Rich in colonial heritage and famous for its beautiful River Walk, San Antonio is the perfect destination for both business and leisure travelers. You’ll discover that good ole’ Texas Hill Country hospitality served with local wines, historic landmarks, family-friendly adventures, and intimate restaurants. Simply put, San Antonio is a must-see city no matter what type of experience you’re looking for.

Discover San Antonio’s best attractions and top-rated accommodations to make the most of your stay.

Arriving in San Antonio

San Antonio is serviced by San Antonio International Airport, which is located about 15 minutes from downtown. Both U.S. 281 and Loop 410 provide easy access to the airport’s main entry points, which is good to know if you’ll be renting a car during your stay.

One of the easiest ways to get from the airport to your accommodation is via the Super Shuttle. From the airport, the Super Shuttle departs to downtown every 15 minutes from 7 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Other transportation options include taxis and ride shares. If you’re confused about where to find ground transportation services, head to the front of the baggage claim area and look for uniformed agents in red shirts. They’ll be happy to provide you with specific ground transportation information!

San Antonio Riverwalk
The San Antonio Riverwalk.

Savor Breakfast

Start your day in the sprawling King William District on the river’s south bank. Consisting of 25 blocks, this historic downtown area was once considered the most elegant residential area in the city. Today, it’s been transformed into an array of shops, museums, galleries, and cafes, making it the perfect place to enjoy a morning stroll.

The Guenther House is a local favorite with its historic tea room, original kitchen, and outdoor arbor areas. In fact, Guenther House is known for its namesake breakfast platter, which includes buttermilk biscuits, country gravy, local preserves, seasonal fruit, and smoked bacon or country sausage. You also can’t beat the Southern Sweet Cream Waffle with its delightfully crisp finish. Fuel up with a cup of their Founders Choice coffee and you’re good to go!

Another great choice is The Magnolia Pancake Haus, which offers two locations on Embassy Oaks and Huebner Road. The iconic establishment prides itself on offering the “world’s best buttermilk pancakes in San Antonio,” and has even been visited by celebrity food personalities like Guy Fieri. Enjoy a wide variety of pancake flavors, waffles, and French toast along with customizable toppings.

For those who prefer a more elegant breakfast on the River Walk, try Las Canarias inside the Omni La Mansion Del Rio hotel. The expansive breakfast buffet features fresh fruit, assorted pastries and breads, a butter bar, a gluten-free station, made-to-order omelets, and Texas-cut cinnamon raisin French toast. If you’d prefer to skip the $23 buffet, order from the menu. Selections include housemade muesli, smoked salmon bagels, huevos rancheros, and blueberry soufflé pancakes with lemon curd.

To help you navigate your way around the city and save on the day’s excursions, download the San Antonio Vacation Experience (SAVE) app.

Take a Double Decker Bus Tour

Double decker bus tours aren’t just for European destinations. San Antonio has one right here in Texas! The iconic hop on/hop off red sightseeing bus is the perfect way to familiarize yourself with the city’s layout and attractions. To make the most of the experience, book a 48-hour pass. This allows you to spend your first day noting those must-see areas around town without feeling rushed. Simply get back on the bus the next day and head to your favorite stops.

Citysightseeing San Antonio operates four to five buses in the city at any given time, so you never wait long for pickup. Along the route, you’ll pass The Alamo, The Pearl Brewery, the San Antonio Museum of Art, The Scottish Rite Cathedral, King William Historic District, Rivercenter Mall, and many other notable attractions.

Visit Market Square

If you’ve purchased a sightseeing bus tour, be sure to hop off at Market Square for some shopping before returning to the drop-off area. Even if you’re making your way around town on your own, Market Square is a must-see experience.

Also known as El Mercado, Market Square is the country’s largest Mexican market. It’s also one of the top 10 outdoor markets in America according to Frommer’s. Best of all, Market Square provides the perfect opportunity to see working artists in action. Artists set up along the plazas to demonstrate their crafts, all of which are available for purchase. Watch locals create paintings, leather goods, jewelry, candles, and portraits right before your eyes!

Immerse yourself in old Mexico with the Square’s lively music, authentic flavors, and colorful pottery. Depending on the time of year, you may also come across a festival or rodeo roundup. And, although it’s nearly lunchtime, don’t be afraid to sample the roasted street corn or traditional Mexican dulces.

Whether you’re shopping for Mexican artwork, vibrant dinnerware, Texas souvenirs, or cultural apparel, Market Square has it all! Set aside a couple of hours and just get lost in the magic.

Enjoy an Eclectic Lunch

One of the best things about the local cuisine is the international inspiration. San Antonio has everything, from French baguette sandwiches to Chinese dumplings. The Mexican food, however, is abundant and often boasts a Latin/American fusion that’s out of this world.

La Fonda on Main, for instance, offers a casual fine dining experience in a relaxed setting. It boasts the best of Tex-Mex flavors and authentic Mexican cuisine, which makes it both a local and visitor favorite. Try La Fonda’s famous enchilada sauce over enchiladas verdes or espinacas. Have your handmade corn tortillas stuffed with spicy Gulf fish, shrimp, or beef steak, plus an array of fresh herbs and vegetables. You can also try a little bit of everything with the La Fonda Special, which features a crispy beef taco, cheese enchilada, pork tamale, refried beans, and Mexican rice.

The Alamo
The Alamo Mission in San Antonio.

