101 Things To Do in San Antonio: A Local’s Guide (2019)

101 Things to do in San Antonio

A City this large, old and diverse can feel like a lot to conquer or even to just take a piece out of. This locals guide of things to do in San Antonio is designed to provide the very best this city has to offer so that a traveler, tourist or even a local can find something to make the most out of their time here in San Antonio and the surrounding area. The categories help combine activities and pair them into the perfect outing – mesh outdoorsy with something fresh and delicious indoors or a shopping excursion with a trip to an old world mission. This guide will make sure no one ever leaves San Antonio wishing they would have been able to see something more. 

Restaurants

101. Top 10 San Antonio Restaurants – Find our top ten recommended restaurants in San Antonio here, from local favorites to James Beard-nominated, and see where you’ll find a true taste of this South Texas city. Top notch dining should definitely be on any list of things to do in San Antonio.

100. Best Restaurants on the Riverwalk – Being one of the most popular things to do in San Antonio, this guide absolutely had to provide the very best restaurants to eat on the Riverwalk. It’s iconic, beautiful, historic and so fun to explore. This guide ensures the best possible food experience when taking it all in.

99. Best Breakfast/Brunch in San Antonio –  Getting an early start can be the best part of visiting a new city or getting reacquainted with one live in for years. This list of best breakfast spots will ensure a great start to the day no matter what is planned next.

98. Best Food Truck Park by UTSA – San Antonio caught on to the food truck scene a few years back, and a number of parks opened to home the mobile eateries. Our favorite is the Block, by the University of Texas at San Antonio, with its spacious patio, dog and family-friendly feel, complimentary WiFi, and large outdoor projector (bring a blanket on game night, and catch a Spurs match on the lawn).

97. Pastries/Lunch at Bird Bakery – Celebrity owned Bird Bakery opened in San Antonio in 2012, and we’ve since never looked back when it comes to cupcakes. This rustic Broadway eatery is known for its made-from-scratch baked goods, though other items, coined ‘bird food’, line their lengthy menu too (quiche, sandwiches, soups, and salads). We recommend the ‘Elvis’ cupcake, baked with bananas and chocolate chips + a yellow cake base, and topped with a hand-whipped peanut butter frosting.

96. Latenight Bite at Lulu’s Bakery and Cafe – With so much going on at night, having a good spot to get a bite that is open 24 hours a day is a must. Stopping in a Lulu’s for a 3 lb cinnamon roll or the Texas breakfast of Champions at 1 am will most definitely make for a good story and provide the fuel to finish all the things on this city’s bucket list.

95. Tacos at Taqueria Datapoint  – San Antonio is the self-proclaimed taco capital of the USA…it’s the culture, it’s tradition and frankly, it’s delicious! Taqueria Datapoint is a favorite for no frills, amazing tacos and any plate of their mini tacos will completely explain why. In case it’s the a.m. (or anytime really) – breakfast tacos are also just as much a part of this culture and Tacos N Salsa is a favorite spot to fill up, specifically their chilaquiles taco.

94. Barbecue at 2M Smokehouse BBQ – Texans take their barbecue very seriously, and 2M Smokehouse BBQ has made quite the name for itself both within the city, and across the nation, since its open in 2016. Mags like Bon Appetite have given the westside smokehouse acclaim for it’s perfectly mastered bone-in-ribs and beef brisket, and highlight the innovative spin on traditional sides (think mac but with Oaxaca cheese, and fried pigskin chicharrones to top). Hint: line up early, and bring sunscreen!

93. Breakfast at La Panaderia – A San Antonio favorite since its inception in 2014, La Panaderia brings ‘bread cultura’ to Broadway, with fresh Mexican pan, pastries, and tortas served daily. The locally owned bakery is our go-to for tequila-almond croissants and a morning café miel (honey latte with a dash of cinnamon), and is perfect for people-watching at their newest Houston St. location. The food and experience is exceptional, putting this at the top of our list of things to do in San Antonio.

92. Family friendly dining at the Cove – One of our favorite places to go with kiddos and adults is the Cove.  Fresh, sustainable, organic, local options for the vegetarian, vegan and meat lover. This place really does have creative, delicious options for everyone and the outdoor seating option with a playground makes it perfect for food loving adults with littles.

91. Crowd pleaser dining at The Bottling Department food hall –  When you’re traveling with a group and everyone wants something different, look no further! This food hall is beautifully  situated in the courtyard downtown at the Pearl. Ramen, burgers, vegetarian, donuts and southern fare are all top notch dining options set in a modern, well designed space with plenty of seating.

90. Dinner at Ajuua Mexican Grill – Please don’t leave this great city without having an amazing Tex-Mex food experience. One of the best places to do that is Ajuua Mexican Grill. The stuffed poblano chile, slow roasted pork and fajita enchilada casserole are local favorites!

Culture

89. McNay Art Museum – Out of San Antonio’s diverse museum/gallery scene, the McNay Art Museum has to be one of our top three favorites, and most frequently suggested. Texas’ first museum of modern art, the McNay is home to over 22,000 works, and rotates special exhibitions every few months. The displays encircle a secluded Spanish garden (perfect place for a photo), and a portion lies inside of the original home to founder and heiress, Marion McNay.

