(Due to current world events, please check in with each place before heading out to ensure that they are accepting people. So your time will not be wasted.)
Toyota Motor Manufacturing Visitor Center – 1 Lone Star Pass, San Antonio, TX 78264
One of my favorite things to do in San Antonio. I’ve taken the tour of the manufacturing facility multiple times. The last time I checked, the in-person tours were suspended due to Covid, but I highly recommend taking the in-person tour when they resume. You ride in a golf-cart type vehicle and are taken through the plant to see how the Tundra pickup trucks are manufactured from start to finish. Very interesting for those into STEM.
Events – Annual
Fiesta San Antonio – multiple locations in mostly downtown San Antonio, TX
Parades, eating, festivals, decorations. Definitely recommend checking out all of the events if you are going to be in town. Usually happens around March and April.
San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo – AT&T Center, 723 AT&T Center Parkway, San Antonio, TX 78219
Fairgrounds, shopping, concerts, and rodeo events. This is a really big event that lasts about two weeks. Usually happens in February.
Events – Venues
Tobin Center for the Performing Arts – 100 Auditorium Cir, San Antonio, TX 78205
Beautiful building on the River Walk. Lots of shows coming through. Definitely recommend checking out what events will be happening here while you’re in town.
Toyota Field – 5106 David Edwards Dr, San Antonio, TX 78233
Into soccer? I’ve never been here, but you can catch a professional soccer game at this location. The field is also surrounded by plenty of soccer fields used by local teams.
B&B Smokehouse – 2619 Pleasanton Rd, San Antonio, TX 78221
My favorite local BBQ joint. I always order the turkey bacon club. Sometimes with extra bacon on the side. I’m also a fan of the fresh lemonade, cookies, fries, and green beans. The salads are HUGE! The burgers taste good. I’m not a huge meat-eater so I can’t really speak on the typical BBQ fare here, but there is usually always a line.
Big Daddy’s Treats – 228 E Cevallos St, San Antonio, TX 78204
Limited parking. In a great very walkable neighborhood commonly referred to as Blue Star, So Flo, Lone Star, or King William. Epic dessert creations. I’ve never been here, but the place is very popular. I’d recommend trying a mangonada to start.
Big Lou’s Pizza – 2048 S WW White Rd, San Antonio, TX 78222
Home of the 42″ pizza – as seen on TV. Lots of other menu items. Great for big groups. Worth stopping by if you’re going to be a resident of the area. One of those things you have to do at least once.
Bill Miller Bar-B-Q – multiple locations
Probably the cheapest, most reliable BBQ in the area. Headquartered in San Antonio. A staple in the area. Typically quick service, however I recommend going inside if you see a long line in the drive-thru. You must try the sweet tea – addictive! They even sell it by the bucket. I usually order mine half sweet, half unsweet as the sweet is very sweet. As for the food, I really like the turkey salad with ranch, chopped BBQ sandwich, hash browns (not like other restaurants), french fries, green beans, and fudge brownies. Usually the Buckaroos kids’ chopped BBQ sandwich meal is plenty for me.
Brasão Brazilian Steakhouse – multiple locations
These places are wasted on me because I’m not a big meat eater. But if you’re into the Brazilian steakhouses, this appears to be a popular spot. In a more upscale area of town.
Casa Rio – 430 E Commerce St, San Antonio, TX 78205
Very popular “tourist trap” restaurant on the Riverwalk in the thick of it all. Full Riverwalk vibes. Not the best food in the world, but not a bad pick. Go for the experience. Probably expect longer service times due to the amount of customers that come through here. Not a grab and go spot.
Cheesy Jane’s – 4200 Broadway, San Antonio, TX 78209
Unique spot. Feels like you’ve been transported back to another time. The last time I went, they had a train running on a track around the ceiling. I recommend their shakes and the Baby Jane Sampler.
Dahlia Thai Cuisine – 8498 Fredericksburg Rd, San Antonio, TX 78229
My favorite thing to order here is the Tom Yum soup. My only real complaint with this place is that it does not seem like they hire enough people. It seems the staff is overworked so it seems to take a long time to get anything. I usually end up having to go up to ask for what I need.
Dairy Queen – multiple locations
You probably have a Dairy Queen near you in the USA, but if you’ve never tried a Blizzard then here is your chance. My favorite is the Choco Brownie Extreme, Reese’s Pieces Cookie Dough, or my own creation – mint with Snickers. I also like the steak finger basket – but it looks like they might not have that on the menu right now.
Dough Pizzeria Napoletana – multiple locations
Founded in San Antonio. Made it to the “bigtime” on national TV. A little more pricy than I care to spend for a quick pizza run. But the ambiance is good for dates or first impressions. And the food definitely tasted fresh.
El Bucanero – multiple locations
A popular local seafood restaurant. I wasn’t overly impressed with the food or the ambiance. However, it is an experience.
El Potosino – 7243 San Pedro Ave, San Antonio, TX 78216
I call this place the Mexican Hooter’s. I’m guessing they intend it to be that way. As a female, I feel really unwelcome here. Like maybe they think I am taking up a table where that should be taken up by a male that will tip them more for showing skin? That being said, I really like the food here so I started going through the drive-thru to order. The huaraches are my favorite menu item here.
El Sabrosito Jalisco Restaurant – 118 N Weidner Rd, San Antonio, TX 78233
I’ve only been through the drive-thru here. The mixed parrillada plate has a lot of food! The meats taste good. I was not a fan of the nachos because of the cheese. The salsas are on the hot/spicy side.
Fogo de Chão Brazilian Steakhouse – 849 E Commerce St #393, San Antonio, TX 78205
These Brazilian steakhouses seem to be very popular in San Antonio. I’ve never been here, but it is in the thick of it: downtown, prime location at the Rivercenter mall. I’m assuming it stays busy. Will most likely need to pay for parking and walk a bit to reach the restaurant. I’d recommend catching a taxi or booking a rideshare for front door drop off and pick up.
