San Antonio is one of the most historical and culturally rich cities in Texas. The city has monuments, gardens, caves, a fabulous food scene, and some amazing festivals. But where to begin? This 3 day San Antonio itinerary shares some of the top picks for the best things to do in the city.
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What to do if you have a weekend in San Antonio
Day 1 in San Antonio
San Fernando Cathedral
San Fernando Cathedral is one of the most significant monuments in San Antonio. The cathedral is more than two centuries old and its construction dates back to the year 1610. It is also known as one of the oldest cathedrals in the United States.
From the outside, the cathedral stands tall and regal in its architecture. It is located on the Main Plaza so it’s quite busy. Peacefulness takes over as you step inside the church.
The tall wall, the arched entrances, and the royal, golden altar are quite stunning. If you are planning to visit the church during Fiesta San Fernando, you will love the colorful decorations of the church.
*Don’t miss The Saga every Tuesday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. This video show projects artwork on the face of the cathedral in a performance that will take your breath away.
San Antonio Missions and National Historic Park
After visiting the church, head to San Antonio Missions and National Historic Park. While the Alamo may be the most popular mission in San Antonio, there are 4 other missions around the city that are equally deserving of a visit.
The National Park site remains open from 9 am to 5 pm and is free to explore. It’s a great place to wander around when the weather is nice.
Or consider renting bikes and riding the Mission Trails between the different missions.
San Antonio Museum of Art
San Antonio Museum of Art has an amazing collection of sculptures, paintings, and drawings. It’s the perfect place to visit after lunch.
Plan on spending a couple of hours exploring the museum. The first half of the building features the Asian collection and the other half is American art. It’s wonderful to compare and contrast the two different styles.
The museum remains open from 10 am to 5 pm and remains closed on Mondays. The ticket costs range between 12 to 20 USD.
Historic Market Square (El Mercado)
After exploring the history of the city for an entire day, you might want to spend a time in one of the liveliest parts of the city.
The local market known as El Mercado is the best place to spend an evening. If you are lucky and plan to visit during one of the city’s festivals, you will love the market’s decorations.
Colorful flags are strung between the buildings. Restaurants and other little shops will tempt you with lip-smacking food from all cuisines and unique local merchandise.
Day 2 – What to See and Do in San Antonio
Japanese Tea Garden
Start your second day of this San Antonio itinerary with some Zen at the Japanese Tea Garden. It is not an exceptionally large garden, so it’s easy to explore in an hour or less.
The gardens are free and you can bring your own snacks. Find one of the park benches where you can sit and enjoy it’s beauty.
The Pearl District
The Pearl District is an area not only loved by tourists, but it’s also a favorite of locals as well.
The historical building houses a hotel (Emma Hotel), restaurants, residences, and a food hall. It’s the perfect place to grab lunch before continuing on with your day.
The McNay ART Museum
After some peaceful time reflecting at the Japanese Tea Garden, treat yourself to some of the city’s finest art at The McNay Art Museum.
It is quite smaller than the San Antonio Museum of Art and Features mostly European and American collections.
The museum’s exterior is equally beautiful. People come from all over to have photo sessions here. In addition to the artwork, there are regular events, exhibitions, and music nights at the McNay Museum.
The museum is closed on Monday and Tuesday but is open from 10 am to 6 pm for the rest of the week. Admission is free every first Sunday of the month and every Thursday from 4 pm to 9 pm.
San Antonio Botanical Garden
San Antonio Botanical Garden is 33-acres of plants, trees, and other natural wonders. We recommend a visit during summer or spring because that is when the plants are at their maximum bloom.
The Botanical Garden is one of the best places to visit for those who are looking for family friendly outing in San Antonio.
The area to explore in the garden is quite wide and is considered a fun place if you love to explore or if you have kids with you. You can easily spend a few hours here and allow the kids to explore all of their favorite nooks and crannies.
Food from outside is not allowed, but refreshments are available.
How to spend Day 3 in San Antonio
Natural Bridge Caverns, The Canopy Challenge and the Zip Lines
For people who love an adrenaline rush, head to Natural Bridge Caverns in San Antonio. It is a place for fun and excitement. You can go through the caves of limestone and discover new routes and secret rooms within the cave system.
This is the largest commercial cavern in Texas. After a cavern tour, don’t miss the outdoor adventures. There’s an amazing obstacle course called Twisted Trails Zip Rails and Ropes Course, a maze, gem mining, and a toddler adventure area.
On a warm summer day, this is a perfect place to escape the heat.
Day Trip to Bandera from San Antonio
If you are trying to make the most of your Texas bucket list, don’t miss a visit to the town of Bandera.
Located just an hour outside of San Antonio, Bandera is known as the “Cowboy Capital of the World”. It makes for the perfect San Antonio day trip.
Here you can enjoy the open fields, ranch tours, horseback tours, and golfing. There are guest ranches in Bandera so if you want to spend a night or two in the cowboy style, this is a great place to do it.
A walk along the San Antonio River
After having an adventurous day, you might want to have a soothing evening in the city. The River Walk of San Antonio is the perfect place for you.
For couples a leisurely stroll along the river is one of the most romantic things to do in San Antonio. The dimming streetlights, calm water in the river, and the music from the shops, cafes, and eateries nearby would make your last evening in this place, a memorable one.
We hope this San Antonio itinerary gives you plenty of ideas for fun in the Alamo City!
About the author: Anjali Wadhwa is a travel blogger on Cheerful Trails, where she shares her passion for exploring the world. She loves writing about destinations, travel tips, and itineraries to inspire readers to plan their own journeys.
Book Your Flights
You can find discounted fares using sites like Momondo or Skyscanner. If you want to keep an eye on discount fares, we suggest signing up for Scott’s Cheap Flights, a daily newsletter with flight sales around the world.
If you travel frequently, consider investing in a Priority Pass for airport lounge access. It’s nice to have a space where you can relax before your flight.
Book Your Accommodation
We regularly use Hotels.com and Expedia.com to find lodging when we travel. It’s a great way to compare vacation rentals, hotels, and resorts.
If your family knows they want to stay in a vacation rental, we recommend looking at VRBO and Plum Guide.
Book Your Transportation
For rental car agencies, try Rentalcars.com. We tend to use Hertz simply for the quality of service.
Book Your Tours and Travel Photos
We regularly used companies like Viator and GetYourGuide to book tours when we travel. Both have great communication and a large variety of activities that work for all ages.
If you’re visiting a city with multiple attractions, be sure to check out a discount pass, such as CityPASS or Go City. Tiqets is another place to purchase tickets for attractions.
Context Travel is another option and they offer more educational based activities. The former teacher in me loves their tours.
One of our favorite things to do annually is take photos with Flytographer. They have photographers around the world and we’ve used them on four separate occasions. This is our favorite travel souvenir.
Don’t Forget Travel Insurance
With the state of travel these days, it’s important to have some type of travel insurance to cover any unforeseen accidents, illnesses, threat or cancellations. We always travel with insurance and would recommend SquareMouth, Travelex, or Medjet as good options. And if you want to compare different insurance options, use Travel Insurance Master to find the best policy for your group.