88. San Antonio Museum of Art – This museum houses 5000 years of art and history in an old building once apart of the Lone Star Brewery. It is most known for its Ancient Roman, Greek and Egyptian art, but also hosts an amazing collection of art native to this region. They often have great events and programs for everyone from the art enthusiast and educators to kids and families.

87. Briscoe Western Art Museum – The Briscoe Western Art Museum is home to a permanent collection of artifacts that shed light on the discovery of the American West by cowboy, Indian, and early settlers. Right in the heart of downtown, the Briscoe is open seven days a week, with admission as low as $10, and free on Tuesdays between 4-9PM. Be sure to visit the McNutt Sculpture Garden, an attached outdoor courtyard with bronze statues depicting iconic Western figures.

86. ArtPace – A nonprofit residency program for local, national, and international artists, the Artpace gallery on N. Main Ave. showcases some of San Antonio’s finest, contemporary pieces with rotating exhibitions and week-long free admission. A hub of artistic expression and experimentation, Artpace has drawn works from artists as far reaching as Estonia and Australia, and aims to connect creators in effort of inspiring new art.

85. San Antonio Botanical Garden – The San Antonio Botanical Garden is an awesome place to come learn, explore or just enjoy a spectacular walk through a beautiful park. The design of the garden alone is entertaining and on top of that, there are 38 acres of it to explore. They have events all year round, several large conservatories, an interactive family adventure garden, a lake, and more than 10 different smaller gardens to check out. Definitely one of the most beautiful things to do in San Antonio.

84. Ride a GoRio River Cruise – See the city San Antonio style on one of GoRio’s colorful river barges, with narrated 35-minute tours leaving every 15 minutes, between 9AM – 10PM daily. Purchase tickets at one of GoRio’s three downtown kiosks for a guided ride, or hop on a shuttle for a quick taxi downriver, versus calling an Uber from attraction to attraction. Narrated cruises are $12 for out-of-towners, and shuttle rides start at $10 for one-way tickets throughout the downtown reach.

83. Pearl Farmer’s Market – If you’re searching for the perfect Saturday/Sunday activity, stop in at the Pearl Farmer’s Market, hosted every weekend, rain or shine, on the southern end of Broadway. With 45+ local vendors, live music, and unbeatable buys, perusing the Pearl Farmer’s Market is undoubtedly one of our favorite things to do in San Antonio. Be sure to snag one of Bakery Lorraine’s signature macarons while you’re there, and tag us in your photo!

82. Watch San Antonio | the Saga – Hands down one of our favorite things to do in San Antonio, is catch a late-night showing of San Antonio | The Saga at Main Plaza. Created by renown French artist, Xavier De Richemont, San Antonio | The Saga is a 24 minute, 7,000st.ft. laser projection of San Antonio’s discovery, settlement, and development, casted onto the beautiful San Fernando Cathedral. It is unlike any display of art we’ve seen, and is entirely free to attend, with showings every 30 minutes, from 9PM to 10PM, on Tuesdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.

81. Walk on the Riverwalk – This is one of the best ways to get a feel for the city. It’s over 300-year history will connect you with the culture, the atmosphere will connect you with the people and the beauty will connect you with the outdoors. Spend all day winding through remote areas of the path or spend an hour in the hustle and bustle of the main horseshoe loop. There are so many fun events that happen throughout the year, dying the river green for St. Patricks day, millions of Christmas lights and wishing lanterns just to name a few. Definitely deserving of a spot on the list of things to do in San Antonio.

80. Explore the Southtown Arts District – The Southtown Arts District is comprised of five San Antonio neighborhoods, that collectively represent one of the city’s most culturally rich centers. Walk the King William suburbs and admire old world architecture, or browse the Lavaca neighborhood, which is registered on the National Register of Historic Places, and is notably the oldest neighborhood in San Antonio.

79. Brick at Blue Star – The Blue Star Arts Complex is in a unique pocket of downtown called the King William district and has been many things over the past 150 years. It has always remained an important hub for art and also great food. The Brick is a beautiful building at the center of the complex that is often used for shows, events or performances. Its also home to fun shops and great restaurants. South Alamode Panini and Gelato Co. being a favorite among them.

78. First Friday Artwalk – One of our favorite things to do in San Antonio, is roam Southtown’s ‘First Friday Artwalk’ along South Alamo St., where professional and local artists take to the streets to showcase their work. The longest-running art walk in San Antonio, First Friday has evolved into a full neighborhood experience, with late-night dining discounts, live music, extended gallery hours, and a local vendors market at the Blue Star Arts Complex.

77. Mission Marquee – Mission Marquee, previously called the Mission Drive-In Theatre, is located on the Southside near Mission San Jose. It has since expanded from public film showings and also serves as a meeting place to enjoy many outdoor activities,  festivals, film screenings, cultural events, and open-air markets. The compound has also expanded to include the Mission Branch Library which offers a playground and exercise equipment, a YMCA and access to the Mission Trails and the San Antonio River. The movies are free to the public and run May-November.

