June 24, 2015

San Antonio Guide

San Antonio on a Budget

In San Antonio this summer for GC session? It is wonderful when the church body and its leaders get together to pray, discuss, learn, and make important decisions. But if you aren’t in San Antonio specifically to attend the business meetings, or you’ve taken a few days before/after to see the sites (or plan to visit some other time, for that matter), here are a few things you may want to do—on a relatively small budget! We’ve also included a few of the pricier tourist stops for those who are planning to splurge a bit.

History Speaks

Guenther House, museum, shop, and restaurant

The Guenther House is a small museum (FREE), shop, restaurant (pricey), and special events destination close to the river. A nice place to stop if you’re interested in flour mill memorabilia.

Casa Navarro, limestone house of famous Texas patriot —FREE

San Pedro Springs Park, San Antonio’s oldest designated park, second-oldest public park in the United States —FREE

San Fernando Cathedral, oldest standing church building in Texas (founded 1731) —FREE

Missions National Historical Park —FREE

  • Open daily until 5:00 p.m.
  • 2202 Roosevelt Avenue

This park contains four Spanish frontier missions, Mission Concepción, Mission Espada, Mission San José, and Mission San Juan Capistrano, which were established to spread Christianity among the local peoples. The missions can be accessed along the River Walk’s new Mission Reach, an eight-mile stretch of recreational trails, picnic and seating areas, pedestrian bridges, pavilions, and portals to the four Spanish colonial missions.

The Steves Homestead, built in 1876 and now a house museum with guided tours—different tours/prices available from US$5 to US$20 per person; children under 12 are free.

Spanish Governor’s Palace, near San Fernando Cathedral, has a cobblestone patio and fountain; US$5 (or less) per person

The Alamo —FREE

  • Open daily until 5:30 p.m.
  • 300 Alamo Place

The Alamo is one of the most recognized historical sites in the United States, linked to the 13-day siege in 1836 that ended with the deaths of James Bowie, William Travis, and Davy Crockett. The Alamo has been restored and now receives more than 2.5 million visitors a year. Visitors can tour the chapel and barracks, small museum, diorama, and gardens to learn more about the Alamo and early Texas history.

The Outdoor Life

Tower of the Americas/Hemisfair Park

  • Open daily from 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.
  • 739 E. Cesar E. Chavez Boulevard

Hemisfair Park, built to host the 1968 World’s Fair, offers walking paths, a playground, and the 750-foot tall Tower of the Americas. The park is FREE; Tower of the Americas ticket prices range from US$9 to US$11, not including parking fees (children under 3 are free). The ticket includes unlimited access to the observation deck, Flags Over Texas, and a 4-D visual experience. Café and restaurant on site, prices range from about US$5 (snack food, drinks) to US$40 (upscale restaurant).

San Antonio River Walk (Paseo del Rio), 15 miles of sidewalks and paths below street level; shops, historical sites, and restaurants dot the way; FREE to walk; prices for bike rentals and 35-minute river cruiser boat rides vary (boats float along a two-and-a-half-mile stretch of water)

Market Square (El Mercado), three-block outdoor/indoor plaza with more than 100 locally owned shops and stalls selling pottery, clothing, food, and much more

Botanical Garden, 38-acre garden with conservatory and sensory garden

Brackenridge Park/Japanese Tea Garden (adjacent to zoo); park and trails are FREE, golf course, train ride, tea garden restaurant prices vary

San Antonio Zoo, located in an old limestone quarry, is more than 100 years old and home to more than 8,500 animals of 779 species; general admission prices range from US$11.25 to US$14.25 (children under 2 are free)

If You Can Spend a Bit More . . .

SeaWorld San Antonio, rides, shows, exhibits, and attractions; water park is separate cost; prices range from US$45 (online children’s price) to US$69 (adult price at park) per person.

Six Flags Fiesta Texas, large amusement park with rides, restaurants, shows, and separate water park; prices range from US$53 to $68 for one day unlimited access to park (food and parking extra), save up to $20 ordering tickets online; children 2 and under FREE.

San Antonio Hop-On Hop-Off City Tour is US$19 and allows you to see the entire city, with 11 different stops to choose from.

San Antonio Highlights Tour for US$37.35, where you’ll explore Mission San José, Market Square/El Mercado, Texas Adventure, the Alamo, and Mission Concepcion with a knowledgeable guide.

Museum Visits

Several San Antonio museums offer free admission during certain times. The San Antonio Museum of Art hosts free entry on Tuesdays from 4:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., and Sundays from 10:00 a.m. to noon. The Witte Museum is free on Tuesdays from 3:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. The McNay Art Museum is free on Thursdays from 4:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., as well as the first Sunday of each month. Even if you visit these institutions during nonfree hours, they’re still fairly affordable; prices vary. The DoSeum, a museum for children, opens in June 2015, $US10 per person.

Off the Beaten Path

27 1 8 9Natural Bridge Caverns, Texas’ largest cave system, features underground walking tour, panning for gems, zip line course, and more. Prices for cave tour and other activities vary greatly—general online adult admission price for cave tours is US$32.

Segway Tour
See San Antonio on a Segway tour; guided tour is one hour with stops along the way for photographs, facts. Starts/ends on East Houston Street; prices start from about US$45 per person.

Morgan’s Wonderland
Open most days until 4:00 or 5:00 p.m., check online for park hours and special events
5223 David Edwards Drive.

Morgan’s Wonderland isn’t really an amusement park. It’s a park with special “Sensory Village” to inspire imaginative play through a variety of interactive experiences, including custom car design and simulated test drive, TV weather forecasting station, and more. There are also playgrounds, walking paths, a train ride around an eight-acre lake, a music garden, carousel, and fishing wharf. Visitors can pack a lunch or purchase food at the park. Bus service (VIA Metropolitan Transit) from downtown is available. Special needs/children under 3 are FREE; other one-day ticket prices range from $US11 to $US17 per person.