Thanks for the informative article, I had no idea that Texas had so many interesting places to visit – I particularly like the look of the Natural Bridge Caverns, they look amazing!

    I am hoping to get across to the States next year and Texas is on the list, so I’ll be sure to check out the caverns and some of the other places you suggest,

    Thanks!

    Bren

    1. I love to explore caverns, they are amazing. When you visit Texas, I hope you have an amazing adventure. 

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