Outdoor

Arneson River Theatre418 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.

Arsenal Bridge479-499 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.

Brackenridge Park3700 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 Marina280 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.

Chicken N Pickle5215 UTSA Boulevard, San Antonio, TX 78249
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.

Chris Park111 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.

City Sightseeing San Antonio111 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.

Comanche Lookout Park15551 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.

Embassy Miniature Golf500 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.

Espada Aqueduct9045 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.

Hays Street Bridge803 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 Park118 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 Garden3853 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 Bridge100 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 Trails246 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.

Kiddie Park3903 N St Mary’s St, San Antonio, TX 78212
For very young kids. Kid-sized amusement park rides. Located near downtown, Broadway, and the Pearl areas.

Marriage Island306 W. Market St, San Antonio, Texas
A popular spot on the Riverwalk to get married. Not really a destination spot otherwise. Located behind Hotel Contessa.

McAllister Dog Park8418 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 Area15890 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.

Morgan’s Wonderland5223 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 Caverns26495 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 Ranch26515 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 Tubing499 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.

Old Tunnel State Park10619 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 Basin651 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 Houston1405 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 Park4838 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.

River Toursmultiple 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.

Riverside Golf Course203 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.

Robber Baron Cave155 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 Park331 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 Garden555 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 & DamBrooklyn 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.

San Antonio Zoo3903 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 Waterpark400 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 Antonio10500 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 Texas17000 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 Park at Pearl312 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.

Topgolf5539 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.

Toyota Field5106 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.

Woodlawn Lake Park1103 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 Hemisfair434 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.

Zoo Train3903 N St Mary’s St, San Antonio, TX 78212
A train that winds through Brackenridge Park. For very young kids. Located near the Zoo, Broadway, and Pearl areas.

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