Are you planning a trip to San Antonio, Texas? I have compiled some of the best things to do in San Antonio Texas that includes some of the best places to eat, must-see attractions and where to stay. San Antonio has been on my bucket list for a long time. The first thing that comes to mind when I think of San Antonio, Texas is cowboys, rodeos and big steaks. You will definitely be able to experience all of these things and so much more.
Where is San Antonio Texas
San Antonio is located at the southwestern corner of the Texas Triangle. It is one of the fastest-growing cities in the United States and welcomes over 26 million tourists every year who come to explore the Spanish colonial Missions, the rodeo and so many more must-see attractions. Read further to learn more about the best things to do in San Antonio!
Best Places to stay on the Riverwalk in San Antonio
Hotel Valencia Riverwalk
If location is important to you then the Hotel Valencia Riverwalk is your best choice. This hotel has been voted #3 in San Antonio and #7 in Texas by Condé Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Award. It is one of the best hotels along the Riverwalk in San Antonio.
The Hotel Valencia Riverwalk blends Spanish Colonial with Modern Mediterranean design and is located on the quiet part of the River Walk but away from the crowds. You will be surrounded by many dining options, entertainment and shopping along the banks of San Antonio’s famed River Walk.
The spacious rooms offer views of either the Riverwalk or the city and offer mini-fridges, marble bathrooms, complimentary wireless internet, and the most comfortable beds. Each night as you re-enter your room, you will be greeted with nightly turndown service with chocolate on the pillow and light music playing. Chocolate is always welcome!
Although the Hotel Valencia Riverwalk is surrounded by so many restaurants, you won’t need to leave the hotel for great dining.
Hotel Valencia Riverwalk’s new restaurant Dorrego’s is the only Argentian inspired restaurant in San Antonio. Naranja wine bar is a great place to gather with friends and enjoy live music from Wednesday – Saturday.
Make sure to also check out the San Antonio Pearl District.
Best Places to Eat in San Antonio
During my visit, I had the opportunity to visit some of the best restaurants in San Antonio. San Antonio’s food scene isn’t just steak and Tex-Mex. I was pleasantly surprised that San Antonio is the perfect place to visit for foodies. Get your stretchy pants ready as we head out to some of the best places to eat in San Antonio.
Burgerteca with Chef Johnny Hernandez
Burgerteca doesn’t just serve up any old burger. Chef Johnny Hernandez transforms the American burger with indigenous Mexican ingredients with a twist on distinct styles and regional and celebratory dishes.
Johnny Hernandez’s love for food was inspired by his father’s restaurant that lead him to attend the Culinary Institute of America in New York to pursue his dream of becoming a chef. He worked at some of the most exclusive resorts in the country including the Mirage Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas and the Four Seasons Biltmore in Santa Barbara, California.
I love the passion that Chef Johnny Hernandez brings to his creations and his love for organic and local ingredients.
What to order: I would recommend the Al Pastor Burger. It consists of a beef patty with al pastor seasoning, grilled pineapple, tomatillo ketchup, manchego cheese, onion, cabbage and cilantro
Location: 403 Blue Star #105, San Antonio, TX 78204
Meadow Neighborhood Eatery + Bar
Meadow Neighborhood Eatery is a fun and relaxing place to enjoy dinner with family and friends. What I loved most is that they work closely with farmers and ranchers to provide guests with a seasonal Texas Dining Experience.
What to order: Fried chicken, braised greens, chow chow and honey hot sauce
Location: 555 W Bitters Rd #110, San Antonio, TX 78216
Mi Tierra Café y Panaderia
You can’t visit San Antonio and not dine at Mi Tierra Café y Pandaria. It is known as the best Mexican Food in San Antonio. This family-owned restaurant has been around for 75 years. When you walk into the restaurant you will be greeted with the hundreds of lights, piñatas, murals dedicated to famous Mexican Americans and Mexicans, and stained glass located in the historic Market Square (El Mercado). This is probably the most fun and unique restaurant I have ever been to. It’s also a bonus that the restaurant is open 24 hours!
What to order: Make sure to order a fruit flavoured margarita. You can’t go wrong with anything on the menu.
Location: 218 Produce Row San Antonio
Sunset drinks at Paramour
Sunset drinks at Paramour will not disappoint. You will have great city views while enjoying drinks under the beautiful sunset. The rooftop bar has swanky décor & great city views. They also have a great list of funky named cocktails, wine & beer. This is an Insta-worthy stop. Don’t forget to visit the bathrooms!
