San Antonio Tourist Attractions

There are many places to visit and things to do in and around San Antonio, TX. Information about most of San Antonio's most popular attractions can be found here.

The Alamo

Remember the Alamo! This Texas shrine stands for freedom and people from the world over come to see the Mission Church that still stands. The long barracks house a short show and museum, and many surrounding attractions offer movies that showcase the siege of the Alamo.

The San Antonio Riverwalk

Colorful, vibrant and exciting, the Riverwalk offers a wonderful place to spend the day or evening; whether it is enjoying an upscale dinner at one of our fine dining establishments or lingering over margaritas and tableside guacamole. Afterwards, browse through the shops or take the boat ride for a history of the Riverwalk and downtown San Antonio.

The Mexican Marketplace

Purported to be the largest Mexican marketplace outside of Mexico, "El Mercado” is a great place to wander around, and check out the dancing, local bands, singers and artwork on weekends. Don’t forget to check out the bakery and galleries!

Fort Sam Houston

Fort Sam Houston was designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1975. It is one of the Army's oldest installations and now part of Joint Base San Antonio. Fort Sam Houston boasts the largest collection of historic structures -- more than 900 buildings. Even more consequential than the numbers is the historical integrity of the post's different sections which represent different eras of construction. Careful preservation of these areas allows the post to live with its history, surrounded by existence of the traditions of excellence established when the first soldier arrived here in 1845. Self-guided tours are offered, and guided tours can be arranged.

La Villita Historic Arts Village

The La Villita Arts Village is a collection of shops, restaurants and galleries in the heart of historic ‘original settlement’ in downtown San Antonio. Located on the south bank of the San Antonio River, it was San Antonio's first neighborhood. Originally a settlement of primitive huts for the Spanish soldiers, the area changed to brick, stone and adobe houses in the early 1800s. Late in the 19th century European immigrants from Germany and France moved into the area. These pioneers became San Antonio's business leaders, bankers, educators, and craftsmen. The cultural mix that occurred at this time is best illustrated by the variety of architectural styles reflected in La Villita's buildings. The architecture portrays the evolution of buildings from palisado to Victorian Houses. But by the first part of the 20th century, the area was a slum- until ground broke on the San Antonio River Walk development in 1939. The city preserved and restored the area to the thriving art community that it is today.

HemisFair Park

HemisFair Park was built to host the 1968 World's Fair. The Fifteen (15) acre park features cascading waterfalls and fountains, lushly landscaped areas, historic buildings, children's playground, and the world Famous San Antonio landmark "The Tower of the Americas". In addition to the Tower of the Americas, shops and relaxing water features it is also home to the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de México, Instítuto de México and the Institute of Texan Cultures, which offers year-round exhibits on the history and people of the Lone Star state and sponsors the popular Texas Folklife Festival each year. HemisFair Park is located in downtown San Antonio adjacent to the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center. Parking is available off of Bowie Street.

San Antonio Mission Trail

The legacy and history of San Antonio and this region began with a simple ceremony when, in 1718, Franciscans and Spanish representatives established the first mission. Within 13 years, five were located along the San Antonio River. The missions' purpose? To acculturate and Christianize the native population and make them Spanish citizens. Today, visitors can retrace the footsteps of the mission Indians and friars. And, possibly, meet descendants of those first inhabitants.

The Institute of Texan Cultures

The Institute of Texan Cultures is located on the HemisFair Park Campus, a short walk from the Alamo and the River Walk. The 182,000-square-foot complex features 65,000 square feet of interactive exhibits and displays that tell the stories of Texans. Through its research, collections, exhibits and programs, serves as the forum for the understanding and appreciation of Texas and Texans. The museum is a component of The University of Texas at San Antonio, and strives to expand the community's awareness and appreciation of Texas through an engaging series of exhibits, programs, and special events. At the 1968 Hemisfair, it opened as the Texas State Exhibits Pavilion, and today fulfills its mandate as the state's center for multicultural education by investigating the ethnic and cultural history of the state.

The 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. Ride the glass-walled elevators over 500 feet up to the top. 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.

Instituto Cultural Mexicano

The Institute of Mexican Culture was established by the government of Mexico and its Ministry of Foreign Affairs to establish permanent cultural representation in the United States. In 1958 a group of Mexican-Americans opened the Mexican Art Gallery, and this same group, motivated by the goals outlined by the government of Mexico during "Hemisfair 68", was granted a new building, giving them the opportunity of offering many important exhibits. The Institute opened its doors to the public on June 19, 1972, with the presence of the former President of Mexico Lic. Luis Echeverria and San Antonio Mayor John Gatti.

 

The Majestic Theatre

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. Located at 224 E. Houston Street in the heart of downtown San Antonio, the Majestic was designed and built in 1929 by John Eberson, and stood proudly for many years as the largest theatre in Texas and the second largest motion picture theatre in the country. It was intended to be the most modern and ornate building in South Texas - complete with new sound and projection equipment - and was the first theatre in the state to be totally air-conditioned. The Majestic remains one of the finest atmospheric theatres ever built. Inspired by Spanish Mission, Baroque, and Mediterranean architectural traditions, theatre patrons are transported to a fantasy villa. Walls become towers with windows of colorful glass. A rare white peacock perches on a balcony railing as doves are caught in mid-flight. Grape vines creep along the walls and luscious foliage flourishes. The vaulted "sky" comes to life as stars twinkle while drifting clouds pass by overhead. Balconies, tile roofs, arches, and columns, railings, elaborate ornamentation, statues, and a bell tower all aid in the transformation of the theatre into a mystical village.