76. Public Library – With over 30 locations around the city, these libraries have a fun, local, neighborhood feel and are bursting with free resources and activities for just about everyone. Libraries are important hubs for information and San Antonio’s extensive network of libraries make it easy to find the latest best-seller, movies, digital trainings, certifications, kids activities and storytimes. Many are located near fun parks too – Igo, Maverick, San Pedro and Parman to name a few. The central library is stunning and a massive hub for resources, Art, information, genealogy, vital records, history and special needs services. Not into making the trip? Use the overdrive app and your library card to rent e-books and magazines, videos and audiobooks. 

75. Floores Country Store – A classic honky-tonk in the historic Helotes neighborhood with dancing, live music, and bbq. Since it opened in 1942 the stage has seen the likes of Patsy Cline, Willie Nelson, and Elvis Presley just to name a few and they continue to have a steady stream of amazing talent. Throughout the week you can find live shows and a free family and dance night each Sunday. A Classic on our list of things to do in San Antonio.

Family

74. Morgans Wonderland – With so many fun things to do in San Antonio it’s hard to narrow it down, but this park is one of the most unique places in the city. It is a park created for every child with any level of ability which means that EVERY child will feel welcome and have a ton of fun. They have a water park, playgrounds, ferris wheel, car rides, a train, an indoor sensory area, musical instruments, a carousel, fishing, water tables and a sandpit – all designed to be inclusive of anyone with special needs. By design, those who support the park make sure that children with special needs pay no admission.

73. Go to Six Flags Fiesta Texas – Home to the worlds first 4D roller coaster, the first single rail roller coaster and so many others, Fiesta Texas has everything and thankfully there’s also a water park too, which is a necessity about halfway through the day. There are fun rides and attractions for all ages and because it’s San Antonio, definitely catch the Baila Cumbia show, paying tribute to the queen herself, Selena.

72. Go to Sea World San Antonio – There is such a wide range of shows, rides and exhibits at sea world that we have fun as a family of 5 with young kids and babies or as a couple on a date. Seaworld’s shows aim to educate their audience about animal behavior and conservation while showcasing how talented and beautiful the animals are. The park has rides for all ages, food for anyone, a splash pad and play area, carnival games and special Halloween and Christmas themed events and experiences.

71. Aquatica (Sea Worlds Waterpark)- This is the waterpark that although a separate park, shares an entrance with sea world. It’s a really fun way to spend a day in the Texas heat and just like sea world, can accommodate everyone from babies to adults. With so many water slides, a lazy river, a wave pool, multiple splash pad areas, sandy pool entry’s, a bird conservatory and a sting ray enclosure quests are sure to stay entertained, cooled off and having fun for hours.

70. Witte Museum – If you’re looking for something more unique on the list of things to do in San Antonio, the Witte fits the bill and as a combination of science, art, Texas culture, interactive play and nature. The concept and infancy of this museum goes back decades and produces the fun learning atmosphere you will find there now. They have huge dinosaur fossils, a tree house, an interactive health exhibit, a train and cultural exhibits. Plus, entry is free on Tuesdays from 3pm-8pm!

69. DoSeum – San Antonio’s Childrens Museum has a million things for kids to do. Everything from outdoor water play to indoor spy games can be found in fun spanning ages 2-62.  They also have a free family night in the evening on the first Tuesday of each month and one of my favorite bakeries in the city (Bakery Lorraine) operates the museum’s cafe so definitely grab a croissant while there!

68. Lego Discovery Center  – Imagine a children’s museum entirely themed by Lego. While definitely a scaled-back version of Legoland, this is still a great way to spend the afternoon with family. The indoor space starts off with a stunning replica of downtown San Antonio built out of legos- complete with motorized boats floating through the River Walk. The main space houses an indoor play area, a race car maker space with test tracks, an entire area dedicated to girls, a Duplo Lego area for toddlers and a cafe. There are also 2 indoor rides and a 4D movie theater to round out the play. The center is located inside the Rivercity Shopping mall downtown.

67. San Antonio Zoo  – The San Antonio Zoo is so many different things: a summer camp for kids, take a classic walk to see and learn about animals, play at a splash pad, ride a train or visit the childrens’ play center.  They have a unique children’s area that has an indoor interactive play area and insect enclosure and an outdoor “camping themed” play area that encourages kids to jump right in and get their feet wet in the mini stream or the splash pad around the corner.  The zoo houses hundreds of amazing animals  and opportunities to feed giraffes, Lorikeets, butterflies and even a petting zoo. There is always a stroller and wheelchair accessible path to where you want to go and fences and gates to keep little ones and animals safe. A definite favorite on our list of things to do in San Antonio.

66. Hemisfair Park and Yanaguana Garden – Hemisfair park is a large outdoor area downtown originally created for the 1968 worlds fair. It houses the Tower of the America’s and Yanaguana garden. Open grass areas, huge play structures, splash pads, Paletaria (popsicles) and a water and sand area are a few of the things found here. It also sits next to the Magic Theater and our favorite pizza place, Dough Pizzeria which puts this park near the top of the list of things to do in San Antonio.

