Are you looking for fun things to do on San Antonio Riverwalk? If yes, then you have come to the right place. In this article, we will take you through some of the best places to visit on the San Antonio Riverwalk and how to make the most of your time here.
San Antonio Riverwalk is one of the most popular attractions in the world. The stunning architecture, historical attractions, romantic ambiance, and plethora of restaurants and shopping options make it a popular place to visit in San Antonio.
From fun river cruises to gorgeous bridges, to historic attractions, there is no shortage of San Antonio Riverwalk activities to indulge in when you are planning a trip to this Texas city.
That’s not all, there are many biking, hiking, and walking trails to explore around this River Walk as well. So, whether you are traveling with friends, family, or your significant other, you can easily find fun things to do here to suit your mood.
If you are wondering about what to do on San Antonio Riverwalk, then check out our list of the 15 best things to do on the San Antonio Riverwalk.
What is the San Antonio Riverwalk
The San Antonio Riverwalk is also known as Paseo del Rio and was built in 1929 to manage the flooding in the area.
The Riverwalk was also built to improve the views of the San Antonio River and the architecture was managed by Robert H. H. Hugman, who is also known as the ‘Father of the Riverwalk’.
In short, the San Antonio Riverwalk is a flood management project which includes dams, flood gates, and storm sewers to control the flood. However, at the same time, many commercial shops and restaurants were added around the river to make it more appealing for visitors.
How Long is the San Antonio Riverwalk?
This Texas River Walk in San Antonio is 15 miles long and extends along the banks of the
famous San Antonio River.
Out of this vast length, 5 miles is a part of downtown San Antonio and is home to several popular attractions in the city.
Areas Of The Riverwalk In San Antonio
The Riverwalk in San Antonio is divided mainly into three sections: the Mission Reach, the Downtown Reach, and the Museum Reach.
Each section offers some unique activities and attractions to visitors that make them a must-visit.
Home to several luxury hotels, unique museums, and artworks, the Museum Reach is located to the north of Downtown Reach.
It is close to 3 miles long and features several amazing museums such as The DoSeum Museum, the San Antonio Museum of Art, the Witte Museum, The Tobin Center for the Performing Arts, and so on.
Located south of the Museum Reach is the Downtown Reach, the most popular section of the San Antonio Riverwalk.
This section is around 2.5 miles long and is home to a large number of bars, malls, boutique stores, restaurants, and more. Since it is the commercial section of the Riverwalk, it attracts the most tourists every year.
Last, but not least, we have the Mission Reach that extends to the south of the Downtown area.
This section is home to the frontier missions that form the UNESCO World Heritage Site of San Antonio Missions. Visitors can easily walk or bike to Mission Espada, Mission San Juan, Mission Concepcion, and Mission Jose.
Is the San Antonio Riverwalk free?
If you are looking for free things to do in San Antonio, then the Riverwalk is the perfect place to visit. It is a public city park and is always free for visitors and tourists to explore.
While walking, hiking, and biking on the Riverwalk are free, there are many attractions such as museums, restaurants, tours, etc. that will be chargeable.
Best San Antonio Riverwalk Attractions And Things To Do
Take a Riverboat Cruise on the San Antonio River
Of course, one of the top San Antonio Riverwalk activities to enjoy is a boat trip down the San Antonio River.
This is one of the best ways to enjoy Downtown San Antonio and you have lots of cruise options to choose from. You can go on a guided river cruise, a dining cruise, or simply take the river shuttles to travel from one destination to another on the river walk.
If you wish to learn about the Downtown and the Museum reaches, then the best option is to take the narrated river cruise. It is a 35-40 minute cruise where you learn the history of the Riverwalk along with San Antonio.
For those who wish to enjoy scenic views of the Riverwalk while experiencing a delicious meal, the dining river cruises are the best option. There are many riverwalk restaurants that offer dining cruises for their guests so, you have a lot of options to choose from.
Join a Ghost Tour
One of the best things to do on the San Antonio Riverwalk for adults is to go on the entertaining and scary ghost tours on the riverwalk.
As the city’s history spans over 300 years with several gruesome events in the past years, it is no surprise that many people have reported paranormal activity in the area. There are many ghost tours that you can join that will take you to the most haunted places in San Antonio.
From The Menger to the Alamo, visit the most haunted spots in San Antonio and learn about the history and story of each place.
Have a Drink at the Oldest Bar
For those who love to party, one of the top things to do in San Antonio Riverwalk at night is visiting the oldest bar along the riverwalk, Esquire Tavern.
