28 places in San Antonio to take out-of-towners that aren't the Alamo
Locals know that San Antonio is much more than just the “Alamo City,” but when it comes to hosting family and friends, it can be hard to think of places to take out-of-towners that will live up to or exceed that particular landmark’s hype.
For the host that wants to impress, these 28 SA sights are sure to please any kind of visitor — from an outdoorsy college buddy to a history buff uncle, or even hyperactive nieces and nephews.
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Photo courtesy of City of San Antonio Department of Arts and Culture
River Walk Public Art Garden
849 E. Commerce St., getcreativesanantonio.com
This open-air art garden located on the San Antonio River Walk at the intersection where Market and Alamo Streets meet features permanent and rotating sculptures and art pieces by local and international artists. For those that need help finding the entrance, look no further than the colorful "Welcome to the River Walk Public Art Garden" sign by San Antonio artist Gary Sweeney.
Photo courtesy of Contemporary at Blue Star
Contemporary at Blue Star
116 Blue Star, Building C, (210) 227-6960, contemporarysa.org
Founded by a group of artists in 1986 following the success of a contemporary arts exhibition in the former Blue Star Ice and Cold Storage warehouse, the Contemporary seeks to inspire and nurture San Antonio’s community of contemporary artists. It is the first and longest-running nonprofit space for contemporary art in San Antonio, and it offers constantly-rotating art exhibitions with themes that challenge and inspire.
Photo via Instagram / judy.wallander
The San Antonio Missions
Multiple locations, (210) 932-1001, nps.gov/saan
Yes, the headline says not the Alamo, but San Antonio has four other historic missions that are often overshadowed by the famous downtown landmark: Mission Concepción, Mission San José, Mission San Juan Capistrano and Mission Espada. Visitors can go to one or more of the Spanish colonial missions directly, or try to see them all by hiking or biking the 8-mile Mission Reach trail.
Photo via Instagram / parkerleefilm
King William Historic District
Southtown is known as a haven for art, flavor, culture and fun — and the entire area revolves around the heart of the King William Historic District. The Victorian-inspired neighborhood is packed with history and charm. Established in the 1800s, the district was home to German immigrants who bought land and built homes. It is named after King Wilhelm I of Prussia and is considered a Cultural Arts District today.
Photo courtesy of San Antonio Museum of Art
San Antonio Museum of Art
200 W. Jones St., (210) 978-8100, samuseum.org
Housed in the elegantly repurposed Lone Star Brewery within easy walking distance from the Pearl, the San Antonio Museum of Art is an eclectic treasure trove of works from around the globe. In addition to the many discoveries to be made in galleries dedicated to art from Texas, Latin America, Europe, Asia, the ancient Mediterranean world and elsewhere, the museum boasts a solid contemporary art collection that includes works by notable San Antonio artists.
Photo via Instagram / serafindavid3
San Fernando Cathedral
115 Main Plaza, sfcathedral.org
The cathedral is considered the historic geographic center of San Antonio and serves as a tourist attraction, community gathering place and a symbol of the role of the Archdiocese of San Antonio. The church is one of the oldest in the country, with the cornerstone of the 15-year construction project laid in 1738. Today’s visible landmark, however, is the result of an 1868 renovation in the Gothic Revival style. If you time your visit right, you can also take in a stunning light show of images and music telling the history of the city that’s displayed four nights a week on the façade of the church.
Photo courtesy of San Antonio Botanical Garden
San Antonio Botanical Garden
555 Funston Pl., (210) 536-1400, sabot.org
Not too far from Fort Sam Houston you’ll get to explore the natural beauty of the San Antonio Botanical Garden. The 38-acre scenic oasis is complete with trails, a pond, roses and plenty of native plants that make for a lovely photo backdrop. The garden regularly puts on events and offers gardening and cooking classes for those looking for a more hands-on experience, There’s also a glass conservatory and Jason Dady's Jardín restaurant, an essential stop once you’re done exploring the grounds.
Photo by Dror Baldinger, courtesy of Ruby City
150 Camp St., (210) 227-8400, rubycity.org
Ruby City is the posthumous realization of a dream of the late art collector Linda Pace. The contemporary art center offers a range of exhibitions and is a part of a larger campus that includes Chris Park and the Studio exhibition space. What’s more, it’s housed in an award-winning building designed by renowned architect Sir David Adjaye OBE.
Photo via Instagram / theatre_teacher
La Villita and the Arneson River Theatre
418 Villita St., (210) 207-8614, lavillitasanantonio.com
La Villita wasn't always a cultural art hub. In fact, it was San Antonio's first neighborhood. It was restored in the mid-20th century to become the cultural landmark it is today. Across the river is the Arneson River Theatre, which was built in 1939. Audiences have enjoyed concerts, folklórico performances, plays, river parades and more at this 800 seat venue over the years.
Photo courtesy of Brackenridge Park Conservancy
Brackenridge Park and the Japanese Tea Garden
3700 N. St. Mary's St., (210) 207-7275, brackenridgepark.org
San Antonians all love all 343 acres of Brackenridge Park, and visit it for a variety of reasons. Inside the park is the historic Japanese Tea Garden, which was built in a former quarry and features elaborate pathways and carefully cultivated landscaping, as well as waterways filled with koi. In addition to the park's sprawling green spaces are the adjacent San Antonio Zoo, Sunken Garden Theater and Witte Museum, plus a golf course — there’s so many reasons to visit.