65. Pearsall Park – Pearsall park is a large outdoor recreation area, playground and splash pad. It’s situated at the bottom of rolling hills by the air force base so it’s a cool place to see the planes go by. There is also a skate park on the property, basketball courts and a unique fitness challenge zone with a zip line, pull-up bars, sprint timer and running trails.  There is plenty of shade in the covered pavilions or on some of the hill top gazebos.

64. Ice and golf center at Northwoods – Say yes to ice skating at least a few times in life! Or for Texans, just a nice place to sit and cool off! Ice skating, mini golf, hockey, indoor soccer and games gives plenty of variety for everyone to have a bit of fun.

63. Skate at the Rollercade – This landmark San Antonio indoor skate rink has been family owned and operated since 1959, and seems to have stayed stuck in the seventies. Skate on original hardwood floors under disco balls and electric neon light, and along to throwback tunes, or test your old school arcade skills by the snack bar. Skate on Sundays for ‘family skate’, where you’ll receive 1 complimentary parent admission pass with every children’s admission pass.

Shopping

62. Outland Provision $$$ – For the outdoorsman in us all, Outland Provision sells quality, local leather goods, and ‘gear for the modern frontier’ out of their mobile brick and mortar, in the Broadway 2202 lot. You’ll find artisan adventure products, made in San Antonio, TX lining wooden shelves in the renovated 1968 Airstream, including leather passport holders, handprinted bandanas, and vinyl stickers.

61. The Tiny Finch $$$$ – One of the Pearl’s few boutiques, The Tiny Finch sits beside Local Coffee, showcasing a curated selection of contemporary items, for the rustic homeowner or subtle sophisticate. Think lightweight linens, sandalwood scents, and tasseled throws, amongst tabletops filled with trinkets, turquoise, and earthy décor.

60. Cadeux $$$ – A beautifully designed, local lifestyle boutique, Cadeaux is one of our favorite downtown spots to grab a gift, greeting card, or other gallery-style tchotchke. Sitting on the corner of N. St. Mary’s St., Cadaeux brings museum-store style to the shopping experience, by selling curated collections of art next to stylish journals, jewelry, and household items.

59. Chic’tique $$$ – Find the trendiest women’s wear at this Broadway boutique, coined ‘chic-tique’ for it’s modern woman vibe, and stylish interior in the 2202 lot (next to Outland Provisions). Carrying contemporary labels, accessories, handbags, hats, glasses, and household items, Chic’tique is the place to piece together that next Instagram-worthy outfit, or find the perfect trinket for your newly organized desk space.

58. Chica Verde $$ – If you choose one quirky store to step into in San Antonio, make Chica Verde that choice. This Southeast gem in historic Dignowity Hill, specializes in outdoor décor and antique, worldly finds. Pick up an authentic Peyote blanket for your next spontaneous picnic, or a vintage set of ceramic vases to plant your newest blooms.

57. Feliz Modern $$ – Throwing a party? Enter Feliz Modern – a brightly-colored, fun-loving boutique, where neons and prints adorn crossbody bags, and beaded bracelets sit next to Frida Kahlo keychains. This locally-owned Edison store, open seven days a week, was voted San Antonio’s best gift, home décor, and selfie spot by SA Magazine’s Readers Choice Awards, and for good reason.

56. Fiesta on Main $$ – Housed in a beautiful mansion in Midtown, Fiesta on Main is every San Antonian’s go-to for fiesta décor/attire, though it’s frequented year-round too, for traditional south Texas souvenirs. The shop has been featured in a number of national publications for its unique product, carrying primarily artisanal items from across Latin America, and specializing in Mexican handicraft (pottery, artwork, and jewelry).

55. Bazaar Istanbul $$ – A fun and eccentric shop downtown with lights and lanterns of middle eastern flare dripping from the ceiling. Inspired by one of the biggest outdoor markets in Istanbul, this shop is fun to peruse or to find a unique piece to bring home. It’s just around the corner from the Alamo and houses everything from handmade jewelry and rugs to Turkish lamps and ceramics.

54. Garcia Art Glass $$$$ – Opened in 1998 as the first hot glass studio in San Antonio, Garcia Art Glass remains family-owned and operated, creating elaborate displays for clients across the world. Visit the studio on S. Alamo St. and reserve a guided tour/demonstration, or stop by the Hyatt Regency Hotel downtown to view incredible pieces at the Garcia Art Glass gallery!

53. Alamo Quarry Market $$ – This cement factory turned stylish lifestyle center in San Antonio’s Lincoln Heights neighborhood is a great shopping destination for downtowners not looking to make the drive up North. A quick 15 minutes from the city center, the Alamo Quarry Market is easily recognizable by its three original smokestacks, and includes notable brands like Kendra Scott, Lululemon, and J.Crew Factory.

