When you think of Texas, you probably think of Dallas or Houston. However, San Antonio is one of the great places to visit, not only for its famous riverwalk or Alamo but there are many other exciting things to see and do. Just spend a few days in San Antonio, and you might find yourself staying indefinitely. What most surprised me about San Antonio was its walkability and relaxing environment; Sunday looked exactly like a remote city in eastern Europe. But, of course, I have been all over the world, so judgment is not at all exaggerating by any means. The Riverwalk runs 13 miles, well past the tourist zone, and the extension runs north beyond the Pearl Brewery. To the south is the Mission Trail, which runs through the Missions park. The city has 41 miles of developed trails, which is a runner’s or a cyclist’s dream.

Take a Trolly Bus around the town
San Antonio after dark!
A view of San Antonio after dark!

Getting To San Antonio From Austin

About 95 miles on I-35 from Austin to San Antonio was a relatively smooth drive; it took us a little more than 2 hours since, on our way, we stopped at Round Rock Premium Outlets Mall, about 23 miles south of Austin. Take exit 200, and you are right there. Not a bad idea if you are driving and not in a rush. I am not a shopping addict, but it was a good break after a long drive.

Top Things To Do In San Antonio

Visit The Alamo Mission

The Alamo Mission, commonly called the Alamo and originally known as Misión San Antonio de Valero, is part of the San Antonio Missions World Heritage Site in San Antonio, TX. The Alamo is always an amazing experience. You can take away as much or as little knowledge as you want. You can’t really come to San Antonio and not see The Alamo.

The Alamo in San Antonio, TX
The Alamo in San Antonio, TX

San Antonio River Walk

The marvelous River Walk runs for several miles through the city center along the San Antonio River, past numerous restaurants, shops, and hotels. Lying a level below the streets above, this long stretch of pedestrian-heaven is a great place to explore, a veritable oasis in the midst of this large and otherwise bustling metropolis. On the right day with the right people, a still on the Riverwalk is a priceless memory. As popular among San Antonians as it is with visitors, it’s perfect for those wanting to spend time enjoying the many outdoor patios and dining areas lining the paved walkway or to simply sit and watch the world pass by (boat tours are also available, many stopping at or near the city’s major attractions).

Rio San Antonio Cruise
Rio San Antonio Cruise and the River Walk

Tower of The Americas

750-ft. landmark with an observation deck, revolving eatery, stationary bar & a 4D adventure ride. The tallest building in Texas outside of Dallas or Houston. Boasting magnificent views over the city from its observation platform and revolving restaurant, it’s well worth a visit, especially if you also take in the eSkies Over Texas4D Theater Ride with its thrilling aerial views of Texas and its many landmarks.

San Antonio, Texas
A close-up view of The Tower of the Americas
Tower life building, San Antonio
Tower life building, San Antonio

San Antonio Missions National Historical Park

San Antonio Missions National Historical Park is a National Historical Park and part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site preserving four of the five Spanish frontier missions in San Antonio, Texas. Consisting of four of the five Spanish mission stations founded between 1718 and 1740 (the fifth being the Alamo), the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park is a must-visit. All travelers should visit this world-class historic venue.
A designated World Heritage Site that shows the Spanish Colonies in Northern Mexico during the late seventeenth century.

San Antonio Mission
San Antonio Mission – one of the few missions established along the San Antonio River in the 1700s

The Spanish Governor’s Palace

To the west of the San Antonio River and within easy reach of the historic San Fernando Cathedral is the Military Plaza (Plaza de Armas), home to the Spanish Governor’s Palace. This one-story whitewashed palace – more fort than a mansion in appearance – was built in 1749 with materials imported from Spain and is the only surviving aristocratic early Spanish home in the state. Preserved as a National Historic Landmark, the building now serves as a museum and includes 10 rooms, a grand courtyard with fine gardens, and a fountain.

San Fernando Cathedral

The Cathedral of San Fernando is a cathedral of the Roman Catholic Church located in downtown San Antonio, TX. It is the mother church of the Archdiocese of San Antonio and the seat of its archbishop. Famous as the burial site of the heroes of the Alamo, the Roman Catholic San Fernando Cathedral (Church of Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria y Guadalupe) is one of the oldest cathedrals in the US and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The building also played an important role in the siege of the Alamo, for it was here that the Mexican forces let it be known that “no quarter” would be given.

