Whether you are planning the ultimate week-long vacation to San Antonio, or have just a few hours to visit, you are going to be searching for the best things to do in San Antonio. You have come to the right place! We have researched and compiled the ultimate bucket list of San Antonio activities.
From the downtown area to the San Antonio riverwalk, all of these amazing places to visit in San Antonio will showcase the history, culture, or modern vibrance of the city. And if you are traveling with the whole family, don’t worry, we have thrown in a few things to do with kids.
Grab your camera, put on some sunscreen, and let get ready to visit these San Antonio attractions, maybe we’ve even got a few hidden gems for you. By the time you get back from your trip, the locals will be asking you, “what are the best things to do in San Antonio?”
20 Best Things To Do In San Antonio: The Ultimate Bucket List
San Antonio Riverwalk
Let’s start out with the most iconic spot in San Antonio, The Riverwalk. If you only have a few hours in San Antonio, this is tops on our list for the best things to do in San Antonio. Stroll along the tree-lined paths, and do a little shopping, stop at a restaurant or two, and take in the beautiful waterfront views.
The Riverwalk is central to many San Antonio activities on our list, so check out some of the hotels in the area, and consider making this area a home base for your trip. You’ll love how convenient it is, and how immersed in the culture and history of San Antonio you are.
While you are here, check out one of the many tasty restaurants on the San Antonio Riverwalk! Our post will take you through some of the best.
No matter when you visit, they are always hosting seasonal events and activities, so even as a local, the Riverwalk is always top of the list of fun things to do in San Antonio. Make sure to check out our list of the Best Things To Do On The San Antonio Riverwalk, complete with a guide and tips!
For a different perspective on the Riverwalk, consider getting out on the water with a river cruise. Plan your trip on a narrated historical tour, a dinner cruise, or just take a river taxi to take you from place to place. When cruising down the Riverwalk, you’ll be able to see why this is widely considered the best thing to do in San Antonio.
As you are searching for things to do on the San Antonio riverwalk, add the dinner cruises to the list too. They are small and intimate making them one of the perfect things to do in San Antonio for couples on a date night. And if you are visiting San Antonio at Christmas Time do not miss this chance to do one of the best things to do in San Antonio in December, the Holiday Light Cruise.
Click Here: City Highlights Group Tour with River Cruise
SEA LIFE Aquarium
After an afternoon on the waterfront, you might be looking for some cool things to do in San Antonio, literally. The SEA LIFE Aquarium is one of San Antonio’s coolest attractions, and the air conditioning is just what the Texas summer heat needs.
SEA LIFE Aquarium is the only place in San Antonio where you can stand under the water and get up close and personal with over 500 creatures, in their Ocean Tunnel. Especially if you are looking for things to do with kids, and you’ve got a budding oceanographer on your hands, they are going to love their afternoon at the aquarium.
Click Here: SEA LIFE Aquarium & LEGOLAND Discovery Center
The Texas Ranger Museum
We always loved a good roadside tourist attraction, and sometimes you’ve got to really embrace a good one, so we’ve picked out this San Antonio tourist attraction for our list. When you are on the hunt for the best things to do in San Antonio, head into The Buckhorn Saloon first for a quick meal, and eat where Teddy Roosevelt recruited Rough Riders and Pancho Villa is rumored to have planned the Mexican Revolution.
After lunch make your way into the museum and learn the history of over 100 years of the Texas Rangers. Surprisingly, this is one of the things to do in downtown San Antonio, so if you are in the area drop in for a visit. They also have a very large gift shop, a great place to pick up some souvenirs for those friends and family back home.
See the Missions
Across Texas, you can visit some of the Prettiest Spanish Missions, and San Antonio is home to quite a few. When you are a real history buff, these Missions are great places to visit in San Antonio to learn more. And if you’ve filled up your schedule with too many other things to do in San Antonio, make sure to at least stop by the most popular of all the Missions, The Mission San Antonio de Valero, The Alamo.
Touring the church is always free, but they also offer guided tours and hands-on demonstrations that take you back to daily life in the 1830s. And the Alamo may make the list of all the best things to do in San Antonio, but we also highly recommend one of the lesser-known missions, The Mission Concepcion. It is the oldest standing unrestored stone church in America and looks almost identical to the way it did over two centuries ago.
Click Here: UNESCO World Heritage Missions Tour
Go for a Bike Ride
Start adding all the places on our list to your plans for places to go in San Antonio, and let’s add a bike ride into the mix. Many of the things to do in and new downtown San Antonio and the Riverwalk are within a good biking distance of each other.