Gorilla Shaved Ice – 2355 Goliad Rd, San Antonio, TX 78223
Now you don’t have to wait for the fair. Enjoy all the over-the-top shaved ice treats and other snacks your heart could ever fathom. And then some.
Goro’s Sushi – 2619 Mossrock, San Antonio, TX 78230
Doesn’t look like much from the outside, but the sushi was really good and I thought it was affordable for the quality and amount. Definitely recommend.
Gristmill River Restaurant & Bar – 1287 Gruene Rd, New Braunfels, TX 78130
Iconic spot on the river in Gruene, TX. I recommend this spot for the vibe. But be forewarned, it’s usually very busy and the service times will fall in line accordingly. You’re paying for the location and hype, but I’ve always enjoyed my food here.
Guajillo’s – 1001 Northwest Loop 410, San Antonio, TX 78213
One of the more authentic places in town. I recommend the pozole or enfrijoladas. Be forewarned: the salsa served with the chips is super hot to the untrained palate.
Häagen-Dazs® Ice Cream Shop – 214 Alamo Plaza, San Antonio, TX 78205
Did you know that Häagen-Dazs has shops where you can walk in and order all kinds of cones, cups, and all kinds of other creations? There is another location at North Star Mall.
Hungry Horse Restaurant and Catering – 109 Saunders St, Boerne, TX 78006
This is one of my favorite American restaurants in the area. The burgers are huge and delicious. Especially the bacon. Also, the downtown section of Boerne can be nice to walk around and check out artisan wares.
Jimmy’s Family Pizza – 226 E Fest St, San Antonio, TX 78204
This place. Let’s start out with unassuming. In an old building with a residence and dog upstairs. Bear sometimes barks hello. 🙂 Limited parking but ample street parking on the block. Looks like it is in a bad neighborhood, but the area is being gentrified and the property values have been soaring. It is on the border of the King William area & Blue Star District downtown. It would probably be considered more of the So Flo and Lone Star area. Jimmy is actually the owner. Think Seinfeld’s “Soup Nazi” on some days. 🙂 But as long as you can respect the local hustle and be patient then Jimmy will deliver – this place is the antithesis of a washed out corporate spot – and mostly for the better. This place is his “baby” and you can see him everywhere in it – decorations included. Always has the TV on and is a good spot for groups. Honestly was one of my favorite local spots – I’d recommend the lemon pepper wings and I like a basic pepperoni and mushroom pizza.
Josephine Street – 400 E Josephine St, San Antonio, TX 78215
The original San Antonio. Before the Pearl District even existed. Has a hangout bar kind of feel. The unique thing about this place is that it has a tree going from the ground through the roof in the middle of the restaurant.
Koreana Restaurant – 2458 Harry Wurzbach Rd #5, San Antonio, TX 78209
Polite service, but I didn’t feel welcomed here. However, the food was good. The real deal. I don’t see the sampler plate on the menu available online, but there was some kind of sampler plate that someone ordered for me. It was really good. A ton of stuff to try out.
La Gloria – 100 E Grayson St, San Antonio, TX 78215
This place is really popular, but I wasn’t a fan. I probably need to give it another go before I count it completely out, but it is not the style of Mexican food that I am used to. But more power to you if you like it. The location is right on the River Walk in the Pearl district.
La PanaderÍa – multiple locations
I wasn’t super impressed, but this is a very popular spot. Bakery items along with light breakfast and lunch options.
Little Red Barn Steak House – 1836 S Hackberry, San Antonio, TX 78210
Hometown spot. I wasn’t blown over by it when I visited. Might have to give it another try someday. Bench-style seating. Lots of room for a large group.
Local Coffee – 302 Pearl Parkway, Ste 118, San Antonio, TX 78215
This company was founded in San Antonio. They expanded to eleven locations and then sold all but this location in the thick of the Pearl District. Good ambiance for small meetings or people watching.
Lone Star Cafe – 237 Losoya St, San Antonio, TX 78205
Popular but very busy spot on the Riverwalk. Texas fare with twists. I’ve enjoyed the food here. But expect longer service with the amount of customers that they serve.
LongHorn Steakhouse – multiple locations
I’m not a fan of this popular chain. If I had to choose, I’d pick Texas Roadhouse over this chain every time. The food is edible, but I’ve never had a great experience here.
Los Arcos Mexican Grill – multiple locations
A popular spot. I’m a fan of their Bulverde location and salsa verdes. The pirata taco used to be my go-to.
Luciano Ristorante Italiano – 15900 La Cantera Pkwy, San Antonio, TX 78256
I really like this place. Apparently this is their only location, but they execute it very professionally. On par with established corporate chains. I like the ambiance. Sit down, but not stuffy. Bright and open. Good service. The food is a little more expensive that a cheap pizza run, but tastes fresh. I highly recommend the Parma pizza. Delicious and craveable! Located on a busy corner in the thick of the La Cantera shopping center. Lots of free parking is available, but you might have to walk a bit on a busy day.
Main Street Pizza & Pasta – 1906 N Main Ave, San Antonio, TX 78212
Unassuming local spot. Been around for years. Nothing fancy about it, but definitely delivers if you’re looking for a non-corporate spot to grab a hardy bite to eat. Lots of menu options in addition to the pizza.
Mama Margie’s Mexican Cafe – multiple locations
A San Antonio Tex-Mex staple. Good spot to kick back and chill. Unlimited chips with a good salsa bar. I recommend the bean and cheese taco, the picadillo taco, the carne guisada taco, the queso appetizer, and the fresh lemonade. I also like to order a soda with half Dr. Pepper and half Big Red.
Mi Tierra Café y Panadería – 218 Produce Row, San Antonio, TX 78207
One of the most popular restaurants in San Antonio. A stereotypical “tourist trap” but also a must-see. The decorations, live mariachis, and huge bakery create a unique experience.
