Old world charm and rich history come hand in hand to form one of the top tourist destinations in Texas. A highlight of the Lone Star State is the Alamo, the site of one of the biggest battles in our history. Float through the San Antonio Riverwalk to discover a great selection of shops and restaurants. It receives over 5 million visitors a year making it one of the most visited attractions in the country. See over 3500 animals at the San Antonio Zoo, visit HemisFair Park (home to the Tower of The Americas, which opened as part of the 1968 World’s Fair), and experience the thrills at Six Flags Fiesta Texas. It is conveniently located at a 3 hour drive from Houston (200 miles), 1 hour and 20 minutes from Austin (80 miles), and a 4½ hour drive from Dallas (270 miles).
Top 10 Attractions
1. The Alamo – The 4.2 acre site of one of the most notorious battles in history has been remarkably preserved and is open to tourists, receiving over 2.5 million visitors each year. Admission is free of charge.
2. The San Antonio Riverwalk – World famous and always enjoyable, tour the San Antonio River by foot or afloat. Visitors can spend countless hours frequenting the shops and restaurants that line the river’s banks.
3. Schlitterbahn – Three of the best water parks in the world are located in Texas, thanks to family owned Schlitterbahn. We consider Schlitterbahn Water park in New Braunfel, Texas to be the best water park in the nation. It’s located just 40 minutes outside of San Antonio. It first opened in 1979 to later expand as The Schlitterbahn Water park Resort with three water parks, Schlitterbahn West and Schlitterbahn East with over 40 rides, 17 slides, nine tube chutes, uphill water coasters, and three lazy rivers. America’s first family of water parks You will be very impressed with this water park and you won’t want to go home. And yes, it is ranked higher than SeaWorld for its game changing level of innovation that cannot be found anywhere else! General admission is $47.99 for adults and $37.99 for children.
4. SeaWorld Texas – SeaWorld San Antonio will bring out the kid in all of us, from heart pounding roller coasters to live animal shows, your sure to have a good time! No two SeaWorld park is alike, just because you’ve been to the San Diego or Orlando location doesn’t mean you won’t find anything different here. Just imagine- your favorite theme park, zoo and aquarium combined! Watch sea lions, fish, sharks, penguins and flamingos like you’ve never seen them before. The new Aquatica water park just opened at SeaWorld. Save $15 by purchasing your tickets online. Online admission is $49 for adults and $39 for children.
5. Cascade Caverns – Located just outside San Antonio, Cascade Caverns offer visitors a look beneath the surface of the Texas Hill Country. The cavern stays 68 degrees year around – making it a perfect place to beat the summer heat – plus it features a 100 foot underground waterfall! Tickets are $14.95 for adults and $9.50 for children.
6. Six Flags Fiesta Texas – San Antonio’s Six Flags Fiesta Texas offers the only “floorless” roller coaster in the southwest, plus over 100 rides, shows, a waterpark and more. General admission is $63.99 for adults and $48.99 for children. Buy your tickets online to save up to $20.
7. The San Antonio Zoo – One of the largest zoos in the nation, the San Antonio Zoo houses over 3,500 animals, making it a must see for kids and adults alike. Admission is $12 for adults and $9.50 for children.
8. HemisFair Park – Featuring the Tower of the Americas, the HemisFair Park has remained a top draw for visitors since it was opened during the 1968 World’s Fair. The tower admission is $10.95 for adults and $8.95 for children.
9. Plaza Museum and Ripley’s Believe It or Not! – Two of San Antonio’s most unique attractions are housed under one roof. Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Museum has eight galleries with over 500 displays of the weird, odd, unusual and scary. The Plaza Wax Museum features over 250 realistic wax replicas of historical figures and celebrities. It costs $20.99 for adults and $12.99 for children.
10. San Antonio Missions – Missions San Jose, San Juan, Espada, and Concepcion were built over the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. Today these four historic San Antonio landmarks have been preserved and are open to the public as part of the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park.