52. The RIM $$ – Directly across I-10 from the Shops at La Cantera, lies the RIM, an expansive shopping center with various entertainment venues, and upscale eateries mixed in with staples like Target, ULTA, and Nordstrom Rack. Find San Antonio’s only branch of the Austin based Hopdoddy Burger Bar here, and catch a movie on the Mezz of the Santikos Palladium IMAX theater (where in-theater dining service meets the ultimate electric recliner).

51. The Shops at La Cantera $$$ – One of our favorite things to do in San Antonio, is peruse the Shops at La Cantera – the city’s premium outdoor mall, on the Northwestern edge of highway 1604. With close to 200 stores, the well-designed, open-air mall features a wide range of national brands (including San Antonio’s only full-fledged Nordstrom), diverse dining options (we recommend Whiskey Cake), and local business space.

50. Northstar Mall $$ – Notorious for being home to the world’s largest cowboy boot statue, North Star Mall is one of San Antonio’s landmark shopping destinations, known as a city icon for over 58 years. Built in 1960, the mall has since undergone dramatic renovation, and now includes 3 full service restaurants, and over 200 stores, including San Antonio’s only full-fledged Saks Fifth Avenue.

49. Shops at Rivercenter $$ – Located in the heart of downtown, and anchored by the massive 38-story Marriott Rivercenter hotel, the Shops at Rivercenter is an expansive indoor mall intertwined with the San Antonio River, and next to historic Alamo Plaza. Having undergone a recent renovation, the four level establishment includes over 100 retailers, an IMAX at AMC theater, and an exclusive ‘Battle for Texas: The Experience’ exhibit (one of our favorite things to do in San Antonio with children).

48. San Marcos Outlet Malls $$$ – Splitting the drive from San Antonio to Austin directly in half, are the San Marcos Outlet Malls, with a combined 350+ stores off highway I-35 at exit 200. The Malls are made up of two distinct sections – the Tanger Factory Outlet Center, and the San Marcos Simon Premium Outlets. Though not too much difference exists, both offer endless opportunity to snag a deal at high end retailers like Kate Spade, Caroline Herrera, Jimmy Choo, or West Elm.

Nature & Fitness

47. Hike Government Canyon – This preserved stake park has miles and miles of hill country trails for hikers, bikers, dog walkers and kids. They have flat discovery trails for those seeking a more relaxed time outdoors and steep, rocky accents that go on for miles for more adventurous groups. The most well-known hike is probably the one out to see dinosaur footprints fossilized in the ground, which is pretty cool. They also have camping areas and recently added a natural outdoor play area for kids with picnic tables and grills.

46. Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch – Just a short drive north you’ll find this fun wildlife ranch with everything from Emus and Giraffes to Rhinos, native Texas Longhorns and Camels. Most of the animals will come right up to the window to say hello and some make you work to spot them. Off season is the best time to go and at the end don’t forget to park and walk to the giraffe and lemur enclosures for an extra half hour of fun.

45. Natural Bridge Caverns – A short drive north of the city you can find Natural Bridge Caverns tucked in the hill country. It is a huge span of 2 different underground cave systems beautifully lit and perfect for exploring and cooling off in the Texas heat. They also offer a zip line and ropes course on the same compound.

44. Cibolo Nature Center – This is such a beautiful and unique park/farm just a short drive north of San Antonio. The creek that runs through the park is lined with tall Cypress trees and is a great spot to cool off and hang out or play in the water. There’s a boardwalk for exploring the marsh land, miles of walking and hiking trails, catch and release fishing and it’s even dog and horse friendly.

43. Friedrich Wilderness Area – This is one of our favorite places in the city for trail running! It’s also amazing for a Sunday walk with family or a mid-week hike to burn off steam. There is a great variety of shaded trails, short and long, easy-difficult and even a shaded beautiful wheelchair and stroller friendly trail.

42. San Pedro Springs ParkSan Pedro Springs Park is the oldest public park in the state of Texas, and second oldest within the United States – Crazy to know this 46-acre gem lies only a few blocks outside of downtown! The public recreational center now includes a pool, library, set of tennis courts, and lawn space, after final renovations in the early 2000’s. Lounging at San Pedro Springs Park is one of our favorite summertime activities in San Antonio – just be sure to pack sunscreen!

41. Brackenridge Park – This park is more city central and surrounds the zoo, Japanese Tea Garden and the Witte museum. It’s a great addition to any of those activities for play, walking, picnics, jogging or any of the events they host all year round. There is also a small train that runs through the park and makes stops at all of those locations which is a fun way to orient yourself with where everything is. If visitors are hungry after their visit, it happens to be across the street from one of our favorite bbq places in the city, the Smoke Shack.

40. Phil Hardberger Park – Shady trails, open fields, a dog park and multiple play scapes call this San Antonio park home. A massive pedestrian bridge connects the east and west side of the park allowing for tons of exploration, animal spotting, family time or exercise.

39. Greenbelt Trail System – One of the best city wide amenities of San Antonio is this trail system. It is over 65 miles of paved, accessible, walking, biking and running trials that wind through the beautiful greenway areas of San Antonio. There are over 40 trail entrances all over the city so accessing them is easy to do and they’re perfect for a family walk, roller skating or training for a marathon.

