Explore Local: San Antonio, Texas

Traveling far and wide is fun. However, many people tend to forget just how many awesome things there are to do close to home.

This season, why not stay local for your getaways? There are almost certainly some awesome attractions and restaurants in your city that you have yet to see, and you’ll likely even find some hidden gems!

Not sure what there is to do near you? Lucky for you, we’ve put together some awesome local travel guides to help out. In this guide, we’ll be discussing things to do in San Antonio.

There are a lot of options, so let’s begin.

Why We Love to Travel

The beauty of travel is seeing new places, experiencing new things, meeting new people… That feeling of wanderlust is buried deep in our souls! Getting to experience cultures that are different from our own is an amazing way to grow as individuals and learn about others. Seeing how people all over the world live helps us keep an open mind and even gather inspiration to bring back into our daily lives.

Travel is also a great way to get away from the day-to-day. Breaking up our routines with a fun trip definitely recharges the batteries and helps prevent us from getting burnt out.

But here’s the thing – you don’t have to go far to fill your cup. Sometimes the best adventures are the ones close to home.

Benefits of Traveling Locally

While the culture an hour away from your home might not be drastically different from what you’re used to, you can still gain a deepened sense of appreciation for where you’ve laid your roots. Plus, traveling locally has a lot of benefits:

  • More cost-effective. Local travel is certainly a budget-friendly way to explore! Many activities and local parks are free or have a low cost of entry. For day trips, you can also pack your own meals to save.
  • Eco-friendly way to travel. Travel is hard on the environment, but putzing around your area is more sustainable than air travel.
  • Quick trips. Getting out locally means you can do it more often! Long weekend trips are a lot easier to take when the destination is a short drive away.
  • Easy to plan. Preparing your itinerary for a local getaway will likely save you some time and stress.
  • More convenient. Especially if you have little ones, sticking close to home may be much more convenient than far-off destinations. If you forget something, have an emergency, or need to cut the trip short, being close by definitely has its benefits.

Explore Local: San Antonio, Texas

San Antonio is an interesting city for sure. It has a rich and exciting history that is incredibly interesting to learn about, and exploring the local area definitely presents plenty of opportunities to do just that.

Additionally, San Antonio has a lot going on when it comes to the food scene, meaning you hungry folks out there won’t need to look far to find something delicious to eat. On top of all that, this city also has plenty of options for outdoor activities, along with a thriving arts scene.

All in all, we have to say San Antonio is a pretty fantastic place, and those who live in this amazing Texas city definitely need to dive deep to find all the amazing and fun things to do in San Antonio.

*Note: Some of the suggestions may not be doable due to coronavirus closures, but keep this list handy for when things start opening back up more! Be sure to check individual pages for specific operation details.

54 Things to Do in San Antonio

Best Things to Do in San Antonio

Want to check out the very best of what the city has to offer? Honestly, it’s hard to narrow down the list of the best things to do in San Antonio to just a few sights and attractions. That said, we did our best and came up with our top 4 San Antonio must-sees.

The Alamo

Easily the most iconic sight in all of San Antonio, the Alamo is must-see for residents as well as visitors. It holds fascinating secrets and stories, and is an astounding piece of Texas history.

This is a free attraction, so you can go and enjoy this amazing place without spending a single penny.

San Antonio Missions National Historical Park

Wondering about national parks in San Antonio? San Antonio Missions National Historical Park is the one and only NPS site in the city. It is also free to the public and works alongside the Alamo to present the colorful history of the area.

Make sure you allow yourself plenty of time to see all that this wonderful park has to offer.

SeaWorld San Antonio

SeaWorld has some of the very best theme parks in the country, and the San Antonio location is no exception. Whether you prefer to check out the amazing sea creatures, hop on a rollercoaster, or spend time in the kiddie area, there is something for everyone at this fantastic attraction.

Six Flags Fiesta Texas

Another fabulous San Antonio amusement park is Six Flags Fiesta Texas. As is the case with all Six Flags parks, you’ll want to arrive at this attraction ready for thrills. There are coasters galore and so much more, making this a great place for thrill-seekers of all ages.

Free Things to Do in San Antonio

It should be noted that both the Alamo and San Antonio Missions National Historical park are free to the public. This makes them even more attractive to locals and visitors alike. That said, these are far from the only free things to do in this amazing city.

The options below are free to the public every day. Additionally, several museums in the area feature weekly or monthly free days. Be sure to watch for those when planning your fun!

