When I first heard of San Antonio, Texas, I pictured a small town overshadowed by the city of Austin’s growing popularity. But in the search for cultural heritage in Texas, I found myself casually driving into San Antonio to check it out with little expectations. And let me tell you, I struck gold. As I explored this beautiful city, I quickly discovered that with all the fun things to do in San Antonio, a few days here is just not enough! There are endless highlights and hidden gems. I couldn’t believe it.
San Antonio is so much more than an image of colorful umbrellas by the river walk. In fact, it’s the SECOND biggest city in Texas! And it offers a world of important history, rich cultural heritage, natural wonders, a vibrant downtown, and friendly locals who will further illuminate your San Antonio trip.
Simply put? San Antonio is an American hidden gem and one of the best vacation spots in the United States! It is officially one of my favorite places to visit and I can’t wait to go back to add more San Antonio attractions to this list.
We have organized the below sections by: cultural attractions, outdoor things to do, relaxing activities, hill country day tours, and San Antonio food/drinks spots that you can’t miss. If any of the below San Antonio highlights sound like your perfect vacation, we highly suggest planning a trip to San Antonio, Texas. ASAP.
But first, some travel logistics!
Where to Stay in San Antonio
We strongly recommend spending at least a few nights in San Antonio. There are endless things to do within the city and dozens of epic day trips from San Antonio. On top of that, San Antonio offers more affordable accommodations than its neighboring city of Austin! Win-win.
Neighborhoods & Rentals in San Antonio
There are many wonderful places and areas to stay in San Antonio. But it all depends on what you’re interested in doing, of course.
- San Antonio River Walk is an exciting area of town with many hotels to choose from. If you don’t have a car and will be exploring on foot or with Uber, then this downtown area is the best part of San Antonio to stay. One example of a great River Walk stay in this studio apartment (pictured above). It is right at the center of the River Walk area and designed with all of the comforts of home.
- Suburban Area: However, if you don’t mind driving 10-20 minutes, consider staying closer to the outdoors and outside of the downtown area in this stunning Vrbo (pictured above).
- Southtown is another excellent area to consider in San Antonio. This area has an eclectic vibe and is a part of the King William Historic District. Thus, you will be staying near many interesting historic sites and varied architecture. This area is also within walking distance of the Alamo and the River Walk (listed below).
- Resorts: Lastly, if you’re feeling fancy, consider staying at the JW Marriott Resort & Spa (pictured above). Even though it is 30 minutes outside of the city center, this high-end resort is close to other San Antonio attractions like the Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch, Natural Bridge Caverns, and the TPC San Antonio golf course.
When To Visit San Antonio
There are many things to consider when booking your San Antonio vacation. The most important factor is the weather so that you can get the most out of your trip! San Antonio can get very hot in the summer with averages close to 100 degrees! This is also when hotel rates are also highest during these months.
However, temperatures from November to April are much milder, ranging from lows in the 40s to highs in the 60s. Hotel rates lower as the temperature lowers, too. So, if the weather and budget are important to you, plan your trip between these months.
On the other hand, conventions are most popular in San Antonio from November to April. Hotels may book quickly and crowds may grow. So consider planning your San Antonio vacation on weekends that do not host many conventions/events. Or, also consider visiting San Antonio during the weekdays.
ARTS & CULTURE Things to Do in San Antonio
If you’re like me and love art, history, and cultural heritage, then San Antonio might become your favorite Texan city, too! This city, which use to be a part of Mexico, is vibrant and rich in deep Mexican and Hispanic history. If you come here for culture/art, you are sure to enrich your understanding of history while supporting local artists and connecting with local heritage.
And if you love museums? Well, we dedicated an entire guide to the best museums in San Antonio to visit. Simply put, San Antonio is one of the BEST cities in the USA to visit for cultural heritage. Period! KEEP SCROLLING FOR OTHER CATEGORIES OF THINGS TO DO IN SAN ANTONIO BELOW.
1. Historic Market Square ★
One of the best free things to do in San Antonio, the Historic Market Square is open each day of the week. The Square will make you feel like you have entered old Mexico, with food, drinks, shops, and live music throughout. There are over one hundred local vendors here, each with unique products to purchase.
This square has a long history, as the plaza was gifted to the settlers of this area in the year 1730 by the King of Spain. In those days, the Chili Queens would sell spicy beef stew at night, a tradition that grew as the city of San Antonio grew around them.
If you visit during the appropriate time of year, try to attend Cinco de Mayo or Dia de los Muertos in the Historic Market Square.
