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Travel20 Best Things to Do in San Antonio, Texas in 2024

20 Best Things to Do in San Antonio, Texas in 2024


Planning a trip to San Antonio, Texas, and you’re not sure which attractions to prioritize? The good news is that you’ve found the right guide to help you plan your itinerary because it’s full of fun and interesting things to do in San Antonio for travelers of all ages! 

San Antonio offers a wide variety of attractions that can appeal to anyone. Want to visit a museum? There are at least half a dozen interesting ones in the city, which cover everything from the region’s natural history to Wild West exhibits. Maybe you’d like to take your kids to a theme park? You’ll be spoiled for choice since the city is home to several awesome amusement parks, some of which are the best and biggest in the state. 

I’ve only scratched the surface of fun things to do in San Antonio, so bear with me as I tell you about all the other awesome things that you need to see in this lovely Texas city.

Top things to do in San Antonio Texas

San Antonio is a great destination for couples, families, and solo travelers. Anyone can find something fun to do in this city, whether it’s touring a historic landmark or tasting local specialties in a restaurant inside an 18th-century brewery building.  

Best of San Antonio Quick Guide

  • Must See: The Alamo, San Antonio River Walk, San Antonio Mission Trail, La Villita, Pearl District, San Fernando Cathedral
  • Where To Stay: The Gunter Hotel, The Menger Hotel, Hotel Emma
  • Fun To Do: River Cruise, The Buckhorn Saloon & Museum, Ghost tours, Tower of The Americas, Six Flags Fiesta Texas
  • Day Trips: Austin, Natural Bridge Caverns
  • Must-Try Food: Puffy tacos, Barbecue, Bean burger, Chicken on a stick

Best Things To Do In San Antonio, Texas

Fun things to do in San Antonio Texas

The things to do in San Antonio range from fun tours of historic neighborhoods to sightings of Teddy Roosevelt’s ghost. The city has so much to offer that anyone can have fun here regardless of their age and personal interests. 

Kids love the amusement and theme parks, young adults enjoy the colorful city center with fun shops and eateries, while proper adults can tour the Alamo and the historic Mission churches. Or have a blast at the largest Six Flags in Texas because adults can enjoy amusement park rides too.

1. San Antonio River Walk 

Things to do in San Antonio river Walk

San Antonio’s River Walk is the top attraction in this Texas city. Landscaped walking paths are available on either side of the San Antonio River for roughly 15 miles. Shops, eateries, and hotels line the promenade, which sits one level below the city’s main roads. The Downtown area of the River Walk is the most popular with tourists and locals, but the promenade extends many miles north, and you could continue walking for more than an hour. 

The River Walk can get awfully crowded in the summer months, but finding a more tranquil area shouldn’t be a challenge. Just keep walking past all the busy restaurants and bars; the further down the River Walk you go, the smaller the crowds you’ll encounter.

How iconic is the San Antonio River Walk? Enough that the San Antonio Spurs celebrate winning the title by doing a victory boat parade. 

Practical Information: San Antonio River Walk is a 15-mile promenade accessible for free at any time of day. 

2. Tour La Villita Historic Village

Things to do in San Antonio La Villita Village

La Villita is a historic artsy neighborhood sitting one level above the San Antonio River Walk. The district is listed on the National Registry of Historic Places for its 19th-century buildings that serve as examples of early residential development in San Antonio.

This old neighborhood is home to art galleries, shops, and colorful sculptures. If you like the sugar skull motif, you’ll love it in this picturesque little village. 

La Villita assembly hall is also in this district, and it’s an iconic sight in the San Antonio skyline. The building is known for the painted flower on its concave roof, and you can easily spot it from the observation deck at the Tower of the Americas. 

Practical Information: La Villita Historic Village is accessible any time of day, for free. Most shops in the neighborhood are open from 10 AM to 6 PM. 

Things to do in San Antonio TX Historic Market Square

The Historic Market Square is in western San Antonio, outside the center of the city. And it’s absolutely worth it to go out of your way to see it because it’s one of the city’s best destinations for souvenir shopping and cheap food. 