Location: 102 9th St #400, San Antonio, TX 78215
This rustic-chic restaurant is located in a renovated historical building that was built n 1904 as Pear’s Administrative building. This is a great place to start your night for charcuterie-focused New American cuisine & craft cocktails. Chef Steve McHugh uses the freshest regional ingredients along with organic methods. Some of the selections we tried are Apple Jalapeño Pork Rillettes, Whipped Pork Butter, Chicken Liver Mousse, Salsicca, Orange & Walnut Salami, Lardo, Bresaola, Chorizo, Smoked Chicken Sausage, Rabbit & Liver Pate, Cotechino, Rabbit Rillettes.
What to order: I would recommend ordering a charcuterie board with some selections you will not try anywhere else like the orange & walnut salami and the rabbit & liver pate along with some of their cheese selections.
Location: 306 Pearl Pkwy #101, San Antonio, TX 78215
Dinner at Botika
For a different style of dining, head to Botika where executive Chef Geronimo Lopez features Chinese-Peruvian and Japanese-Peruvian cuisine inspirations. The restaurant features a sushi-ceviche bar, a cocktail lounge and late-night dining options. Don’t forget to order a classic cocktail made with a wide variety of rums, piscos, and cachaças. Botika features a sushi-ceviche bar, a cocktail lounge, and late-night dining options.
What to order: Start with the potstickers with Pork and cabbage pan-seared dumplings, miso, black tea & sake broth, spicy mustard and for the main course try the Octopus that is grilled with chimichurri, Spanish chorizo aioli, smashed potatoes, and arugula.
Location: 303 Pearl Parkway #111 San Antonio, Texas
Pharm Table with Chef Elizabeth Johnson
Pharm Table was a nice surprise from the typical Tex-Mex dining. The restaurant embodies an anti-inflammatory menu with foods that heal are free from gluten, processed sugar and dairy products. Our dishes are exquisitely designed to stand on their own as a flavorful vegetarian powerhouse, and yet we have locally-raised chicken, beef, and pork available for addition to any dish.
What to order: I would recommend starting with the Ayurvedic meal starter. It is a small serving of house pickled ginger marinated in lemon juice, turmeric, raw honey, Himalayan salt and fresh herbs. The combination of six flavours will jump start your digestion. If you are heading there for brunch I would recommend trying the gluten-free Sweet potato waffles topped with Asian pear chutney, rainbow carrot slaw, sweet potato swipe, and maple syrup or try one of the bowls. Make sure to leave room for dessert and try the Raw Brownie Bites with Raw cacao, pink salt, dates, coconut oil, coffee and the turmeric Energy Bites with Turmeric, chia seeds, dates, maca, cashews, and almonds.
Location: 106 Auditorium Cir, San Antonio, TX 78205
Breakfast at La Panadería
The moment you step into La Panadería, you will be lured by the aromatic smell of freshly baked goods. They specialize in making handmade bread and pan dulce inspired by Mexico’s Golden Era, or Epoca de Oro, also draws influence from French, Italian and American breadmaking techniques. La Panadería’s breadmaking includes a 48-hour fermentation process that results in artisan baked goods unlike any other.
What to order: Ranchero Eggs Benedict or the French Toast with berries. Make sure to take home some of the delicious baked goods.
Location: 301 E Houston St, San Antonio, TX 78205
Dinner at Tejas Steakhouse & Saloon
This is the place you want to be before heading to the rodeo. Luckily, Tejas Steakhouse is located at the rodeo making it the perfect place to dine before an entertaining evening. You will eat like a Texan with the famous KC Steak at the Tejas Steakhouse & Saloon.
Location: 401 Obst Rd, Bulverde, TX 78163
Best things to do in San Antonio
Remember The Alamo!
The Alamo is one of the highlights of a visit to San Antonio. The Alamo was established in 1718 as the city’s first mission. In March of 1836, the unforgettable Alamo was the site where 189 Texian heroes including Jim Bowie, William B. Travis and David Crockett bravely battled General Santa Ana’s army of thousands. This is a San Antonio must see and probably one of the most famous San Antonio Attractions. The entrance to the Alamo Church and grounds is free. I would recommend taking an informative guided tour. There are several tours to choose from such as the self-guided audio tour for $7 or a guided tour by history interpreters for $15.