2. Guadalupe Cultural Center
The Guadalupe Cultural Center serves to preserve, promote and teach appreciation for Chicano/Latinx art, history and culture. This multi-use facility is located in San Antonio’s oldest neighborhood, King William District. The center has two theaters, a museum gallery that exhibits original works by local Texas artists as well as traveling exhibitions from other institutions. There is also a classroom that provides space for art education classes taught by professional artists along with workshops, seminars, and festivals.
In October 2021, they just launched a bookstore for Latinx art, history, and culture. How exciting to see more Latinx representation in Texas bookstores!
3. Artpace San Antonio (Hidden Gem)
This one is one of my favorite San Antonio highlights! You can visit Artpace San Antonio for the art exhibitions, but it is much more than a gallery. This important space is also a nonprofit residency program for new artists located regionally and internationally. This means that, when you visit, you will be able to see artwork that has not been seen elsewhere, and may become extremely famous.
Take a guided tour through Artspace San Antonio to learn about the artists and their special programs. Or, attend a Chalk It Up event to see local artists create spectacular chalk art. Guests can even participate and contribute to the chalk art on the sidewalks.
- Texas Biennial: A New Landscape / A Possible Horizon: Kaneem Smith. On view at Artpace Aug 5–Dec 26, 2021. Photo credit Beth Devillier. Courtesy of Artpace San Antonio.
- Texas Biennial: A New Landscape / A Possible Horizon: Alisha B. Wormsley. On view at Artpace Aug 5–Dec 26, 2021. Photo credit Beth Devillier. Courtesy of Artpace San Antonio.
- Slowed and Throwed: Records of the City Through Mutated Lenses. On view at Artpace July 29–Nov 21, 2021. Photo credit: Francisco Cortes. Courtesy of Artpace San Antonio.
4. Briscoe Western Art Museum
The Briscoe Western Art Museum is another excellent place to see some important modern and historical artwork. This museum focuses on the culture of the American West. So, you will see permanent exhibits that include Native American art, like Apache baskets from the late 1800s.
The McNutt Sculpture Garden is located at the Briscoe Western Art Museum, too. This gorgeous outdoor space is a lovely place to take a stroll and examine the sculptures presented by various Western artists.
The Museum also hosts a number of excellent events. Their signature event, the Night of Artists, is a public auction and sale of almost three hundred new works by today’s artists. This event is held in March.
5. Essex Modern City (Hidden Gem)
Who else loves art as much as we do? Raise your hands. If that’s you, head to Essex Modern City to be surrounded by epic murals from local artists. This is one of the most unique hidden gems in San Antonio and a must-visit San Antonio tourist attraction for art lovers. The Essex Modern City is not a tourist trap, though. Instead, its goal is to build an almost utopian, artistic community built out of good design and technology.
As for now, it is located on the grounds of an old factory, and once hosted a music and arts festival that produced many colorful and beautiful murals. Small events are sometimes held here, like a Happy Hour with local author book signings, or a Dinner for La Prensa Texas donors. Visit with your camera and plan to get some great portrait shots next to the murals.
Why not visit the Essex Modern City as part of a bike tour? This Street Art and Hidden Gem Bike Tour will take you to about 10 different street arts and hidden gems in Downtown San Antonio, whilst the guides share some information about the city.
6. The Witte Museum
One of our favorite family things to do in San Antonio is a visit to the Witte Museum. This museum has collections that celebrate history, nature, and science. The Kittie West Nelson Ferguson People of the Pecos Gallery takes visitors back to the time when the Lower Pecos Canyonlands was the home of Native American cultures. Visuals bring these ancient stories to life in front of your eyes.
The McLean Family Texas Wild Gallery is another great exhibit, interesting to both children and adults alike. The exhibit features the creatures and plants that fill West Texas ecosystems and encourages important land conservation and stewardship themes.
Looking for a unique art experience? Hopscotch San Antonio is one of our favorite cool things to do in San Antonio. This is no ordinary art gallery- on the contrary, you become a part of the art when you enter. Touted as an immersive art experience, visitors will literally walk through incredibly unique spaces.
One such space, Rainbow Cave, allows visitors to walk through a pristine white cave, lit with pastel LED lights. The cave is made of recycled plastic bags. Another exhibit, GAZE, features see-through walls with important messages of inclusion and is presented by the Human Rights Campaign.
8. Carver Cultural Community Center
Another one of the best cultural things to do in San Antonio, Texas is a visit to the Carver Cultural Community Center. This venue hosts many different performances throughout the year, all intended to underline the creativity of the diverse cultures of the community. Above all, it emphasizes and celebrates African and Black-American heritage.