Come here for authentic Tex-Mex food, colorful clothes, jewelry, and all sorts of trinkets and crafts. Even if you’re not very hungry when you visit the Historic Market Square, I recommend you try at least the puffy tacos. They’re an iconic San Antonio delicacy and one of the best local foods. 

Bean burgers, chicken on a stick, and sweet potato fries are other San Antonio specialties to try if you’re doing a culinary tour of the city. I will say that it’s a good thing most of the city center is walkable because it will take thousands of steps to burn off all those delicious calories. 

Practical Information: The Historic Market Square is open from 10 AM to 6 PM. Entrance to the area is free of charge. 

4. Appreciate The View From The Tower of The Americas

Things to do in San Antonio TX Tower of the Americas View

The Tower of the Americas is one of two observation decks in Texas and the only one in San Antonio. It was initially built for the 1968 World Fair, and it took only 18 months to complete the construction. 

The tower is the centerpiece of the HemisFair Park in Downtown San Antonio. It has an observation deck on the top floor and a revolving restaurant, where you can enjoy a nice (but pricey) meal along with pretty views. Visitors who purchase tickets for the observation deck also get access to the 4D theater, where they can enjoy a 4D ride over Texas. 

Insider Tip: Come here after dark for a fabulous view of the San Antonio skyline. 

Practical Information: The Tower of the Americas is open from 10 AM to 10-11 PM. Tickets for the observation deck are $18.50 for adults. 

5. Walk The San Antonio Mission Trail

Things to do in San Antonio TX Mission Trail

Head to the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park to discover one of only 24 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the United States. San Antonio missions were important outposts for Catholic religious orders established by the Spanish colonists. The purpose of the missions was to help spread Christianity among the native population. 

Four out of five San Antonio missions are preserved in the park; the fifth is by far the most famous known, known as the Alamo. The Mission Trail is a walking path through the national park, which allows you to discover all four missions on the grounds. Bicycles are available, and they’re the best for getting from one mission to another quickly. 

It’s also possible to just drive from one spot to another, and this is the best option if you have very limited time in San Antonio. If you only have time to visit one of these landmarks, make it Mission San Jose. It’s the best-preserved building with period furnishings and an exhibit that offers insight into the lives of the local population in the early 18th century. 

Practical Information: San Antonio Missions National Historical Park is open daily from sunrise to sunset. Entrance to the park is free of charge. 

6. Go On A River Cruise 

Things to do in San Antonio River Cruise

Don’t have enough time to explore the historic River Walk on foot? That’s fine because you can tour the entire pedestrian area in a boat in about 30 minutes! Go Rio cruises are available at multiple spots on the River Walk, so just walk along the river until you spot a Go Rio ticket booth or empty boats. 

The boats depart every 15-20 minutes, so you might have to wait a little while for a free seat. Buy tickets online if you don’t want to wait in line at the ticket booth, but keep in mind that they’re not timed tickets. Seats on the boat are given out on a first-come-first-served basis. 

I recommend doing the river cruise at night for the absolute best experience. The boats all light up in bright colors, and there’s something special about the River Walk after dark. All the cruises are narrated, and the guide will tell you a lot about the history of the River Walk and its importance for San Antonio and its residents. 

Practical Information: Go Rio cruises take place every 15-20 minutes. A ticket for adults is $14.5. 

7. Ghost Tour of San Antonio

Things to do in San Antonio Texas Ghost Tour

San Antonio is an excellent destination for ghost hunts and haunted tours. If that doesn’t sound like something you would enjoy, just skip to the next thing on this list before I traumatize you with ghost stories. 

The most haunted building in the city is of course the Alamo, where people to this day report seeing ghosts of Texan soldiers. Opposite the historic fort is the Menger Hotel, another popular destination in the city for ghost sightings. Guests have reported hearing strange noises in the hotel, seeing faces in the mirror, smelling cigar smoke, and even encountering the ghost of Teddy Roosevelt at the bar. 

Visit all of San Antonio’s haunted sites on your own, or arrange a guided ghost tour of the city. They take place after dark, of course, and are my recommendation if you want to end the night terrified and lie in bed restless. 

Practical Information: Ghost tours of San Antonio take place at night and usually last for 2-3 hours. 

