Originally a home to missionaries and their congregations, the Alamo is most famous for the battle that took place in 1836 between General Santa Anna and the Texans and Tejanos who defended the fort. The Alamo is open to visitors Monday – Saturday, 9 AM to 5:30 PM, and on Sundays, 10 AM to 5:30PM.
Missions National Historical Park
This park offers guided tours, movies, and demonstrations about the history of the land and historic missions on the property. There is also an old grist mill and 270 year old Espada acequia (irrigation system) to see. In addition to being a beautiful outdoor destination, the four mission churches are active Catholic parishes which hold regular services open to the public. There are no fees for park entry. Pets on leashes are welcome.
San Fernando Cathedral
This is the oldest, continuously functioning religious community in Texas, and is also the oldest standing church building in Texas. In the spring they have a large Fiesta that is popular with tourists and families. Check with the church for dates. Davy Crockett and Jim Bowie are buried here, and be sure and check out their Christo Negro (black Christ).
Spanish Governor’s Palace
Reputed to have many ghosts haunting its grounds, this structure dates to the early 18th century and was used as the seat of power and Texas in the Spanish held territory. Admission is $2 and the tour is self-guided.
Also known as the Paseo del Rio, this network of paved areas along the San Antonio river will take you by the cities best bars, shops, and restaurants. It also connects the Alamo to Rivercenter Mall, HemisFair Park, the San Antonio Museum of Art and the Pearl Brewery. Take a walk and see the best of what San Antonio has to offer.
Shops at Cantera
This large outdoor mall features standard mall chains, plus many independent Texas designers. Very popular with shopaholics, be sure and take a break at one of the many restaurants, ice-cream shops or coffee shops before continuing on your way.
SeaWorld San Antonio
The largest SeaWorld in North America, this marine theme park offers entertaining and educational wildlife shows, a huge water park, and other water and wildlife diversions. Though the price for admission is expensive, word on the street is that food and drinks in the park were priced more reasonably than many comparable theme parks.
McNay Art Museum
This modern art museum features a fantastic collection of 19th and 20th century European and American art, including works by Cézanne, Gauguin, O’Keeffe, Picasso, and Matisse. Open Tuesday – Saturday, 10 AM to 5 PM and Sunday, Noon to 5 PM.
Texas Air Museum
For plane enthusiast’s, the Texas Air Museum is a must-see. Focusing on the roll Texas has played in the development of the military’s air power, this museum features many vintage aircraft from World War II and before. Family run and inexpensive, be sure and stop by.
In the heart of downtown, this cluster of historic buildings houses local artists and craftsman showcasing their wares for browsing and purchase. The architecture is its own attraction, and the artist galleries will amaze you.
Also known as El Mercado, this market is a fantastic destination for Mexican crafts and Latino products. The bakeries have some of the best sweets in town, and La Jaiba is reputed to be the best Mexican restaurant in the city.
Buckhorn Saloon & Museum
In 1881, trappers, hunters, and cowboys started a tradition that left this saloon with a unique collection of wall accessories; for a hard drink, the hard-up western men would trade their deer antlers and other goods instead of cash. If mounted fish, fowl, and deer aren’t your cup of tea, stay away, but if you’re looking for die-hard San Antonio tradition, bring your set of antlers or your stuffed fish, and get a drink. Cash and credit also accepted.
Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center
This nonprofit center showcases the dance, literature, media, theater, visual arts, and music of the Chicano/Latino/Native American peoples of San Antonio and Texas. Come for one of their many festivals or regular programs.
Natural Bridge Caverns
Though a little pricey for admission, you’ll be amazed at the majesty of underground limestone formations in chamber after chamber of subterranean halls. Emerald pools and exceptional stalactites and stalagmites are well worth the visit.
In 1968, San Antonio hosted the HemisFair in honor of the city’s 250th birthday. This tranquil park has several attractions, most famously the 750 foot Tower of the Americas, which provides an excellent view of the entire city.