Throughout the years, many amazing Black artists have performed here, like Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong! In 1973, the city attempted to tear down the building, which had been neglected. But, the community banded together and literally stood in front of the bulldozers, saving the building for generations to come. Incredible!
Today, on the main stage, you can see shows like the Divas of Eastwood, a show featuring the musical legacy of the Chitlin’ Circuit, a famous group of black-owned nightclubs, and other venues. Another show, the Hiplet Ballerinas, showcases their unique style of dance; a combination of ballet, hip hop, Latin, and African styles.
9. San Antonio Museum of Art ★
The San Antonio Museum of Art holds over five thousand years of artifacts within its walls. Thus, it has some of the best things to see in San Antonio. Admission is $20 for adults. You can get here by taking the VIVA Culture bus, or GoRio riverboats. Of course, you can walk or bike here, too.
When you visit SAMA, be sure to walk through the exhibit Nature, Power, and Maya Royals, which has recently found artifacts and art from the site of Buenavista del Cayo, Belize. The objects in this exhibit date as far back as the year 250 AD. They show the strong social structure the Maya developed, and the importance of art in the royal class.
10. Centro de Artes
Another excellent San Antonio art gallery, Centro de Artes is an extension of the City of San Antonio Department of Arts and Culture. This two-story exhibit center is near Market Square or San Antonio’s Zona Cultural. Past exhibitions have included those focused on the early Chicano explorers, and the cultural legacy of Dia de Los Muertos. All of their exhibits tell the story of the Latinx experience.
In a great location, Centro de Artos is open every day of the week but Monday. It is also one of the most important free things to do in San Antonio and is completely open to the public.
Please note: The gallery re-opens on January 25, 2022.
11. Centro Cultural Aztlan (Hidden Gem)
Similar to Centros de Artes, Centro Cultural Aztlan also focuses on preserving and promoting Chicano history and Latinx culture! It’s so amazing to see not one or two but several of these spaces in San Antonio! Another reason to love it. And Centro Cultural Aztlan has been around since 1977!
Their Galeria Expresion is a professional gallery within a large, 2,500 square foot space. In total, they show over three hundred and fifty visual artists’ works a year. These artists may be completely established, just emerging, or even children. Not all are visual artists, as some present written work or music. Also, Centro Cultural Aztlan hosts wonderful events each year, from fundraising nights to virtual workshops, making this one of the best things to do in San Antonio.
12. McNay Art Museum
The McNay Art Museum is located on a beautiful twenty-five-acre campus. Walk between buildings to see every exhibit, from Wayne Thiebaud paintings to the Tobin Collection of Theatre Arts. You can even see a Monet here.
Take an Adult Tour to hear about the art at the McNay with a knowledgeable member of their staff. These walking tours are an hour-long and may be booked as private groups of ten or more. You can also choose your tour experience, by selecting from a list of different offerings.
During certain hours every Thursday and Sunday, the McNay becomes a free thing to do in San Antonio, as different foundations host admission on these days.
13. King William Historic District
Visit the King William Historic District for a unique experience in Greek Revival, Victorian and Italianate architecture located in the middle of Texas. This area was once a very fashionable location built by German immigrants in the 1800s. In the 1950s and 1960s, the houses began to be restored, and the area was designated as San Antonio’s first historic district.
Now, you can visit the King William District to view the historic houses. You can even eat inside one at the Guenther House. Then, take a tour of this Art Nouveau and Victorian home. Be sure to purchase some specialty items from their gift shop, so you can enjoy their flavors at home.
14. Aztec Theatre
A visit to the Aztec Theatre, in the heart of downtown, is one of the top things to do in San Antonio at night. The venue is not only a theater but also a nod to Meso-American artwork. You will be able to tell from the moment you see it. As you walk in, you won’t be able to miss the amazing lobby, with a chandelier two stories tall and twelve feet wide. The gorgeous architecture only continues from there.
See shows here like David Bisbal Gira En Tus Planes 2020, or Mon Lafete’s 2021 US Tour. Consider booking a premium seating package for access to a dedicated concierge and VIP Lounge access.
15. Mexican Cultural Institute
The Mexican Cultural Institute began as a Gallery of Mexican Art in 1958 and has grown to a center for all Mexican-American visual and non-visual art. Here, you will be able to walk through exhibits of handmade art. You will also be able to see different shows at their own dedicated theatre space.
This theatre space holds interesting events, like panels featuring important artists. These conversations are artfully paired with champagne receptions.
Finally, if possible, try to catch a festival hosted by the Mexican Cultural Institute. One example is the annual El Grito Celebration, for Mexico’s Independence Day. At this event, you will be able to see traditional dances and costumes.
