Officially called as the City of San Antonio, it comes under the state of Texas in the United States of America. San Antonio is Spanish for St Anthony because it is known for Spanish colonial missions. Here we put together 20 things you can do as a tourist or even as a local in the city of San Antonio. Let’s find out what the city has to offer us!
Tips & Recommendations for San Antonio
1. San Antonio River Walk
Looking for a great river tour coupled with awesome food? The San Antonio River Walk is the place to be. This is a public park that is open every day of the year and dotted with hotels, restaurants and much much more. The walk downtown is incredible, and you will enjoy it thanks to the many bars and food spots over here. The River Walk goes winding down and connects several other tourist attractions to each other.
2. Six Flags Fiesta
This is a theme park located in San Antonio, Texas. This park boasts of really amazing rides for the entire family. Buying the season pass for the family when going to this theme park is a value-buy. There are roller coasters, rides, live shows, food, beer (yeah, very important) and the best roller coaster ever! Hands already itching to try it out eh? Be sure to check the dates and timings before you go, since the park is open Thursday through Sunday. Online ticket purchase works out to be cheaper than buying it at the park, same goes with the season pass package.
3. Dine at a Restaurant 750 ft Above Ground Level – Tower of the Americas
Want to have a quiet (not so much) lunch with your loved one at a height of 750 ft above ground level? Then head over to the Tower of the Americas, which is a remarkable landmark for San Antonio - it includes an observation deck, a revolving eatery (mm… very interesting), a bar (no, this one doesn’t revolve) and also a 4D adventure ride! The tower is located in downtown San Antonio, entry tickets are priced at USD 10.95 plus tax for general public (adults). Children, senior citizens and veterans have discounts!
4. Pet a Dolphin at Seaworld San Antonio
Love to watch marine mammals at the Aquaria? You must head to the Seaworld which includes an oceanarium, a marine mammal park as well as an animal theme park! There are killer whales and beluga whales for you to have a look. Get a close encounter with dolphins, penguins and what not! Some of the attractions include roller coasters and thrill rides namely The Great White, The Steel Eel. You can also try the awesomely tasting BBQ food available in the cafes there at Seaworld. There are a lot of options available while purchasing tickets online, so check out the official website before you make plans!
5. Brackenridge Park – for Forest Trails and Picnics
This is a public park in San Antonio, similar to the umpteen number of public parks available for the common man in the whole of USA. Attractions inside the park include a zoo, a narrow gauge SA Zoo Eagle Train ride (that sounds exciting!) as well as a Japanese Tea Garden!!! And not to forget the Botanical Garden, a Museum as well! This is simply amazing stuff, for the nature lover, children to start with. Lots of activities are ongoing in the park, you can choose to join them as a volunteer to do more!
6. San Antonio Botanical Garden
A beautifully maintained garden comprising of all botanical species and genuses, a gem for botanists and also for those who are interested in horticulture. As with other parks and gardens, it pays to become a member of such spots. You will be abreast with the events happening in the garden and also learn quite a bit. The Botanical Garden is open all round the year from 9 am to 5 pm. Members have free entry while general public - adults are charged USD 10 for an entry. This garden is highly suitable and recommended for people of all ages and is disabled-friendly as well. One of the most intriguing feature at the Botanical Gardens is the Lucile Halsell Conservatory designed by Emilio Ambasz. Do check it out!
7. Spanish Governor’s Palace
This historic landmark represents the remnants of the Presidio San Antonio de Bejar. The palace of the Spanish Governor of San Antonio will give you an insight into the Spanish rule that Texas state was under, until the 1800s. Colonial Spanish designs, furniture, is what you will get to see here, and if you relish this historical stuff, this place is a must visit. The Palace is closed on Mondays and opens the rest of the week.
8. Catch a Broadway Show at Majestic Theatre
A Broadway show in Texas? Yes, you heard it right. The Majestic Theatre in San Antonio is where you will find these Broadway shows running. The Mediterranean-styled beautiful classic theatre is popular with theatre-goers for Broadway shows. It is the perfect place for concert owing to its excellent acoustics. The balcony seats are the best and this is the perfect kind of theatre for a Broadway show. Tickets can be availed online, and there are a variety of shows on the list. So what are you waiting for?
9. Eat Mexican food at Mi Terra Café y Panaderia
Now, you must be wondering why we are even suggesting this to you, when you are looking at a list of things you can do in San Antonio. Trust us, this is one thing you must try out when in San Antonio, Texas. Being located very close to Mexico, Texas is a thriving place for Mexican food and who doesn’t love it? And there are many many mexican food outlets in Texas. We suggest you to eat at Mi Terra Cafe y Panaderia. Here’s why: Mi Terra Cafe is a San Antonio landmark, it goes without saying that this is like the Holy Grail of Mexican food in SA. This cafe is open 24x7 and provides classic fare, mariachis and margaritas along with some baked goodness! There is a vast number of dishes you would like to try, just step into the cafe for the experience and let the mexican flavour overpower you! The cafe is located just a few blocks away from the River Walk, mentioned above.
