San Antonio, Texas is considered a top family vacation destination year-round because of its warm, sunny weather and great family attractions. Whether you’re interested in the Alamo City’s rich history, its beautiful River Walk, or the endless outdoor activities in the area, there’s sure to be something for everyone. Without further ado, these are some of the best things to do in San Antonio with teens.
We’ve been to San Antonio a few times over the years and this gorgeous city never disappoints. You are sure to find San Antonio attractions your crew will love!
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Where to stay in San Antonio
Many visitors choose to stay at hotels on the River Walk, and that’s the perfect choice. These are some of the properties we recommend:
For those looking for a resort outside of the city, head to Hill Country. Our favorites are:
What Are Some Fun Things to Do In San Antonio with Teens?
No matter what your teens are interested in, you’ll find something to do in San Antonio. There are festivals year-round, including the famous Fiesta San Antonio (the end of April) and Dia de los Muertos (the end of October and November 1). If you’re visiting San Antonio during these times, be sure to join in the fun. Here are 23 teen-friendly activities in San Antonio and the surrounding area.
1. Explore the Pearl District
Just north of downtown San Antonio is the Pearl District, an old industrial area along the San Antonio River. It has been transformed into a gorgeous destination with unique shops, trendy restaurants, and a beautiful park.
The neighborhood centers around the old Pearl Brewery building that was shuttered in 2001. Today, the space has a cool atmosphere with urban design complimenting the original 140-year-old architecture.
It’s open every day of the week, but the best time to visit is on the weekends when there’s a farmers market at The Pearl. Take the whole family to the food court, enjoy the gift shops and boutiques, and then relax on the lawn or take a walk on the river trail.
There’s also an amphitheater near the water where you can enjoy live entertainment throughout the year.
2. Visit the San Antonio Zoo
The San Antonio Zoo is a 50-acre zoological park located inside the sprawling, lush Brackenridge Park in the heart of San Antonio. Whether your teens are animal lovers or they’re just looking for something unique to do in San Antonio, don’t miss out on this fantastic place!
The zoo has a long history, being one of the first parks to feature cageless exhibits where guests could see animals in their natural habitats.
While you’re here, you can check out an aquarium, aviary, reptile house, children’s petting zoo, and cafes throughout the zoo. Parking is free at the zoo lot or you can walk over from wherever you are in Brackenridge Park.
3. Remember the Alamo
No vacation to San Antonio with teens is complete without a visit to the Alamo. Located on Alamo Plaza at the center of the downtown region, the Alamo is a historic site dating back to the early 1700s. It was the first of the Spanish missions in the area. The mission is best known for being the site of the tragic Battle of the Alamo that took place in 1836.
This is also a great option if you’re looking for free things to do. You can walk the famous Church, the courtyard, and the Long Barracks. There’s a gift shop and free tours throughout the day.
All around Alamo Plaza, you can also visit different gift shops and family-friendly attractions, as well as see several more historical sites like the Menger Hotel and the Southwestern Room ruins.
4. Go on a Segway Tour Downtown
A great way to see historic San Antonio is on a 2-hour Segway tour through the downtown area! You’ll meet your tour guide near the historic Majestic Theatre just a few blocks from Alamo Plaza.
This tour will take you past the Alamo, around HemisFair Park, and to sites like the Alamodome and the historic La Villita. This tour is a great way to learn about different periods of history in San Antonio and take some pictures while you’re at it.
5. Take the teens shopping
San Antonio has some excellent shopping centers throughout the city. While you’re downtown, make sure to check out the stunning RiverCenter Mall.
It’s right on the river and you can enjoy live music, great food, and all kinds of stores. The mall is a short walk from Alamo Plaza.
Alamo Quarry Market near Olmos Park is a beautiful, sprawling shopping complex with high-end shops, outlets, restaurants, and more.
On the north side, La Cantera offers all the big-name stores you love as well as great entertainment. North Star Mall just inside 410 is a classic shopping mall with luxury and trendy stores where you can see the iconic World’s Largest Cowboy Boots!
6. Go on a Hike
Enjoy the Alamo City’s great weather and get in some physical activity by checking out the great hiking trails around town.
Some of the best trails are at McAllister Park, where you’ll find a variety of options for every skill level.
Olmos Basin Park and Brackenridge Park are perfect for scenic hikes in a central location.
For a challenge, head to Friedrich Wilderness Park just north of the city on IH-10. There are a variety of hillside trails from easy to difficult.
7. See the Japanese Tea Garden
Inside Brackenridge Park is an especially unique place called the Japanese Tea Garden. This park is free to visit and is a fascinating piece of San Antonio’s history. The botanical gardens have been around since the 1920s and feature structures by Japanese-American artist, Kimi Eizo Jingu.