Mod Pizza – multiple locations
This is usually my first pick for grab and go pizza. Thin crust, but also has gluten-free and cauliflower crusts. The kicker here is unlimited toppings for the same price. Build-your-own or order one of their recommended combinations. Only two sizes – personal or what might be classified as a small to medium size at other places. They try to bill themselves as providing fast service, but I’ve been greatly disappointed on that at many of their locations if there is a line. Doesn’t seem like they encourage their employees to focus on the customers. That being said, I love the options and the price. My order is: pesto sauce, arugula, cilantro, basil, garlic, parmesan cheese, asiago cheese, bacon, salami, spicy sausage, artichokes, mushrooms, onions, tomatoes, rosemary, oregano, salt, and pepper. Then after it’s cooked, I top if with half balsamic fig glaze and half sri-rancha sauce. Mmmmm! 🙂
Monterrey Café – 2570 IH 35 S, New Braunfels, TX 78130
If you and your stomach are a bit more on the adventurous side, the service isn’t great but I always like their pupusas.
Pollos Asados Los Nortenos – multiple locations
A San Antonio sensation. Known for their grilled chicken meals. I’m a fan of their salsa verde.
Rudy’s BBQ – multiple locations
Founded in the San Antonio area. Now in multiple states. I’m not sure if it still is, but their slogan used to be “The Worst BBQ in Texas!”. I wouldn’t say it’s anything to write home about, but it’s good for a quick drive-by if you’re looking for generally affordable BBQ with quick service. Usually there is a gas station attached to their locations. Usually bench-style seating. I like their potato salad, BBQ sauce, and chopped beef.
Ruth’s Chris – multiple locations
San Antonio used to have a Ruth’s Chris, but it looks like the location might now be closed. Another upscale chain with prices to match. I’ve never been, but it is known as a popular spot.
Smoke BBQ+Skybar – 501 E Crockett St, San Antonio, TX 78202
I haven’t tried this place, but it gets very packed. Outdoor seating. Music was very loud and it had a party/club vibe when I briefly went inside. On the outskirts of downtown. Walking distance from the Alamo. Very limited parking; I’m going to guess you’ll probably end up having to pay for parking. Not in the greatest area as it is close to the Interstate where a lot of homeless hang out. If it were me, I’d take a taxi or rideshare for front door drop off and pick up.
Southerleigh Fine Food and Brewery – 136 E Grayson St Suite 120, San Antonio, TX 78215
Hip elevated southern food located in the Pearl district. Fine dining in a relaxed and energized atmosphere. I’ve tried the fried snapper throats and stuffed shrimp.
Southtown Pizzaría – 728 S Presa St, San Antonio, TX 78210
A little more expensive that other places, but I hear good things from people about this place. Not a chain. It’s located near downtown in the Southtown area.
Texas Roadhouse – multiple locations
Still usually my top pick. I go for the sirloin, grilled shrimp, loaded mashed potatoes, salad with ranch, and fries. And of course you must eat the rolls with their great honey cinnamon butter. Really have never had a bad meal here. Good prices. Usually very busy.
Thai Café – 11318 Perrin Beitel Rd, San Antonio, TX 78217
This is a great place for the price and the amount of food. But the ambiance could use an update. Sometimes it smells in here. I usually take the food to go. But the food is fabulous. They used to have a buffet that was fabulous. If they ever bring it back, definitely try it. My favorite dish here is the Yam Nua beef salad.
The Magnolia Pancake Haus – 17730 I-35 N, Schertz, TX 78154
A San Antonio staple and seen on TV. Delicious breakfast spot. Usually packed, but this is their newest location so you might get luckier with the wait.
The Original Mexican Restaurant – 528 River Walk St, San Antonio, TX 78205
Tex-Mex. A popular “tourist trap” on the Riverwalk. You’re paying for the Riverwalk vibe. Probably longer service times due to the amount of customers. Been around for ages.
The Original Panchito’s Mexican Restaurant – 4100 McCullough Ave, San Antonio, TX 78212
Same owners as the other Panchito’s. However, this location has a completely different atmosphere. This restaurant has serviced tables and a bar. I like ordering the Poco de Mexico appetizer as a meal. I am also a fan of the shrimp nachos.
Torchy’s Tacos – multiple locations
I’m not sure the restaurant as a whole lives up to the hype, but I definitely recommend the Hillbilly Queso and the tomatillo salsa. I’m not a huge fan of their tacos, but the ones I order are the Democrat and the Crossroads. They usually have a special taco of the month. I recommend checking those out when they have them.
Triple C Steakhouse – 698 E Hondo Ave, Devine, TX 78016
The real deal. Not complicated, not trying too hard. Just that ol’ good service and good food. Also has a salad bar. One of my top picks. Worth the drive. Small country town. Mounted animals on the walls. Still had a smoking section when I last visited. Ample parking. I believe they even have truck parking.
Whataburger – multiple locations
I used to recommend and take pride in this company, but after they sold the company to a new owner, the service and food quality seems to have unfortunately taken a turn. That being said, I still recommend their sausage egg biscuit, no cheese, on a biscuit for breakfast. Or their shakes.
Yard House – multiple locations
I’ve never been here, but it always has a lot of people. They have a location on the Riverwalk in the heart of the Rivercenter Mall. They also have other locations mainly in Texas. The menu looks like your standard American fare with flare and flavor.
Arneson River Theatre – 418 Villita St, San Antonio, TX 78205
I wouldn’t make a special trip to visit this spot, but it is an interesting place on the Riverwalk if you happen to be nearby. It is an active outdoor theater. And it is also architecturally interesting.
Espada Aqueduct – 9045 Espada Rd, San Antonio, TX 78214
This is an interesting part of San Antonio’s history. Not a destination unless you’re interested in architecture, public works, history, etc. Good educational opportunity for interested kiddos.
Mission Espada – 10328 Espada Rd, San Antonio, TX 78214
San Antonio Missions National Historical Park. Missions are a big part of San Antonio history. This one is one of the more interesting ones in my opinion.