While exploring the area you will also see multiple opportunities so rent a bike by the hour or by the day, including some electric bikes too. A bike ride is a great way to explore all the best things to do in San Antonio because it gets you up close and personal to the history, but you get the chance to stop and talk to the people you see along your way.
Click Here: 3-hour Electric Bike Taco Tour in San Antonio
Go on a Day Trip to Texas Hill Country
The Texas Hill Country has some of the best close-by San Antonio attractions. The area is full of great outdoor activities, and hidden gems, and is less than 30 minutes outside of the city. If you are a lover of waterfalls or flowers, you will feel right at home amongst the beauty of the Texas Hill Country.
But hey, why just make it a day trip, there are plenty of Cozy Cabins In Texas Hill Country For A Getaway, so go ahead and plan to spend the whole weekend. Then you can really enjoy all of the true natural beauty this area has to offer.
Do a Hop-on Hop-off Bus Tour
Many of the best places in the world have a Hop-on Hop-off Bus Tour, and San Antonio is no exception. This double-decker bus has an open-air top deck perfect for taking in all the best sites in San Antonio. Think of this tour as a cross between a way to get around the city and a guided tour of the best things to do in San Antonio.
And the flexibility of a Hop-on Hop-off Bus Tour is perfect for indecisive travelers. There are no set destinations or times, you get off when you want, and get back on when you are done. You’ll be amazed at how many San Antonio tourist attractions you can hit in one day when you leave the driving up to the professionals.
Click Here: Hop-on Hop-off Bus Tour
Immerse yourself in one of the newest, and most cool things to do in San Antonio. Hopscotch is an optical illusion and immersive art experience that brings together artists in a collaborative environment. With over 20,000 square feet of exhibit space, you’ll find yourself exploring works like Thunder and Lightning, Deep Eddy Ball Pit, and Color Therapy.
As one of the most unique places to visit in San Antonio, this exhibit space is also a great way to support local artists. Swing by the lounge for a drink or a bit to eat to continue the immersive experience. If you are an art lover, you’ve got to add Hopscotch to your list of best things to do in San Antonio.
Natural Bridge Caverns
Next up on our list is the most extensive cavern within the San Antonio area and one of the largest caverns within the state of Texas, making it one of the top San Antonio tourist attractions. Visit Natural Bridge Caverns and travel deep below the earth’s surface, and tour caves with ancient formations centuries in the making and still growing today, such as amazing stalagmites and stalactites.
Experience the cool 70 degrees year-round, and the 99% relative humidity found inside the cave, totally different from the normal weather outside in the normal Texas summer. If you are an archeology or geology enthusiast, this is absolutely the best thing in San Antonio to pique your curiosity.
Japanese Tea Garden
Let’s get lost in this beautiful, lush Japanese Tea Garden. If you are traveling with a four-legged friend, also feel free to bring them along to this next stop on our list of the best things to do in San Antonio. What was once an abandoned limestone quarry, is now a peaceful place to spend an afternoon.
The Japanese Tea Garden is no cost admission and features a lush year-round garden, floral display with shaded walkways, stone bridges, a 60-foot waterfall, and ponds filled with Koi. While you are there visit the Jingu House restaurant for lunch. This is absolutely a must-add to the places to visit in San Antonio, but be prepared to feel like you are far away from San Antonio.
Sample the Best Restaurants in San Antonio
San Antonio is a city of gastronomy, where traditional culinary experience merges with new young ideas for a food scene that is flavorful a vibrant. You can satisfy any craving here, from Tex-Mex, BBQ, seafood to bar bites.
Many of the best things to do in San Antonio on our list are close by to the downtown or Riverwalk area where many of these best restaurants can be found. So after you’ve worked up an appetite visiting the San Antonio attractions, make your way to one of the many local Restaurants in San Antonio.
Click Here: Walking Food Tour: Downtown Delicacies
Visit a Park
Among all the San Antonio attractions it is easy to get lost in the hustle and bustle, but sometimes it is nice to enjoy a simple afternoon in one of the beautiful Parks in San Antonio. There are many different parks in the area, and all of them offer unique things to go. If you want to go hiking, head to Eisenhower Park. If you want to spend the day on the lake, head to Live Oak Park.
All of the parks in San Antonio have great things to do with kids, but Milam Park has a children’s playscape specifically designed to keep kids busy. No matter where you are in San Antonio, there is a great park nearby to enjoy some time soaking up the sun.
