The 25 weirdest attractions in San Antonio that are worth visiting
San Antonio has plenty of tourist attractions, from historic landmarks to museums — but the city has some surprisingly weird sights to see, too.
For those times when you want to check out something outside the norm, we rounded up the strangest attractions in San Antonio, including sites of urban legends, unique public artworks and pieces of the city's hidden history.
Whether you've lived here your whole life or are just visiting, these local attractions will give you a new look at the Alamo City.
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Photo by Dalia Gulca
Frank's Hog Stand
1112 S. St. Mary’s St.
A remnant of the classic 1920s chain of Pig Stand restaurants, Frank’s Hog Stand reopened in 2010 and served all-American eats. The restaurant has since closed, but the building remains the last pig standing — even when man has left.
Photo via Instagram / schraderfotowerks
Tom Slick Park, 7400 TX-151
You don't have to go all the way to Scotland to glimpse the Loch Ness Monster, because Nessie is also in residence at Tom Slick Park. Artist Elizabeth Carrington took inspiration from the park's namesake for the sculpture — Tom Slick was known for his passion for cryptozoology, and went on expeditions to investigate both Bigfoot and the Yeti in the '50s and early '60s.
Photo courtesy of Witte Museum
’Johnny Loves Vivian’ bench
B. Naylor Morton Research and Collections Center, Witte Museum, 3737 Broadway, (210) 357-1900, wittemuseum.org
Legend has it, American music legend Johnny Cash carved "Johnny Loves Vivian" into the wood of this bench along the River Walk when he was stationed at Brooks Air Force Base in 1951. The message, of course, was in honor of his first wife, Vivian Liberto, who he met at a roller skating rink and dated for three weeks before shipping out for a three-year assignment in Germany. According to the Witte Museum, Cash asked Liberto if she visited the bench in letters he wrote to her. It currently resides at the Witte’s B. Naylor Morton Research and Collections Center. According to the museum, to visit the bench, visitors can ask at the Walker Admissions Desk.
Photo via Shutterstock / Nagel Photography
The Ashes of the Alamo Defenders
San Fernando Cathedral, 115 Main Plaza, sfcathedral.org
After the Battle of the Alamo, the remains of the dead Texians were burned in three funeral pyres on the order of Antonio López de Santa Anna. A year later, the Texas leader Juan Seguin allegedly buried ashes from two of the pyres at San Fernando Cathedral. After remains were discovered near the cathedral’s altar during construction work in 1936, they were attributed to be the those of the Alamo Defenders and entombed in a marble coffin.
Photo by Sanford Nowlin
Grave of Pat the Horse
Cunningham Gate of Ft. Sam Houston, Corner of Cunningham Ave. and N. Pine St., history.army.mil/museums/fieldMuseums/FSHMuseum/index.html
Located on the northwest side of Ft. Sam Houston near the Westfort neighborhood is a single, large grave, where the beloved Pat the Horse is buried. Pat was a cavalry horse in the U.S. Army in the early 1900's. When the army decommissioned its cavalry, Pat was in his 20s and was set to be euthanized, but the soldiers at Ft. Sam Houston lobbied Washington for him to be spared. The request was approved and Pat spent his retirement at the fort. When Pat died at the ripe old age of 45 he was honored with a grave with his portrait on the headstone.
Photo by Michael Karlis
Miraflores Sculpture Garden
1234-1366 E. Hildebrand Ave.
This decaying wonder near Brackenridge Park is hidden behind a fence but still visible from Hildebrand, guarded by a beautiful gate titled “Monumento a la Ciudad de México.” Created by local physician and art collector Aureliano Urrutia, the green space is full of sculpture, tiled benches and fountains, all falling into graceful disrepair. The garden is now owned by the City of San Antonio and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as well as designated as a State Archaeological Landmark by the Texas Historical Commission.
Photo via Instagram / governmentcanyon
Government Canyon Dinosaur Tracks
12861 Galm Road, (210) 688-9055, tpwd.texas.gov
Home to South Texas’ only known dinosaur tracks on public land, Government Canyon State Natural Area’s Joe Johnston Route was marked by prehistoric creatures from about 110 million years ago when San Antonio was the shoreline of the Gulf of Mexico. The 5-mile round trip takes hikers on a rugged trail to Marker #19 where two types of dinosaur tracks can be found, the three-tip theropod and the rounded sauropod print.
Photo by Michael Karlis
Donkey Lady Bridge
Applewhite Road over the Medina River
You can’t live in San Antonio long without hearing a version of the story of the Donkey Lady. The story goes something like this: In the 1950s, a young woman attempted to save her children from a house fire (that some say was lit by her husband) — but failed. The event left her horribly disfigured, with her fingers and toes melted together to create hoof-like nubs and her head warped into an elongated, donkey-like shape. Afterward, she was banished to live in the woods. Ever since, the Donkey Lady has roamed the woods of Bexar County, crying out for her children and generally pissed off. Want to meet her? It’s said if you stand on a stone bridge in the Medina River Greenway and call her name three times, she’ll appear.
Photo via Instagram / visitsanantonio
World's Largest Virgin Mary Mosaic
1315 Guadalupe St.
Jesse Treviño's spectacular mural La Veladora of Our Lady of Guadalupe features a 3D votive candle (veladora) with an eternal flame facing Guadalupe Street. Intended to serve as a beacon for the neighborhood, this mixed media mural is truly magnificent, and is even said to be the world's largest Virgin Mary mosaic.
Photo via Shutterstock / MACH Photos
World’s Largest Cowboy Boots
North Star Mall, 7400 San Pedro Ave.
Native San Antonians might not pay any attention to the giant cowboy boots in front of North Star Mall, but there's more to them than you'd think. Made by the larger-than-life artist Bob "Daddy-O" Wade, these boots were installed at North Star in 1979 and officially made it into the Guinness Book of World Records as the World's Largest Cowboy Boots four decades later.