Mission San Juan – 9101 Graf Road, San Antonio, Texas, 78214
Another historical mission. This one is located off 410, much further south from downtown. I wouldn’t say this is one of my favorite missions. If you’re pressed for time, I’d skip this one.
San Antonio Missions National Historical Park – 6701 San Jose Dr, San Antonio, TX 78214
This mission is not too far away from downtown. If you’re into historical places, I’d take a hop over to check it out. It is surrounded by a big park that is close to the river. If you are in the area and the weather is cool, I’d recommend biking around the park.
San Fernando Cathedral – 115 Main Plaza, San Antonio, TX 78205
This is located in downtown San Antonio with a cute square in front of the cathedral. Sometimes there are bands playing in the square and a light show on the front of the cathedral. Sometimes homeless people hang out in this area. So just be aware of your surroundings and don’t feel pressured to give money.
The Alamo – 300 Alamo Plaza, San Antonio, TX 78205
I’d say underwhelmed was a great word to describe my trip to the Alamo. But, it’s a must. You have to do it. You have to take your obligatory picture in front of the Alamo. I wouldn’t spend time going inside unless you’re into history and want background on the Alamo. The good news is that it is located in downtown San Antonio in the middle of everything. So you won’t have to go too much out of your way to do a quick visit.
Hotel Emma – 136 E Grayson St, San Antonio, TX 78215
Looking for something unique? This hotel is the centerpiece of the Pearl District. It was made from the old Pearl Brewery. They have preserved a lot of the old items in the hotel. Great to also walk through. It comes highly-rated and is now world-renowned. Located right on the new section of the Riverwalk. Lots of development around this area. Many restaurants, bars, shops, and cute park spaces. Traffic-wise, easier to get in and out of compared to downtown.
Chicken N Pickle – multiple locations
I know nothing about pickleball and have never been here. But if you’re into that or want to find out about it then this is definitely a starting point for the area. There are usually a lot of people here. It seems like a good spot for a date night, meeting friends, or gathering a group. This is located near UTSA so just be aware that the crowd might lean towards that age-group.
Embassy Miniature Golf – 500 Embassy Oaks, San Antonio, TX 78216
This is a date-night spot or a spot to meet up with a small group of friends. Might be a little awkward to go by yourself since pretty much everyone is there with someone else. But hey, do you. It’s a good place for kids also. I enjoy going here. Very simple courses. Good old-fashioned fun. There is also a movie-theater and a pool place nearby to continue on the fun.
JW Marriott Hill Country Resort & Spa – 23808 Resort Parkway, San Antonio, TX 78261
I’m not big on golf, but if you are then you might want to check out this resort course. It is home to the Valero Texas Open.
Morgan’s Wonderland – 5223 David Edwards Dr, San Antonio, TX 78233
This is a world-renowned all-inclusive children’s theme and amusement park that is designed specifically with special-needs in mind. It was named one of Time’s “World’s Greatest Places”.
Natural Bridge Caverns – 26495 Natural Bridge Caverns Rd, San Antonio, TX 78266
In general, I’m not a fan of caves. So I’ve never been interested in going here. But it is a popular spot. Apparently it is a cave tour. It is located next door to Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch.
Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch – 26515 Natural Bridge Caverns Rd, San Antonio, TX 78266
One of my favorite things to do in San Antonio. This is a drive-thru “safari” adventure. Basically you stay in your car and drive around a loop where there are different animals that roam freely in the area and are able to come up to your vehicle where you can feed them with food purchased when you enter the park. The food will go fast – lean towards buying more versus less. Some of the animals are not shy, just fyi. You can also get out and feed a giraffe in the beginning. Sometimes there is a long line. I’d suggest going on days when the animals are most likely up and around and have not reached their limit for interest in human interaction for the day. Located next door to Natural Bridge Caverns.
New Braunfels Tubing – 499 E Mill St, New Braunfels, TX 78130
For some, floating the river is a required Texas summer activity – as often as possible. If you’ve never done it, you must give it a try if you have the time. But expect to make it an all-day affair in order to relax and enjoy the flow. Plan accordingly in the Texas heat. For your first time, I’d recommend going with one of the established outfitters that will provide the tube and drop-off/pickup service. I’d also recommend taking a short float first to see how you like it. Although people bring very little children, I would not recommend it unless they are capable swimmers and will be able to get themselves out if they go under at one of the falls. This is generally a very lazy river, but there are a few spots where you can get dumped out. Wear shoes that will allow you to walk on rocks, gravel, and concrete. Purchase one of those waterproof pouches for keeping things attached to you that you don’t want to get wet or float away. You’ll want to bring drinks to keep hydrated.
Ripley’s Believe It or Not! – 307 Alamo Plaza, San Antonio, TX 78205
This is a walk-through place kinda like The Guinness World Records in person. Please check before heading over because there is work being done on the Alamo and some of the businesses in the area are going to be closing.
Riverside Golf Course – 203 McDonald, San Antonio, TX 78210
I know nothing about golf, but this is a course that is close to downtown and I’m assuming it is not snooty. That being said, the area around it can be sketchy sometimes with people hungry for many different things. But if you need to get in a game without any fluff, might be worth checking out. I’d recommend checking out better courses for taking people you are trying to impress.
San Antonio Zoo – 3903 N St Mary’s St, San Antonio, TX 78212
I don’t generally support caging wild animals. But since it is here, I can say that I have visited and know there is a lot of money and work put into this zoo. It is very educational for kids and adults alike. Plenty to see. Please schedule accordingly in the summer heat as there is a lot of walking in order to see everything. Sometimes there are a lot of people here and there is a walk to the parking lots. Located near the other Broadway attractions and close to downtown and the Pearl.
