Fun Things To Do In San Antonio, Texas

San Antonio, Texas

Are you planning to visit San Antonio, Texas? When visiting this amazing city, there are a ton of great places to see and fantastic places to eat.  San Antonio is also an amazing place for families to visit or for a romantic weekend with your partner. 

We really enjoyed our time in San Antonio and we’ve put together a great list of must -do’s and must-eat restaurants. After you visit, we know you’ll fall in love with San Antonio too!  

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The Alamo

No visit to San Antonio would be complete without a visit to The Alamo.  Originally  called Mision San Antonio de Valero, The Alamo was built in the 1700’s by Roman Catholic Missionaries. Undoubtedly, The Alamo is best remembered as a major battle site in 1836 during the Texas Revolution. Shortly thereafter, the battle cry of “Remember the Alamo” became a national cause.  

Interestingly, The Alamo has stood under the flags of six different nations and served as the garrison for five armies. 

While most people imagine The Alamo as a large complex in the middle of nowhere, it’s actually in the heart of San Antonio. Given the location of The Alamo, the entire area is surrounded by shops and restaurants. 

The Alamo was designated a U.S.  National Landmark in 1960, added the to U.S. Registry of Historic Places in 1966 and became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2015. 

Tip: While visiting The Alamo is free, a guided tour will run you $15 (children 8 and under are free). We highly recommend the guided tour. It’s interesting and will give you a much better sense of why The Alamo is important to both Texas and American history.

The Alamo
The Alamo

San Antonio Missions

Also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the San Antonio Mission Trail is a must visit! This Historic National Park consists of four missions built between 1690 and 1720 that you can drive to along the Mission Trail.  

Begin your day at Mission San Jose where the primary visitor’s center is also located. Within this visitor’s center, there are directional maps to each mission, a gift shop and don’t forget to stamp your National Park Passport.

We personally loved Mission San Jose the most. Our tour guide, Tatum, was very knowledgeable and the Mission is so incredibly beautiful.  If you can only visit one Mission, make it Mission San Jose. The other Missions are: Mission Concepcion, Mission San Juan and Mission Espada. Each of these missions are unique and beautiful in their own way,

Tip: Be aware that each Mission has churches that still actively hold services and you may not be able to go inside the chapels. 

 

Mission San Jose
Mission San Jose
Mission San Jose
Mission San Jose
San Antonio Missions National Historic Park
Mission Concepion

San Antonio Riverwalk

In the early 1920’s, a flood along the San Antonio River claimed 50 lives and many wanted to take action to prevent such a tragedy from happening again. The initial plan was to build an upstream dam and then pave over the rest of the river downtown to create a sewer. Thankfully, better ideas prevailed and in 1938 voters passed a bond for the “San Antonio River Beautification Project” and the vision of the Riverwalk began to spring into reality. The first Riverwalk restaurant opened in 1946 and the rest as they say is history. 🙂 

Today, dozens of restaurants, hotels and shops line the Riverwalk. It’s such a lovely place to walk around, people watch and grab a bite to eat or drink. Naturally, the Riverwalk is geared towards tourists, but don’t let that stop you from visiting this project that so many fought to bring to life. 

If you are lucky, you’ll be able to witness a river parade! The Holiday Lights parade is one we would like to go back and see as well. 

If time allows, take a Riverboat Tour and enjoy San Antonio from a different perspective. Also, Boudro’s Texas Bistro offers the option to reserve an entire barge for a special dinner and private tour along the river. If there are any husband’s reading this, take note! 

The Riverwalk
RIVERWALK
Riverwalk

San Fernando Chapel

Located on the Main Square not far from the Riverwalk is San Fernando Chapel. 

The sound and light show “San Antonio – The Saga” is absolutely stunning and kids will also enjoy it. Created by French artist Xavier de Richemont, the show has been so popular that it’s scheduled to run through 2024. It’s free to attend and plays on Tuesday, Friday, Saturday and Sundays at 9pm, 9:30pm and 10pm. The show lasts about 25 minutes and it will leave you spellbound. 

Tip: Arrive early so that you can sit at one of the bistro tables on the Main Plaza. 