Rosario’s – In my Texas interview with National Geographic’s Andrew Evans, he highly recommended the Tex Mex food in San Antonio and it turns out that this is one of his favorites. It’s been open for well over a decade and critics and locals alike will tell you that it is easy to tell why. It has been called one of the “Top 50 Restaurants In The US” and featured in Southern Living and The New York Times. Best of all, it’s actually surprisingly affordable, with scrumptious dishes like the grilled fish tacos for just $6.25 or the bean and cheese chalupas for just $5.69.
Rainforest Cafe – Step into this indoor jungle and discover one of the most realistic indoor rain forests ever created, complete with cascading waterfalls, lush vegetation, tropical rainstorms, beautiful aquariums, trumpeting elephants and wild animatronic gorillas, jaguars, and elephants. A “thunderstorm” goes off every now and then, where the “animals” go wild and thunder and lightning appear to sound off in a dramatic yet exciting experience. The menu includes a wide variety of options, including pastas, seafood, salads, sandwiches and pizzas. Order their “volcano” sundae and they start yelling “volcano” and make quite a spectacle! Pick up a souvenir on the way out at their large, iconic gift shop.
Hard Rock Cafe – Rock out at San Antonio’s favorite! Situated along the city’s famous Riverwalk area, they have three floors of patios where you can be on the lookout for the slow moving tourist boats below. Inside you’ll find gourmet meals in hefty servings, so huge you can cut ’em with a Bowie knife, and our collection of rock ‘n’ roll memorabilia is big enough to fill a Spanish mission.
The Tower Of Americas – Operated by Landry’s (the people who brought you The Rainforest Cafe), this is truly considered to be one of the coolest restaurants in all of Texas. Come visit the most breathtaking view of San Antonio! Dine in elegance at Chart House while enjoying a panoramic view of the Alamo City, or unwind at Bar 601, a hip, sophisticated lounge perfect for happy hour or late-night cocktails. On the Flags Over Texas Observation Deck, view educational history murals and learn about the original six flags of Texas. Take a high-flying tour of the Lone Star State on the Skies Over Texas 4-D Theater Ride. And don’t forget the fun on the ground level! A café, retail shop and amusements keep the whole family entertained.
Vegeria – Tex-Mex gets reinvented at this homey spot billed as San Antonio’s first and only entirely vegan and gluten-free establishment. Classic southwestern ingredients such as beans, corn, and guacamole result in homemade tamales, tacos, and enchiladas. Be sure to ask about Rosalie’s Daily Special, named in honor of the owners’ late grandmother; it might be loaded nachos or fajita salad. They are also especially well known for their yummy smoothies, coming in four different flavors: peanut butter cup, orange creamsicle, swamp goddess, and sun kissed! My favorite is the yummy Raw Taco Salad for $13, with lettuce, pico-de-gallo, avocado, corn, raw sour cream, raw sunflower chorizo, micro greens and raw tortilla chips. We consider it to be one of America’s Best Vegetarian Restaurants.
The Cove – This is one of the most unique restaurants I’ve ever visited, as it was featured on The Food Network’s “World’s Weirdest Restaurants.” This family-friendly restaurants is home to a car wash, a laundromat, a live music venue, a beer garden, and a restaurant serving sustainable, organic, locally produced food. They are also very pet friendly, welcoming dogs onto their patio.
The Resort at Schlitterbahn – Those visiting the Schlitterbahn water park in New Braunfel will definitely want to consider staying at this onsite resort. This resort allows you stay just steps away from all of the fun and it also offers great packages that can help you save big.
Hyatt Regency Hill Country – This hotel is perhaps best known for it’s four-acre “water playground,” which features a 950-foot Ramblin’ River for lazy floats, cascading waterfalls, an activity pool with sports like water volleyball, a kiddie pool, a sandy beach and two lagoon-style pools. It was featured on our list of America’s Ten Best Hotel Pools.