10. Hike and Bike at Government Canyon State Natural Area
As the title suggests, this activity is for the outdoorsy kind - if hiking and biking is what you like, then you must do it at the Government Canyon State Natural Area when you are in San Antonio. Open Friday through Monday and closed on the rest of the days of the week, an entry fee of USD 6 is charged per adult. Rugged hills and canyons typical of Texas Hill Country is what is preserved here. A fairly new preserve, but a very sought after one at that. Bring out your outdoor best here! Some of the other activities include geocaching, trail running and picnicking to name a few.
11. Texas Transportation Museum – For Vintage Car/Train Lovers
Artifacts and information about San Antonio’s transportation history is what is preserved here. They have several model train layouts and road vehicles. Open on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, they charge an entry fee of USD 6 per adult and USD 4 for a child. There are hourly train rides that kids will thoroughly enjoy, and this is highly recommended if you love anything vintage! The Christmas show - Santa’s Railroad Wonderland is something that is not to be missed. You can also ride on the Transylvania Express, go through the Ghost Train… Wohoo!!
12. Tower Life Building
A historic landmark in downtown San Antonio in the central business district, this tower has a height of above 400 ft and 30 storeys. This tower is located on the banks of the famous San Antonio River Walk. The construction of this tower was completed right at the start of the Great Depression and is one of the major attractions of the San Antonio skyline.
13. Basilica of the National Shrine of the Little Flower
Also referred to as the Our Lady of Mount Carmel and Saint Therese Church. This is a very famous Roman Catholic Church located in San Antonio. The church is about 85 years old now, and still stands majestically, it is simply breath taking to view it. The stained-glass paintings on the church are one of the many features of this church. Locals who frequent this church cannot stop praising the beautiful architecture especially the altar. Feeling left out? Go and have a look at this wonderful place.
14. Victor Braunig Lake
For those who love to fish, and looking for a place to do so, if you are in San Antonio, head to the Victor Braunig Lake! The lake was formed as a result of the construction of adam. The lake is said to be stocked with different species of fish which will help increase the usage of the reservoir lake for recreational fishing purposes. You can also camp and picnic here at the Lake. A very interesting feature for someone wanting to laze around but also do something.
15. Breakfast at Guenther House
One of the best places to have breakfast at, when in San Antonio. This place is in operation from early 1900s and boasts of some beautiful architecture and interiors.Lunch is also served here but this place is highly recommended for its beautifully tasting breakfast items. Open everyday of the week, the Guenther House offers free parking facility! Breakfast is served all day so you needn’t worry about it if you wake up late some day and wish to try eating at the Guenther House!!
16. Alamo mission in San Antonio
This can be said to be one of the most popular historic landmarks and the most important one for San Antonio as well as Texas itself. The San Antonio de Valero Mission, also referred to or known as the Alamo. This landmark has a lot of significance due to the fact that the Alamo was actually the first Spanish mission built in order to educate the local, Native Americans who had converted to Christianity. However, it was later used as a fortress, especially during the Battle of Alamo in 1830 during the Texas Revolution. The landmark now houses a wide range of artifacts from that period. Also, when you are around this place in San Antonio, it is recommended that you witness the the Alamo Plaza, which is a boulevard styled street and a common and popular place for the locals of San Antonio.
17. Ripley's Believe It or Not - Louis Tussaud's Museum
Now, this is something that everyone will want to experience at least once in their lifetimes. A Ripley Believe It or Not museum! Apart from the usual odd exhibits that we cannot trust whether they be true or not, this museum also houses wax structures of Louis Tussaud. Oddities or not, Ripley’s is the place to be! Open all through the week, and tickets start at USD 20.99 Do try to get some package so you can make most of what you pay!
18. Cascade Caverns
Did you know there was a “Down Under” in Texas as well? Ha, wondering what it can be? Cascade Caverns is a cave exploration activity in San Antonio. There are spectacular rock formations as well as weather inside (68F) that can cool you off the hot Texas sun. Several guided tours are available, but if you are the type to venture on your own, feel free to do so. Enjoy the stalactites and stalagmites that just shine off the water-reflected light. Also, don’t miss the waterfall cascades. Apart from this, you could also camp and picnic at this spot.
19. Cathedral of San Fernando
Yet another cathedral of the Roman Catholic Church, this one is famous for its architecture and also the laser light show. This church is located in downtown San Antonio, was opened in the 17th century. The light show is a 24 minute joyful one, wherein lights are projected on to the cathedral. A must visit if you like architecture and also wish to enjoy the visual treat.