8. Get Lost At The Japanese Tea Garden

Things to do in San Antonio Texas Japanese Tea Garden

The Japanese Tea Garden is close to the San Antonio Zoo, north of the city center. The botanical garden dates back to the early 20th century and features koi ponds, stone bridges, a pagoda, and a waterfall. Countless plants and trees adorn this lush garden, and the mesmerizing landscaping is the best thing about it. 

Come here if you ever need to escape the busy streets of Downtown San Antonio. You can forget you’re in Texas for a moment as you roam around the grounds of the captivating botanical garden. 

Practical Information:  The Japanese Tea Garden is open from 7 AM to 5 PM. Entrance to the botanical garden is free of charge. 

9. Visit The Alamo 

Things to do in San Antonio Visit The Alamo

The Alamo is probably the most famous landmark in the state of Texas. The legendary fortress is one of the earliest missions that were built in Texas, and it’s formerly known as  Misión San Antonio de Valero. 

It would become world-famous after the Battle of the Alamo, which was a crucial turning point in the Texas Revolution. Today, the small fortress serves as a museum with a collection of artifacts from the revolution era, one of the most important events in Texas history. The Alamo is one of the most popular historic sites in the United States, and as such, it tends to be busy all the time. 

The complex is rather small, and it doesn’t take too much time to tour it. However, the queues are often long, and waiting in line is inevitable at such a popular landmark. Entrance to the on-site church is free of charge, but it’s necessary to buy tickets for other buildings on the grounds. 

Practical Information: Tickets for the Alamo exhibit are $14 for adults. A guided tour of the complex with entrance to all the buildings is $45. 

10. Sightseeing in The Pearl District 

Things to do in San Antonio Visit The Pearl District

The Pearl District is the area of San Antonio surrounding the historic Pearl Brewery. Originally founded as the City Brewery in 1881, it would quickly become the largest brewery in Texas and the only one to survive the prohibition. 

The brewery closed down in 2001, and the building today houses shops and restaurants. Come here to discover a different part of San Antonio, one that’s full of history and interesting landmarks but away from the city center. 

The Grotto is also in the Pearl district, situated on the River Walk south of the brewery building. It’s an artificial riverfront cave with faces carved into the rocks, walking paths through the cliffs, and man-made waterfalls. 

Practical Information: The Pearl Brewery is approximately a 30-minute walk from the Downtown, accessible by walking paths on the San Antonio River Walk. 

11. Discover The Collection at  The San Antonio Museum of Art

Things to do in San Antonio Texas The San Antonio Museum of Art

The San Antonio Museum of Art is situated in the former building of the Lone Star Brewery, just a 15-minute walk from the vibrant Pearl District. It boasts an extensive exhibit of Latin American, Greek, Roman, and Egyptian art that spans nearly 5,000 years. Items exhibited at the museum include paintings, sculptures, photographs, furniture, everyday objects, and much more. 

The museum’s collection of American artwork and artifacts spans two floors and includes a special section dedicated to artists from Texas. Also, the Asian artwork exhibit is the largest of its kind in the Southwest, making this museum an absolute must for all art lovers in San Antonio. 

Practical Information: The San Antonio Museum of Art is open from 10 AM to 5/7 PM every day except Monday. Tickets are $20 for adults. 

12. Amusement Park Rides at Six Flags Fiesta Texas

If you’re in San Antonio with kids, there’s no better place to take them than Six Flags Fiesta Texas. The theme park is also known as The Thrill Capital of South Texas with more than 60 rides throughout the grounds, including a water park with at least 15 slides. If you’re looking for even more water rides, I suggest you check out SeaWorld San Antonio instead. 

Rising to an impressive 205 feet, the Scream drop tower is the park’s scariest ride. If you want to feel adrenaline coursing through your veins, it’s THE ride for you. But the centerpiece of the amusement park is the Boomerang rollercoaster, featuring insane twists and turns at a speed of almost 60 miles per hour. 

The amusement park can be done in a couple of hours if you’re short on time, or you could spend an entire day here going on different rides and having the time of your life. If you decide to stay at the Six Flags Fiesta for at least half a day, consider getting a One-Day Dining Deal to save money on food. 

Practical Information: One-day passes for the Six Flags Fiesta Texas theme park start at $45. 

