Finding things to do in San Antonio isn’t difficult to do. In fact, you may find yourself overwhelmed with all the activities available to you. To help, we’ve compiled a list of our favorite historical sites, cultural events, and museums we think you should visit.
In addition, there are different types of outdoor activities, tours, and unique things you’ll only find in San Antonio. So, get inspired with our list of things to do in the Alamo City!
24 Best Things to Do in San Antonio
Visiting The Alamo is a must when it comes to the top things to do in San Antonio, but we always like to go deeper. So below, you’ll find some of the biggest attractions and some hidden gems!
San Antonio has a great food scene, vibrant cultural heritage, and a plethora of green outdoor spaces. Plus, you can enjoy over 200 sunny days a year! That means you have more time to take in the sunshine and the sights.
Whether you’re an older adult on your own or a family with young children, there’s something for you on our list.
Head to the trendy Pearl Brewery or go on a ghost tour of the Menger Hotel. If you’re interested in creative adventures in the River City, keep reading!
1. Explore San Antonio’s Public Art
Explore vibrant murals, historical statues, light sculptures, and more around town. Some are just cool to look at, while others teach about the cultural history of San Antonio.
I suggest using the public art map to go on a self-guided walking tour downtown. This is where a lot of pieces are concentrated. Or book a guided bike tour for a mural ride of San Antonio!
2. Visit a Historic Theater
Why not see a Broadway show or a concert while also experiencing one of San Antonio’s oldest venues? Check out the Majestic Theater on E Houston Street and the Charline McCombs Empire Theater on N St. Mary’s.
Built a century ago, both theaters are registered as national historic landmarks. The Majestic Theater is a unique experience with a Mediterranean theme.
Marvel at detailed, hand-carved ceilings and hand-painted details everywhere. The Empire Theater is just as stunning with its Victorian flare of gold leaf filigree covering every surface.
3. Explore the Hot Wells Ruins
For unique things to do in San Antonio, check out the Hot Wells Hotel Ruins south of IH-10 on S Presa Street. In the 1890s, sulphuric hot springs were discovered here. A high-end wellness retreat over the springs, attracting locals and world travelers alike.
The owners claimed the minerals in the sulphuric springs could cure everything from asthma to paralysis! The resort suffered from fires over the years and was shut down during Prohibition.
Today, the ruins of the resort have been turned into a park. There are walking paths with educational plaques around the skeleton of the old resort. The park is free, and it’s open from 9 AM to 9 PM in the summer.
4. Hang Out at the Pearl
The historic Pearl Brewery is located just south of downtown. It shut down in 2001 after over a century in action. The 23-acre industrial site was sold and revamped as a recreational area with shops, restaurants, and businesses.
Shop handmade goods by small creators, luxury homeware, books, and more. There’s a Michelin Star restaurant, a food hall, a coffee shop, and a French bakery, just to start.
The kids can play lawn games on the grass while you dine under the trees. Also, make sure to check out the weekend farmers market.
5. Ride the San Antonio River
One of the most classic things to do in San Antonio is taking a Go Rio riverboat cruise of the San Antonio River. Take a relaxing trip up the river in the heart of downtown. Enjoy the architecture of the buildings, bridges, and vertical gardens along the banks.
You can choose between a narrated 35-minute tour or a hop-on-hop-off shuttle boat that has several stops along the river. At Christmas, there’s also a holiday lights cruise you can take.
There are a handful of ticket booths along the river, or you can get them online. Shuttle tickets for children, seniors, and the military come with a discount.
6. Shop at the Market Square
The historic Market Square is located on N Santa Rosa Street across from Milam Park. The market has had many different lives over the decades. Today, it’s an important commerce and cultural hub.
Day to day, it’s a great place to shop for souvenirs and unique handmade items. Enjoy Tex-Mex, Mexican street food, and cold beverages. You’ll often find mariachi bands and gorgeous folklórico dancers. During Fiesta, there are lines of vendors and live music performances.
7. Play at Hemisfair Park
For more unique things to do in San Antonio with the family, check out Hemisfair! This 92-acre urban recreational space features historic buildings, art installations, playgrounds, and more. There are ice cream shops, coffee shops, restaurants, delis, and more.
Yanaguana Garden is an inclusive play park for children and adults alike. Enjoy a splash pad, sandpit, climbing structures, giant lawn games, and more. There are several free parking lots around Hemisfair.
8. Tour the San Antonio Missions
Take a day and visit the San Antonio missions:
- Mission San Antonio de Valero
- Mission Espada
- Mission San Juan Capistrano
- Mission Concepción
- Mission San José
Starting with the Alamo, all 5 missions reach south along the banks of the San Antonio River. Because they’re only 2- to 3-miles apart from each other, they make for a great day tour. At the parks, you can see examples of 18th-century Spanish Colonial architecture.
