There’s more to San Antonio than the Alamo. If you want to experience San Antonio the way it was meant to be experienced, you won’t want to miss these 10 attractions.
From fiesta to siesta: Inside San Antonio
San Antonio is probably one of the most fun cities for families to visit. Rich in history and loaded with exciting things to do, parents and kids alike will never forget an Alamo City vacation. These 10 locales may just make you decide to skip the Alamo altogether.
The Witte Museum
This is one museum that definitely won’t bore your kids. The H-E-B Science treehouse is a 15,000-square-foot, four-floor treehouse overlooking the river. It’s got tons of hands-on science exhibits that teach us about everything from simple machines to underground and air energy and eco-science. And until September 2013, you can take a time machine back to the days when dinosaurs ruled the earth. Check the website for more info on all their exciting exhibits.
Parents, there’s no need to skip this one. Pearl Brewery is actually a historic location. While Pearl Beer is still brewed by Miller, the original brewery in San Antonio was purchased and turned into a fun place to hang out for a day. It’s a place for local farmers, ranchers, chefs and foodies to come together. They offer lessons and eats at 10 diverse restaurants. There are also boutiques and events, like the Échale Latino Music Estyles (festival), an annual paella cook-off and more. There’s even a rumor it’s haunted!
Cave Without a Name
The Cave Without a Name is a natural, living cavern filled with beautiful rock formations. It’s fun, educational and, better yet, cool! Get out of the scorching Texas sun for a while and step into the year-round comfort of the 66-degree, well-lit walkways. Just check the website for hours, as they change slightly during the year. But the only days they’re closed are Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Josephine Street Cafe
If you’re an out-of-towner, you can’t necessarily expect the folks at Josephine Street Cafe to know your name (but they’ll learn it quickly if you tip them well enough!). No matter. Josephine’s is a laid-back world-famous roadhouse with delicious food and libations at really affordable prices (which is always nice on vacation or staycation).
San Fernando Cathedral
Whether you’re religious or just an art, history or architecture buff (or all four!), the San Fernando Cathedral is a can’t-miss cultural destination. Founded in 1731, it’s the oldest still-functioning religious community in Texas (that’s before Texas gained its independence and became the only state in the U.S. to have ever been its own country, and over 100 years before it became a state). You can buy a guidebook to walk you through the self-guided tour of the beautiful grounds while you learn all about the rich history of the cathedral (and the Lone Star State) or, with 15 or more people, schedule a group tour. Both are free, though parking costs $5.
San Antonio Riverwalk and La Villita Historic Arts Village
The San Antonio Riverwalk is a network of walkways one story beneath about five miles of downtown San Antonio. The walkways wind around the San Antonio River and are lined with places to shop, eat and drink, and even hotels. The Riverwalk itself is free, though some of the attractions may cost money. It’s a great way to spend the day browsing, chatting and having fun with the fam. At night, it’s also a great place for a romantic stroll with your sweetie. For artsy types, we also recommend spending some time at the La Villita Historic Arts Village, where you can see (and buy) art by local and regional artists.
The Serengeti Resort
Perhaps our favorite attraction on the list, The Serengeti Resort has packages for families, girls’ getaways and even romantic trips, which come with various extras in addition to the safari cart (wine, kayaking or tubing, massages and more). While it can be a bit pricey, starting at $125, it’s truly an all-inclusive deal (lodging, too!). While they have activities like golfing and horseback riding, the real attraction is the African-style safari, where you can see animals in their natural environments. Tip: Check LivingSocial for deals!
San Antonio Zoo
The San Antonio Zoo is one of the best zoos in the country. Whether you visit for the typical exhibits like monkeys and lions or want to buy a cup of nectar to feed the lorikeets at the Australian rainforest known as Lory Landing, we recommend all guests take a ride on the zoo train, a miniature railroad that takes you on a scenic and relaxing tour of some of the area’s best attractions, like the Sunken Gardens, Kiddie Park and even Witte Museum (which is also an attraction on this list!).
Tejas Rodeo Company
You can’t come to Texas and not see a rodeo! Tejas Rodeo Company offers pro rodeo shows every Saturday night from March through November. Before the show, stop in at the Tejas Steakhouse for dinner, test your cowboy skills on the mechanical bull or have your photo made with the photo bull. They also have some of the best live country music around!
After working up an appetite walking through the cave, consider stopping in at Tellez Tamales, where they serve the best tamales in San Antonio (and perhaps all of Texas). They’re so good, you’ll want to make sure your hotel is close so you can stop in for more later.
Discovering San Antonio
Much of downtown San Antonio is a walking district. So park the car, put on a pair of good shoes and hit the pavement. You never know what you’ll discover!