Remember the Alamo…and your walking shoes as you prepare to explore one of Texas’ coolest cities. For many, San Antonio brings to mind Davy Crockett defending the historic mission, but there’s plenty more to see and do aside from the Alamo (but be sure to go there, too!). Today, San Antonio is an incredibly walkable city with great food, shopping, and entertainment and close proximity to many day trip adventures just outside the city.
5 Things to Do
Go on a Mission. Over 2.5 million people each year visit the Alamo, but did you know that there are other incredible missions that deserve your attention? At the San Antonio Missions National Historic Park, you can tour the other four structures, each about 250 years old. The free cell phone tour will allow you to learn all about the missions’ impressive history. Be sure to attend the weekly Mariachi Mass at Mission San Jose (pictured), the largest of San Antonio’s five missions.
Give Your Feet a Rest. It’s just a given that when you visit San Antonio, you have to see the downtown River Walk. However, at night it can get pretty crowded and you might find yourself watching where you’re going more than taking in the beautiful historic buildings. You can either join a narrated San Antonio River boat tour to learn more about your surroundings, or hop on a river taxi for a relaxing ride to your dinner reservations.
Take to the Sky. San Antonio’s hosting of the 1968 World’s Fair is what put the city on the map as a tourist destination, and the landmark of the event still stands. The 750-foot Tower of the Americas provides the best view of the city. Admission to the observation deck also includes a trip on the exciting Skies Over Texas 4D Theater Ride. To round out a great date night, enjoy happy hour at Bar 601 or have dinner with a view at the Chart House restaurant.
Travel Underground. Walk 180 feet below the surface and discover the incredible Natural Bridge Caverns. There are two amazing caverns to choose from to tour – the original Discovery Tour (pictured) and the Hidden Passage Tour. Or, get in on the first tour of the day to see the caverns as the first explorers did, lit only by your own lantern. Above ground, you can challenge the obstacle course and zip line, make your way through a maze, or pan for treasures at the Discovery Village Mining Co.
Put Your Thinking Cap On. Whether you want to learn more about Texas’ heritage and ancient history, if you’re more into science and dinosaurs, or if you’re a lover of art and personal stories, there’s something to keep anyone entertained at the Witte Museum. Its extensive collections are complimented by rotating exhibits, such as the current exhibit of Fairytale-inspired Fiesta gowns. Be sure to visit the brand new H-E-B Body Adventure for a fun, interactive way to learn about health, wellness, and nutrition.
5 Restaurants to Visit
Mi Terra Located in the El Mercado shopping center, Mi Tierra is the restaurant to try when you’re out shopping for Mexican souvenirs for all your friends. The local Tex-Mex favorite is open 24 hours, so you can always get your fix of tacos, enchiladas, or Mexican-style breakfast. Don’t forget to stop by the authentic Mexican bakery for an assortment of candies, sweetbreads, pastries and more.
218 Produce Row | San Antonio, TX 78207
The Big Bib You can’t go to Texas without eating barbecue, and the Big Bib is the kind of hole-in-the wall you know locals love for the delicious food and low prices. If you’re traveling through try to visit on a weekday, as it can be hard to find a table during lunch on the weekends – always a good sign of a great restaurant! Must-tries are the brisket with the sweet potato casserole.
104 Lanark Drive, Austin Highway | San Antonio, TX 78218
La Fonda on Main San Antonio’s oldest Mexican restaurant opened in 1932 and has been a staple ever since. Traditional Mexican fare is elevated to create upscale dishes at comfortable prices. In addition to the tacos, enchiladas, and salads, the chefs regularly create new specialties so there’s always something new to try.
2415 N Main Ave | San Antonio, TX 78212
Magnolia Pancake Haus If you’re on the hunt for a hardy breakfast before seeing the sites, Magnolia Pancake Haus is the place to go. True to its name, the pancakes are some of the best you’ll find in the city, but if you’re looking for more southern fare the biscuits and gravy are definitely worth a try as well. When you arrive you’ll probably see a line out the door, but the service is fast and you’ll likely be seated and eating an amazing brunch before you know it.
606 Embassy Oaks | San Antonio, TX 78216
10333 Huebner Road | San Antonio, TX 78240
Zocca Cuisine D’Italia Many restaurants on the River Walk prove that San Antonio is not only a mecca of southwestern fare, but can also be a trendy, foodie-friendly destination. Zocca is extremely customer-oriented, with excellent customer service and an extensive gluten free menu. Whether you’re dining on some of the city’s best Italian cuisine, enjoying the top-notch breakfast or just enjoying a glass of wine on the patio, this is definitely a restaurant to try.
420 West Market Street | San Antonio, TX 78205
Where to Stay
On a map, you can see that San Antonio is almost hub-like, with multiple highways servicing the city for easy access. You can stay outside of downtown and drive in to see the sights, but to get the most out of your trip you’ll want to find a River Walk hotel. Check out these great deals on San Antonio hotels!