Go on a Wine Tour
The best place in all of Texas to go on a Wine Tour in Fredricksburg, and San Antonio is only a short day trip away. Fredricksburg is the home to over 50 award-wining wineries in the Texas Hill Country area. You can tour vineyards, and working wineries bottling right on site. Many of the wineries here have tastings and tour packages, and Fredricksburg even has its own shuttle system for getting around.
A tour of Fredricksburg is a great addition to all the best things to do in San Antonio. The German-inspired architecture will make a great contrast to the downtown and San Antonio riverwalk, really showcasing all of the best things Texas has to offer.
Click Here: Taste of Fredericksburg Small-Group Wine Tour
Texas Transportation Museum
Next up on our list is one of the most fun things to do in San Antonio. The Texas Transportation Museum is focused on the history of the railroad and automotive industry in San Antonio. This is the only museum in San Antonio where you can actually ride the exhibits, with train rides happening throughout the day, included in your admission.
Explore some old Ford Model Ts, and Studebakers, and see how the streetcars in San Antonio transferred from horsedrawn to steam engines to diesel. For the history buffs in your travel group, they are going to have a great time visiting the Texas Transportation Museum, you’ve got to add it to the top of your list of things to do in San Antonio.
Go on a Ghost Tour
Whether you believe in ghost stories or not, one of the best ways to learn about a town’s history and dark past is through a ghost tour. After spending the day visiting all the best San Antonio attractions, come back to see them in the darkness of night, and hear the spooky stories of their past.
In San Antonio you’ll hear tales of the restless souls slain at the Battle of the Alamo, explore the things to do in downtown San Antonio that have spirit residence, and learn about the dark underbelly of San Antonio’s history. These tours may not be a great thing to do with kids but are the perfect date night activity for the couple that likes to get a little spooky.
Click Here: Haunted Walking Ghost Tour
Six Flags Fiesta
If you are a theme park enthusiast, head to one of the many Theme Parks in Texas, Six Flags Fiesta. The Six Flags Fiesta location in San Antonio, Texas has been dubbed the thrill capital of South Texas. With over 18 different thrill rides, you’ll be in for twists and turns the whole day.
If you’ve got young ones on your trip, there are a ton of thrills for them at Six Flags Fiesta too, so put this on your list of great things to do with kids in San Antonio. And bring your appetite, this theme park is packed full of all the classic carnival food you’ve come to know and love at theme parks. If your idea of a great day is spending it on rollercoasters going 80 mph, then you’ll know exactly why Six Flags Fiesta is on our list of best things to do in San Antonio.
Visit the Museum of Art
While you were on your river cruise, you may have noticed the San Antonio Museum of Art on the waterfront. This is definitely a must-add to the list of places to visit in San Antonio for any art lover. The collection at this museum showcases artwork from over 5,000 years. There is also a focus on artwork that was created by people who previously lived in the region, giving a great look into what life in the San Antonio, and surrounding Texas area may have looked like years ago.
The museum is constantly showcasing new exhibitions from around the world, so even if this is not your first trip to the city, you definitely should add the Museum of Art to your list of the best things to do in San Antonio, there will always be something new and amazing to see.
The best view from any city is from above, and since San Antonio doesn’t have any real mountain top views, the next best thing is an observation tower. At Hemisfair Park, you can visit the Tower of the Americas, visit fountains, playgrounds, and even play a game of life-size chess.
The area is rich in culture with public art exhibits, local cultural activities, and community groups meeting there frequently. Hemisfair Park is a great thing to do with kids in San Antonio and is even a great way to spend an afternoon, with local restaurants and treat shops.
When we look for the best things to do in San Antonio, we love to search for places that really encompass the spirit of the city, and Hemisfair Park is certainly tops on our list.
Meet the Animals at the Zoo
With over a million visitors every year, we think it’s pretty easy to say that the San Antonio Zoo easily makes the list of best things to do in San Antonio. During your visit, you can meet up to 750 different species at the zoo, living on over 56 acres of land. The Zoo’s main focus is education and conservation, making this one of the best places to go in San Antonio with kids.
Check out some of their immersive programming too, for a chance to get really up close and personal with the animals too. You could have breakfast with a hippopotamus, feed a giraffe, or hang out with a kangaroo. The zoo is a great place in San Antonio to make some great memories for the whole family.
Whether you are in town for just a short visit or planning an epic city-wide adventure, there are so many amazing, cool and fun things to do in San Antonio. Bring the kids, bring the art lovers, bring the history buffs, everyone is going to love all these things to do in San Antonio. After you’ve visited them all, come back and tell us what made the top of your list of the best things to do in San Antonio!