Take a guided tour and observe live demonstrations of what daily life was like at the missions. Visit the missions for free all year round, from sunrise to sunset.
9. Walk the Botanical Garden
Visit the San Antonio Botanical Garden off of Broadway in Alamo Heights. The gardens make for a great afternoon if you’re looking for things to do in San Antonio that are outdoors.
Check out exhibits in the Discovery Center or walk the outdoor paths that wind through gardens and ponds.
In addition, there are rotating art installations, greenhouses, and historic buildings. Parking is free but limited. Visit January through October from 9 AM to 5 PM in the winter and 7 PM the rest of the time.
10. Go Shopping
San Antonio has several premier shopping destinations spread across the city:
These open-air shopping centers feature every kind of store you can think of. You’ll find luxury brands, factory outlets, box stores, and boutiques. They also feature different amenities like eateries, cinemas, play places, and more. There are also acres of free parking.
11. Briscoe Western Art Museum
For country Western things to do in San Antonio, head to the Briscoe Western Art Museum. This small museum is located on the corner of N Presa Street and W Market Street downtown. The museum celebrates Texas and its cultures as they influenced the development of the West.
Explore 3 levels of exhibit surrounding Texas, the West, and the native people who first called it home. The museum is open 7 days a week for varying hours. Admissions is a suggested donation.
12. Go on a Walking Food Tour
SA Food Tours will take you on a guided walk to 5 of the best restaurants in the downtown area. You’ll watch a chef at work and learn all about the food scene of San Antonio. The tours are held every weekend around lunchtime.
You need to be able to walk about 1.5 miles. Along the way, your guide will also take you to important landmarks and share important facts about each stop. The tours take 3-hours and are kept to about 12 people.
13. Enjoy San Antonio’s Best Parks
With so many warm, sunny days, you’ll be looking for outdoor things to do in San Antonio! Several of the city’s biggest and best parks include the following:
San Pedro Springs Park is one of the oldest parks in the country. Enjoy lush lawns, old oak trees, an outdoor theater space, and swimming pools. Brackenridge and Olmos Basin both feature miles of walking trails, ball fields, playgrounds, and more.
San Pedro Creek Cultural Park is a new endeavor of the city. Following downtown San Pedro Creek, the park features cultural art and interactive modules along walking paths.
14. Institute of Texan Cultures
If you’re looking for things to do in San Antonio that get you out of the heat, check out the Institute of Texan Cultures. This is a great interactive educational experience for all ages.
Located inside Hemisfair Park, this museum tells the story of the native people of Texas and the first white settlers. Walk through art exhibits and preserved structures.
There’s a great movie about Texan cultures in the Dome Theater. Visit Thursday through Sunday from 10 AM to 4 PM. Admission is a suggested donation.
15. Golf at the Quarry
San Antonio has several top-notch golf courses and resorts, but the Quarry Golf Course is one of the best. Featured inside of a 100-year-old quarry, the course boasts a challenging course in a stunning setting.
The course doubles as a natural wildlife habitat, making for a relaxing and breathtaking 18-holes. Visit the Pro Shop, rent clubs on-site, or use the driving range. There’s a restaurant available to guests, as well. The dress code is soft spikes only.
16. The San Antonio Zoo
One of the best things to do in San Antonio is to visit the world-class San Antonio Zoo. It’s located on the northern side of Brackenridge Park along E Hildebrand Avenue. The over 50-acre park features a variety of mammals, reptiles, birds, insects, and more.
Ride the train around the zoo or take pictures with fun garden sculptures. Kids can enjoy a park with child-sized carnival rides, and there’s a toddler park inside the zoo. Ride the carousel or enjoy concession stands. The park is open every day from 9 AM to 5 PM.
Read Next: The Best Zoos in the United States and The Best Zoos in the World
17. Visit a Flea Market
There are several large flea markets in the San Antonio area, but Traders Village is the largest. You’ll find their permanent location on Old Pearsall Road south of Loop 410 on the Southwest Side.
Inside, you can peruse hundreds of vendors. They sell everything, from home goods and toys to souvenirs and antiques.
Get food and enjoy live music. Traders Village also has a petting zoo, rides, and regular events. Check them out Saturday and Sunday from 10 AM to 5 PM. There’s a small parking fee.
18. Watch the Spurs Play at the AT&T Center
The sports lover looking for things to do in San Antonio will want to check out the AT&T Center. The home of the Spurs basketball team sits between I-35 and IH-10 on the East Side.
When the Spurs aren’t playing, the arena hosts some of the biggest names in the music industry. You can also call and book a tour of the arena. Get a behind-the-scenes look at the AT&T Center.
19. Go on a Ghost Tour
For scary things to do in San Antonio, consider going on a haunted tour of the city. With such a long, diverse history, it’s no surprise that the Alamo City is said to have all kinds of spirits!