Opened in 1933, this bar with its vintage décor is one of the top San Antonio Riverwalk attractions to visit. It also happens to be the longest wooden bar in Texas with 100 ft in length and offers a stunning view of the San Antonio river from the balcony.
While their cocktail menu is good, their food menu is even more amazing with options such as collard greens, deviled eggs, bison burgers, and more. Trust me, a visit to Esquire Tavern is a must when you are exploring the riverwalk.
Enjoy Delicious Tex-Mex Food at the Restaurants and Cafes Here
If you are wondering about what to do on San Antonio Riverwalk, then one of the best ideas is to enjoy a delicious Tex-Mex meal here.
The Riverwalk is home to a wide range of restaurants and cafes that cater to all kinds of taste buds. There are many restaurants here that will satisfy your craving for Tex-Mex food while providing you with good ambiance and river views.
So, if you are a foodie, then one of the top things to do at the riverwalk is enjoying a delicious Tex-Mex meal at a riverwalk restaurant.
Go on a Pub Crawl
Are you looking for the best things to do on the San Antonio Riverwalk for adults? If yes, then you should definitely go on a pub crawl on the riverwalk.
There are many bars and breweries on the San Antonio Riverwalk where you can try different drinks, have some fun, and make new friends on the way. You can choose to do an impromptu pub crawl or join an organized one and have some fun here.
Honestly, if you are looking for fun things to do in San Antonio Riverwalk at night, then you cannot go wrong with a pub crawl.
Explore the Bridges on the Riverwalk
The Downtown Reach section of the Riverwalk is home to many beautiful bridges that make it easy for visitors to cross the river and access different restaurants and shops.
Each of the bridges has stunning architecture and offers great views of the riverwalk, making it a perfect attraction here. A few bridges that you should check out on the riverwalk are Selena bridge, Rosita bridge, and so on.
If you are looking for free things to do on San Antonio Riverwalk, then exploring the Bridges of the Riverwalk is the best activity.
Visit the Alamo
One of the top attractions to visit in downtown San Antonio riverwalk is the Alamo.
This is an iconic landmark that was built by the Spanish as a church and is an important part of the history of Texas. This historic attraction is popular for its role in the 1863 battle that played an important part in Texan independence.
Visitors from all over the world come to this historic site to learn about the history of Texas. You can also take a walk in the Alamo Plaza and watch the activities happening around this touristic landmark. It is truly one of the best Spanish Missions in Texas to visit!
Watch a Show at the Arneson River Theater
For fun things to do on San Antonio Riverwalk, watching a cultural performance at the Arneson River Theater is a good option.
Located in the La Villita Historic Arts Village, the Arneson River Theater is an outdoor amphitheater with a capacity of 800 people. Here, you can catch different kinds of shows such as plays, music concerts, opera, and so on.
If you love watching plays, then you should definitely visit this beautiful amphitheater on the riverwalk.
Celebrate Christmas on San Antonio Riverwalk
One of the most amazing things to experience on the riverwalk is the Christmas festivities and decorations.
During the Christmas season, all the trees on the riverwalk are lit up with beautiful lights while the bridges are decorated with colorful wreaths. You will find the decorations here from the day after Thanksgiving Day until the first week of January.
Trust me, the entire riverwalk looks entirely magical at this time, making it one of the best places to enjoy Christmas in San Antonio.
Spend Time in the Pearl District
Named after the former Pearl Brewhouse, Pearl District is one of the top places to visit on the San Antonio Riverwalk.
Located close to the Downtown San Antonio, this vibrant neighborhood is a trendy part of the city where you will find several breweries, eateries, and Farmer Markets. This place is also popular for playing lawn games where bystanders can enjoy the game.
On the weekends, there is live music being played here to make this district fun and entertaining for the visitors. So, if you want to enjoy free things to do on the San Antonio Riverwalk, then spend some time at the Pearl District.
Enjoy the Hiking and Biking Trails
One of the best activities on the San Antonio Riverwalk to enjoy the San Antonio river views is by exploring the hiking and biking trails alongside the river.
The trails are 30 miles long beginning at Brackenridge Park and ending at Mission Park. Visitors can explore the museums at one end of the trail and the missions at the other end of the trail.
Hiking can easily take you around 5-6 hours but the views will be so rewarding. If you want to experience some adventurous and free things to do in San Antonio Riverwalk with kids, then explore the hiking and biking trails here.
Visit the Amazing Museums
Another great thing to do here is visiting the fun and unique museums in the Museum section of the Riverwalk.
The San Antonio Museum of Modern Art is the perfect place to admire artwork from the Mediterranean, Asian, and Latin American regions.
For those who are traveling with kids, the DoSeum Museum is a great choice where you will find interactive exhibits on reading, art, and science. Kids can innovate or solve puzzles here, making it a great family-friendly destination.