The San Antonio Museum of Art

Located in the old Lone Star Brewery, the San Antonio Museum of Art houses this region's finest displays of Greek and Roman antiquities, Asian art, Latin American and folk art, and American paintings. It’s not unusual for the first-time visitor to be astonished at the size and scope of the Museum’s collections. The Museum houses the largest and most comprehensive collection of ancient Egyptian, Greek and Roman, as well as Asian, art in the southern United States. The Museum also has a significant collection of Latin American art, from Pre-Columbian times to the present, showcased in the Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Latin American Art. Our growing contemporary art collection balances some true masterpieces with notable Texas and regional art.

The McNay Art Museum

Ohio-born oil heiress Marion Koogler first came to Texas in 1918 shortly after her marriage to Sergeant Don Denton McNay, who died of influenza in 1918. She moved to San Antonio permanently in 1926 where she married prominent ophthalmologist Donald T. Atkinson. The following year, she purchased her first modern oil painting. The couple built a 24-room Spanish Colonial Revival house, and Marion continued to collect 19th- and 20th-century European and American paintings, as well as Southwest art from New Mexico. When her marriage to Atkinson ended in 1936, she returned to using her first husband’s last name. At her death in 1950, Marion McNay left more than 700 works of art, along with her house, the surrounding 23 acres, and an endowment to establish the first museum of modern art in Texas. In 1954, the McNay opened its doors to the public. Seven additions to the original McNay house between 1970 and 1994 included galleries to exhibit the museum’s constantly growing collection, space to store and frame works of art, and an auditorium for programs and special events.

The San Antonio Zoo

San Antonio's first zoo consisted of a collection of animals assembled in San Pedro Park in the 1800s. In 1914, Colonel George W. Brackenridge, one of the city's leading citizens and founder of the San Antonio Express-News, placed buffalo, elk, deer, monkeys, a pair of lions, and four bears on land he had deeded over to the city in what is now known as Brackenridge Park. This collection became the San Antonio Zoo. Much about the San Antonio Zoo has changed since then. While the colonel may not have imagined what the San Antonio Zoo would become, we can only hope that he would appreciate all that the Zoo has accomplished for the people of San Antonio, for science, for children, and for the Earth itself. For 97 years, the collective efforts of dedicated individuals have helped the San Antonio Zoo become one of the best in the nation. The 56-acre zoo is currently home to over 8,500 animals representing 779 species of animals.

The San Antonio Botanical Garden

Just a few miles from downtown, the San Antonio Botanical Gardens offer 33 acres of plantings, including a sampling of all 5 Texas geographic areas. In the late 1800s, the city constructed a surface water supply system that depended on the San Antonio River. George Brackenridge bought the water works in 1883, but he later became convinced the system could fail if the area suffered a long drought. As a result, wells supplying pure artesian water began to be used and, in 1899, Brackenridge deeded the water works land and properties to the City. It was on part of this land that Mrs. R. R. Witt and Mrs. Joseph Murphy, along with friends and associates organized the San Antonio Garden Center and later the Botanical Gardens. Funding was obtained and construction of the gardens began in 1970. The official opening was May 3,1980.

Natural Bridge Caverns

In March of 1960, four students from St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, who were convinced that large underground passages existed under the amazing 60-foot limestone bridge that had been an attraction for many years, discovered Natural Bridge Caverns. The land's owners decided to develop the first 1/2 mile, the most spectacular part of the caverns, for the enjoyment of guests from around the world. Since then, many additional rooms and levels have been explored and opened. The result is one of the world's premier show caverns, and one of the most popular attractions in Texas.

Sea World San Antonio

From Shamu to dolphins, sharks, seals, sea lions and much more, SeaWorld San Antonio is the world's largest marine life park. After hanging out with Shamu or watching one of SeaWorld's shows, head over to the roller-coaster action with the Great White, which is Texas' first inverted steel roller-coaster or the Steel Eel for a bout of weightlessness. To cool off, ride Journey to Atlantis which is part roller-coaster, part water ride or dip into the Lost Lagoon.

The Pearl Brewery

Pearl is a culinary and cultural destination in San Antonio, Texas. As a dynamic and evolving environment, Pearl is committed to stewardship and learning. This historic gathering place is where everyone is welcome to eat, play and learn along the banks of the San Antonio River. It is now the third U.S. campus (along with New York and California) of The Culinary Institute of America, and two San Antonio natives and CIA graduates have opened up award-winning, innovative restaurants on site.

Fiesta Texas

Six Flags Fiesta Texas offers an array of award-winning shows, a complement of thrill and family rides and excitement for the whole family with a free waterpark in the summer. It has shows like Straight Country, Rockin' at Rockville High and Ritmos del Corazon. The all-new Lone Star Nights Laser and Fireworks Celebration features a new storyline and technology for an advanced production including enhanced video projection, new lasers, audio, pyrotechnics and special effects. Enjoy one of the parks thrilling roller coasters, including Goliath, racing at speeds of over 50 mph. Bring your bathing suit in the summer- admission to White Water Bay is free with park admission. There are many restaurants located throughout the park.

Schlitterbahn

About 45 minutes north of San Antonio, in New Braunfels, Texas, is one of the country's largest water parks - and one of its oldest, too. The park is a Texas tradition, and has grown steadily through the years from its original beginnings as a river rafting area. It is so large and complex, that today it is in the class of "Water Park Resort." There is much to do both in and out of the water, and the park is also family-friendly in that you can bring your own food and non-alcoholic beverages.

If you still have time left, you might want to look at the current schedule of sporting events, shows and concerts going on at the AT&T Center, located adjacent to HemisFair park.

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