San Antonio River Walk

Like the Alamo, the San Antonio River Walk is one of those places that all San Antonio residents should visit once in a while. We love to browse what the area has to offer, and we especially love the fact that we don’t have to spend money to have a good time. That said, you may find yourself wanting to splurge on a snack or drink.

Brackenridge Park

This fabulous park is home to several popular San Antonio attractions. That said, the park could be considered an attraction in and of itself. Visit for a nice stroll, enjoy the playground, or take a picnic. You’re sure to enjoy the time you spend in this lovely green space.

Japanese Tea Garden

Located within the aforementioned Brackenridge Park, the Japanese Tea Garden is an absolutely gorgeous place to spend a morning or afternoon. Take a leisurely stroll around the garden and admire the beauty of the well-cared-for plants and scenery.

San Pedro Creek Culture Park

Transformed from a drainage ditch. San Pedro Creek Culture Park is now a beautiful place full of lovely plants and animals. Best of all, there are numerous art installations throughout the park, adding a bit of color and excitement to the place.

Historic Market Square

Over 100 locally owned businesses and artists come together to create this unique Mexican marketplace. Stop by to browse the beautiful items being sold, or splurge a little and enjoy an authentic Mexican meal unlike any you’ve ever had before.

Yanaguana Garden

Yet another beautiful park in San Antonio, Yanaguana Garden is a huge 4.1-acre green space with walking trails, a playground, and a water play area. It’s the perfect place to get out of the house and spend a few hours outdoors.

Artpace

This indoor space features a revolving collection of art created by regional, national, and international artists. The non-profit organization works to support these artists, while also making their works available for viewing. The building is open to the public and offers free admission.

San Antonio Art League and Museum

Another great place to see some wonderful works of art is the San Antonio Art League and Museum. This museum was once merely a house, making it a very intimate space. It is now filled with over 600 works, and admission to see these beautiful pieces is free to the public.

The Main Plaza

The “heart of the city,” the Main Plaza is a wonderful place to visit to experience the unique culture of San Antonio. The plaza hosts many free events throughout the year, including concerts and other performances. Additionally, you’ll find vendors as well as a gorgeous historic cathedral.

The Quadrangle and Fort Sam Houston Museum

Last on our list of free attractions is the Quadrangle and Fort Sam Houston Museum. This free museum and historic place gives even more backstory on the great state of Texas, as well as the city of San Antonio in particular.

State Parks in San Antonio

Looking for things to do in San Antonio this weekend? Why not check out the city’s state parks? There are a few of these parks in and around the city, and each and every one has something wonderful to offer.

Casa Navarro State Park

A historic park, this is the place to go to learn about the life of Texas patriot Jose Antonio Navarro while visiting his original 1850s adobe home.

Pedernales Falls State Park

Featuring a gorgeous river, this is a wonderful place to visit in the summer for a swim or to go tubing. People also love the hiking and bird watching found here.

Guadalupe River State Park

As the name suggests, this park also features a river. The Guadalupe River is also quite lovely and offers hot park-goers a refreshing way to cool off during the warm months. You’ll also find gorgeous scenery and some interesting history in this lovely state park.

Choke Canyon State Park

This pretty canyon park is home to a great fishing lake. It’s also a wonderful place for hiking or geocaching, and many people like to play basketball, tennis, or soccer while visiting.

Palmetto State Park

Because this park has multiple sources of water available, you’ll find numerous plants and animals making themselves at home here. Hop in the water to do some swimming, tubing, or kayaking, or head out for a hike or bike ride. Fishing is also available, as are junior ranger programs for kids.

Best Hiking Trails

Of course, with state parks come hiking trails. Additionally, there are a few awesome trails around that aren’t in state parks at all. In all cases, the city’s hiking trails are some of the best cheap things to do in San Antonio.

Below we’ve listed some of the best hiking trails in San Antonio. Pick a few and head out on some amazing nature adventures that really highlight the beauty of the Lone Star State.

Leon Creek Greenway Trail

A super easy paved walking trail, this is a great option for those with strollers, wheelchairs, and small children.

San Antonio River Walk Mission Reach Trail

This is another super easy walking trail. We like that it runs alongside the river and offers nice views.

Leon Creek Greenway Trail

This paved walking trail is located in a very nice park. We like that bikes can be used on this trail, and dogs are allowed as long as they are leashed.

Hillview Nature Loop Trail

The Hillview Nature Trail is a great option for those looking for something a bit more difficult. Wild flowers grow along the path, and small animals can be spotted here.

McAllister Park Blue Loop Trail

This trail in McAllister park is a great place to soak up some nature. There are wildflowers along the trail during certain parts of the year, and the oak trees are simply lovely.