There is no shortage of fun museums to explore on the riverwalk so, you should make the most of your time here and explore as many as you can.
San Antonio Zoo
San Antonio Zoo is one of the best San Antonio Riverwalk attractions for families and kids.
This city zoo is home to some of the most majestic animals in the world such as lions, elephants, tigers, orangutans, and so on. It is located in Brackenridge Park and features around 750 animal species including a few that are extinct or endangered in the wild.
There are over 10 exhibits that offer an immersive experience to visitors and will be loved by animal lovers of all ages. So, if you wish to see some unique animals, then do plan a visit to the San Antonio Zoo.
Learn the History of Texas at the Missions
One of the top places to visit on the San Antonio Riverwalk is the Missions National Historic Park which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
This popular attraction includes Mission Espada, Mission Concepcion, Mission San Juan, and Mission San Jose. Visitors can also walk to the Alamo from the Mission Reach and complete their Mission Trail.
At the Missions, you can marvel at the church and the ground and learn about its history and the gorgeous architecture of these structures.
Admire the Artwork on the Riverwalk
The Riverwalk is home to some amazing artworks, making it one of the top places to visit in San Antonio for art lovers.
From sculptures to murals, you will find all kinds of unique artworks in the Museum Reach of the riverwalk. One of the most famous artworks to admire here is the Grotto.
There are many other beautiful pieces to see here apart from the Grotto such as the Whispers sculpture, the Fish sculpture, steel plates under the McCullough Bridge and Brooklyn Bridge, and so on.
Visitors can enjoy a walking tour of the Riverwalk to explore these wonderful creations and marvel at them.
Best San Antonio Riverwalk Restaurants
One of the best things to do in San Antonio Riverwalk is to enjoy a delicious meal as you admire the San Antonio River views. You will find many amazing restaurants on the riverwalk that not only offer great views but amazing ambiance as well.
This is why I have picked out a couple of my favorite riverwalk restaurants that you must try in San Antonio.
One of the best restaurants on the San Antonio Riverwalk is Casa Rio which was opened in 1946. This restaurant is famous for its colorful umbrellas and has become a synonym for the best riverwalk restaurants in San Antonio. From playing a Mariachi band to entertain the guests to serving the best Tex-Mex food, this restaurant doesn’t disappoint you at all.
So, if you are looking for a place to eat some delicious Tex-Mex food such as burritos, tacos, etc. while enjoying the river views, then Casa Rio is the best choice.
For those who are looking for a fine dining experience on the Riverwalk, Restaurant Gwendolyn is one of the best restaurants on the San Antonio Riverwalk.
The best thing about this restaurant is that they prepare dishes using 1850s or earlier recipes only. Moreover, they only use old-school methods to prepare the food and don’t make use of fryers, microwaves, etc.
A few dishes that you must try here are lamb tamales, watermelon gazpacho, and so on.
Rio Rio Cantina
If you are looking for a good Mexican restaurant on the Riverwalk, then you should try Rio Rio Cantina.
This Mexican restaurant on the San Antonio Riverwalk offers the most delicious Tex-Mex food such as quesadillas, fajitas, street tacos, and so on. Enjoy your delicious meal and the scenic river views while the Mariachi band serenades you at this San Antonio restaurant.
Best San Antonio Riverwalk Hotels
If you wish to explore more of the attractions on the Riverwalk, then you should look for a hotel nearby. Thankfully, you will find good San Antonio riverwalk hotels in all price ranges.
Here are a few best hotels to consider when searching for reliable places to stay on San Antonio Riverwalk.
Omni La Mansion Del Rio
Omni La Mansion Del Rio is one of the best San Antonio Riverwalk hotels that is located just next to the river.
The 4-star hotel features river-facing rooms as well and the Spanish colonial-style building offers a romantic vibe to the customers. Plus, there are lots of fun activities nearby that will keep the guests occupied and happy during their stay here.
The Westin Riverwalk
Another great hotel option to consider on the Riverwalk is The Westin Riverwalk. This Starwood property offers a comfortable and high-end experience to the guests with rooms that are airy and modern. On top of that, you can choose a river-facing room as well. The best thing about this hotel is that the Alamo is only a 13-minute walk from here.
Wyndham Garden River Walk Museum Reach
With both the rooms and the rooftop pool offering views of the San Antonio River, Wyndham Garden River Walk Museum Reach is undoubtedly one of the top San Antonio Riverwalk hotels to stay at. This pet-friendly hotel is great for those who wish to explore the Riverwalk area while not compromising on their comfort during the trip.