November 23, 2019

The 20 Best Things To Do with an Out-of-Towner in San Antonio

You have family and friends visiting town, but don't want to sit at home? We hear ya. Here's our guide for tourist-y things to do in San Antonio, chock-full of options for food, booze, sightseeing and even a little local history.
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Appreciate history at the San Antonio Missions
Multiple locations, (210) 534-8875, nps.gov
While lots of folks fuss about the Alamo (for good reason, but really?), there are four other historical missions that are just as badass and packed with history. Though it’s worth noting that the structures were built with the intent to colonize the area and spread Christianity, visiting these sites allows visitors to travel back in time to see how some of SA’s earliest residents lived. Mission San José is perhaps best known, as it’s accompanied by undisturbed land, but there’s also Mission Concepción, Mission San Juan and Mission Espada, all located on the South Side.
Photo via Instagram / jacobfbryant
Appreciate history at the San Antonio Missions
Multiple locations, (210) 534-8875, nps.gov
While lots of folks fuss about the Alamo (for good reason, but really?), there are four other historical missions that are just as badass and packed with history. Though it’s worth noting that the structures were built with the intent to colonize the area and spread Christianity, visiting these sites allows visitors to travel back in time to see how some of SA’s earliest residents lived. Mission San José is perhaps best known, as it’s accompanied by undisturbed land, but there’s also Mission Concepción, Mission San Juan and Mission Espada, all located on the South Side.
Photo via Instagram / jacobfbryant
Ride up the Tower of the Americas for the view of the city
739 E César E. Chávez Blvd, (210) 223-3101, toweroftheamericas.com
While not everyone will want to dine or grab drinks at the top of the Tower of the Americas, locals and tourists would be silly to miss out on the spectacular views available from the observation deck. The 750-foot tower offers an unbeatable view of the Alamo City that you just can’t get anywhere else.
Photo via Instagram / rubeen100
Ride up the Tower of the Americas for the view of the city
739 E César E. Chávez Blvd, (210) 223-3101, toweroftheamericas.com
While not everyone will want to dine or grab drinks at the top of the Tower of the Americas, locals and tourists would be silly to miss out on the spectacular views available from the observation deck. The 750-foot tower offers an unbeatable view of the Alamo City that you just can’t get anywhere else.
Photo via Instagram / rubeen100
Drink your way down the St. Mary’s Strip
No matter what kind of vibe you’re looking for, there’s a spot for just about everyone looking to get plastered on the St. Mary’s Strip. Though this isn’t an attraction that brings folks to the Alamo City, this downtown-area collection of bars makes for a solid place for you to pretend you’re visiting and just have a good time. No Ragrets.
Photo via Instagram / airik88
Drink your way down the St. Mary’s Strip
No matter what kind of vibe you’re looking for, there’s a spot for just about everyone looking to get plastered on the St. Mary’s Strip. Though this isn’t an attraction that brings folks to the Alamo City, this downtown-area collection of bars makes for a solid place for you to pretend you’re visiting and just have a good time. No Ragrets.
Photo via Instagram / airik88
Dine, drink and shop around the Historic Pearl
303 Pearl Pkwy, (210) 212-7260, atpearl.com
Lots of boutiques, cafes and highly-respected restaurants fill the Pearl, which is all-around a badass space to hang out, drink up, pig out and just enjoy. Really though, this place is years in the making, and one visit will actually make you realize how badass the Alamo City is for having such a destination as the Pearl.
Photo via Instagram / southerleigh
Dine, drink and shop around the Historic Pearl
303 Pearl Pkwy, (210) 212-7260, atpearl.com
Lots of boutiques, cafes and highly-respected restaurants fill the Pearl, which is all-around a badass space to hang out, drink up, pig out and just enjoy. Really though, this place is years in the making, and one visit will actually make you realize how badass the Alamo City is for having such a destination as the Pearl.
Photo via Instagram / southerleigh
Feed the wildlife at the Quadrangle at Fort Sam Houston
1405 E Grayson St, Fort Sam Houston, (210) 221-1886, quadrangle-fort-sam-houston.business.site
On the grounds of Fort Sam Houston, you’ll find a secret spot that actually doesn’t have a lot to do with the military. The Quadrangle is a historical park that is complete with a military museum and a clock tower dedicated to war heroes. It gets better. The grounds also include beautiful wildlife roaming free, from deer to peacocks.
Photo via Instagram / eturner22
Feed the wildlife at the Quadrangle at Fort Sam Houston
1405 E Grayson St, Fort Sam Houston, (210) 221-1886, quadrangle-fort-sam-houston.business.site
On the grounds of Fort Sam Houston, you’ll find a secret spot that actually doesn’t have a lot to do with the military. The Quadrangle is a historical park that is complete with a military museum and a clock tower dedicated to war heroes. It gets better. The grounds also include beautiful wildlife roaming free, from deer to peacocks.