Schlitterbahn Waterpark – 400 N Liberty Ave, New Braunfels, TX 78130
A destination spot. You’ll want to plan to spend at least a day if you go here. It is basically a water amusement park. Tons of slides, tubing, etc. My favorite was the lazy river where you can just float through some of the park. But there are usually a ton of people here in peak season. So since I’m generally averse to crowds and lines, I never really go here. But you have to do it at least once if you’re going to say you’ve been to New Braunfels or end up staying in the area. Just research and plan your trip in order to get the best experience. Look into parking, food and drink options, lockers, shoes for walking the park, and preparing for the heat. This is a very popular spot for large groups.
SeaWorld San Antonio – 10500 Sea World Dr, San Antonio, TX 78251
In general, I’m not supportive of caging wild animals. That being said, this park offers a water park and is very popular. Expect lots of people in the park when the kids are out of school.
Six Flags Fiesta Texas – 17000 W I-10, San Antonio, TX 78257
An amusement park for kids and adults. I hate going here because I am very averse to crowds and lines. But if those things don’t put you off or you are willing to pay to skip the lines, then there is plenty to keep you entertained. I think they have a nightly fireworks show. They also have special setups for the park during Halloween and Christmas. Expect to walk a lot. Plan accordingly in the summer heat. Sometimes you end up parking so far away from the entrance that it might be worth the cost to get dropped off at the front by a rideshare company since you have to pay for parking if you bring your own vehicle. But sometimes you will also spend time waiting to drive into or out of the park. Located near La Cantera and The Rim.
The Amazing Mirror Maze – 217 Alamo Plaza, San Antonio, TX 78205
If you’ve never tried one of these before, I’d recommend it. Good for a few minutes of fun. But it might be scary for very young children and those that are older that might not appreciate the loss of frame of reference. Please check before heading over as there is a lot of work going on at the Alamo and some of the businesses in the area will be closing.
Topgolf – 5539 N Loop 1604 W, San Antonio, TX 78249
If you’ve never been to a Topgolf, it’s worth a trip at least once. You might start out hitting poorly, but once you get the hang of it then you’ll want to keep hitting. It’s basically a driving range on steroids. Meaning forget a bunch of old guys standing around. They have gamified the experience much like bowling alleys do. This is an entertainment zone good for date nights, hanging with friends, or getting groups together. There is food, drinks, an arcade, and many other things to keep the party going for awhile.
Texas Air Museum at Stinson Field – 1234 99th St, San Antonio, TX 78214
The second oldest airport in the United States. View the airplanes. Learn San Antonio’s role in the development of the military’s air power.
Blue Bonnet Palace – 17630 Lookout Rd, Selma, TX 78154
This used to be a popping spot back in the day at their old location. I haven’t been to this new location, but it might be worth stopping by if you’re in the area. Country vibe. Probably mostly locals.
Cowboys Dancehall – 3030 NE Interstate 410 Loop, San Antonio, TX 78218
Catch a concert or go for the night. This place often gets really crowded and rowdy.
Gruene Hall – 1281 Gruene Rd, New Braunfels, TX 78130
Small historic dancehall that should definitely be on the list if you’re into that sort of thing. Billed as Texas’ oldest dancehall. Draws a big crowd and sometimes some bigger acts. Make a day of it if you make the trip out this way.
Howl at the Moon – 111 W. Crockett Street St. #201, San Antonio, TX 78205
Popular bar downtown on the Riverwalk.
St. Mary’s Strip – St Mary’s Street between Euclid and 281, San Antonio, TX 78212
Austin has 6th Street. New Orleans has Bourbon Street. This isn’t as grand, but there is a big row of establishments that stay busy with music, booze, and food at night here in San Antonio on St. Mary’s Street.
The Friendly Spot Ice House – 943 S Alamo St, San Antonio, TX 78205
Really chill vibe here. Locals mostly. Lots of people-watching. Close to downtown. I believe it is also dog-friendly. There is a playground for the kids and lots of seating.
Arsenal Bridge – 479-499 E Arsenal St, San Antonio, TX 78204
The walk around this bridge is a very pleasant break from the touristy part of the Riverwalk. But I think the best part of this bridge is the view towards downtown.
Bandera County Medina Lake Park – 14444 PR 37, Lakehills, TX 78063
Big park with great view of the lake. Sometimes the gates are open at night for a good look at the stars with the ambiance of the water lapping the shore. But don’t get too freaked out by the coyotes sounding off in the distance.
Brackenridge Park – 3700 N St Mary’s St, San Antonio, TX 78212
This is a big park close to downtown, Zoo, Broadway, Pearl, etc. There are a lot of water features in the park and a playground. Lots of shade and walking trails. Sometimes the area can get packed on holidays and weekends with car clubs. There are unfortunately homeless that hang out in this area. It is generally a good park, but I wouldn’t let my guard down with myself, my children, or my belongings. Probably best experienced with at least one other adult. Lots of people in the general vicinity but room enough to usually not feel crowded. Lots of ducks around the water by the Zoo.
Canyon Lake Marina – 280 Marina, Canyon Lake, TX 78133
I never get a great feeling when I go to Canyon Lake. I get more meth-head than leisure. But that being said, even if you don’t sail, I find the ambiance around the Canyon Lake Marina to be contemplative. All the swinging and noises from the aligned boats in the breeze is good for the mind sometimes. Or sitting to chat with a friend or a date. For the more adventurous, boat rentals are also available.
Chris Park – 111 Camp St, San Antonio, TX 78204
Shhhh, I know a secret. 🙂 There is a cute little park near downtown. Think cultivated, art, meditation, and peaceful versus a place big enough for much exercise. Used primarily by locals, but definitely a good place to take some photos for the socials or grab a moment of peace in downtown.
Comanche Lookout Park – 15551 Nacogdoches Rd, San Antonio, TX 78247
Looking for a short hike? Hike to the top of the hill for a quick workout in this suburban residential area. There is a view from the top. Not breath-taking, but decent. I’ve never gotten a good vibe from this area. Wouldn’t recommend it for females or people of a vulnerable population who are exercising alone.