38. Bike the San Antonio Mission Trail – The 5 San Antonio missions are amazingly connected by a 10 mile out-and-back pedestrian bike trail along part of the San Antonio River. It is such a unique activity to pedal through this area of old world buildings and mission compounds set against modern development, farm land and neighborhoods. Each mission is about 2.5 miles apart and provides restrooms and water fountains. One of the best things to do in San Antonio!

37. Japanese Tea Garden – Built in the remains of an abandoned rock quarry, sits San Antonio’s Japanese Tea Gardens, just slightly north of downtown off highway 281. The city park comprises walkways, courtyards, lily ponds, and pagodas, beautified by Japanese bulbs and a daytime café. Registered as a Texas Historic Landmark and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Japanese Tea Garden is a must-see, entirely complimentary, and open dawn ‘til dusk each day making it one of our favorite things to do in San Antonio.

36. Kayak the San Antonio River – Did you know that you could kayak the San Antonio River? Not many visitors (or locals at that) do, and we’re here to recommend it as a beautiful way to explore the waterways. In 2017, an 8-mile stretch was declared an official state paddling trail, and features stops at the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park and four UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Bring a hat, and book one of Mission Adventure Tours 3 different guided paddles, beginning at $65 a person!

35. Lake Medina – Lake Medina is a short 30 minute drive out of the city on the west side and is perfect for kayaks, boating, picnics, fishing and cooling off. It is a reservoir so check local water levels before going and bring water shoes as most of the water entry is gravel.

34. Day-trip to Texas Hill Country – One of the best things to do in San Antonio, though not necessarily within city limits, is take advantage of the surrounding hill country, and day trip to one of the neighboring small-towns, with historic European heritage. Scroll down to scope out our suggestions – many are merely a short 30-45 minute drive, and are a treat to tour, with historic dance halls, local boutiques, and internationally renowned wineries.

33. Visit the Loma de Vida Spa at the La Cantera Hill Country Resort – Spending the day at Loma de Vida, the La Cantera Hill Country Resort’s award-winning spa, is one of our favorite, and most highly recommended things to do in San Antonio. This stunning, Northside spa overlooks the Alamo City, with top tier facilities and unbeatable infinity pool views. Book any service, and receive all day access to the spa’s many spaces, including a Himalayan salt soaking sauna and full-range fitness center.

32. Spin at Joyride Cycling + Fitness – If you are looking for a quick, cardio-packed, high-energy workout, reserve a bike at Joyride Cycling + Fitness and test your endurance over a 50 minute, resistance based spin class. Open 7 days a week, 365 days a year (that’s right), Joyride Cycling + Fitness offers calorie-torching courses for all levels, at various times throughout the day. Take advantage of your first class free at one of their two San Antonio locations, and leave refueled and rejuvenated.

History

31. See the Alamo and other San Antonio Missions – This should definitely be on the top of any list of things to do in San Antonio! One of the best steps back in time and historical adventures are the 5 missions in San Antonio. The most well know of the 5, The Alamo, is beautifully restored and set against the modern backdrop of downtown. It makes for he perfect tour an exploration of the downtown area, river walk. Visitors can walk through the sanctuary and compound, see reenactments and watch informational videos. The other missions are just a few miles down the road and connected by a convenient bike trail.

30. San Fernando Cathedral – Founded in 1731, the San Fernando Cathedral is the oldest, continuously functioning religious community in the state of Texas, and happens to sit at San Antonio’s geographical center. The cathedral towers above Main Plaza, with two pillars and a beautifully gothic façade, and is open to the public for both English and Spanish mass daily. Hangout to see San Antonio | The Saga late-night on Tuesdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays – it’s a must-see downtown!

29. St. Paul’s Square – Named after the St. Paul episcopal church, St. Paul’s Square is a small, revitalized historic district east of Commerce St., directly neighboring the Alamodome and Amtrak railway. The small square is home to a number of businesses, few restaurants, and most notably, the newest satellite branch of the University of Houston’s Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management.

28. La Villita – This quaint art village is on the south bank of the River Walk and also occupies a square block in the heart of downtown San Antonio. There are art galleries, artisan jewelry shops, souvenirs and eateries lining the walkways. It is a great way to sample the culture and flavor of San Antonio while downtown.

27. Historic Market Square – A local favorite on our list of things to do in San Antonio is Historic Market Square. This is another condensed area downtown full of music, vendors, shops and Mexican culture. It is the largest Mexican market in the United States and for a minute makes you feel like you’re in a different country. Visitors can grab pastries at the panaderia at Mi Tierra and make their way through the shops while enjoying the local entertainment and music.

26. Hotel Emma – This stunning 146-room boutique hotel is housed in the revitalized 1894 Pearl Beer Brewhouse, and delivers unparalleled south Texas luxury in the most approachable manner. Opened late 2015, Hotel Emma has become a San Antonio landmark, and no trip is complete without a burnt marshmallow and toffee rice crispy from the property’s Larder. While you’re there, stop by Sternewirth for a peek into one of the original beer silos, or dine riverside at Supper, an elevated American eatery with farm-to-table Midwestern flair. The history, food and service put an experience at Emma at the top of our list of things to do in San Antonio, and one of our favorite places to stay.