16. San Antonio Art League & Museum
The San Antonio Art League and Museum, or SAALM, is another one of the best free San Antonio, Texas attractions. It is located in a 1926 carriage house that sits in the historical King William District.
The SAALM hosts the Davis Collection, which you can view Tuesday through Saturday. This collection exhibits important artists that depicted Texas in all of its glory in the early to mid-1900s. It’s a truly inspiring collection that will make you feel grounded in your destination’s surroundings. You can also view an entire exhibit of painted wildflowers, as they have also collected works from wildflower painting competitions in the 1920s.
17. San Antonio African American Community Archive and Museum
Visit the San Antonio African American Community Archive and Museum and learn all about the African American culture of the San Antonio area. Its mission is to preserve this important history and make it accessible to everyone who wants to learn about it. Thus, you can visit the physical location of this museum, or you can explore the exhibits from a smart device or computer.
Exhibits include those that showcase various aspects of African American life in San Antonio, from a celebration of Black music history to a remembrance of the Buffalo Soldiers. You can also explore exhibits featuring the San Antonio African American cemeteries, or individual stories told by visitors to the archive.
But a can’t-miss? The Black History River Tour!
OUTDOOR Things to Do in San Antonio
Although a lot of these also count as cultural spaces, we’re dedicating a special section to outdoor things to do in San Antonio. These are great options if you’re like me, and don’t like enclosed, crowded spaces. So here are some great outdoor places to visit in San Antonio for fun, fresh air, and sunshine.
19. San Antonio Botanical Garden
For one of the best outdoor activities in San Antonio, visit the city’s Botanical Garden. This 38-acre outdoor space serves not only as a garden, but a living museum, classroom, entertainment venue, and more. There is also a delicious restaurant, Jardin, and a gift shop to purchase souvenirs.
Enjoy interesting exhibits that use plants and gardens to accentuate important stories. For instance, their Frida Kahlo Exhibit showed a rendition of the artist’s blue house, which was an influence on Kahlo’s artwork. The garden exhibit takes up 2,100 square feet and is full of native Mexican plants. The Botanical Garden also offers tours, lectures, and workshops within this space.
20. The Alamo
If you are planning a trip to San Antonio, you will undoubtedly see pictures of the famous Alamo plastered all over your guidebooks. This historic site was the location of a relevant battle in the fight for Texas’ independence from Mexico in 1836. Two hundred men defended the fort for thirteen days until Mexican General Santa Anna’s forces eventually retook them.
Now, the site is a popular stop for San Antonio sightseeing, as you can stroll through the Alamo Church, the 300-year-old Long Barrack, and lush gardens. There is also a living history area, where actors showcase how life was at the Alamo in the 1830s.
Please note: The Alamo is also a reminder that the primary reason Texan Americans fought for independence was to keep the enslavement of Black and indigenous people legal. Texas was a part of Mexico at the time, and Mexico had just abolished slavery. American settlers in Texas didn’t want to lose their legal ability to keep slaves, so their protests manifested into an independence war supported by the U.S.A. who helped them combat and achieve independence. The U.S.A. benefited from this because they then got to annex (take) a ton of territory from Mexico, including Texas.
Sources: Washington Post / Stanford University / NPR / Time Magazine
21. San Antonio Missions National Park ★
While most National Parks tend to include a single location, San Antonio Missions National Park actually includes four different missions, each built during the colonization period of the early 1700s. Each mission is two to three miles away from the next, so plan to visit this National Park in a vehicle or take a tour. Each one of these missions still holds mass. When visiting San Antonio Missions National Park, you will visit:
- Mission Concepcion, which was founded in 1731.
- Mission San Jose, the beautiful church that houses the Rose Window. This window was constructed in 1775. According to legend, its stained glass was made in honor of the artist’s lost love.
- Mission San Juan, located along the Yanaguana Trail. This trail is a stretch of the San Antonio River. There is also a farm here.
- Mission Espada, which was founded in 1720. Now, you can stroll through a lush Prayer Garden, or rent the church as an event venue.
A great way of visiting all of the missions is through this Missions UNESCO World Heritage Sites Tour, which visits all four of the missions with commentary from a guide, who will teach you about the history behind each of the missions. You’ll also visit the La Villita Historic Arts Village, and The Espada Aqueduct.
22. San Pedro Springs
When looking for fun stuff to do in San Antonio, especially for the kids, consider a visit to San Pedro Springs Park. While it may look similar to many other city parks, San Pedro Springs is actually the second oldest park in the entire United States. Once the sight of important springs that watered many communities throughout the years, a swimming pool now sits in the dried lake bed.