Enchanted Rock State Natural Area – 16710 Ranch Rd 965, Fredericksburg, TX 78624
A great hike in a state where the majority of the land seems to be very flat. But fair warning, there is no shade on the way up or down. I would recommend not doing this hike during the heat of the day in the hot months. Also, sometimes this place can get pretty packed. Please research, call ahead, and probably also purchase a pass/reservation in advance to guarantee entrance to the park. This place is in the middle of nowhere, so also use the bathroom before heading out and bring along any drinks and snacks you’ll need.
Hays Street Bridge – 803 N Cherry St, San Antonio, TX 78202
Architecturally, this is a really interesting bridge downtown. It also has a great view of downtown at sunset. There seem to be a lot of creatives that make it here. Along with members of the local bicycling community. The surrounding area is mainly industrial and not yet completely gentrified. Just be aware that it is located very near a bridge where a lot of homeless people hang out. I’d recommend going with another adult if you are a female or member of a vulnerable population. I would suggest getting dropped off with a rideshare versus parking in or walking to the area. There are some local bars in the area that might be worth checking out if you’re into doing that.
James Kiehl River Bend Park – 118 River Bend Rd, Comfort, TX 78013
This will be the first time I publicly disclose one of my favorite spots to go to for a break from the city and relative peace and quiet. Let’s see how long that lasts. Worth the drive.
Japanese Tea Garden – 3853 N St Mary’s St, San Antonio, TX 78212
All these years and I’ve never been to this park. But it is popular and located relatively close to downtown. Also located close to the Zoo, Brackenridge Park, and other Broadway attractions.
Johnson Street Pedestrian Bridge – 100 W Johnson St, San Antonio, TX 78204
Cute bridge. I think it is a really great walking loop to start here, go as far as Nueva, and then turn around and go back on the other side of the river. For the non-touristy experience of the Riverwalk.
Judson Nature Trails – 246 Viesca St, Alamo Heights, TX 78209
Nice little walk with a lot of shade and some changes in elevation in a very basic park behind a neighborhood that has a lot of expensive houses. I still wouldn’t recommend going here alone if you are a female or member of a vulnerable population. But it is a nice place to take dogs walking if you are with another adult. Not generally frequented by big groups or families. Offers some peace and quiet in the middle of the city.
Landa Park – 164 Landa Park Drive, New Braunfels, TX 78130
A great old park with lots of big shade trees. It includes an aquatic center, golf course, paddle boats, miniature golf, miniature train, a trail, fishing pier, and playgrounds. Great place to relax and hang out. However, this park gets packed sometimes. I recommend securing your spot early on popular days if you hope to spend the day hanging out here.
Lost Maples State Natural Area – 37221 RM 187, Vanderpool, TX 78885
The place in Texas to catch the changing colors of the autumn season. Please research your trip out there and plan accordingly. It is recommended to purchase passes/reservations when available in order to guarantee entrance. This park is also in the middle of nowhere. Please plan accordingly in regard to bathrooms, drinks, gas, and snacks. That being said, the drive is one of my favorites. Lovely winding road through the hill country from either direction.
McAllister Dog Park – 8418 Buckhorn Rd, San Antonio, TX 78247
McAllister Park is a huge park located near the airport. I’ve never explored it fully, but I’ve been to the dog park many times. It is a pretty big dog park with a pathway to walk around the park while inside the fence. Lots of people and pups. There is also a huge open field next to the dog park. There is one parking area close-by and then another bigger lot that is a bit of a walk. Just be aware that there is a lot of natural wildlife in the area. Lots of deer near sunrise and sunset.
Medina River Natural Area – 15890 TX-16, San Antonio, TX 78264
Isolated park on the outskirts of town. I get bad vibes here. I wouldn’t recommend it for females going alone. I enjoyed biking here, but there is a very steep path towards the beginning of the park that leads down to the river.
Old Tunnel State Park – 10619 Old San Antonio Rd, Fredericksburg, TX 78624
This used to be a place you could go to for peace and quiet. Last time I went here, that was not the case. Apparently the word is out. The main story of this spot is that it is an old train tunnel bridge where a bat colony resides. During certain times of the year people come here to watch the bats exit the tunnel in large groups around sunset as they go foraging. There is an area that you can hang out for free. But there is also an additional viewing area and education experience that you can pay money for access to. This park feels like it is in the middle of nowhere; bring whatever you need in terms of gas and water. Also recommend gassing up and using the restroom before heading out here. There is a restroom that is open onsite when the park personnel are onsite. Also, be careful of deer when leaving after dark. They are plentiful in the area and the road is full of turns.
Olmos Basin – 651 Devine Rd, San Antonio, TX 78209
Lots of old trees and shade near a very expensive part of town. This area also floods dramatically with a heavy rain. Unfortunately some people make their way here that leave me to not recommend going alone if you are a female or member of a vulnerable population. Unless you stay off the isolated trails and remain where there are a lot of people. Good place to relax and take in the nature while being close to downtown, Broadway, and the Pearl areas. I recommend grabbing a bite to go at Central Market and then enjoying it here at the park.
Phil Hardberger Park (East) – 13203 Blanco Rd, San Antonio, TX 78216
Unfortunately the word is out about my favorite park in San Antonio. Lots of shade and walking trails. A big playground and a big, active dog park. Picnic tables near the parking. The new Robert L. B. Tobin Land Bridge over Wurzbach Parkway to connect to the west side of the park. The main problem here is that the parking fills up quickly on weekends with good weather. Better luck on weekday mornings. If there is no parking at the main entrance off Blanco, check out the parking at the dog park or way down off Voelcker Lane. This is a good spot to start biking. The park is part of miles of a connected park system. Usually lots of people, but I still wouldn’t recommend going here alone if you are a female or part of a vulnerable population. A female reported a rape in this area a few years ago. There are too many spots and too much time in between people passing for an opportunistic person to wait and pounce. Also, homeless are known to hang out in the section from Wurzbach Parkway going towards West Avenue. But if you go with at least one other adult, I’d highly recommend exploring this park. Lots to do.