25. Visit Paris Hatter’s – Our idea of the ultimate San Antonio souvenir, is an authentic Stetson hat from legendary downtown retailer, Paris Hatters. A landmark business dating back to 1917, this custom cowboy hat emporium is infamous for its expansive inventory, and old school customer service. Hats range from $20-$7,000, and are rung up on an antique 1930’s register (that requires hand-cranking to open) by third generation owner ‘Abe the Hatter’ or his wife Myrna. A fun favorite on our list of things to do in San Antonio.

24. Old Town Helotes – Another local favorite on the list of things to do in San Antonio is an evening spent in Old Town Helotes. This is a cute town that’s been slowly encroached on by San Antonio city limits. But it’s maintained all of its charm and country feel and is fun to spend an afternoon in. There are shops, dance halls, bbq pits, restaurants and historical places to explore. It’s a refreshing break outside of the hustle and bustle of the city. 

23. Cowboys Dance Hall – This night club dance hall is a bit more modern way to experience a honkey tonk. They have free dance lessons, concerts, teen nights and live music. It provides a fun experience of country dancing in the city.

Day Trips

22. Scenic Hill Country Drives – Texas boasts beautiful scenery year-round and some of the most gorgeous drives through the hill country area surrounding San Antonio. Miles and miles of hills, cactus, wildflowers and the occasional site to see make for a well spent day taking a pause from life. These are our recommendations for best scenic drives through the hill country: Willow City Loop, Bluebonnet House via Marble Falls, Gruene-Fredricksburg-Bandera Loop. A definite addition to anyones list of things to do in San Antonio. 

21. Hill Country State Natural Area – 5,000 acres of beautiful canyons, scenic plateaus and winding creeks are perfect for getting away and changing gears from the daily grind. Endless trails for bikers, hikers and horses are super versatile and allow for easy to difficult memorable experiences.

20. New Braunfels – Heading northeast towards Austin, about 30 minutes from San An, lies New Braunfels, another small Texas town with German roots. Popular for its old world charm, and proximity to both the Comal and Guadalupe Rivers, New Braunfels is home to not only the oldest dance hall, and oldest bakery in Texas, but also one of the largest tributes to Oktoberfest (Wurstfest) that honors the town’s European heritage annually in autumn. Unique, historic

19. Gruene – A historical district within the city of New Braunfels, Gruene is most widely known for Gruene Hall (the oldest dance hall in the state of Texas, dating back to 1878), its iconic water tower, historical 19th century buildings, and local wineries. A hot spot for fly fishing too, Gruene in its entirety is registered on the National Register of Historical Places, and is our favorite spot to end an evening in New Braunfels. A unique and fun addition to our list of things to do in San Antonio.

18. Schlitterbahn – North of New Braunfels, is Schlitterbahn Waterpark. Tube chutes, rides, slides and rivers are spring fed by the comal river so the water stays cool and refreshing. Then hop on a tram to experience the uphill water coaster, wave river and boogie boarding on the other half of the park.

17. Bucees – Imagine a true Texas big-box store that’s also a gas station. That’s pretty much Bucee’s. The one closest to San Antonio, just 30 minutes away in New Braunfels, happens to be the largest convenience store in the world! 60 gas pumps, 83 award-winning bathroom stalls, 80 fountain dispensers and 68,000 square feet of Texas team memorabilia, hunting equipment, smokers, grills, beef jerky, swimsuits, jewelry, baby clothes, toys, home décor, barbecue, fresh baked goods, deli sandwiches, home made fudge,  jams and condiments, soft drinks, icees and everything that would be in a normal convenience store. It’s the only place in the universe travelers can get a pulled pork sandwich, 4 foot beaver plush and a wild game washer all while gassing up the car. Definitely deserving to be on the list of things to do in San Antonio, it’s over the top and so fun!

16. Enchanted Rock State Natural Area – Look no further than the Enchanted Rock State Natural Area, for a half-day adventure, hiking the Texas Hill Country’s iconic pink granite dome, or surrounding 11 miles of trails. Enchanted Rock erupts from the hillside, and offers visitors the ability to either climb, camp, bird, or backpack it’s many acres, just an hour and a half northwest of San Antonio. We recommend the ‘summit trail’ – a quick, .67 mile trek to the tip of the rock, for a beautiful panoramic view!

15. Fredericksburg – 20 minutes or so south of the Enchanted Rock State Natural Area, is small-town Fredericksburg, Texas, with its antique stores, mom and pop run restaurants, and local wineries. Spend the day strolling Main St., or study up at the Pioneer Museum, which honors the city’s European heritage. End the evening on the patio of Otto’s, our favorite restaurant in Fredericksburg, which serves gourmet German fare with token Texas flavor.

