San Antonio is one of the major cities in Texas. It’s a big and fast-growing city with a population of 1.529 million as of 2020.
This city has a vibrant history and culture. It is home to multiple tourist attractions, which is why many people visit this city annually. Over 26 million people visit this city yearly to enjoy its rich culture and beautiful tourist attractions like the Alamo, Museum of Art, Historical Park, etc.
If you visit San Antonio, make sure that you’ll have plenty of time to visit the attractions and experience the fun things you can do in the city. So to help you plan your visit, here are some of the best things to do in San Antonio.
1. Stroll along the San Antonio Riverwalk
The San Antonio River Walk is a historical attraction in the city. This river was discovered and named in 1535, and it has encountered many battles and settlements during the earlier times.
You’ll see many beautiful sceneries here, with tall green trees and beautifully-lit hotels and restaurants. The Riverwalk has become a popular tourist attraction in San Antonio, especially during the annual festival in spring, the Fiesta San Antonio, wherein floats designed with flowers, and vibrant colors drift along the San Antonio River.
2. Explore The Alamo
Another historical attraction in San Antonio is The Alamo. This place is where the battle of Texians and Mexicans in 1836 happened. Before it was regarded as The Alamo, this attraction was first known as one of San Antonio’s missions, the Misión San Antonio de Valero, founded in 1718.
If you want to experience the history of San Antonio, The Alamo is the place to go. They offer a 30-minute self-guided tour of the place, which does not cost any money at all. This tourist attraction will help you gain more knowledge about the city while not paying at all.
3. Visit the San Antonio Museum of Art
If you love the culture and the arts, you should definitely visit the San Antonio Museum of Art. This museum is home to over 5,000-year-old history and culture of different countries worldwide.
The San Antonio Museum of Art has a wide variety of artwork collections ranging from Latin American, and Asian, to Ancient Mediterranean Art. Aside from that, the museum also offers educational art programs for visitors of all ages. It also holds some events annually, as well as traveling exhibits.
4. Have a tour of Mission San Jose
Founded in 1720, Mission San Jose is among the five San Antonio missions. This Mission was named after Saint Joseph, Mary’s husband.
Here you’ll see some of the original structures of the place. However, most areas are already a reconstruction and restoration of the original structure as buildings deteriorate through time. Nevertheless, before you start exploring the grounds of Mission San Jose, you can still watch a documentary about the Mission, learn all about its history, and see what it looked like before.
Visiting the Mission would not cost you any penny. However, you’ll definitely spend your money in the gift shop and buy some souvenirs for your trip.
5. Explore the Natural Bridge Caverns
The Natural Bridge Caverns was first founded in 1960 by some St. Mary’s University students. This place is one of the attractions tourists look forward to visiting in San Antonio. The Caverns is so extensive that the underground appears bigger than a football field.
You’ll see beautiful natural rock formations and architecture in the Natural Bridge Caverns. These formations are made from limestones, and drops of water accumulated for many centuries. The caverns is also wonderfully-lit, so you are ensured to be guided as you pass through the rock formations and huge underground chambers.
6. Visit the San Antonio Botanical Garden
If you are a plant-lover or a lover of biology in general, you must give San Antonio Botanical Garden a visit. This botanical garden is about 38 acres wide and is visited by many tourists all year round.
This botanical garden features various plants, depending on the seasons. Here you can see a rose garden, a garden with exotic tropics plants, or plants from the desert-like areas in the country. But aside from plants, you’ll also encounter different bird species and be able to feed them.
After a whole day of exploring the botanical garden, you can stop by the garden’s café, drink some refreshers and eat a delicious sandwich.
7. Stop by San Antonio’s Main Plaza
To catch a glimpse of the history of San Antonio, you must visit the city’s main plaza. Here you’ll see locals and tourists gathering while enjoying different kinds of entertainment.
The Main Plaza hosts different events like farmers’ markets, live music concerts, art installations, and the Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony every year. You’ll also find stalls that offer great food and drinks at reasonable prices.
While you’re on the Main Plaza, also make sure to see the famous San Fernando Cathedral, which is the oldest cathedral in the US. This cathedral is also visited by lots of people every year.
8. Attend a show in the Majestic Theatre
What’s the point of visiting San Antonio without watching a single theatrical performance? So if you are a theater lover, attending a show in the Majestic Theatre is a must. The US government recognized this theater as a National Historic Landmark in 1993.
The Majestic Theatre is the oldest and the largest theater in San Antonio. This theater was designed by John Eberson, a Ukrainian American architect, and it holds a maximum capacity of 2,311 people.