13. Explore The Natural Bridge Caverns

Things to do in San Antonio The Natural Bridge Caverns

One of the best natural landmarks in Texas is just a 30-minute drive from central San Antonio. Come here for underground tours of the caverns but also to have some fun on the adventure courses above ground. 

The caverns are remarkable to see with all the different geological formations. However, I don’t recommend this tour for travelers with limited mobility because it can get very strenuous at times. Also, the humidity is constantly at 99% and the temperature is normally around 70 degrees, which is uncharacteristically warm for underground caves. 

The adventure park features a maze, rope courses, and multiple zip rails above the ground with panoramic views of Texas Hill Country. Everything here is kid-friendly, and there are even a couple of exhibits that are specifically designed for the youngest visitors. 

Insider Tip: Wear sturdy shoes because the cavern floor is wet and slippery. 

Practical Information: The fee for cavern tours is approximately $30-50, depending on the day you visit and the type of tour you choose. Natural Bridge Caverns Park is open daily from 9:30 AM to 5:30 PM. 

14. Native Flora at San Antonio Botanical Garden

Things to do in San Antonio Botanical Garden
Photo Credit: San Antonio Botanical Garden

San Antonio Botanical Garden is a vast green space in the northern part of the city. Featuring ponds, landscaped walking trails, and lush greenery all around, the place is a sight for sore eyes if you’re tired of looking at the downtown buildings. 

Several conservatories are at the botanical garden, and they’re special not only for the plants you’ll see inside but also for their shape. The glass structures are practically pieces of art and wonderful to see. The plants and flowers inside are mostly the ones that are native to the region, but they’re nonetheless lovely. 

The botanical garden also features a cafe, and it’s a great place to sit down for a quick break before you move on to the next San Antonio landmark. 

Practical Information: The San Antonio Botanical Garden is open from 9 AM to 5 PM. The entrance fee is $18-22 for adults. 

15. Jump Into an LED Ball Pit at Hopscotch San Antonio

Things to do in San Antonio Hopscotch
Photo Credit: Hopscotch

Hopscotch San Antonio is a modern art gallery with very fun interactive exhibits. There are only two Hopschotch galleries in the United States, so a trip to San Antonio is the perfect opportunity to discover this fabulous space. 

It’s unlike any art gallery you’ve ever visited. Many exhibits are interactive and extremely fun. You can play in an LED ball pit, walk around a rainbow cave, and jump around on a quantum trampoline. The exhibit also features murals and sculptures, but they’re far from traditional artworks. 

The art gallery is also one of the most Instagrammable places in San Antonio, so you must come here if you want to commemorate your trip to this city with epic photos. 

Insider Tip: To engage with some of the interactive exhibits, visitors must take off their shoes and wear socks. 

Practical Information: Hopscotch San Antonio is open Wednesday to Sunday from 12 PM to 10 PM. General admission to the art gallery is $24. 

16. Travel Back In Time At The Buckhorn Saloon & Museum

Things to do in San Antonio Texas Buckhorn Saloon & Museum

Head to the Buckhorn Saloon & Museum in Downtown San Antonio for a dash of the Wild West. The restaurant is styled as a traditional Western saloon and features two very interesting museums on the grounds. A single ticket grants you access to both museums. 

The Buckhorn Museum features a bizarre collection of taxidermied animals, which I did not like very much. Don’t get me wrong, it’s an interesting collection and I haven’t seen anything like it anywhere in my life, it’s just that taxidermy freaks me out quite a bit. 

I enjoyed the Texas Ranger Museum much more, with its reconstruction of a Wild West town, complete with a saloon and a jail cell. You can walk through those classic saloon doors and pose for photographs behind bars, pretending to be a proper outlaw. The exhibit also features guns of famous Texas rangers, as well as their badges and photographs. 

Practical Information: The Buckhorn Saloon & Museum is open from 10 AM to 5 PM. Admission tickets are $22.99 and include entrance to all the exhibits in the building. You can book them here.

17. Tour The Spanish Governor’s Palace

The Spanish Governor’s Palace is somewhat of a hidden gem in San Antonio. Include it in your San Antonio itinerary if you want to see a fascinating stucco palace complete with period furniture and ghosts. The palace is rumored to be haunted, and it’s often included in San Antonio ghost tours. 