Tip: For the best photos opportunities I would recommend getting here early as it will be nearly impossible to get any pictures without people in them.
Location: 300 Alamo Plaza, San Antonio, TX 78205
Explore Market Square (El Mercado)
Explore the largest Mexican market in the U.S. at El Mercado. This plaza has several specialty shops and restaurants. You can expect to see some entertainment with musicians and dancers performing. If you love to shop then you will love the 100 locally owned shops and stalls to explore. Don’t forget to check out Mi Tierra for lunch.
Location: 218 Produce Row, San Antonio, TX 78207
Yoga Class on a River Boat by M.I.X. FIT SA
The Riverwalk is a must see when in San Antonio but how about some yoga on a riverboat while gliding down the river?MixFit SA Fitness Cruises offers unique yoga classes right on the river. During the yoga class, we were lead through a series of balances, stretches and mobility exercises while taking in the Riverwalk views. This is a must have experienced while in San Antonio.
San Antonio Botanical Garden
Head to the San Antonio Botanical Garden for a herb cocktail demo and tasting with Chef Dave Terrazas in the beautiful outdoor kitchen. Each season at the San Antonio Botanical Garden brings a variety of colours and textures in the gardens. Make sure to check out their website before your visit to see what is in bloom.
Location: 555 Funston Pl, San Antonio, TX 78209
San Antonio: The Saga
One of the Best Things to do in San Antonio at Night is to end your evening at San Antonio’s main plaza to watch San Antonio-The Saga. The Saga is a captivating 24-minute video art installation on the beautiful façade of San Fernando Cathedral. It is the oldest continuously functioning religious community in the state of Texas. Created by Xavier de Richemont, San Antonio-The Saga narrates the history of San Antonio and is beautifully choreographed with lights, music and projection.
Tips: Get there early for seating. The Last viewing starts at 10:00 p.m. Make sure to check the website for time changes and cancellations.
Location: 115 Main Plaza, San Antonio, TX 78205
The Culinary Institute of America
If you are a food lover then you will want to make sure to book a culinary, hands-on cooking class at the Culinary Institute of America. CIA’s Chef Instructor Hinnerk Von Bargen guided us through making our own breakfast tacos, a San Antonio morning specialty. It was fun learning how to make fresh flour and corn tortillas.
Location: 312 Pearl Parkway Building 2, Suite #2102, San Antonio, TX 78215
Tour of Pearl including Farmers Market
Make sure to take time to stroll through Pearl, a mixed space of retail, dining, green spaces and paseos, a riverside amphitheatre and the Culinary Institute of America campus. If you are there over a weekend, you will witness a great farmers market where all the goods found are hand-planted, raised and harvested within 150 miles of San Antonio. It doesn’t get fresher than that!
Location: 306 Pearl Pkwy #110, San Antonio, TX 78215
Riverboat Narrated Tour of Downtown River Walk
Take a tour along the River Walk in a multicoloured, electrically powered river barge. You will get to see the charming footbridges and flagstone pathways that take you under a canopy of Cyprus trees, plus numerous hotels and shops.
Check out some great ways to experience San Antonio Attractions and Tours here.
Mission San José – San Antonio Missions National Historic Park
The four beautiful missions (Mission San José, Mission San Juan Capistrano, Mission Espada and Mission Concepción) that make up this National Historic Park were established in the 1700s by the Franciscan Order of the Catholic Church. They feature a diversity of architectural styles that have been influenced by time, along with art from the Spanish colonial period. These Spanish colonial missions, including the Alamo, recently gained global recognition as they received UNESCO World Heritage status.
Location: 701 E Pyron Ave, San Antonio, Texas
Pull on your cowboy boots, hat and best denim outfit you have and head out to Tejas Rodeo to witness some real-life cowboys at this local rodeo. This live open pro-rodeo is scheduled every Saturday nine months out of the year. This is a great rodeo to bring the entire family for an entertaining evening. Not only did we witness the rodeo but we also watched some Mutton Bustin’ – basically small children riding sheep, very entertaining.
Location: 401 Obst Road, Bulverde, Texas 78163
These are the must-see things to do on your trip to San Antonio. There is so much to see and do and you are sure to have a great and memorable time. Have you been to San Antonio? I would love to hear your recommendations.
Disclosure: Accommodations and experiences were made in order to help provide this review. As always all opinions on this blog remain my own.