However, the park has maintained its recreational uses from the early 1900s, as community members can still enjoy a library and community theater erected during this era. Visitors can also enjoy a refreshing swim in the Texas sun, or walk the two miles of trails for a bit of outdoor recreation.
23. Spanish Governor’s Palace
Another important historical site in San Antonio is the Spanish Governor’s Palace. This building was constructed in the early 18th century by order of King Philip V of Spain for Don Martin de Alarcon. Its purpose was to claim the headwaters of the San Antonio River and San Pedro Creek for Spain.
The building was renovated in 1930, so you will notice that it is a bit newer than what you would expect from the early 1700s. Still, you can take a tour of the Palace, full of beautiful antique furniture and artwork. You can also tour this property online through virtual and 360-degree tours.
24. La Villita Historic Arts Village
Another great location along the San Antonio River Walk, La Villita is an artisan village nestled into its own city block. This block was once San Antonio’s first neighborhood. Now, it is full of wonderful shops and boutiques.
You won’t find your standard gift shops at La Villita. Instead, you will find homemade goods made by entrepreneurs. These goods include jewelry, soaps, and copper art. You can also buy beautiful Spanish embroidery, wall art pieces, and boutique goods. There are over twenty-five shops and galleries, so plan to purchase your souvenirs here. Then, you will take home a piece of San Antonio, and remember your trip with a locally made item.
25. Japanese Tea Garden
The San Antonio Japanese Tea Garden is absolutely beautiful and one of the most popular attractions in San Antonio. Its green gardens are accentuated by a 60-foot waterfall, ponds full of Koi fish, stone bridges, and a large pagoda-style gazebo. Visitors can explore the garden by strolling lovely walkways out of the hot Texas sun.
While this San Antonio attraction was re-opened in 2008, it actually originally opened in the 1910s when the City Parks Commissioner decided to turn a rock quarry into a lily pond. Over the years, this park grew. Now, community members and tourists alike can enjoy a lovely afternoon outdoors, or rent the venue for an event. Entrance to the Japanese Tea Garden is free and the park is open every day.
Bonus tip: While in the gardens, don’t miss grabbing a bite or some tea at the Jingu House (pictured above).
26. San Antonio River Walk
One can hardly book a trip to San Antonio without including a day spent at the San Antonio River Walk. The River Walk idea was born from years of floods, culminating in a final catastrophic event that took fifty lives. This flood would be the last, as a dam was built and a bypass channel added later. Now, it’s funny to think that this area was once considered dangerous, as thousands of tourists enjoy the original 2.5 mile stretch of the River Walk, as well as expansions added since. The current length of the river walk is fifteen miles, and it connects many San Antonio sights.
What was once a simple walking path has turned into an exciting area for San Antonio sightseeing, shopping, food, and drink. Take a tour along its waters, or simply walk around. You will love seeing stone bridges, unique architecture, and other people enjoying their perfect San Antonio day. Some top locations to visit include:
- The Alamo
- Pearl Brewery (Bokita)
- San Antonio Museum of Art
- Love Lock Bridge
We also think this is one of the most fun things to do in San Antonio for couples- who doesn’t love a romantic stroll by the water, accompanied by a candlelit dinner?
Why not take a tour of the River Walk? This walking tour will take you to many of Downtown San Antonio’s historic sights, and along the River Walk where you’ll stop at many of the historic sights and learn about it’s history.
Another way to explore the River Walk is by kayaking. This kayaking tour will take you along a quiet stretch of the San Antonio River Walk that most visitors don’t see, so you can enjoy paddling in a quieter and more tranquil environment. Book your tickets here.
27. Take a Boat Down the River Walk
Looking for one of the best things to do in San Antonio Riverwalk? We highly recommend experiencing this fantastic area via a River Walk Cruise. The first part of your tour includes this cruise, where you will be able to float along in a unique boat.
This River Walk cruise also serves as a bus tour where visitors can come and go as they please. Just catch the next double-decker bus and continue your journey. Enjoy live tour guides giving commentary as you travel. The tour ends at the top of the Tower of the Americas, a 750-foot tall tower overlooking Alamo City.
Other stops include:
- Pearl Parkway
- San Antonio Museum of Art
- Tobin Center for the Performing Arts
- San Fernando Cathedral
- Historic Market Square
28. Brackenridge Park
Another one of the best places to visit in San Antonio is Brackenridge Park. There is evidence that this area has been used since prehistoric times. In fact, this evidence proves about 12,000 years of use, and the last 120 years have been as a public park. Because of all these years of history, it is also on the National Register of Historic Places.
Now, operated by the Brackenridge Park Conservancy, this area includes the Japanese Tea Garden, a section of the San Antonio River, the Sunken Garden Theater, works by Dionicio Rodriguez, and the San Antonio Zoo. There are also trails and pavilions available for use.
