San Antonio is the second most populous city in the Southern United States and is the oldest municipality in the state of Texas. It was founded as a Spanish mission in 1718 and has a rich colonial heritage. It is visited by 32 million tourists each year, and it’s clear to see why. As a San Antonio wedding planner, I am well aware of all the breath-taking places that this city has to offer. The city has several great attractions and parks, and this page details seven of the prettiest attractions the city has to offer.
This list is far from exhaustive, but you certainly wouldn’t want to miss these on your next visit to San Antonio, Texas.
San Antonio River Walk
Website: San Antonio River Walk
The San Antonio River Walk is a pedestrian street, a story below the streets of the city. It was built after the flood of 1921 and was initially planned to be a pathed storm sever. Thankfully, people protested against this plan, and in 1929, architect Robert H.H. Hugman submitted plans for a stone pathway, bridges, and retail outlets, what is now known as the San Antonio Riverwalk.
This beautiful path is lined with several restaurants, shops, and bars, and links the five Spanish Colonial missions of the city, including the Alamo. There are also multiple attractions along the river, including boat and raft rentals and museums, such as the DoSeum for kids.
It is also home to the annual springtime Fiesta San Antonio parade, which started in 1891 as a way to honor the memory of the heroes of the Alamo and the Battle of San Jacinto.
There really is something special around every corner. Go and see for yourself.
San Antonio Missions National Historical Park
The San Antonio Missions National Historical Park is a UNESCO World Heritage site, preserving four of the five Spanish missions in San Antonio, Texas (Mission Concepción, Mission Espada, Mission San Juan, and Mission San Jose). The fifth is known as the Alamo, and is worth a visit in its own right, but is not part of the park. These were established by Catholic religious order to spread Catholicism across the state.
As well as the missions themselves, there are wonderful hiking and biking trails around the park. The Mission Espada also control the aqueduct and dam within the park.
San Antonio Botanical Gardens
Website: San Antonio Botanical Gardens
The San Antonio Botanical Gardens were founded in 1980 and are a 38-acre non-profit botanical garden, housing a plethora of colorful and beautiful plants and flowers year-round. It is a beautiful place for a leisurely, peaceful walk, or you may want to visit the Bird Watch structure for a bit of bird watching. There are many events held here throughout the year, taking advantage of the beautiful amphitheater and gardens.
They are open 9-5 daily and admission costs $12 for adults and $9 for children. You can also get a bite to eat, or a coffee, at the Rosella At The Garden.
This park in San Antonio, TX is well worth the visit.
Japanese Tea Garden
Website: Japanese Tea Garden
Opened in an abandoned limestone quarry in the 20th century, the Japanese Tea Gardens in Brackenridge Park, San Antonio, Texas is a beautiful place. It is ideal for a picnic or relaxed stroll at any time of the day. Having been renovated, the gardens were reopened in 2008, with all new pathways and repaired infrastructure. Open from dawn till dusk, another great location to visit on your trip to San Antonio, Texas.
Enchanted Rock State Natural Area
Website: Enchanted Rock State Natural Area
Less than a couple hours outside of the city, the Enchanted Rock and Park is a must see if you have the time. Rated the best campsite in Texas in 2017, and designated a Recorded Texas Historic Landmark in 1936, this area is a great place to go for a hike or rock climb. The Enchanted Rock is a pink granite mountain that covers an area of 640 acres and rises 425 feet above the surrounding terrain.
The onsite shop is also a great place to buy some gifts or frozen snacks to combat the mid-day heat.
Entrance costs $7 for a day and is open 8 am to 10 pm daily. It is also advised that you bring your own water, as it is in short supply in the area, due to the ongoing drought.
Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch
Website: Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch
This 400-acre safari park on the outskirts of the city is a must go for animal lovers. Home to more than 500 exotic animals from around the world, from zebras to antelopes, giraffes to llamas, most of which are free-roaming and within petting reach. You have the choice of driving through or having a walkabout, before grabbing a sweet treat at the ‘Safari Sweet Spot’, and before taking the kids to pet some African Pygmy Goats at the Petting Barnyard.
Open from 9 am to between 4 pm and 6 pm depending on the time of the year. Entrance costs $22 for adults and $13.50 for children (children under 3 enter for free).
Phil Hardberger Park
Website: Phil Hardberger Park
The Phil Hardberger Park is a conservation area, formerly known as a dairy farm. Now it is home to various hiking and biking trails, dog park, playgrounds, picnic facilities, basketball courts and much more to come (it’s still being developed). A great place to spend the day with the family, play some sports, have a picnic and relax.
A true oasis in the sea of urban development.