14. Wildseed Farms – This farm is the largest working wildflower farm in the country with over 200 acres just north of San Antonio in Fredericksburg. There is no charge for admission and they are open year-round, every day of the week with walking trails open daily. Their site has a bloom update so you can see what’s in bloom and plan for stunning photos of fields of wild flowers.

13. Canyon Lake – About an hour north of San Antonio you’ll find Canyon Lake, a must on our list of things to do in San Antonio. A beautiful lake with plenty of room to spread out and enjoy swimming, playing and jumping off rocks. It’s only $5 a car so throw the paddle boards in the back, the kayaks on the top and head out for a fun day at the lake. 

12. Boerne Lake – This quaint lake is wonderful for swimming , fishing and picnicking. Just a short drive north, Beorne lake is popular for triathlon athletes, stand up paddle boarding, kayaks and other water fun. There are several picnic tables, a frisbee golf course, volleyball court and a playground available.

11. Garner State Park (Frio River) – Most popular for camping, this park is also loved for its access to the Frio river. Come set up camp, rope swing into the water and float down in a tube, canoe or kayak for hours. Or start the day on one of the many hiking trails before cooling off in the river. There are also rentals available, food for sale and dancing in the summer evenings. Get there early for that, gates close when it’s full!

10. Wonder World Park – About an hour north of San Antonio you’ll find Wonder World Cave and Adventure Park. What was once solely a tour of the nations only earthquake cave opening now also includes an observation tower, anti-gravity house and a train ride through a wildlife park as a part of the experience. It’s a great way to spend an afternoon learning new things and having fun with loved ones.

Seasonal Events

9. Fiesta – A must-do on anyones list of things to do in San Antonio! Every April during Fiesta, the Alamo City blooms into a colorful display of parades, events, and parties honoring the city’s vibrant culture, and historic roots. The 10-day festival is San Antonio’s signature event, and dates back to 1891 when the first Battle of Flowers parade was held. ‘Medals’ are worn proudly as tokens of celebration, so be sure to pick one up when attending one of the festival’s 100+ events, and always go for the iconic chicken-on-a-stick.

8. San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo – Hands down one of the most Texan things to do in San Antonio, is attend the annual Stock Show and Rodeo, held for two weeks every February at the AT&T Center and Freeman Coliseum grounds. Drawing near 2 million visitors each year, the award-winning rodeo is THE place to pull out your cowboy boots, eat a footlong corndog, and listen to some of the largest names in country music end an evening spent spectating. Giddy up!

7. Tejas Rodeo – Every Saturday night, March-November this rodeo happens. It’s everything a rodeo should be just on a smaller scale than the San Antonio Rodeo, bulls, team roping, barrel racing, tie down and breakaway roping and of course mutton busting and calf scramble for the kiddos. There’s live music, dancing, food and it’s just a short drive north of the city. It’s the rodeo locals bring friends from out of town to and definitely worthy of a spot on our list of things to do in San Antonio!

6. Missions Heritage Half Marathon – This half marathon sends runners through backroads, farms and allows you to see all 4 of the Heritage Missions (doesn’t include the Alamo) and is the coolest half marathon to run. It is truly a unique race and such a unique way to tour these missions. All the proceeds go toward a fund that supports the Heritage Missions and there is also a relay option, 10K and 5K route so everyone can join in. If you’re looking for a destination race or have lived here for years, this is definitely a great addition to any list of things to do in San Antonio.

5. Round Top Antiques show (Spring/Fall) – Made extra famous by Joanna Gaines, this Antique show, including Marburger Farm, Round Top Antiques, The Vintage Round Top, Cedar Hill Farmhouse and a few more, happens twice a year, in the spring and fall and is a spectacle to plan for. There are hundreds of dealers from around the country and the world who come to fill the country roads of Round Top with unique, beautiful pieces and quirky, rare finds. They’ve put in a lot of effort to maintain quality and a unique experience for vendors and shoppers alike putting this in a solid spot on our list of things to do in San Antonio and is totally worth the road trip to Round Top.

4. Go to a San Antonio Spurs game – The AT&T center is home to many things, none more famous than the NBA San Antonio Spurs. All 44 home games are everything you would expect from a top-notch sporting event paired with over the top Texas flare. 

3. Go to a San Antonio Rampage game – One of our favorite things to do in San Antonio during NBA season, is break away from the Spurs court, and catch a San Antonio Rampage ice-hockey match. Currently ranked 8th in their division, the American Hockey League team plays October through April, with tickets running as low as $14.

2. Go to a San Antonio FC game – Soccer fans unite, as the Alamo city is home to its own professional team, the San Antonio FC. A member of the men’s USL Championship League, San Antonio FC plays March through October at soccer-specific Toyota Field in the Northeast side of San An. Seats are seriously sold as low as $10, which is unbeatable in our book of affordable activities.

1. Go to a San Antonio Missions Game – Some of the most underrated gems found in cities around the country are their minor league sports teams. The San Antonio Missions are our minor league baseball team and a night with them at Nelson Wolff Stadium is a night well spent. There are a wide range of seating and ticketing options to accommodate anyone so it is literally fun for the whole family. 

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