Quadrangle Fort Sam Houston – 1405 E Grayson St, Fort Sam Houston, TX 78234
I guess this spot has a museum that I missed, but I went to photograph a family for a birth announcement. And the best part in my opinion was the peacock, other birds, and deer that are allowed to roam the grounds and will get very close to you. These grounds are located on a federal military base that allows access to this section to the public. Just check with them before heading over as rules and access are subject to whatever is going on with the base. Also, be careful what you bring in as you are subjecting yourself to potential search by the federal security onsite. Very safe on the base. But the area around the base is not a place to hang out except the more gentrified areas. I mention that just to not leave anything in your car that would appeal to opportunistic people.
Pearsall Park – 4838 Old Pearsall Rd, San Antonio, TX 78242
A newer park on the south side of town. Not a tourist destination. Used primarily by locals. Has a big playground and splash pad for kids. Also has a trail, basketball courts, a skate park, and a dog park. But there is almost no natural shade here. And the park is located near some areas that are known for violence and crime. So please be aware of your surroundings and protect you and yours. I would not recommend going on the trails by yourself if you are a female or a member of a vulnerable population. I’d also recommend keeping a hawk eye on who is interacting with your children.
Robber Baron Cave – 155 Camellia Way, San Antonio, TX 78209
Did you know there is a cave in the middle of a residential neighborhood in San Antonio? This isn’t a proper tourist attraction in that it is literally right in the middle of a residential neighborhood. There are almost no signs and you can barely tell it is there. But if it is open, you’ll be able to walk down a little pathway that takes you to the entrance of the cave. You can’t go into the cave, but it is interesting and a bit spooky to think about all the history and possibilities. Just a quick 15-minute jump out of the car if you are in the area.
Roosevelt Park – 331 Roosevelt Ave, San Antonio, TX 78210
A smaller park downtown that packs a lot of punch. Located on the section of the Riverwalk that starts to get less populated. A park for kids, a public pool, a basketball court, some nearby water features. Not a lot of shade. Near the Lone Star area that is still under construction (as of January 2022). I think there are probably a lot of locals that hang out here as opposed to tourists. Probably a good place to start biking north or south from. But I wouldn’t make this my first choice. And I wouldn’t go here if I was alone as a female or a member of a vulnerable population. The area is being gentrified, but it isn’t populated enough to discourage desperate or opportunistic people from hanging out in the area.
San Antonio Botanical Garden – 555 Funston Pl, San Antonio, TX 78209
Every time I’ve been here, I’ve never felt like I exhausted what there is to see. Every time I go, I feel like there is still more to discover. You could spend hours here or do a quick walkthrough. There is a very popular light experience during the holidays. I really recommend visiting especially when the wildflowers are in bloom, but really there is sometime to enjoy any time of the year. Some of my favorites have been the tropical plants, cactus, Japanese garden, oversized chairs, and the pond area. But there are plenty of good spots to check out inside. You can tell there is money and thought being invested in this experience. If you think you’ll go more than once a year, I’d recommend buying the membership. If you live in the area and want somewhere to go that feels safer to walk around alone, I’d really recommend coming here. There are lots of trails, the grounds are fenced, only people who pay have access, and it feels safe. This is another attraction in the downtown, Pearl, Broadway area. Please consider the Texas heat when scheduling your trip here. In the summer, you’ll want to go as early as possible in the morning.
San Antonio River Lock & Dam – Brooklyn Locks, San Antonio, TX 78215
This is also one of my favorite things to do in San Antonio. You can go here to watch the boats go through the locks. I highly recommend this for children and people interested in construction, science, architecture, etc. You can view the locks for free. Or you can check with the river tour provider to catch a ride on a boat going through the locks. That is a different experience and also fun. This is also a good place to start walking on a more calm section of the Riverwalk either towards downtown or towards the Pearl. There are a lot of beautiful flowers on this section of the Riverwalk (when they are in bloom). There are homeless that wander into this area from time to time, but in general there are enough people around that it is safe to be by yourself during the daytime. Just might have to look for free parking for a few minutes – and don’t leave anything valuable out in the open in your vehicle.
The Park at Pearl – 312 Pearl Pkwy, San Antonio, TX 78215
The Pearl in general is a great place to walk around and explore. It is also directly connected to the Riverwalk – so you can continue your walk downstream. But, this park is a cool little outdoor hangout spot in the thick of the Pearl. Lots of people watching, interesting architecture, a water feature, and cool place to bring your dog and sit outside. They even have tables setup next to electrical outlets. Good place to also hang out, grab a bite or a drink, and meet with friends. Also a good spot to meet a potential first-date. Lots of people around so it is usually safe. Just keep an eye out for opportunistic people that might take advantage of tourists letting their guards down.
Woodlawn Lake Park – 1103 Cincinnati Ave, San Antonio, TX 78201
Very small lake surrounded by a trail in a part of town that is unfortunately known for crime. There are a lot of people in the area. Probably fine if you go with another adult, but just proceed with caution if you are from out of town. You will most likely stand out like a sore thumb. Definitely keep a hawk eye on your kids in this area.
Yanaguana Garden at Hemisfair – 434 S Alamo St, San Antonio, TX 78205
The grounds around the Hemisfair offer playgrounds for kids and even a splash pad (check to make sure it is open before venturing over). There is a lot of space here right in downtown to explore and walk around. During the day, it’s probably okay to venture here by yourself. But I wouldn’t go by myself at night.
World’s Largest Cowboy Boots – 7400 San Pedro Ave, San Antonio, TX 78216
A huge statue of cowboy boots at North Star Mall. If you’re in the area, take a picture with the boots. 😊 But please be careful as the roads next to the boots are very busy.
Blue Star Arts Complex – 1414 S Alamo St, San Antonio, TX 78210
This shopping area is adjacent/in the King William and Southtown areas. It is right on the River Walk and there is plenty of interesting things to see and places to walk around. The shopping area contains many galleries, bars, places to shop, and places to eat and drink. Not big corporate. More of an indie vibe.