Why not take an afternoon historic tour of San Antonio that’ll take you through Brackenridge Park, and the Japanese Tea Garden? As well as other important areas such as the Alamo Plaza. During this coach tour you’ll learn about San Antonio’s history from a local guide and spend 4 hours exploring the city. Book your tickets here.
29. River City Run
Are you an avid runner? Are you hoping to stay on your fitness track during your San Antonio vacation? Any runner loves finding a new place to explore while completing their daily jog. And, a River City Run Tour is one of the best outdoor activities San Antonio.
This guided 5K run (3.1 miles) includes a live leader who will take you to various points of interest in San Antonio. A brief stop at each will give you a chance to catch your breath and listen to historical tales and interesting facts. Bring your favorite fitness tracker and your phone’s camera to capture each stop along with this unique experience.
30. Confluence Park
Confluence Park is another unique experience in San Antonio. It gets its name from its location- right on the connection of the San Antonio River and San Pedro Creek. The park is focused on environmental education and feels more like an outdoor art gallery than a city park. This is due to the park’s unique architecture. The buildings have environmental objectives, as well as classrooms where visitors may learn more about the Texas watershed area.
A one-mile, self-guided tour is highly recommended to really get a feel for everything going on at Confluence. For a longer walk, consider extending to a hike along the Mission Reach hiking trail.
31. Take a Day Trip to Krause Springs ★
Need a little break from the big city of San Antonio? Schedule a brief day trip to Krause Springs, about an hour and a half drive from town. Up in the Texas Hill Country, Krause Springs is a swimming hole and camping area. Bring along your swimsuit, and enjoy soaking and splashing in thirty-two natural springs. These springs flow into a manmade and a larger natural pool, each of which contributes to nearby Lake Travis. There are also lovely gardens here, full of wind chimes, fountains, and butterflies. We suggest packing a picnic of delicious locally made San Antonio produce, and enjoying a day beside the springs.
32. Natural Bridge Caverns
Caves in San Antonio? You don’t typically think of deep caverns when thinking of the vibrant city. However, Natural Bridge Caverns are the largest known caverns in Texas. When you visit, you will see a natural limestone arch about 60 feet long. When you descend to the caverns, you will be inside a cavern that is still forming as it has over thousands of years.
Take a tour through developed portions of the cave, or take an Adventure Tour to an undeveloped, wild side of the caves. Topside, a ropes course is a fun attraction that includes zip rails. There is also a maze and a chance to mine for your own fossils and gems.
If you’re looking for ways to save money on your entrance fee to the Natural Bridge Caverns and other attractions in San Antonio then why not consider picking up the Go City: San Antonio Explorer Pass? This pass will let you save up to 45% on tickets to many of the attractions covered in this guide.
RELAXING Things to Do in San Antonio
33. Mokara Spa
The Mokara Spa is located inside the Mokara Hotel, and is the best destination spa in all of San Antonio. This spa is enormous, with 17,000 square feet of space. Inside, there are eighteen private rooms, as well as a salon.
At Mokara, you can book individual treatments for your face or whole body. You can also book exclusive spa packages or entire spa vacations. A spa vacation at Mokora is one of the most romantic things to do in San Antonio, as you and your loved one can book spa treatments, and return to your cozy hotel room after a day of relaxation.
34. Mission Marquee Plaza
Located on UNESCO World Heritage Site grounds, Mission Marquee Plaza was formerly a drive-in theatre. Reopened in 2014, it now serves as a community space for local outdoor activities. They host markets, festivals, movie screenings, performances and offer a grassy lawn for picnics and much more.
So if you’re looking for family things to do in San Antonio at night, consider an outing to the Mission Marquee Plaza. Right now, they have an Outdoor Family Film Series. The Family Film Series is completely free, and pet-friendly as well. Movies offered are fun and, on occasion, seasonal. Patrons are encouraged to pack a picnic and bring blankets in order to best enjoy this outing. But, if picnics aren’t your style, you can purchase food at on-site food trucks.
Up next, they will be hosting a farmers and artisans market. Check their website for future events.
35. Cooking Classes
When in San Antonio, consider taking a cooking class. A cooking class is a chance to learn the techniques and stories behind important cultural dishes. Since San Antonio is so rich in heritage and history, cooking classes may just be the best way to experience the city’s cuisine.
There are many cooking classes to choose from, each with a different focus. Elevated Mexican Street Food will teach you how to make upscale snacks, either in the chef’s home or the comfort of your own. These cooking classes also serve as one of the most fun things to do in San Antonio for couples, as they are perfect for date night.