Photo via Instagram / eturner22
Dive into local art and food at the Blue Star Arts Complex
1414 S Alamo St, (210) 354-3775, bluestarartscomplex.com
Spending time in Southtown is essential for locals, whether it’s a regular thing or just a once in a blue moon occurrence. From grabbing a cup of coffee at Halcyon or a cup of gelato at South Alamode to exploring the art at FL!GHT and seeing what’s going on at Brick, there’s lots to do at this creative space.
Photo via Instagram / jvshots_
Dive into local art and food at the Blue Star Arts Complex
1414 S Alamo St, (210) 354-3775, bluestarartscomplex.com
Spending time in Southtown is essential for locals, whether it’s a regular thing or just a once in a blue moon occurrence. From grabbing a cup of coffee at Halcyon or a cup of gelato at South Alamode to exploring the art at FL!GHT and seeing what’s going on at Brick, there’s lots to do at this creative space.
Photo via Instagram / jvshots_
Watch the Spurs do their thing at the AT&T Center
1 AT&T Center Pkwy, (210) 444-5000, attcenter.com
Spurs fans literally travel from all over the world just to watch the Silver & Black ball up, so it goes without saying that locals should completely take advantage of catching a game at the AT&T Center at some point. Even if you have a seat in the nosebleeds, it’s almost a rite of passage to see the Spurs play at some point.
Photo via Instagram / spurs
Watch the Spurs do their thing at the AT&T Center
1 AT&T Center Pkwy, (210) 444-5000, attcenter.com
Spurs fans literally travel from all over the world just to watch the Silver & Black ball up, so it goes without saying that locals should completely take advantage of catching a game at the AT&T Center at some point. Even if you have a seat in the nosebleeds, it’s almost a rite of passage to see the Spurs play at some point.
Photo via Instagram / spurs
Catch the light show at the San Fernando Cathedral
115 Main Plaza, sfcathedral.org
While folks may choose not to partake in Sunday mass here, the downtown cathedral draws crowds wanting to appreciate its gorgeous architecture. Lots of locals also hit up San Fernando for special events like the light show that displays beautiful artwork on the facade of the place of worship, which takes place four nights a week between 9 and 10 p.m. It’s absolutely stunning, and totally worth the hassle of finding parking.
Photo via Instagram / rcronti
Catch the light show at the San Fernando Cathedral
115 Main Plaza, sfcathedral.org
While folks may choose not to partake in Sunday mass here, the downtown cathedral draws crowds wanting to appreciate its gorgeous architecture. Lots of locals also hit up San Fernando for special events like the light show that displays beautiful artwork on the facade of the place of worship, which takes place four nights a week between 9 and 10 p.m. It’s absolutely stunning, and totally worth the hassle of finding parking.
Photo via Instagram / rcronti
Enjoy all that Brackenridge Park has to offer
3700 N St Mary's St, (210) 207-7275, brackenridgepark.org
Spread across 343 acres, Brackenridge Park remains an undisturbed space for those who don’t want to run away to the Hill Country to take in nature. It’s truly the best of both worlds here since the sprawling park has plenty of room to enjoy the scenery (especially at the Botanical Garden — yes, it’s technically part of the larger park — and Japanese Tea Garden), get active with sports, explore the zoo and simply have a good time. You can literally spend the whole day here and not even take it all in — it’s worth plenty of visits honestly.
Photo via Instagram / natureinsite
Enjoy all that Brackenridge Park has to offer
3700 N St Mary's St, (210) 207-7275, brackenridgepark.org
Spread across 343 acres, Brackenridge Park remains an undisturbed space for those who don’t want to run away to the Hill Country to take in nature. It’s truly the best of both worlds here since the sprawling park has plenty of room to enjoy the scenery (especially at the Botanical Garden — yes, it’s technically part of the larger park — and Japanese Tea Garden), get active with sports, explore the zoo and simply have a good time. You can literally spend the whole day here and not even take it all in — it’s worth plenty of visits honestly.
Photo via Instagram / natureinsite
Test your creative eye at Ruby City
150 Camp St, (210) 227-8400, rubycity.org
New to San Antonio’s art scene, the impeccably-designed Ruby City is already proving to be a destination for local and visiting art lovers. After you take a stroll through Chris Park, you’ll be able to take in all that this creative space has to offer. The Southtown museum is the dream come to life from Linda Pace, one that was years in the making. Consider it an essential stop for anyone who appreciates art.
Photo courtesy of Dror Baldinger FAIA
Test your creative eye at Ruby City
150 Camp St, (210) 227-8400, rubycity.org
New to San Antonio’s art scene, the impeccably-designed Ruby City is already proving to be a destination for local and visiting art lovers. After you take a stroll through Chris Park, you’ll be able to take in all that this creative space has to offer. The Southtown museum is the dream come to life from Linda Pace, one that was years in the making. Consider it an essential stop for anyone who appreciates art.
Photo courtesy of Dror Baldinger FAIA