Ghost City Tours is perfect for families with kids of all ages, but they also offer adult-only tours. Book the Ghost of Old San Antonio tour for a 90-minute walk that starts at the Alamo.
Your guide will take you to 8 different locations, sharing detailed information about the hauntings. See beautiful old buildings like the Menger Hotel and San Fernando Cathedral. This walking tour starts at 8 PM.
20. San Antonio African American Museum
Head to La Villita at the corner of S Presa Street and E Nueva Street. There, the San Antonio African American Community Archive and Museum (SAACAM) is located in a beautiful Victorian home.
This is where the SAACAM works to preserve and share the history and accomplishments of the African American community in San Antonio. Walk through the museum and check out the gift shop.
You can also find out about upcoming events around the city. The museum takes donations when you visit. It’s open every day from 10 AM to 6 PM, with shorter hours on Sundays.
21. Go to First Friday
For artsy, family-friendly things to do in San Antonio, check out First Friday! It’s been held every first Friday of the month for 30 years. Peruse art vendors of all kinds on the streets of the historic King Williams District.
Park in the neighborhood and walk along S Alamo Street. There’s also food, drinks, music, and art demonstrations. It runs from 6 to 10 PM.
22. Hunt for Antiques
A favorite stop for trinkets, antiques, and paraphernalia is the Alamo Antique Mall downtown. Visit them on the corner of E Travis Street and Broadway. They have 3 levels of vintage finds for you to explore!
Search through cases of costume jewelry, shelves of collectible glassware, and military memorabilia. It’s a great place to find Texas-themed memorabilia. The mall is open every day from 10 AM to 5 PM.
23. Tasting Texas Wine and Food Festival
For culinary things to do in San Antonio, come in October for the annual wine and food festival, Tasting Texas. This 4-day ticketed event features booths run by some of the biggest names in the restaurant world.
Mingle with James Beard Award winners, Top Chef contestants, and more. There are cooking contests, live music, drinks, and dancing. Enjoy events throughout downtown restaurants and public spaces.
24. Head to the Rodeo
If you’re in town in February, don’t miss out on the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo! The 2-week long event is held on the grounds of the AT&T Center. There are all kinds of exhibits, vendors, rides, and activities open to the public.
Enjoy a petting zoo, country music artists, and 4H competitions. The main events surround the arena, where you can buy tickets to watch rodeos, shoot-offs, and animal auctions.
Things to Consider
When visiting San Antonio, especially for the first time, there are some things you should know. Follow these tips, and you’ll have a great time on your trip!
- Public transportation in San Antonio isn’t very dependable. You’ll want to either use a private car or rideshare apps.
- San Antonio is looped by 2 major roads: Texas-1604 and I-410. They’re the easiest way to familiarize yourself with where you are in the city.
- Summer can get pretty unbearable, with August being the hottest and most humid month.
- Winters are mild, but if it freezes in January or February, the whole city will shut down. If the roads ice over, don’t expect to go anywhere.
- It takes an hour to get from one side of town to the other on a good day. During afternoon traffic from 4 to 6 PM, it can take 2-hours or longer.
- Schools close for the week of Fiesta in April. It’s a great time to visit for citywide events but be prepared for crowds everywhere you go.
Frequently Asked Questions
While you’re planning things to do in San Antonio, a few questions may come to your mind. Check out a few of the most commonly asked questions that you might also have!
What is there to do in San Antonio for a day?
If you only have one day in San Antonio, head straight to the Alamo. From there, walk across Alamo Plaza and down into the River Walk. You have 15 miles of pathways there to explore for a great taste of what the city is about!
What is the best month to visit San Antonio, Texas?
It's best to visit San Antonio in April or May when the weather is warm, but not too hot. Come earlier, and there are a lot of rainy days. Come later in the summer, and you can’t go outside because of the heat!
What is San Antonio most known for?
San Antonio is known for lots of things! It was originally the Chili Cook-Off capital of the world. Today, San Antonio reminds people of mesquite barbecue and the battle of the Alamo. Both are things you should look into when you visit.
Do you need a car in San Antonio?
Try to rent a car if you don’t bring your own. It’s worth it! San Antonio has become more pedestrian-friendly in recent years, but things are really spread apart across the city. Some roads don’t have sidewalks, and transportation is famously never on time.
Are there toll roads in San Antonio?
San Antonio doesn’t have any toll roads. Houston, Austin, and Dallas all have toll roads inside their regional areas, but not San Antonio.
So, What’s the Best Thing to Do in San Antonio?
When you’re looking for the best things to do in San Antonio, it depends on your preferences. If you’re a foodie, you’ll be impressed by the options.
And if you’re looking for culture and history, the Alamo City has an intense and vibrant past. There are also many outdoor adventures for the old and young alike.
So, if you’re looking for a true taste of Texas, San Antonio welcomes all visitors with a broad range of events and experiences. We hope the suggested list of things to do inspired you for your next visit to River City!