You won’t see any ghosts if you visit during the day, and you can focus on the impeccable colonial architecture and stunning antique furnishings. Beautiful artworks adorn the interior of the palace and its grounds, but I personally found the kitchen area the most interesting.  I’ve never seen anything like it before, especially in such good condition. 

Insider Tip: The Palace is situated between the San Fernando Cathedral and the Historic Market Square, so you can see three popular San Antonio attractions in one afternoon. 

Practical Information: The Spanish Governer’s Palace is open from 9 AM to 5 PM. Tickets are $5. 

18. Day Trip to Austin 

Things to do in San Antiono Texas Austin Day Trip

San Antonio is only an hour and a half from Austin. The bustling state capital is one of the best places to visit on day trips from San Antonio, both for the proximity and wonderful attractions it offers. Austin is known for its excellent cultural scene, great food, live music, and just a great atmosphere all around.

If you consider yourself an art lover, you’ll have the time of your life in Austin. The city is home to many wonderful museums and art exhibits, which range from a museum dedicated to Charles Umlauf’s works to a modern art installation named Cathedral of Junk. 

The Texas Capitol is an iconic building that you can’t miss while you’re in Austin. It is absolutely incredible to see and visitors can get free, 30-minute guided tours of the landmark complex. 

Practical Information: Austin is 80 miles northeast of San Antonio. It takes about an hour and a half to reach the city both by car and local bus. 

19. Learn About Texas at The Witte Museum

Things to do in San Antonio Witte Museum
Photo Credit Visit San Antonio

The Witte Museum is set in Brackenridge Park, and it’s one of the oldest museums in San Antonio, dedicated to recounting stories about Texas, from prehistoric times to the modern day. The museum’s collection includes a wide variety of historic artifacts, and some of the highlights are dinosaur bones and Sheriff’s badges from the late 1800s. 

The exhibit is fascinating, and I love that there’s something for everyone, regardless of their age. Kids are usually captivated by the giant replicas of dinosaurs, while adults have more fun discovering Texan art, textiles, and everyday objects from a previous era. 

This museum is outside central San Antonio, but it’s easily accessible by public transport. A bus can take you from the Alamo to the Witte Museum in just 20 minutes.

Practical Information: The Witte Museum is open from 10 AM to 6 PM. Tickets are $16 for adults. 

20. See The Historic San Fernando Cathedral 

Things to do in San Antonio San Fernando Cathedral 

San Fernando Cathedral is yet another in a string of historic landmarks to be found in Downtown San Antonio. The landmark church was initially constructed in the early 18th century and serves as a wonderful example of Spanish colonial architecture. 

The opulent altar and marvelous stained glass windows are the highlights of San Fernando Cathedral. Free guided tours are available to all visitors, although you won’t get to see the interior of the church. Instead, the tours take you around the cathedral grounds while the local guide recounts the church’s history. 

This church is often included in ghost tours of San Antonio. If you come here at night, you’ll get to see a spectacular light and music show, and you might even experience some paranormal events. 

Practical Information: San Fernando Cathedral is open from 9 AM to 5 PM and is accessible free of charge. 

Frequently Asked Questions For San Antonio, Texas

Things to do in San Antonio FAQ

How Can I Spend 3 Days In San Antonio? 

Three days are enough time to see all of San Antonio’s best landmarks and do a day trip to a nearby city or national park. Visit the Alamo, San Fernando Cathedral, San Antonio Mission Trail, the River Walk, the Witte Museum, the Buckhorn Saloon & Museum, the San Antonio Botanical Garden, and the Pearl, and go on a river cruise in the downtown. 

What Is The Most Visited Place In San Antonio, Texas? 

The Alamo is the most visited landmark in San Antonio, Texas. The San Antonio River Walk is a close second, with a much more touristy atmosphere than the historic battleground. 

What Is San Antonio Best Known For? 

San Antonio is best known for the Alamo and the Spanish mission churches. Its rich and battle-ridden history has also made it famous for ghost sightings. 

How Do I Spend A Day In San Antonio? 

