A personal guide for some fun things to do in San Antonio, Texas. Plus surrounding areas of Gruene, New Braunfels and Waco. Be sure to check out my copycat recipe for Queso Fundido, which was inspired by my trip!
One of my best and oldest friends (old meaning I’ve known her since college) recently moved to San Antonio, Texas. I’d never been to Texas. And I wanted to visit my friend! And even though she’s lived there just over a year, she was the perfect tour guide. We packed a lot of activities into less than a week. Visiting attractions, dining and drinking all around San Antonio, Gruene, New Braunfels and Waco, Texas.
In my travel summary I’m going to describe what I experienced personally, plus give you some more suggestions for things to do in San Antonio. There is so much to do and see! I’m glad my friend lives there now because I want to go back again to visit.
Why is San Antonio so popular?
The city of San Antonio, Texas is known for its Spanish missions, The Alamo, and it’s beautiful, bustling Riverwalk. The weather is hot, but not humid. Coming from Ohio with its sometimes stiflingly humid summers, I was worried about soaring temperatures. But what everyone says is really true – dry heat just hits different. When you are in the shade, and especially if there’s a breeze, those Texas summers can feel a little cooler than Ohio. My friend and I just hit the highlights of this vibrant city, which is why I’m planning for a return trip.
What is one of San Antonio’s main attractions?
As far as historical places to visit, The Alamo is what I associate San Antonio with the most. The thing that surprised me the most about The Alamo is its size. The remaining restored chapel that is left standing was just a very small part of the huge fortress which stood during the Texas Revolution. If you are a history buff, you should most definitely pay to take the one-hour, guided tour of The Alamo.
Drink and desserts from Southerleigh Fine Food & Brewery at The Pearl.
What are the five best things to do in San Antonio?
This is a highly subjective list. But here are the top five things I recommend doing while visiting San Antonio:
- The Alamo – See above.
- Riverwalk (including a GO RIO River Cruise). I highly recommend a cruise to experience the Riverwalk. If we’d been able to, we would have booked a dinner cruise. My understanding is that you need to book a dinner cruise several weeks in advance.
- The Pearl – great area for drinks and dining! Plus they have fabulous markets on the weekend. A Farmer’s Market on Saturdays and a Maker’s Market on Sundays.
- Tower of the Americas – I’ve had several friends highly recommend this experience.
- Gruene Texas – A designated National Historic District a little less than a 45 minute drive from San Antonio. We enjoyed delicious food, the winery and a stop at Gruene Hall – the oldest dance hall in Texas! Many a famous artist has played there and they still host a full calendar of concerts.
Why should I visit San Antonio river walk?
It’s so much fun! We enjoyed a river cruise with GO RIO. Our tour guide was so personable and funny. The tour was a really enjoyable experience up and back the most bustling section of the walk. There’s so many options for dining. We sat along the river for a couple of hours, sipping margaritas. Taking in the sites and people watching at Casa Rio. In the future I want to book a dinner cruise with either Go Rio or Paesanos. Seating is limited and you need to book several weeks in advance.
Here’s some more links to popular San Antonio Attractions
Parks and Outdoor Spaces
- Brackenridge Park – Situated just below the headwaters of the San Antonio River, the site of Brackenridge Park has been an oasis for humans for 12,000 years, from indigenous people who found water, food, and shelter here to Park visitors today who come to relax along the river, to wade in the low water crossing with their children, and to explore the Park’s historic sites and some of San Antonio’s most beloved attractions.
- Japanese Tea Garden – What began as a pit created from its years as a limestone quarry and cement factory, the Japanese Tea Garden is now a beloved jewel in San Antonio’s cultural landscape. In 1916, Park Commissioner Ray Lambert looked out over the rocky void and envisioned something beautiful: a Japanese style garden complete with a waterfall and koi pond. Lambert’s design for a Texas version of a tea garden was sparked by the Japanese art and fashion that were highly popular throughout the American West in the early 20th century.
- Missions National Historical Park – San Antonio Missions National Historical Park is a piece of a UNESCO World Heritage Site preserving four of the five Spanish frontier missions in San Antonio.
- Natural Bridge Caverns – Underground cavern tours and above-ground ropes courses and ziplinig.
- San Antonio Botanical Garden – Recognized nationally for commitment to outstanding displays, botanical diversity, education, environmental stewardship, and experiences that connect people to the natural world, the Garden is a top San Antonio attraction that serves as a museum of plants, a tranquil escape, a living classroom, a research and conservation facility, and entertainment venue where art, architecture, music, and theater experiences come to life.
Arts and Entertainment
- Majestic Theater – Recognized as one of the most ornate facilities in the country, the Majestic has long held a special place in the archives of Texas theatrical and architectural history. Today, the Majestic Theatre is San Antonio’s premier performing arts facility featuring Broadway shows, concerts, comedians, and other live events!
- San Antonio Museum of Art (SAMA) – A visit to the San Antonio Museum of Art (SAMA) takes you around the world and through five thousand years of art in a complex of buildings that once housed the Lone Star Brewery. SAMA is renowned for the most comprehensive ancient Greek, Roman, and Egyptian art collection in the southern United States.
- San Antonio Zoo – San Antonio Zoo®, operated by San Antonio Zoological Society, is a non-profit organization committed to securing a future for wildlife. Through its passion and expertise in animal care, conservation, and education, the zoo’s mission is to inspire its community to love, engage with, act for and protect animals and the places they live. The zoo welcomes more than a million visitors each year and is open year-round.
- SeaWorld San Antonio – SeaWorld is one of the largest marine animal rescue organizations in the world. San Antonio is also home to Aquatica (water park) and Discover Point (in-water interactive experiences).
- Six Flags Fiesta Texas – Experience pulse-pounding coasters, dining, shopping, entertainment, and attractions for kids, adults and everyone in-between.
- Tower of the Americas – Located in downtown San Antonio, the 750-foot-tall Tower of the Americas provides guests the most spectacular view of the Alamo City. Enjoy the gorgeous panorama from the Tower’s revolving Chart House Restaurant, take in the scenery from the Observation Deck or experience the thrilling 4D Theater Ride. For a taste of the best dining and fun that San Antonio Riverwalk restaurants have to offer, come take a flight with the Tower of the Americas.
And as if this isn’t enough… here are the rest of the highlights from my fantastic trip to San Antonio, Texas!
Day Trip to Waco, Texas for all things Magnolia
Pit Stop at Buc-ees
Buc-ees in New Braunfels, TX
The best Mexican food and best cover band on my last night in Texas
Thank you so much for being a faithful reader and supporter of Foodtastic Mom. Be sure to PIN this travel guide to Pinterest! Also like and tag ‘Foodtastic Mom’ on Facebook and Instagram!
Foodtastic Mom is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program (Amazon Associate), an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. Any highlighted, clickable Amazon link you see is an affiliate link that I may earn advertising fees on when you click to purchase.