Things to See and Do in San Antonio, Texas


san fernando cathedral, san antonio, texas, cathedral
For an authentic San Antonio, Texas experience visit the historic San Fernando Cathedral. Photo © Nancy D. Brown

Are you visiting San Antonio for the first time? Below is a list of “Insider Tips” for things to see and do in the Alamo City.

When I have a visitor from out of town, I take them to The Alamo. Originally named Mission San Antonio de Valero, The Alamo was established in 1718 as the city’s first mission.

For an authentic experience reserved for the locals, visit the historic San Fernando Cathedral. I was fortunate to attend the early morning Fiesta Mariachi Mass in April. The English speaking mass honors Fiesta royalty and includes a Spanish choir and lively mariachi music.

Kids in San Antonio, Texas

Save time for a trip to SeaWorld San Antonio, the world’s largest marine life adventure park or Six Flags if you have kids traveling with you. If you happen to be in San Antonio during Fiesta, the Fiesta Arts Fair at the Southwest School of Art brings together artists from across the U.S. and San Antonio. This family-friendly event also features a Children’s Art Garden where kids have a chance to work with professional artists while they create their own masterpieces.


prickly pear margarita, boudros, san antonio riverwalk, texas, margarita
For a Prickly Pear Margarita, go to Boudros on the Riverwalk. Photo © Nancy D. Brown

Tex-Mex Food of San Antonio

Are you wondering where to eat in San Antonio, Texas?  This is the place for excellent Tex-Mex cuisine.

The best items on the menu at La Gloria restaurant are the mokajetes. La Gloria specializes in street foods of Mexico. The margaritas are “life changing” according to my friend. Personally, I liked the sangria and just about everything Chef Johnny Hernandez brought out to our table. Viva Fiesta!

For a tasty Prickly Pear Margarita, go to Boudros on the Riverwalk. The best breakfast in town can be found at Guenther Bakery in the King William District. If this place could mail order their cinnamon rolls I’d be in BIG trouble!

One of the “must do” tourist experiences is the Rio San Antonio dinner cruise, then stop and have a drink at The Esquire after dinner.

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For the foodies in the group, take a cooking class at The Culinary Institute of America, San Antonio or dine at NAO, pronounced “now” – a restaurant of new world flavors.


nikki swift, sallie lewis, queen of the order of the alamo, san antonio, texas, princess of the order of the alamo
Nikki Swift, 2012 Princess of the Order of the Alamo and Sallie Lewis, Queen of the Order of the Alamo. Photo © Nancy D. Brown

Cowboy boots and hat standard San Antonio attire

Are you seeing a lot of cowboy boots and hats around town? San Antonio is best known for Western Wear. The highlight of my visit was the Charreada at Charro Ranch. A Charreada is the national sport of Mexico, an equestrian competition featuring horse reining, bull riding and roping skills. Check out theTexas Folklife Festival if you are visiting San Antonio in June.

There’s more to San Antonio than River Walk

Everyone will know you are visiting San Antonio if you get your picture taken in front of the Alamo or on the River Walk (RW.)If you have time,  walk to the top of the Tower of the Americas on the Observation Deck.  It’s also nice to explore street level too, especially the Southtown area which is less “polished” and a little funkier. Lots of art galleries, shops, and neighborhood businesses. The King William neighborhood is a real find for lovers of Victoriana – the homes are gorgeous and if you come during a home tour that’s a treat to see them on the inside!

That said, if you’re on the RW,  it’s a must to take the River barge all the way to the Pearl District, from there; especially on Saturday mornings for the year-round, rain or shine Farmers Market.



"River Walk"
The San Antonio River Walk is a five mile network of walkways.

San Antonio fitness break

In San Antonio, outdoor types will want to hike and bike their way through the city. Of course you’ll want to walk the River Walk.

Looking for a little exercise? Walk  or run along the Museum and Mission Reach portions of the River Walk, this eight mile, $245 million project will restore wetlands to the ecosystem while maintaining or improving flood control.

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If you are a museum lover you might want to visit the San Antonio Missions National Park, the  McNay Art Museum or Museo Alameda, the first and only Smithsonian-affiliated museum dedicated to Latino culture. Afterall, there’s more to San Antonio than the Alamo.

Want to dance like a local? Azuca restaurant is the place to go for salsa dancing.
There’s more to San Antonio than art

The San Antonio Express-News will keep you posted on what’s happening in San Antonio, as well as the alternative weekly San Antonio Current.

In the spring you should attend Luminaria in March and Fiesta in late April. San Antonio seems to have a festival or celebration every month.

But there’s more to San Antonio than art.  Come to San Antonio in the winter for SPURS basketball season. You may watch the four-time World Champions at AT&T Center.



mission espada, unesco world heritage site, spanish colonial mission, san antonio spanish colonial mission, san antonio, texas
Mission Espada is part of the San Antonio Missions National Park. Photo © Nancy D. Brown

Insider Tip: Check out The King William Neighborhood; it’s a beautiful historic neighborhood located just south of downtown.

Just outside of  San Antonio you may explore Texas Hill Country. The kids will love the water park at the JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort. I loved Lantana Spa at the resort.

What are your favorite things to do in San Antonio?

For more up-to-date happenings, follow Visit San Antonio on Twitter and like their page on Facebook. For all things travel related, follow Travel Expert Nancy D. Brown on Twitter.

Thanks to San Antonio Writer Julie Catalano and San Antonio Convention & Visitors Bureau for assistance with this post.  Photos, YouTube video and article by  Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown.

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4 thoughts on “Things to See and Do in San Antonio, Texas”

  1. I love San Antonio and growing up in Dallas I used to visit there quit a bit as a kid. We still head out that way at least once a year to visit family. Sea World is a must if you’re traveling with kids. And if you’re into wine you should try to spend at least a day in the hill country. One of my favorite TX vineyards is Texas Hills Vineyard. You can grab a picnic lunch at the Silver Cafe to eat at the vineyard as they have a huge picnic area.

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