Remember the Alamo

No trip to San Antonio is complete without a visit to the Alamo. The historic Spanish mission is Texas’s most-visited landmark thanks to the role it played in giving birth to the state. Entrance to the Alamo Church and grounds are free, but you’re welcome to book a guided or audio tour for a more informative experience.

Aside from the general history of the site, the Alamo also features temporary exhibits. Currently, the Bowie: Man, Knife, Legend exhibit explores the life of Alamo defender James Bowie and his namesake knife. Since this exhibit is free to the public, consider shopping at the Alamo gift shop to help support the site’s ongoing preservation.

Cruise the River Walk

The iconic River Walk, also known as the Paseo del Rio, meanders alongside the San Antonio River, connecting restaurants, shops, museums, and hotels via stone pathways. Situated 20 feet below sea level, the River Walk is a defining landmark for the city, and it’s the main reason tourists flock here for a romantic evening with a loved one.

Taking a River Walk cruise is the best way to appreciate the landmark itself, but if you want to avoid the crowds, plan an afternoon cruise. Evening cruises are in higher demand due to the romantic atmosphere that falls over the River Walk after sunset, so even if you can’t take a cruise earlier in the day, the wait will be worth it.

River Walk cruises typically start at around $10 per adult, with dinner cruises costing extra. You can also book your River Walk cruise in a hop on/hop off bus package, helping you save money. When on dry land, don’t be afraid to wander along the River Walk. You can’t get lost, and you might be surprised at what you can find.

Have a World-Class Dinner

Since the River Walk comes alive at night, there’s no better place to indulge in an evening meal. Fine dining options abound on the River Walk, so if you want to splurge, reserve a table at a restaurant like Biga on the Banks. This New American eatery features foie gras, Angus beef, snapper, Texas lamb rack, and soufflé on the menu.

Intimate groups of five to eight should consider reserving Table 31 off Biga’s main dining room. Treat yourself to a first-class culinary tour with five to eight courses of tasting menus and suggested wine pairings. Sample menus have included lobster ravioli, boudin-stuffed quail, veal and beef medallions, and pavlova with mascarpone.

And, for those who prefer a trendy vibe with dinner, The Granary ‘Cue & Brew has been dubbed one of 15 best barbecue joints in the United States. This cozy eatery features casual Texas barbecue during the day and upscale meals at night, plus a nice selection of microbrews no matter when you stop by. It’s a popular destination, though, so book your reservation early.

Try the acclaimed brisket ramen with crispy collards, the goat rib chops, smoked duck breast, or the delectable market-style barbecue board. As for the beverages, you can’t go wrong with a shandy, which is a house soda mixed with beer! Other great brews include the earthy brown ale, the coffee IPA, and the crisp, aromatic rye saison.

Hit Up a Comedy Club

San Antonio is known for its nightlife, but its comedy clubs are something special. There’s the Laugh Out Loud Comedy Club, the Blind Tiger Comedy Club, ComedySportz San Antonio, and the Rivercenter’s Improv Comedy Club. Depending on the venue, you’ll discover great food, cocktails, and memorable performances by both local and touring comics, including the likes of George Lopez, Larry the Cable Guy, and Chris Rock.

Tower of the Americas
Tower of the Americas observation tower.

Where to Stay in San Antonio

Thanks to San Antonio’s popularity as a major tourist destination, there are countless accommodations to choose from. Consider your budget and choose from the best San Antonio hotels, hostels, and private rentals to personalize your experience.

Top Hotels

You don’t have to look hard to find a luxury hotel in San Antonio. La Cantera Resort and Spa is perfect for avid golfers, honeymooners, and families because it offers something for everyone. Enjoy views of the Texas Hill Country with easy access to Six Flags Fiesta Texas and historic downtown. Other luxury accommodations include the Westin Riverwalk San Antonio and the St. Anthony Hotel.

Budget-minded travelers can still enjoy an unbeatable location at Drury Inn & Suites San Antonio Riverwalk, Comfort Suites Alamo/Riverwalk, or Holiday Inn San Antonio Riverwalk. If you stay outside the heart of the city, drive to any of the public parking lots and walk from there.

Best Hostels

Although you won’t find an abundance of hostels in San Antonio, you still have options. San Antonio International Hostel is 2 miles north of downtown and features a common area, kitchen, and internet access. A little further out, you’ll find Woodward Lumber Hostel + Shop near a bus stop, with buses going downtown every 10 minutes.

Regardless of where you stay in San Antonio, take advantage of public transportation, even if you’re driving in.

Coolest Private Rentals

Whether you’re traveling as a couple or with the entire family, San Antonio offers private rentals that give you the extra space and amenities you need for the perfect stay. Private rentals range from intimate bed and breakfasts to entire apartments or condos, helping you immerse yourself in the local culture. Find sublets and short-term vacation rentals on the River Walk, near the Alamo, or away from the action, depending on your travel preferences. You can even rent an entire home with a kitchen, laundry facilities, private parking, and all the perks!

While most visitors prefer to stay closer to downtown, some travelers find that the outskirts are best for their needs. Book a rental close to US 281 for easy access to the San Antonio Zoo, Kiddie Park, and the DoSeum. Going to Six Flags? Interstate 10 and Loop 1604 will get you there in no time.

So, are you ready to plan the trip of a lifetime? With its Tex-Mex culture, unique layout, iconic attractions, and romantic atmosphere, San Antonio is an unforgettable destination. Plan and book the best San Antonio vacation ever, from accommodations and transportation to attractions and tours, right here on GoDoTrip.