9. Explore the marine life in Seaworld
If you’re visiting San Antonio with your family, going to Seaworld must be on your to-do list. Seaworld offers amazing animal shows and nine thrilling water rides that you can enjoy with your friends and family.
In Seaworld, you can tour different animal habitats and encounter marine animals like the beluga whale, dolphins, penguins, sharks, sea lions, etc. Aside from this, you may enjoy fun and thrilling rides like the Rescue Coaster and the Texas Stingray.
10. Visit the animals in the San Antonio Zoo
Over 56-acres wide, the San Antonio Zoo is home to over 9,000 animals of 779 different species. This zoo was built in 1914 and became among the first few zoos in the US that were cageless.
Because of its size, it is best to explore the San Antonio Zoo by riding the San Antonio Zoo Eagle, a small train that will take you around the whole zoo to help you see almost all the animals. The trip will also have several stops at the Kiddie Park, Japanese Tea Gardens, Witte Museum, the San Antonio River, etc.
After exploring the whole San Antonio Zoo, you can take a break and eat at the train depot café or shop at the train depot gift shop located beside the café.
11. Learn the art of brewing in the Ranger Creek Brewing & Distilling
Ranger Creek Brewing and Distilling is a microbrewery and distillery in San Antonio. It is famous for its handcrafted beer, like the Oat Meal Pale Ale and the Texas Straight Bourbon Whiskey, and its Saturday tasting hours.
This brewery offers only a small batch of handcrafted drinks, so it is recommended that you try their crafted beers and whiskeys. They also offer a simple menu, best partnered with their crafted drinks.
Every Saturday, Ranger Creek Brewing and Distilling offers an educational Brewstillery Tour, wherein you’ll learn more about beers, whiskey, and the art of brewing.
12. Go in for a quiet reflection in the Japanese Tea Gardens
As mentioned earlier, the Japanese Tea Gardens is located in the San Antonio Botanical Garden. This attraction is usually visited for a quiet reflection as you immerse yourself in the beautiful nature. Couples also usually visit this beautiful garden because it offers a romantic setting without spending any money.
The Japanese Tea Gardens was originally an abandoned limestone rock quarry. In 1899, this quarry was donated by the San Antonio Water Works Company president to be transformed into a beautiful botanical garden. It opened in 1918 and continues to function until now.
13. Visit the Morgan’s Wonderland
Morgan’s Wonderland is one of the best attractions in San Antonio, not only because it’s an amusement park but also because of its inclusivity for people with special needs. This amusement park is 25-acres wide and has more than 25 attractions and thrilling rides available for people of all ages, and you may have special needs or none.
This park is known to be safe and comfortable and has a kind staff and a welcoming environment. Millions of people around the world visit Morgan’s Wonderland every year. Those with special abilities have free admissions, and the entrance fee for adults, caregivers, or normal visitors is a reasonable price.
14. Explore The DoSeum – San Antonio’s Museum for Kids
If you want an educational tour, especially for your kids, then The DoSeum must be on your itinerary. The DoSeum is San Antonio’s museum for kids and is one of the most-visited family attractions in the city.
This museum aims to provide kids a place to build, create, dream, invent, and think. It offers many hands-on displays for kids and interactive exhibits that would allow kids to think while having fun.
The DoSeum has an area filled with mathematics challenges, a musical staircase, an accessible treehouse, and an interactive robot. There is also an outdoor exhibit and play area if your kids prefer to stay outdoors.
15. Eat delicious food in the Guenther House
One great thing to do in San Antonio is to taste the delicious cuisine of different countries, and the Guenther House is the perfect place for that. The Guenther House is an award-winning restaurant in the city, open daily from breakfast to lunch.
This restaurant is a beautifully-restored home from the 1860s. It offers tasty food and excellent pastries like blueberry muffins, quiche, and other baked goods. Aside from the yummy food, the restaurant also has a great and friendly staff, making the experience better.
16. Visit the Briscoe Western Art Museum
While strolling along the San Antonio Riverwalk, you will see a beautifully-restored neo-classical building, and this is the Briscoe Western Art Museum. This museum is home to nine galleries with permanent exhibits and temporary exhibitions.
This museum will help you get to know more about the rich culture and traditions of the American West. Most of the Briscoe Western Art Museum artworks showcase the history of the American West over the years, and if you are an art enthusiast, this place is a must-visit.
Aside from artworks and exhibits, the museum also hosts special events and programs from time to time.