Joe Johnston Route Trail

A fun walk in the woods, the Joe Johnston Route Trail is perfect for those wanting to walk in a more natural environment. Keep an eye out for dinosaur tracks, which can be found along the way.

Fun Things for Kids and Families

Have kids in tow? Fortunately, there are plenty of things to do in San Antonio with kids. From museums to amusement parks, your kids are sure to find some options that suit their fancy. Here are our favorites.

DoSeum

An absolutely spectacular children’s museum, the DoSeum is one you won’t want to miss. Just know that once you arrive, the kids won’t want to leave!

Witte Museum

The Witte Museum is fun for kids and adults alike. It features tons of amazing exhibits on natural history and science, and even offers some hands-on fun for little ones.

San Antonio Zoo

There’s nothing quite like spending a day at the zoo, and the San Antonio Zoo is a wonderful one to visit. Check out the giraffes and the elephants, or head over to the lion exhibit.

Natural Bridge Caverns

Ever wonder what it’s like to go underground? You can find out at Natural Bridge Caverns. These cave tours are easy enough for kids and interesting for all ages.

Tower of the Americas

A 750-foot observation tower, this fun attraction offers fantastic views of the city. The thrilling 4D theater ride adds to the experience, and a snack at the cafe in the tower rounds everything out nicely.

Guinness World Records Museum

Have you ever read the Guinness Book of World Records? If you’ve enjoyed that, you’ll love this museum. A fun and bizarre place, this attraction is chock-full of odd and interesting information.

San Antonio Aquarium

If it’s too hot out for the zoo but you still want to check out some animals, the San Antonio Aquarium is the place for you. Not only will you see some beautiful fish, you can also check out some awesome mammals and reptiles, as well as demonstrations.

Morgan’s Wonderland

This amazing amusement park was created to fill a need for a fully accessible family fun park. It is totally wheelchair accessible, sensory-friendly, and staffed by incredible caring and helpful individuals. If you have a special needs person in your life, this is a must-see attraction.

Aquatica

The sister park to SeaWorld San Antonio, Aquatica is a super fun, sea-themed water park. It’s the perfect place to go in the heat of the summer and offers attractions for all ages.

San Antonio Botanical Garden

San Antonio Botanical Garden is absolutely gorgeous. It features 38 acres of lovely plants and well-manicured landscapes. The Children’s Vegetable Garden and Family Adventure Garden are geared toward kids, but the whole space is worth seeing.

LEGOLAND Discovery Center

Ideal for younger children, the LEGOLAND Discovery Center is an absolute blast. Check out the 4D movie, hop on one of the two rides, build to your heart’s content, or climb into the awesome play structure.

The Best of San Antonio at Night

We’ve talked a lot about things to do in San Antonio during the day, but what about at night? What does this city have to offer the night owls of the world?

Below we’ve listed some of our favorite nighttime activities for those in San Antonio. Stay up late one night and make a point of checking them out!

The Saga – San Fernando Cathedral Light Show

Located in the Main Plaza, this show happens on Tuesdays and weekends on the front of the historic San Fernando Cathedral. It is spectacular and free to the public.

San Antonio River Walk

Yes, we mentioned the River Walk once before. That said, we think it deserves to be mentioned again, especially to those considering nighttime fun, as this place truly comes alive at night.

Ghost Tours

Because of its rich and often violent history, many believe San Antonio to be haunted. Why not take one of the many ghost tours offered in the area and find out for yourself?

Best Restaurants in San Antonio

Of course, you will also need to eat while you’re out and about. Fortunately, there are plenty of amazing restaurants in this amazing city. In fact, you might have trouble deciding which wonderful eatery to try.

Our advice? Make time to try them all!

Maggiano’s Little Italy

In the mood for pasta? Maggiano’s Little Italy is one of the best Italian restaurants in San Antonio. People love the lasagna offered here, and the lemon cookies are to die for.

Green Vegetarian Cuisine

Featuring a wide variety of options, this small chain is one of the best vegetarian restaurants in San Antonio. We love everything we’ve tried here, but we recommend finishing every meal with a Mint Chocolate Vegan Cupcake.

Viva Vegeria

Another vegetarian option, Viva Vegeria is, in our opinion, one of the best vegan restaurants in San Antonio. Here you’ll find all kinds of gluten-free and vegan-friendly Tex-Mex menu items.

Tong’s Thai Restaurant

Looking for the best Asian restaurants in San Antonio? Look no further than Tong’s Thai Restaurant. We love everything about this local eatery!