Buc-ee’s – multiple locations
Ever seen people wearing beaver t-shirts? This is the gas station with a cult following. Decorate your house, buy things for your car, pick up deer feed, buy camping equipment, in addition to Texas-themed items and many other products. The largest selection of snacks I’ve ever seen. Barbeque, kolaches, fudge, etc. And the cleanest bathrooms you’ll ever find in a gas station. The New Braunfels location was at one time the biggest gas station in the world. It has at least 83 bathrooms and 120 gas pumps. Don’t forget to take your picture with the beaver statue.
Central Market – multiple locations
I always say that if I make millions of dollars then I’ll eat at Central Market every day. Their prepared foods are fantastic. My favorites are the fresh juices, baked goods, and soups. When the salad bar is available, it is my favorite salad bar for a quick pickup of healthy food. The salad I make usually consists of some combination of romaine lettuce, spring mix, arugula, carrots, cucumbers, celery, tomato/mozzarella pasta, salmon, grilled chicken, chickpeas, mushrooms, roasted pumpkin seeds, parmesan cheese, beets, boiled egg, and their fantastic Caesar dressing. But they have tons of other prepared foods. And a great selection of international and specialty foods. Tons more I could say. Definitely a spot to visit if you are a foodie. Also a good spot to meet someone for a chat. Usually good environment.
Chicho Boys Fruit Market – 1631 S Laredo St, San Antonio, TX 78207
Chicho Boys is owned by the family that owns River City Produce across the street. Think of River City Produce as the wholesale/bulk arm and Chicho Boys as the retail arm. Chicho Boys has specials on in-season produce. They also sell fruit cups and other prepared fruit/vegetable snacks. Connect with them to receive their weekly specials.
Gruene Historic District – Gruene Rd & Hunter Rd, New Braunfels, TX 78130
Lots of shops. I’d say if you’re interested in a more unique collection of shops, check out this area. And time your trip with Gruene Market Days. This place gets packed on popular days. The main parking area is located behind The Grapevine. Also Gruene is pronounced “Green”. Definitely check out the Gristmill restaurant if you make it this way.
H-E-B – multiple locations
Welcome to Texas. Cult following that is well-deserved. Must pay them a visit if you’ve never been in one of their stores. I can’t say enough good things about this company and their stores. But my favorite has to be their prepared foods. Highly-recommend. In their bigger stores, I also suggest trying their loaded brisket baked potatoes or their SouthFlo Buffalo Chicken Pizza. I’m also a fan of their home delivery or curbside pickup options.
Historic Market Square – 514 W Commerce St, San Antonio, TX 78207
This is a popularized shopping area downtown that is a stereotypical “tourist trap”. It’s one of those places that you should probably go to at least one time. There are plenty of shops with supposedly artisan wares. Lots of stuff to decorate your house with. And plenty of stereotypical Hispanic products. I’d also suggest eating at Mi Tierra if you make the trip here. The marketplace is also usually decorated in a very festive vibe. And there are frequently bands and other events in this area. However, the marketplace is just a few blocks from the homeless shelters. So please be careful with your belongings and person when frequenting this area.
La Villita Historic Arts Village – 418 Villita St, San Antonio, TX 78205
A collection of artisan shops. I’m not necessarily a fan of this place; I think it might be a bit overrated. But if you’re in the area and interested – it might be worth a walk-thru.
Pearl Brewery – 303 Pearl Pkwy, San Antonio, TX 78215
This is one of the newest areas in downtown San Antonio. I call it the newer part of the River Walk. This is a very popular part of downtown. This used to be an abandoned beer brewery. Then it was redeveloped into a fantastic development. It contains Hotel Emma – a world-renowned hotel in the old brewery that still contains some of the old architecture and equipment. It also contains many unique restaurants, bars, and shops. There are great places to take photos, hang out, walk around, and meet with people. The River Walk is located on the backside of the development. I recommend this spot as one of the top spots to go if you are in town.
The Rim – 17703 La Cantera Pkwy, San Antonio, TX 78257
Huge shopping center on the north side. Across from The Shops at La Cantera. Near Six Flags. Has almost every store you’re used to going to along with a great selection of restaurants and bars.
The Shops at La Cantera – 15900 La Cantera Pkwy Suite 6698, San Antonio, TX 78256
Upscale shopping. Lots of restaurants also. Like a mall if all of the walkways were open air. Great place to walk around and people watch. I like going to the Barnes & Noble and Luciano Ristorante Italiano (for the Parma pizza).
City Sightseeing San Antonio –111 Alamo Plaza, San Antonio, TX 78205
Open-top double-decker hop-on/hop-off bus tours of downtown. Worth doing once at least. I’d recommend this as something to do on the first day or so if you get into town and want a high-level pass at what is around downtown. I’ve never taken one of these tours, but they are very popular. The pickup spot is located next to the Alamo and Rivercenter Mall. They have combo packs available offering access to additional attractions downtown.
River Tours – multiple locations
A must-do if you spend time in San Antonio. A good activity to bring almost all people. Just be aware you’ll be on a boat with a lot of people when the tourists are in town. I usually recommend that people take a tour during the day and then another time at night as both are different experiences. During the Christmas holidays, the Riverwalk is decorated in a lot of lights – so I definitely recommend the night cruises during that time. There is a short loop that goes around downtown. Sometimes there is a longer loop that will bring you through the Lock & Dam and onto the Pearl. I’d recommend doing the longer loop if it is available and you have the time and patience. However, little kids with short attention spans might lose interest on the longer loop. Please check ticket prices and availability before venturing out to do any of the cruises. In the summer, please be aware of the heat and schedule/dress accordingly.
Tower of the Americas – 739 E César E. Chávez Blvd, San Antonio, TX 78205
The tallest man-made point in the city. Ride the elevator up for a huge view of the city. This is a tourist-trap so the ticket prices will not be cheap. But it’s one of those one-time must-do things. There is a rotating restaurant at the top of the tower.