20. Marion Koogler McNay Art Museum
A Spanish-colonial home, modelled into a museum of arts. This museum holds impressive masterpieces of Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse etc. Do pay a visit, if you are into arts!
21. Fun at Morgan’s Wonderland
Ever heard of a not-for-profit theme park? Well, then you must visit Morgan’s Wonderland, which is a theme park of its own kind! Yes it is a non-profit theme park – entry for people with special needs is absolutely free! Worried about the family and friends accompanying them – you needn’t worry, admission charges for them is very nominal – USD 17! Well, this applies even for the general public, woohoo that sounds awesome! This theme park is something people of all ages will thoroughly enjoy. There are wheelchair swings, carousel rides, a pirate island playground and garden and of course quite a few water based rides. This theme park is something everyone should support because all the rides are disabled friendly and physically challenged people, be it kids or adults, definitely are entitled to their share of fun. Morgan’s Wonderland is doing a wonderful job in this regard and they have welcomed at least 50,000 visitors in the past few years. Morgan’s is referred to as the “ultra-accessible family fun park” and it totally fits! This park ensures that all the sensory organs of your child are involved in every activity – making it the most enjoyable place on earth for kids and especially special needs children. The story behind the creation of such a theme park is kind of sad; the owner Gordon Hartman has a daughter named Morgan who has cognitive delay. Apparently as with other kids with special needs, Morgan was excluded from games and play by kids of her age. This inspired her dad to create this “wonderland” that he named after her. There are several programs offered such as Boy/Girl Scouts, Educational Field trips, Senior Fridays to name a few. They even offer season passes, and they cost very little when compared to other theme parks in the country. This isn’t enough for you, want more? Well, you can volunteer with the organisation. That sounds so much fun! Well, what are you waiting for? Head to Morgan’s Wonderland as soon as you touch down in San Antonio!
22. Splashtown San Antonio
Splashtown San Antonio is a water park situated in San Antonio, Texas. A perfect place for kids and adults to enjoy. Tickets are cheaper if purchased online, they can be expensive when purchased at the park. A tip is to check for Groupon coupons before purchasing tickets; you just might be lucky to get a heavy discount. The park is suitable for kids from age group 5 to 10; they can sit on almost all the rides. There are quite a number of slides and this is one thing that kids will definitely enjoy. There is free parking available as well! It is open every day from 10.30 am; closing times differ on different days of the week. There is alcohol as well on sale – a bit surprising! You could organise your child’s birthday party here at Splashtown. And you could watch a “Dive in Movie” every Friday at dusk - woohoo, how cool is that! Tip - just find out online what movie is being broadcasted beforehand and plan your trip accordingly. Overall this is a fun place for a one-day trip for kids and adults alike.
23. Freeman Coliseum
Freeman Coliseum is a concert and sports venue. The Coliseum has played host to a huge number of concerts, trade shows, motor sports, and sports such as basketball, bull riding, hockey, wrestling and boxing! A few other events that are said to have taken place include auto shows and home shows, Chamber of Commerce Annual Meetings, Pittsburgh Symphony with Van Cliburn, Ballet Folklorico de Mexico and more. The Rodeo is held here often and so are University graduation events – so this is quite a happening and busy place till today. Phew that is a huge list!
Many top artists have made their concert debuts at this Coliseum and went on to make it big in the music industry – a lucky charm eh! It is said that in the 1960s, celebrities, such as Elvis Presley, Roy Rogers and Lawrence Welk, performed at the Freeman Coliseum. So when you are in San Antonio, just head there for a glimpse of a concert venue that hosted several legends and also an added bonus would be to watch and listen to upcoming stars who might be the kings of tomorrow!
24. Iron Rattler
Iron Rattler is a steel roller coaster ride at the Six Flags Fiesta theme park in San Antonio, Texas. This is said to be the best roller coaster ride ever built on earth. It is exhilarating and also terrifying at the same time. So, if you wish to sit on a ride that you will remember all your life, it has to be the Iron Rattler. It is a 360 degree roll that you will experience nowhere else. So tighten your seatbelt and get ready for the ride of your lifetime!
25. Natural Bridge Caverns, Texas
This largest commercial cavern is located about half an hour from San Antonio. The name of this cavern comes from the fact that there is a 60 foot natural limestone slab bridge that covers the amphitheatre-type setting of the entrance of the cavern. It is open every day to the public from 9 am to 4 pm or 5 pm (just check the closing time in advance). It is advisable to purchase tickets online to get a reduced ticket price. Tickets are priced from USD 21.99 upwards for adults (discounted rate) and vary according to the packages available. You can pick and choose from the various activities available. There is quite a bit to be explored and it is all exciting stuff for kids and adults alike.
There you have the comprehensive list of great things you can do at San Antonio. Share it with your friends and family and explore!