San Antonio is the most visited city in Texas, with around 26 million tourists a year. Which is easy to believe due to there being many attractions in San Antonio, including Spanish missions, the famed San Antonio River Walk, SeaWorld San Antonio, Six Flags Fiesta Texas and, of course, the Alamo.

San Antonio is the 2nd largest city in Texas and the 7th largest in the United States, with a population, at last count, of 1,336,040.

In 1718 there was an Indian village at the southern edge of Texas Hill Country. At that location Spaniards decided to build Mission San Antonio de Valero, later to be named the Alamo. To protect the mission the Spaniards built a presidio (that's Spanish for fort) called San Antonio de Bexar. So, now you know how San Antonio and the county is sits in, Bexar County, got their names.
Most Texans would likely agree that the Alamo is the most famous location in Texas. The chapel and the Long Barrack are all that remain of the original fort. Even so, that chapel is one of the most photographed images in the world. The Alamo is now a museum, open daily except for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

The River Walk has become San Antonio's other iconic image. The Spanish name for the River Walk is Paseo del Rio. The river is below the street level, lined with hotels, galleries, restaurants, gift shops, cafes, boutiques and a lot of music. You can pay a fee and take a riverboat cruise.

Map of San Antonio Area & 
Additional San Antonio Information

There are more than 3,500 animals in the San Antonio Zoo. An 18 minute miniature train ride winds through Brackenbridge Park. The zoo is open all year long, no closures. There is an admission fee.

SeaWorld San Antonio is the world's largest marine life park. World famous Shamu, a killer whale Orca, taken from Puget Sound in the state of Washington, in a practice no longer allowed, stars in a production called "Believe." SeaWorld is open weekends and some  weekdays in spring, daily during summer, weekends in fall through Thanksgiving weekend. Go to the SeaWorld website for precise times and admission fees.

San Antonio makes for a great weekend getaway. You can easily get to the highlights on the 5 routes of the VIA San Antonio Streetcars, which are rubber-tired replicas of long ago streetcars. (more San Antonio Transit Info)

You can get a great overview of San Antonio from high above on the observation deck of the 750 foot tall Tower of the Americas. Glass walled elevators zip you to the observation leve l and restaurant. For information about hours and fees go to the Tower of the Americas' website.

San Antonio Missions

San Antonio is home to Five Spanish Missions.

Mission San Antonio de Valero is the most famous of the San Antonio Spanish Missions. It is more commonly known as the Alamo. The Alamo mission was founded in 1718, the first to be built on the San Antonio River.

San Antonio's Mission San JoseMission San Jose is known as the "Queen of the Missions." This mission compound's size is what made it the "Queen," serving as a major social center.

Mission San Juan was relocated in 1731 from East Texas to the San Antonio River and renamed Mission San Juan. It became a major regional agricultural supplier.

Mission Concepcion, was also relocated from East Texas in 1731. In its heyday this mission was covered with long faded geometric patterns on its exterior and interior.

Mission Espada was the oldest of the original East Texas missions, founded in 1690, it also was moved to the San Antonio River in 1731. This mission is the furthest south from urban San Antonio.

A fun way to visit the San Antonio Missions is the 8 mile long paved Mission Hike and Bike Trail. This is not a loop, so the total miles, round-trip is 16 miles. Easy on a bike, no so easy walking.

San Antonio Museums

San Antonio has many museums. There is Buckhorn Saloon & Museum, the Alamo Museum, McNay Art Museum, Pioneer, Trail Drivers and Texas Rangers Memorial Museum, San Antonio Museum of Art, the Children's Museum, Texas Transportation Museum and Witte Museum with its four-level H-E-B Science Treehouse.

Directly across from the Alamo you'll find Guinness World Records Museum & Ripley's Haunted Adventure. The Guinness Museum is a high tech interactive experience. Ripley's Haunted Adventure scares you with live actors, animatronics and creepy special effects. Both attractions are open daily except for Christmas.