17. Walk along the Historic Market Square
The Historic Market Square is a historical site in San Antonio. In 1730, the king of Spain gave this area to the first Spanish settlers of the city, and ever since, locals have been using this area to sell food and other merchandise.
The Market Square will greet you with a colorful and lively vibe. Upon entering the area, you’ll see rainbow-colored flaglets hanging around the streets, colorful walls, and beautiful San Antonio souvenirs, and you’ll also witness lively music performances and dance numbers.
For the locals of San Antonio, the city’s Historic Market Square isn’t your typical marketplace. This place speaks all about the city’s culture and tradition that everybody should witness and experience.
18. Shop at The Shops at La Cantera
You can never really cross-off shopping on your list. So among the best places to shop in San Antonio is The Shops at La Cantera. If you are a fan of upscale brands like Gucci and Chanel, you must visit this gorgeous shopping center.
The Shops at La Cantera is over 1,300,000 sq ft wide, but it is still easy to stroll around this mall. This shopping center offers numerous shops and stores perfect for all ages. Aside from that, if you want to take a break and relax, this mall offer shaded outdoor areas where you can sit around and enjoy a breath of fresh air. The Shops at La Cantera also has play areas for children and many clean facilities.
19. Have a fun and thrilling adventure in Six Flags Fiesta Texas
If you are up for a thrill ride and adventure, then you must visit the Six Flags Fiesta Texas. Six Flags Entertainment Corporation owns this amusement park, and it is one of the most-visited attractions in the city.
It’s over 200-acres wide and is divided into six areas with different rides and attractions of different themes. Aside from the thrilling rides, Six Flags Fiesta Texas also hosts special events and live shows from time to time and has restaurants and souvenir shops you can visit.
20. Liberty Bar, San Antonio, Texas
Another restaurant you would want to visit in San Antonio is the Liberty Bar. The Liberty Bar first opened in 1984 and is among the oldest bar and eatery in the city.
This restaurant serves high-quality food of different cuisines, but most are Mexican cuisine. They make one of the best housemade fettuccine entrees, land and sea entrees, puntas norteñas, and a long menu of drinks ranging from non-alcoholic Mexican drinks to alcoholic beers, cocktails, and more.
21. Relax at the Brackenridge Park
If you want a chill day, you can visit Brackenridge Park. This is where locals usually go for a walk with their pets, jog, play with their kids, or just relax on the green fields.
The Brackenridge Park is over 343-acres wide and was built in 1899. It’s along the riverbanks of the San Antonio River, which adds to the serene atmosphere in the park. Along the park, you’ll also see the San Antonio Zoo, the Japanese Tea Garden, other ball fields, and pavilions where you can hold celebrations and events.
22. Join the San Antonio Ghost Tour
If you are up for adventures, you must participate in the San Antonio Ghost Tour. This tour covers the most haunted places in the city, as well as the historic sites in San Antonio. This ghost tour offers fun adventures and is more of an educational experience rather than a scary one.
In this ghost tour, you will be exploring different areas of Old San Antonio, together with the guides dressed in historical outfits. They also carry lanterns, which adds to the eerie feeling of exploring the streets. During the whole tour, you will surely be interested in the stories they tell about the past and the beautiful and haunting history of San Antonio.
23. Play in the Monster Golf
If you are a fan of gold, then visiting Monster Golf is a good idea. Monster Golf is a mini-golf chain, but with a twist. The golf balls here glow in the dark. This place is perfect for all ages, and children would definitely enjoy the monster decors and glow-in-the-dark feature of this golf chain.
The Monster Golf also offers several arcade games, hockey tables, and many other animated props to keep everyone entertained. This unique experience will surely be perfect for sharing with family and friends.
24. Visit the San Fernando De Bexar Cathedral
The San Fernando de Bexar Cathedral is situated at the heart of the city. It is known as the mother church or the oldest cathedral in San Antonio.
This cathedral was established between 1738 to 1750, and according to some, it’s also among the oldest cathedrals in the country. The cathedral has a distinct Gothic appearance, which attracts tourists from all around the world.
Even though it is a cathedral, the San Fernando de Bexar also holds events and light shows from time to time.
25. Attend the Fiesta San Antonio
Fiesta San Antonio, also called the Battle of Flowers, is an annual festival in the city. This festival is a 10-day celebration commemorating the Battle of San Jacinto and the Battle of the Alamo. The locals have celebrated this grand tradition for more than hundreds of years.
The festival usually starts with a parade honoring San Antonio’s fallen heroes, followed by several events, competitions, games, parties, live shows, and many other interesting things that you must never miss.