Sushishima Japanese Restaurant

Another fabulous Asian option and one of the best sushi restaurants in San Antonio, Sushishima Japanese Restaurant is absolutely wonderful. Whether you’re heading out for a date night or just hanging out with friends, this place is a fabulous choice.

Paloma Blanca Mexican Cuisine

It’s a well known fact that San Antonio has some of the best Mexican food in the country. Want to find the very best Mexican restaurants in San Antonio? We recommend trying Paloma Blanca Mexican Cuisine first!

Fattboy Burgers and Dogs

Finally, there is the option of a good old-fashioned hamburger. Fattboy Burgers and Dogs is a great place to grab one of those, and they will even fix you up with a hot dog if you like!

Local Insider Tips From Gretchen Greer:

Friendly Spot Ice House

This Southtown staple, located on South Alamo Street, is casual as could be and kid-friendly. They call themselves an Ice House, with over 250 bottled brews to choose from, and serve simple food on the side. Sunday brunch is particularly fun for people-watching, and it’s a great place to cool off on hot summer nights. 

Boudro’s Texas Bistro

This Riverwalk classic is one of the few non-chains on the city’s most touristy stretch. Try their fresh guacamole, which is prepared table-side and is easily the best in San Antonio, and their frozen prickly-pear margaritas. The food is described as “Texas bistro” – classic dishes with a Texan flair, all beautifully prepared. Request a riverside table for the best view.

Best Gyms & Yoga Studios

Prefer gym workouts or yoga over hiking? Not to worry! San Antonio has you covered there as well. There are dozens of wonderful places to work out in this city.

Below we’ve listed what we believe to be the best gyms and yoga studios in the area.

Body Armor CrossFit

A high-energy space, this gym is the place to go for classes, weightlifting, and personal training options.

The District

Looking for a different kind of workout? The District is a rock climbing gym that offers all kinds of climbing opportunities, including climbing walls and bouldering.

Southtown Yoga Loft

One of the best places in the city for a good yoga session, Southtown Yoga Loft features excellent instructors and a very nice atmosphere. People also love the variety of yoga classes offered here, which includes power yoga, restorative yoga, meditation, and more.

Spas in San Antonio

Looking for a relaxing way to unwind after a day of exploring the city? Fortunately, you’ll find plenty of spas around. In fact, visiting a spa is one of the best things for couples to do in San Antonio.

Check out these spas in San Antonio to see which one is right for you.

DASA Spa on the Riverwalk

Looking for a way to unwind right in the middle of the hustle and bustle of the city? This incredible spa is located inside the Hyatt Regency right on the River Walk, making it a convenient way to get your relaxation fix while out having fun.

Mokara Spa

Another wonderful place to relax, the Mokara Spa offers facial treatments, body treatments, and even salon services. That’s right, this is a one-stop shop for all your “me time” needs.

Alamo Plaza Spa

If you’re out checking out the Alamo and other downtown attractions, Alamo Plaza Spa is the perfect relaxation pit stop for you. This place offers full-day and half-day packages, meaning you can choose what is right for you.

Day Trips Near San Antonio

Are none of the day trips in San Antonio jumping out at you? Maybe you’d prefer to head outside of the city for a change of pace. There are plenty of day trip options that keep you relatively close to home while still giving you a change of scenery.

Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park

Located about 80 minutes outside of San Antonio, the Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park is an NPS attraction well worth visiting. It is set on Lyndon B Johnson’s own LBJ Ranch, and tells the story of our 36th president from before his birth to his death.

Corpus Christi, TX

Feeling like you need a day at the beach? Lucky for you, there’s one not too far away. Corpus Christi is a wonderful beach city, and is a mere two hours away from San Antonio. Not only will you find lovely swimming beaches in Corpus Christi, you’ll also find fun museums and other great attractions.

Austin, TX

Finally, there is Austin. This growing city is anything but normal, and that makes it a fabulous place to spend the day. The art scene here is amazing, the food is incredible, and the number of attractions and events found in this one city simply can’t be beat. Best of all, Austin is only about 75 minutes away from San Antonio, making it the perfect day trip.

As a final reminder, some of these activities may need to wait until businesses fully reopen from coronavirus closures. However, there is still much to see and experience in San Antonio that you can enjoy today! What are your favorite spots in San Antonio? Send them our way to [email protected] or by tagging us on Instagram @rvshare and using the hashtag #rvsharelocal.

As you can see, there is plenty to see in and around San Antonio. This means you should have no trouble at all having fun while staying local. In fact, you may find yourself wishing for more time to squeeze all the fun in!

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