San Antonio Events & Festivals

Fiesta San AntonioA few weeks before the arrival of Spring, Remember the Alamo Weekend is held the first weekend of March. A sunrise ceremony honors the Texans who died at the Alamo. The St. Patrick's Day River Dyeing Parade and Pub Crawl is also in March, when San Antonio celebrates the Irish by dyeing the San Antonio River green, with a pub crawl, river parade and Irish dance and music. In April the biggest event of the year takes place, Fiesta San Antonio, a 10-day event attracting 3.5 million attendees.

In Summer nearly a million people attend the Texas Folklife Festival at the Institute of Texan Cultures. This event celebrates the Lone Star State's diversity through music, crafts, arts and lots of food. In September Fiestas Patrias celebrates the Mexican Independence Day of September 16, with food, dances and carnivals.

Fall and Winter events in San Antonio include El Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), in which it is the Mexican custom to welcome back dearly departed relatives and friends through offerings like skulls made of sugar and parades in which many of the participants are attired as skeletons. The Holiday River Parade and Lighting Ceremony kicks off Christmas season in San Antonio. Thousands of colorful lights brighten up the River Walk, shining on decorated floats. The Stock Show and Rodeo takes place for 2 weeks in early February. You will find all the traditional rodeo events at this rodeo.

Where to Stay in San Antonio

If going on a "cheap" vacation is your modus operandi, stretching your vacation dollars as far as possible, San Antonio has many nice, yet "cheap" lodging motel options well under $100 a night, such as Hyatt Place, Days Inn Seaworld, Super 8, Best Western, La Quinta, Alamo/River Walk Days Inn, Howard Johnson Express Inn, Howard Johnson Inn & Suites Seaworld, Rodeway Inn, Siesta Inn & Suites, Comfort Suites, Camino Real Motel, Econo Lodge Inn and, of course, several Motel 6's.

Where to Eat in San Antonio

In San Antonio the food focus is understandably on Mexican, with a very large number of Mexican restaurants, with Tex-Mex, Southwest-Mex, Cal-Mex, Interior-Mex and Other-Mex.

Good Mexican joints on the River Walk are Casa Rio, considered to be the first River Walk restaurant, this joint has a great patio. Another classic River Walk spot is Rio Rio Cantina, known for its huge portions. Acenar is a bit more upscale Mexican in a huge restaurant on multiple levels, where you will find tacos with unique fillings, like crab and oysters. For American/Southwestern fare on the River Walk try Zuni Grill, where the patio has a great river views and is one of the few River Walk restaurants to serve breakfast. If you want fancy dining head to Boudro's and have a prickly pear margarita along with seafood and upscale southwestern fare. Gourmet magazine named Biga on the Banks one of the Top 5 restaurants in Texas. The County Line is where you go on the River Walk for Texas style BBQ.

Downtown on the edge of the King William Historic District you will find Rosario's Mexican Cafe, with a unique chile relleno. Mi Tera Cafe & Bakery is a legendary open 24 hours restaurant in San Antonio's Market Square. At Azuca, in the King William Historic District, the specialty is Caribbean food. La Fonda on Main is another San Antonio Mexican restaurant institution. For American cuisine, downtown, head to the Liberty Bar, where the walls and floor are crooked but the food, like pot roast and lamb sausage, is not crooked. Chart House is the revolving restaurant at the top of the Tower of the Americas. This is a Landry's restaurant, serving surf and turf, 750 feet in the air. Madhatters Tea House & Cafe is a popular lunch cafe inspired by Alice in Wonderland.

Click here for more of our favorite
 San Antonio Restaurants

Visit our Eyes on Texas Blog to make a 
comment or share info about San Antonio






San Antonio     McAllen
Laredo    Eagle Pass    Poteet  

A Longhorn in Wildflowers at Lake Grapevine
email feedback All Rights Reserved