San Fernando Cathedral

King William Historic District

If you love history and architecture, then the King William Historic District is for you! Over 20 blocks of beautiful homes with amazing details and landscapes are amazing to see. This area became the center for the German community and it’s said that King William Street was so named after King Wilhelm I of Prussia. 

There are tours available, but just walking around this lovely area is a great way to spend a few hours when visiting San Antonio. 

 

Market Square

Market Square is the largest Mexican market in the United States. The El Mercado and the “Farmer’s Market Plaza” have over 100 locally owned shops.  You can find beautiful pottery, handmade gifts and leather goods, as well as , incredible art. You’ll also hear incredible Mariachi and Tejano music. On the weekends, there is Folklorico dancing that will blow you away. 
There is an exciting energy to the entire Market Square that you and your family will love.  

San Antonio

Where To Eat

San Antonio has no shortage of great places to eat! We were lucky enough to dine at a few local restaurants that definitely hit the mark! 

NOLA Brunch & Beignets was out of this world. It still ranks as one of our all time favorite brunch spots. NOLA had the best scrambled eggs I’ve ever had and the praline bacon is to die for. We all enjoyed the beignets and they certainly rival Cafe du Monde. The atmosphere and service was perfect and this little bit out-of-the-way restaurant is a MUST when visiting San Antonio. 

When visiting San Antonio, it would be a crime to not have authentic Mexican food and La Fogata has been serving delicious food for over 35 years. If you just can’t decide which meal to enjoy, the servers are incredibly helpful and will steer you in the right direction. 

Last, but certainly not least is La Panaderia. Located a short walk from The Alamo is this cafe/bakery which was opened by Jose and Davis Caceres. They wanted to share their love of baking and we are sure glad they did. The beautiful pastries and breads will make your eyes pop and your stomach growl. Famous for their tequilla almond croissants and conchas ( a traditional Mexican sweet bread roll), whatever you choose you cannot go wrong. Our boys devoured their pastries and I had the best avocado salad of my life. Seriously, I still dream about it! 

 

NOLA Brunch & Beignets
NOLA BRUNCH & BEIGNETS
Enchilada's
PICTURE COURTESY OF LA FOGATA
La Panaderia

Where To Stay

There are a lot of options for accommodations in San Antonio. We wanted to stay along the Riverwalk and chose the Holiday Inn San Antonio Riverfront. We are big fans of IHG properties and we were very pleased with our choice. It was nice to just walk out the back steps and be on the Riverwalk. Unfortunately, the hotel was performing some remodeling and we were unable to get a room with a balcony overlooking the Riverwalk. Since our visit, the hotel has completed its renovation and balcony rooms overlooking the Riverwalk are once again an option. 

Note: Self-parking fee is $27 & valet parking fee is $37. 

Holiday Inn San Antonio Riverwalk
PHOTO COURTESY OF HOLIDAY INN SAN ANTONIO RIVERWALK

Other Fun Suggestions....

  •  Tower of the Americas –  Built for the HemisFair 1968, this San Antonio landmark stands at 750 ft tall. It features a restaurant, observation tower with amazing views and a 4D theater ride. 
  • The Pearl – A former brewery which has been transformed into a dining haven. Additionally,  the Pearl also features a market and shops.
  • San Antonio Zoo – This 35-acre zoo is a family favorite and features tons of beautiful animals. The Zoo also offers a train ride and an aquarium.
  •  The DoSeum – An incredible children’s museum that offers interactive exhibits, including an interactive robot! 
  • Buckhorn Saloon & Museum –  Located just a couple of blocks from The Alamo, the Buckhorn has been operating since 1881!
  •  Japanese Tea Garden -Once the site of a quarry, it’s now one of San Antonio’s most beautiful and beloved places to visit 

Travel Gear

As part of any post, I always like to include a travel item that I love and want to share with you! When we travel to places where there is going to be a lot of walking, it’s essential to have comfy shoes. After going through other shoes that didn’t quite fit the bill, I discovered Adidas Cloudfoams! Not only are they cute, but they are THE MOST COMFORTABLE shoes I’ve ever worn. Now, I can’t imagine traveling without them. They look great with shorts, yoga pants or even a sundress and they are reasonably priced! 