36. Alamo Drafthouse Cinema
Do you love a good movie almost as much as you love a great meal? Visit the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema for food, drinks, and a movie. This dinner theater experience is not to be missed. Not only will you be able to watch the newest movies on your list, but you will also be able to sample delicious food and microbrews. That’s right, there are over thirty beers on tap here, with an excellent selection of microbrews and craft beers. Along with beer, you can also order cocktails. In addition, a multi-course menu is available to you and is served directly to your movie theater seat.
37. Day Trip through Hill Country
For the ultimate relaxing day near San Antonio, take a trip outside of the city to explore the surrounding Texas Hill Country. We believe the best way to do this is to take a tour. That way, you will catch the most interesting sights, and not waste any time along boring stretches of road or getting lost.
A full-day tour to the Hill Country from San Antonio begins with a visit to the former home of US President Lyndon B Johnson. Then, you will explore a historic German town, and enjoy the live tour guide’s commentary. Then, at the end of the day, return to the city for more San Antonio sightseeing.
FOOD & DRINKS – Things to Do in San Antonio
38. La Botika
Of course, sampling local food is one of the best San Antonio activities. Make sure a meal at Botika is on your itinerary as this is one of the best restaurants in San Antonio. This restaurant is also conveniently located within the historic Pearl Brewery.
A chef, native to Venezuela, calls this restaurant home and has built a menu featuring Latino-Asian fusion dishes. Of course, they offer unique cocktails as well, like Katana’s Edge, which features Toki Japanese Whiskey. They have a wide variety of Sake here too, which you can sample by flight or by the glass. Flavors of Sake include floral, earthy, and modern takes on this traditional drink.
39. Wine Tours & Tastings
Another of our favorite San Antonio, Texas things to do, a wine tour and tasting is high on our list. This tour takes you back into the Hill Country for a full day of wine tours and a few hours in the charming small town of Fredericksburg. Two tastings are included in the price of this tour, as well as transportation and snacks. A knowledgeable local guide will lead you through the day.
Your first tasting will be at Bingham Family Vineyards, one of the largest grape producers in the area. Then, you will continue to Hilmy Cellars, or another similar winery depending on availability.
40. Food Chick Tours
San Antonio has hundreds of places to dine, with any meal or cuisine right at your fingertips. It can be difficult to choose exactly where to eat during your trip, and so your options may feel intimidating. This is where a Food Chick Tour comes in. Book one of these fun, private food tours in San Antonio, and be whisked away to some of the best eateries in the city.
There are a few different tours to choose from with Food Chick. The Dine and Stroll Tour has patrons walk from venue to venue, while meeting chefs and enjoying their signature dishes. The Barbecue Road Trip takes guests to the best BBQ joints nearby. Another, Anything but Tex-Mex, leads you along a trail of modern foods while enjoying deluxe transportation. Note that this is the most expensive tour, from over $1100.
41. 2M Smoke House
Make sure you have at least one meal at 2M Smoke House during your trip to San Antonio. This restaurant began as the pit master’s backyard hobby, and has grown into the newly refurbished BBQ location. Expect a crowd when you visit 2M, as this joint has a large following. In fact, you may even want to come early, as the line for delicious BBQ starts to form around 10:00 a.m. Food goes so fast here that your order may be out of stock by the time that you reach the counter, so consider pre-ordering your food. Order items a la carte, or order large family packs for larger groups. Meat offerings include brisket, smoked turkey breast, pulled pork, and pork ribs.
42. Guadalajara Grill
The Guadalajara Grill is one of the coolest places for Guadalajaran Mexican cuisine and is a locally owned business. They make all of their own food, which is inspired by traditional dishes from Central and Southern Mexico. Come to Guadalajara Grill for either lunch or dinner. If you visit during dinner, we highly suggest trying the Alamo salad, which includes fajitas, shrimp, and Nopalitos. Or, plan to visit between these meal times for a quick nacho appetizer and refreshing margarita. This restaurant is in a historic building with a beautiful patio. The building sits amid other old San Antonio buildings, so when you dine outside, you will feel like you are in the midst of history.
43. San Antonio Brewery Tours
If you enjoy finding unique and fun local beers during your vacation, consider taking a brewery tour through some of San Antonio’s best establishments. There are many brewery tours to choose from. One awesome example is an electric bike tour, where for three hours you and your friends will travel from brewery to brewery on electric bikes. Of course, you will also have access to a helmet and yummy snacks.
Another great tour is centered around San Antonio’s Ranger Creek Brewery and Distillery. A true “brewstillery” you’ll be able to try beers and whiskeys while enjoying Texas hospitality. Finally, consider this tour, which takes you to several breweries located downtown by foot.