San Fernando Cathedral, San Antonio
San Fernando Cathedral at Main Plaza, San Antonio
Hostorical building in San Antonio, Bexar County Courthouse

Natural Bridge Caverns

About 17 miles northeast of San Antonio is the spectacular Natural Bridge Caverns, the largest stalactite caves in Texas. Boasting more than 10,000 different stalactitic formations in chambers bearing romantic names like Sherwood Forest, this awe-inspiring attraction – the largest such cavern in the country – is named after the massive 60-foot limestone bridge that spans its entrance. Highlights include the 40-foot-high King’s Throne in the Castle of the White Giants, a huge wall of stalactites that dwarfs the viewer. Various fun-themed tours are available, including discovery and lantern-guided tours. Visitors also have the chance to do a little above-ground exploring along the Canopy Challenge, a treetop excursion with ropeways, platforms, and zip lines.

San Antonio Japanese Tea Garden

In the city’s popular Brackenridge Park, the San Antonio Japanese Tea Garden makes for a pleasant escape from this otherwise bustling city. Established in the early 1900s and often referred to as the Sunken Gardens due to its location in a former limestone quarry, the site contains many interesting features, most notably its unique entrance, a replica of a Japanese Torii, or temple gate. I was amazed by the magnificence and beauty of this place. It is tough to capture it with a picture. Go there yourself, and you will understand why. It was so breathtaking that you might need to spend more time than you originally planned. The artificial pools, waterfalls, fountains, and gardens are all man-made but have the feeling of a natural oasis.

The Emily Morgan Hotel
The Emily Morgan Hotel – a DoubleTree by Hilton
Monument at Alamo
Monument in front of the Alamo

Food and Drink You May Try

Because of San Antonio’s place near Mexico and its early Spanish and Native American influences, much of the city’s culinary landscape is thanks to those flavors. But immigration over the years has also brought European and Caribbean flavors. As a result, we had delicious food by the riverside. Here are the details:

Maria Mia Mexican Bistro, 849 East Commerce St. San Antonio TX

An Upscale, roomy restaurant serving modernized fare & cocktails in a stylish space & riverside patio.

Beef Fajita
Beef Fajita, Chili meat sauce & Cheddar Cheese.
Rio Carbon at Maria Mia Mexican Bistro
At Rio Carbon at Maria Mia Mexican Bistro

Or take a seat and relax by the riverwalk, have local food and a few drinks.

River walk
It’s so relaxing environment by the San Antonio River

Round Rock Premium Outlets Mall

It is less than an hour drive from San Antonio but for us since we were driving from Austin to San Antonio so it was on our way and a perfect place for us to take a break, do some window shopping, stroll in the beautiful outdoor mall walkway, and have great food from one of those many selections of restaurants. From I-35 take exit 200, it’s one of the famous outlet malls in that region.

Round Rock Premium Outlets Mall
Round Rock Premium Outlets Mall

Where to stay in San Antonio, Texas

Hyatt Place San Antonio Riverwalk

This hotel is just 10 minutes from The San Antonio River Walk, Henry B. Gonzales Convention Center, and The Alamo historic site. This property features an outdoor pool. In addition, this hotel offers a fitness room and a business center for guest use. San Antonio Riverwalk Hyatt Place guests also have access to the 24/7 Guest Kitchen offering fresh snacks and entrees. This hotel is 10 miles from San Antonio International Airport. SeaWorld Texas is 20 minute drive away.

Wyndham Garden River Walk Museum Reach

The Wyndham Garden River Walk Museum Reach is just a 4-minute drive from The Alamo, featuring an outdoor pool and hot tub overlooking the San Antonio River. A riverside sun terrace surrounded by palm trees is located at this Wyndham hotel—a 24-hour front desk. The up-and-coming Pearl Brewery district is a 3-minute drive from the property. Ripleys Believe It, Or Not Museum is 0.7 mi from Wyndham Garden San Antonio Riverwalk Museum Reach. San Antonio International Airport is 6.8 mi away.

My Opinion and Last Word

Have you been to San Antonio, Texas? Any cool tips to share?

I loved being in San Antonio, Texas, and want to go back again. I hope my story has motivated you to visit Texas.

Please leave a comment below! I’d love to hear from you to improve my knowledge. 

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Hasan Mahmud

Traveler, Blogger, and Travel Photographer!

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