If you only have a day in San Antonio, spend it visiting the River Walk, the Alamo, Historic Market Square, San Antonio Mission Historic National Park, and the Buckhorn Saloon and Museum. One day is enough time to see all these landmarks, and you might just have enough time to squeeze in a trip to one of the botanical gardens.

Tips And Information For Visiting San Antonio, Texas

Tips And Information on things to do in San Antonio

Best Time To Visit

The best time to visit San Antonio is from November to April. March and April are generally the most popular months for trips to this Texas city because of the mild, warm weather. It’s perfect for long walks around the city center and excursions to nearby parks and national landmarks.

Avoid traveling to the city in the summer if you can. San Antonio has very hot summers, and the temperatures often exceed 90 degrees throughout the day. That’s too hot to be comfortable when you’re outside most of the day, especially with the city’s high humidity. 

Getting There

Look for flights to San Antonio International Airport. It’s only a 15-minute drive from downtown San Antonio, so you’ll be at your hotel in no time. Buses also run from the airport to the city center; tickets are inexpensive at $2.5, and the ride is only 30-40 minutes long. It’s worth considering if you’re on a tighter budget and don’t want to spend money on taxis. 

Alternatively, you can fly to Austin and then get a ride to San Antonio. The airport in Austin is bigger and busier than the one in San Antonio, with more domestic and international connections. The capital is just an hour and a half from San Antonio by both car and bus. 

Getting Around

Much of central San Antonio is walkable, so you can explore a large portion of the city on foot. Cycling is popular here and an excellent alternative to taxi rides and car rentals. San Antonio has a good bike-sharing system, and you can visit most of the attractions listed in this guide on a bicycle. 

A rental car would help you get around San Antonio quicker, but it’s not a necessity. The public transport network in San Antonio is good and can even help you get all the way to Austin. So, consider renting a car only if you have very limited time in the city and you want to visit as many landmarks as possible. 

How Much Time Do You Need

Three days is the perfect amount of time for a San Antonio trip. It’s more than enough time to cover all the top landmarks in the city, as well as a day trip to a nearby city or national park. I recommend incorporating a day trip to Austin in your three-day itinerary because it’s very close to San Antonio. 

The city can be done in two days, but you’ll need to choose between a day trip or city attractions for the second day of the trip. And if you only have one day in San Antonio, prioritize all the historic places and buildings. 

San Antonio City Pass

Thing sot do in San Antonio City Pass
Photo Credit: Al Rendon

The San Antonio City Pass is really good value for money and I highly recommend you get it if you’re serious about sightseeing in the Texas city. The pass offers free entrance to four out of eight attractions of your choice for $59: 

  • Go Rio San Antonio River Cruises ($14.5)
  • San Antonio Zoo ($25)
  • The Tower of The Americas ($18.50)
  • The DoSeum ($18)
  • San Antonio Botanical Garden ($18-22)
  • Witte Museum ($16)
  • San Antonio Museum of Art ($20)
  • The Alamo – Exhibit and Church ($14)

You can get your money’s worth if you visit just three exhibits and the fourth one is practically free of charge! Getting the San Antonio City Pass is a no-brainer if at least three of these places have already made it onto your itinerary. Grab your Pass here.

Where To Stay in San Antonio, Texas

Best Accommodation in San Antonio Texas

First-time visitors should look for hotels in Downtown San Antonio for easy walking access to all the best tourist attractions. Many hotels are available along the historic River Walk, and they’re some of the best hotels in the city. 

The Pearl district is also a lovely part of the city to stay in, with plenty of interesting attractions nearby. Here are some of the best hotels in San Antonio for all budgets: 

  • The Gunter Hotel is an affordable option in the Downtown, close to all the best San Antonio landmarks. 
  • The Menger Hotel is a good mid-range option in the city center, with the added bonus of ghost sightings.
  • Hotel Emma is a high-end luxury hotel on the River Walk in the Pearl District of San Antonio.  
Best San Antonio Hotels
Photo Credit Visit San Antonio

Whether you stay at a haunted hotel or an all-out luxury resort, I’m pretty sure you’ll have a great time in San Antonio. Especially if you prioritize visiting the attractions that you are genuinely interested in, as opposed to queuing at popular places just because it’s what you’re supposed to do.

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