44. Dry Comal Creek Vineyards
Want to spend more time in the Hill Country? Looking for an extension of your winery tour day? Head to Dry Comal Creek Vineyards. All of their wines are completely local, with all ingredients grown in Texas. Reservations are required for any wine tasting you would like to attend, and the cost is $20 per person. However, this cost is well worth the money, as tastings take about an hour and are narrated by excellent employees.
If you would like to just come and sip, enjoy wine in Dry Comal’s outdoor lounge. Or, come to drink Texas wine under large oak trees. It’s a great Hill Country experience.
45. Alamo Beer Company
It wouldn’t be a list of fun things to do in San Antonio without including an excellent brewery like Alamo Beer Company. This brewery not only has a cool tasting room, but also a unique outdoor space for enjoying a brew. Delicious stouts, Weisse, porters, and lagers are on tap.
If not everyone in your party is a beer fan, they also offer local Texas wines. They also have a full menu, so you can snack or have an entire meal at Alamo Beer Company. Be sure to check for an event when you visit too, as live music is often playing while you indulge.
15 thoughts on “47 Wonderful & Fun Things to Do in San Antonio + Hidden Gems”
What an amazing roundup. I’m from San Antonio and didn’t know about half of these things!
Thanks, Warren for your lovely comment!
I find posting the remarks about the Texas Fight for independence being fought to “keep slavery” offensive. I had 24 college hours in history which includes Texas history. Never have I read or seen this statement before. I am a fifth generation Texan. I had relatives who fought in the War for Independence. None of them owned slaves, so why would they fight to keep slavery? What evidence do you have to back up this statement? The battle for independence was fought so Texans could govern and rule themselves just as the American Civil War was a fight for states rights – not slavery.
Also, you opted to place the remarks over the picture of the Alamo. This disparages this historical Texas monument to the brave men who fought and died there. It appears that the purpose is to create drama and be politically correct. Surely, this information, if verified, does not need to be the first thing people we when looking at the site. The information is included in the article. Why is it needed on the opening picture? I request you remove the remarks placed on top of the picture of the Alamo.
If only you had 25 hours in college history, maybe you would have learned something.
Anna, Isabelle is right about why Texas fought for independence. Also, not all confederate soldiers that fought in the civil war owned slaves. Unfortunately, not all schools and college professors in this country does not teach their students all the truth about American history.
I had 4 years of college history (my major), 2 years of it was the history of North, Central, and South America. Sounds like you either took your history classes at a sad excuse for a college, didn’t take any history on this actual topic, or should have failed.
Thank you for including forgotten parts of history!
This is an amazingly helpful list. I’ve never seen something so comprehensive in one place. And I love that it touches on options for nature, history, the arts and food. I can’t wait to check out San Antonio. Booking a tour asap.
Thanks so much, girl! <3 Take me with you on that tour, please 🙂
Just today I was wanting to go to San Antonio, despite not knowing much about the city and what to do there. It looks there is a lot to do! I love that the market square makes you feel like you are in Mexico. I miss international travel and would like a piece of that within the US. In general I really like artsy cities with a lot of culture, but also good food and things to do outside. You’re really making me want to go to San Antonio!
Wow! That is such a detailed guide to Antonio. I loved it.
I personally love going to art galleries in a foreign country. It gives so many insights into the country’s culture.
Krause Springs looks like an amazing spot to visit if you want to get out of the city for a bit. Although I do love the look of the historical points of interest in San Antonio!
Right? I love getting a good dose of the outdoors + learning local history/heritage. That’s why I LOVED San Antonio so much! 🙂
I had no idea of the wonderful, beautiful things available in San Antonio! I’ve visited Dallas years ago, but I didn’t see anything there that could compare to your pictures and descriptions of SA. I don’t travel as much anymore, but my bucket list now has San Antonio on the top of the list!! THANK YOU
Going through your site, looking for things to do in San Antonio and came across your opinion of the Alamo is [censored] up. You clearly have absolutely no sense of history what so ever. Or you have never been to the Alamo and heard what really went down from the journals of the people that died there.
This site is a disgrace to the history of those people that died there. It had absolutely nothing to do with “keeping slavery legal” you dumb ignorant [censored]. This site is nothing but “woke” [censored] up bull[censored].
Shame on you for posting such things. Its because of your ignorance that will cause visitors to think your way instead of giving them the truth.
It’s people like you, who distort facts as opinions, who warp history to fit your own agenda that is wrong with this world. Your opinions will never be the truth, for truth does not care about how your Feel.