Final Thoughts

While San Antonio is probably best known for the The Alamo ( which we love and is amazing), this city offers so  much more. Whether your visit be for culture, history, culinary experiences, museums, or tours, this vibrant city is a must see!  San Antonio is one of those cities you could visit many times and experience something new each time you visit. 

Don’t forget to pick up a Christmas ornament for your family tree! If you don’t have one yet, click HERE to read about how to start the tradition now. 

Travel Well,

Nicole

This Post Has 26 Comments

  1. Nicole,
    San Antonio is amazing! I have visited once for business for one night. I stayed by and enjoyed the river walk. Now, your post is making kick myself for not staying one more day to explore what the city has to offer. I am saving this for when I go next.

  2. Great guide and photos! There’s so much to do in San Antonio!

  3. A very interesting read, packed with choices to see and do.

  4. Love San Antonio! Visiting the Alamo will never get old! (Spoken like a true Texan right!?)

  5. I’m utterly embarrassed that I didn’t know that The Alamo was in San Antonio! I’d never imagine that there would be so much to do in San Antonio, and this post made it go from nowhere on my bucket list to very high on my bucket list! This is such a good overview of things to see while there, nearly all of which highly interest me. I’ve heard of the river walk, but didn’t know it was THAT cool and picturesque, I want to be in one of those boats! I absolutely love the cuisine of New Orleans and I would so be visiting NOLA to eat, those beignets sound heavenly. PRALINE BACON is worth the trip in and of itself! Honestly, such an amazing job covering a city I knew nothing about. Love your blog, following for sure!

    1. Stephanie…Thank You so much for the kind words! We’re looking forward to hearing about your trip to San Antonio in the near future
      and please make sure to come back and let us know about how it went!

  6. I would definitely love to visit San Antonio! I will be looking back to this once I get to plan a trip!

    1. Sam…great to hear that San Antonio is on your list for a visit! Hope you find our list helpful when you make the trip!

  7. Wait tequilla almond croissants!? I can’t tell if that would be amazing or terrible!? Did you try them!? Or did you stick to the avocado salad?

    1. Josy…Thanks for visiting the site! The avocado salad was calling my name and our boys had the conchas (vanilla and chocolate). The tequila almond croissants
      are said to be out of this world but we were too full to give them a try. Perhaps, next time!

  8. Lovely place … especially the market looks great to us. Thumbs up for the layout of your article 👍🏼👍🏼👍🏼

    1. Thank you so much for stopping by and for the very kind words. We appreciate it very much! 🙂

  9. San Antonio looks pretty cool! I’m not a fan of cities in general, but there’re so many thing to do around! If I’m ever in Texas I’ll make sure to add it to the itinerary 🙂

  10. I’ve never been to San Antonio, but I definitely want to after reading your post. My husband and I almost moved there two years ago but we decided against it. The Alamo is on my bucket list.

  11. I keep hearing that Texas is a lot like Australia! Can’t wait to see for myself 🙂

  12. This is a fantastic post! You totally covered everything! Great job! I will be sharing this with others! -Jen

    1. Thank you so much Jen!

  13. I’ve only been to San Antonio once, but I loved the River Walk! It is so beautiful to walk, especially at night! I have not been to Market Square, but I think I’ll be going back soon. I’ll add it to my list of places to visit!

  14. I visited San Antonio once on a road trip with my family and been dying to go back lately! This post inspiored me even more to visit as an adult 🙂

  15. yeah, San Antonio is a great city, one of my favorite of the visited Texan cities. The river walk is one of the most amazing ones, I walked so far. It´s like an entirely different world. One day, I need to go back and revive some great memories and make new ones!

  16. One of my favorite things to do in San Antonio was going to the wildlife ranch.. If that’s what it was called. A zoo that you can drive through and see the animals.. it was pretty cool

  17. I love San Antonio! Definitely going to check out some of these places next time!

  18. Great article! I will return to this post to be reminded of all San Antonio has to offer before we visit there. Thanks!

    1. Thank you Betty! Glad to hear you liked it and hope it helps you with your trip planning to San Antonio 🙂

  19. I had no idea there was so much beautiful history in San Antonia and so many amazing things to do. Great post!

    1. Thanks for stopping by and so glad you liked the post! Hope you can visit San Antonio soon.

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