Once a frontier settlement in the Wild West, San Antonio has become a modern city full of modern amenities. As one of the top shopping destinations in the nation, San Antonio offers upscale boutiques, multiple shopping malls and the largest Mexican market in the United States. The city is also famous for its scenic River Walk, which makes getting around downtown a breeze. Stretching 15 miles from start to finish, the River Walk’s shaded pathways connect hundreds of shops, restaurants, hotels, historic landmarks, museums and attractions. It’s also the setting for many of the city’s annual festivals and events featuring food, wine, live music and more.
With a unique culture stemming from Spanish, German and American roots, San Antonio offers an abundance of history, arts and exciting cuisine. Take the River Walk to the north and you’ll find museums filled with everything from Picassos to Western memorabilia and the Pearl, an exciting culinary and shopping destination. To the south, the River Walk leads to four Spanish missions that once provided shelter for frontier settlers, and still provide some of the best bird watching around. Perhaps most notable of all San Antonio’s missions is the Alamo, located in the heart of downtown. The Missions and the Alamo have been named a World Heritage Site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
Just a short way outside of downtown, you’ll find five different theme parks, more than 50 golf courses, one of the largest zoos in America, the largest caverns in Texas and miles of hike and bike trails stretching into the Texas Hill Country, a region quickly gaining recognition for its wineries. All in all, San Antonio is one unforgettable city where you’ll never run out of things to do. And if you ever need a suggestion, just ask one of the friendly locals.
San Antonio, Texas Highlights
King William Historic District
Once covered in farmland stretching out from the Alamo, the district as it stands today was built and settled by German immigrants in the 1860s. Named after King Wilhelm I, then King of Prussia, the area became one of the most fashionable neighborhoods in the city due to its large, impressive houses designed in Greek Revival, Victorian and Italianate styles.
Don’t leave without tasting…
San Antonio is known as the home of Tex-Mex, so you’ll want to sample your share of enchiladas, tamales and tacos. You’ll also have the opportunity to learn how to cook Tex-Mex at a food enthusiast course at the Culinary Institute of America. The campus focuses on Latin American cuisine.
History happened here
Originally built as a mission in 1724, the Alamo is famed as the site of a pivotal 1836 battle during the Texas Revolution. For 13 days, 189 Texans held the old mission against some 4,000 Mexican soldiers. They ultimately lost the battle, but the iconic battle cry ‘Remember the Alamo’ was born and the war was won shortly after at the Battle of San Jacinto.
If you want to fit in...
Stop by Paris Hatters for a custom-fitted cowboy hat. The company has outfitted Pope John Paul II, B.B. King and American singer-songwriter Kid Rock, among many others.
- The McNay Art Museum, set in a Mediterranean-style mansion, has wide-ranging collections, including Post-Impressionist and modern pieces, theatre-centric works, medieval offerings, Native American art and more
- The Briscoe Western Art Museum, the city's newest museum, preserves and interprets the art, history, and culture of the American West
- The San Antonio Museum of Art is noted for its antiquities collections and the 30,000 square-foot Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Latin American Art
- The Witte Museum is San Antonio's premier museum of South Texas history, culture and natural science
- The Institute of Texan Cultures chronicles more than 25 ethnic groups that made the Lone Star State what it is today. The fascinating displays include a Native American tepee, an old-time barbershop, a frontier dentist’s office, a town square band gazebo, an African American sharecropper’s house and even a working post office.
One awe-inspiring building
- San Fernando cathedral, established in 1731, was built by Canary Islanders to help colonise the region for Spain. It is the oldest cathedral sanctuary in the USA, and the stunning architecture includes stained glass windows, frescos and antique artworks.
- Explore Spanish colonial architecture at San Antonio’s five 18th-century missions. Besides the famous Alamo, four other Spanish colonial missions founded in the early 1700s form San Antonio Missions National Historical Park. The Visitor Center at Mission San José is the perfect starting point; drive from mission to mission or take the Mission Reach, ideal for hiking and biking.
San Antonio has a unique blend of art villages, marketplaces, outlet malls and chic boutiques. You’ll find everything from the nation’s largest Mexican market to expansive retail shopping centres. And just north of San Antonio, the outlet malls of San Marcos offer more than 230 high-end retailers like Giorgio Armani, the Neiman Marcus Last Call Clearance Center, Crate & Barrel and the Disney Store.
Top photo opportunities
- The Alamo
- Largest pair of cowboy boots in the world
- Whooping cranes at the San Antonio Zoo
- Jesse Treviño’s 40-foot mural, ‘Spirit of Healing’
- Torch of Friendship.
Want to stay up late?
Stop by La Tuna, a traditional Texas ice house with an eclectic crowd and great food and drinks. Sit on a picnic bench and mingle with the locals.
Your child will always remember…
- At SeaWorld San Antonio, you can meet Shamu the orca and feed the dolphins—and also see beluga whales, penguins, sea lions and more—as well as ride roller coasters and cool down in the Aquatica water park
- Just down the road is Six Flags Fiesta Texas. Ride on the eight roller coasters and swim in a Texas-shaped pool. In the evening, there is a spectacular fireworks display
- Morgan’s Wonderland is a completely wheelchair-accessible family fun park with rides, playgrounds, gardens, an eight-acre fishing lake, a special-events centre and an amphitheatre.
- Explore San Antonio's newest family educational destination and world-class museum for kids - The DoSeum. The DoSeum is a fun and fascinating place where kids can create, make, build, invent, discover, think, dream and do. With interactive exhibits designed to help children become creative problem solvers, The DoSeum is regarded as one of the most state-of-the-art learning facilities in the United States.