This post was produced in partnership with Visit San Antonio.
With so much to do in San Antonio, it can be pretty hard to whittle it down if you’re just there for a few days, so we’ve picked a few of our favorite stops from our last visit. From museums to theme parks to restaurants and more, you can’t go wrong with these suggestions.
We focused on some of the best things to do on and near the River Walk, but even off the River Walk, nothing is too far away in San Antonio.
One of the neatest places to visit is without a doubt the Tower of the Americas at Hemisfair. Standing at 750 feet tall, the Tower of the Americas is taller than Seattle’s Space Needle and was the highest observation deck until 1966. As you ride to the top of the tower, you can watch out the elevator as the ground gets smaller and smaller until you’re looking out at the skyline of San Antonio. You can get amazing 360-degree views up here and learn all about the six flags that once flew over Texas, Spain’s control of the state and when Mexico attacked the Alamo. It’s a must when in San Antonio.
Once you’re done getting the bird’s eye view of the city, take a walk around Hemisfair. If you’ve ever wondered if a playground could be both kid-friendly and strikingly beautiful and artistic at the same time, Yanaguana Garden at Hemisfair is the place for you. When we visited, the splash pads weren’t up and running for the season yet, but that’s another fun way for the kids to cool off and play outside.
Even better, Hemisfair park is home to Commonwealth Coffeehouse and Bakery, or as we now affectionately think of it, the breakfast destination that set the bar! The food here was great, we tried breakfast tacos and a personalized omelet, and they had a ton of coffee options. We opted for a good-old traditional drip coffee, and it was delicious. We’re of the mindset that a good cup of drip coffee tells you all you need to know about a coffeehouse, and this didn’t disappoint. We even got some to go.
The inside is a polished farmhouse look with lofty ceilings and beautiful crown molding. The massive patio is another huge draw, and if that wasn’t enough, there was a chicken coop! This Kansas City transplant to Chicago must have stood there talking to the spotted chickens for 5 minutes! It’s such a neat thing for kids to see where their eggs come from and the whole farm-to-table concept.
About a 10 to 15 minute drive from Hemisfair is Pearl. It’s home to a phenomenal weekend farmer’s market, tons of unique restaurants, shops and The Bottling Dept., Pearl’s food hall. We ate at Cured while there and there were a ton of delicious-looking charcuterie options, but we went with the tried and true gumbo. It was delicious and the meat was so tender, it’s something we’d go back for! Hotel Emma is definitely the spot to stay here, as well. It’s a former brewhouse and is a gorgeous place to stay on the river. You could easily spend a full weekend just exploring Pearl and what it has to offer. But there’s so much more to get to, like local theme parks and museums!
If the kids, or the kid in you, love theme parks, you’re in the right place! We spent half a day at Six Flags Fiesta Texas enjoying the newer DC Comics-themed rides and the kickoff of their Mardi Gras celebration! Parking here was an absolute breeze, which, if you’re like me, is usually what stresses you out the most! Once in the park, it was one of those moments where you remember why you loved theme parks as a kid. We made our way to the Wonder Woman ride — paying homage to my most recent Halloween costume.
The lines were short, so we got to screaming our heads off even more quickly than we thought we would! Next was The Joker: Carnival of Chaos, a 2019 addition to the park that swings like a pendulum far into the sky. The line here was a smidge longer, though not terrible, but we could see why once we got on.
We also lucked out in that this was the kickoff of the park’s Mardi Gras festival! There were jazz bands playing and a parade with dancers and people twirling on stilts. Kids and adults alike were dancing right along with them!
Another park with new additions is SeaWorld San Antonio. It hadn’t opened for the season when we visited, but it’s definitely one we’d head back to. This season, they’ll be debuting the Texas Stingray, the tallest, fastest and longest wooden roller coaster in the state! Plus, head to SeaWorld Aquatica for tons of water park rides, like the all-new Tonga Twister, opening this Spring. Along with some new attractions, SeaWorld will have their tried and true animal experiences, as well.
Once we'd had our fill of adrenaline and quintessential theme park food, we made a stop at The Witte Museum because there is nothing cooler than dinosaurs. There just isn’t. The Witte has some phenomenal dinosaur exhibits as well as exhibits on the diverse ecosystem that makes up the Texas landscape — it’s a huge state, so there’s tons to learn here!
Speaking of Texas landscapes, the San Antonio Botanical Garden needs to be on your list. It is 33-acres or gorgeous and diverse garden habitats to explore, more than 2 acres of which are dedicated just to children. The Family Adventure Garden is great for younger kids. It’s complete with a tumble hill (exactly what it sounds like, but prepare for some grass stains), Thunder Ridge, “No Name Creek,” Muhly Maze and so much more to keep the kids entertained and learning for hours.
Botanical gardens are such a peaceful place that let you take in the beauty of nature, so it’s pretty incredible how much there is to explore in San Antonio’s Botanical Gardens. San Antonio’s dedication to bolstering its natural habitat is clear also in its San Pedro Creek Culture Park. Only in its beginning phases, it’s already clear it will be a special place to this city. This urban green space debuted in 2018 and aims to restore natural green space while displaying local art. There will be plenty of tile murals, places for poetry and historical text, ceramic artwork, and more.
We were almost out of days in San Antonio (which is to say we were almost ready to plan another trip back), so we had to check out Historic Market Square. It’s like a whole other city in the square! There’s tons of vendors selling everything from street corn to puppets. Everything looked amazing and smelled even better. The sense of culture and community was so strong here, we felt compelled to stop at every shop or food vendor just to check it out. This was definitely another place you could spend hours exploring and perusing. We came out of it with a hand-painted sugar skull to take home and full bellies thanks to dining at La Margarita (and a few snacks while we were shopping, of course.)
Just the few days we spent in San Antonio were enough to understand why people flock to the city for family vacations, girlfriend getaways, reunions, couples’ trips and more. The liveliness and passion in the city is infectious, so needless to say, we’re already looking for a weekend to head back!