You can see koi ponds, a breathtaking pavilion, stone paths, arch bridges, a teahouse, and as well as historic structures from when the Jingu family lived and worked at the gardens. If you have more time, you can visit the San Antonio Botanical Garden, a few minutes’ drive across the park.
8. Tour San Antonio Missions Park
In addition to the Alamo, there are four other historic Spanish colonial missions. These make up San Antonio Missions Park. Located three miles south of downtown, this UNESCO World Heritage Site includes Mission Concepción, San José, San Juan, and then Espada. You’ll need a car, but each site is no more than a few miles from the next and they’re all free to visit.
Each mission is a different experience. There’s a park visitors center at San José and San Juan is the most interactive with live demonstrations and the most well-preserved historic buildings.
At San Juan, you can join tours held by park rangers or just walk the missions and read historic markers throughout each site.
9. Go On a Ghost Tour
It’s no surprise that a city with such a layered past would be very haunted! When you’re looking for the best things to do in San Antonio with teens, consider a walking tour or bus tour to creepy sites known for their paranormal activity.
If you want to stay in the downtown area, this 90-minute walking tour will take you to some of the most famous haunted sites around Alamo Plaza. This is an especially entertaining tour with guides dressed in period costumes who will give you a chilling history of Old Town San Antonio.
This haunted ghost bus tour will not disappoint. It’s scary enough that you have to be 13 years or older to join! You’ll travel from the Menger Hotel around historic San Antonio to see and learn about haunted mansions, a deserted prison, a historic cemetery, and more.
10. Eat All the Food
For more fun things to do in San Antonio with teens, go on a food and culture walking tour of downtown San Antonio.
During this 2-and-a-half-hour food tour, you’ll try a variety of Mexican and Tex-Mex and learn about historic landmarks around Alamo Plaza. Try great food like brisket, pan dulce, and barbacoa, topping things off with ice cream for dessert!
11. Climb the Tower of the Americas
In 1968, San Antonio was the site of a World’s Fair. This was when HemisFair Park was developed, and the Tower of the Americas was built. Today, a San Antonio vacation isn’t complete without a visit to the tower.
In the base, you can walk exhibits and learn about the fair or take an elevator to the top of the 750-foot-tall tower. It’s one of the best places for panoramic views of the city.
There’s an observation deck, a gift shop, a rotating restaurant, and a 4D theater for the thrill seeker in your family!
12. Check Out Natural Bridge Caverns
About half-an-hour north of downtown San Antonio in the Texas Hill Country is Natural Bridge Caverns. You can take a variety of guided tours through the gorgeous underground limestone caves. In the summer, they also offer packages to see the bats take flight at sunset.
If you have time, check out their sister location, the Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch. You can take safaris and get up close and personal with giraffes, camels, emus, and more.
13. See the Light Show at San Fernando Cathedral
One of the most popular free activities in San Antonio is the free light show at the San Fernando Cathedral. This a great way to round out an eventful day downtown.
The Saga is a light show projected onto the front of the 290-year-old cathedral that tells the dramatic story of the history of San Antonio, Texas, and the United States.
Head to Main Plaza every night at 9 PM (except Tuesdays) for the 30-minute show. It’s a short walk from the San Antonio River Walk and there are chairs and tables in front of the cathedral where you can sit.
14. Go On a Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour
A hop-on hop-off bus tour is a great way to see a new city, and San Antonio is no exception. The double-decker bus runs a route past Alamo Plaza every 20 minutes, making it easy to navigate!
You can ride the entire route in an hour past sites like the Alamo, HemisFair Park, and the Historic Market Square. Feel free to hop off to get a closer look or enjoy a meal at the Market. Then just hop back on!
15. Visit the Witte Museum
The Witte Museum is a popular natural history museum in Brackenridge Park. It has top-notch interactive exhibits that will interest all ages.
There are many exhibits geared towards younger kids like fossil digs in the dinosaur gallery and the H-E-B Body Adventure. Teens and adults will also love the Witte, especially if you’re interested in science and Texas history. Exhibits are complex and entertaining, and there are both indoor and outdoor exhibits.
16. Take a Boat Along the Riverwalk
One of the best things to do in San Antonio with teens is a boat tour of the San Antonio River with GO RIO. You can choose from 35-minute-long narrated cruises, river shuttles with different shops all the way up to the San Antonio Museum of Art, or fun dinner cruises!
The narrated cruises are tons of fun with tour guides who give you info on the River Walk along the way and shuttles are hop-on hop-off all day long. There are 3 ticket booths along the San Antonio River Walk or you can make reservations on their website.
17. Experience the DoSeum
While the DoSeum is San Antonio’s children’s museum, this place is exciting and great for toddlers, young children, and also teens!
Across two levels, young people can check out workshops with hands-on activities, indoor exhibits that use the latest technology, and exciting outdoor spaces that are safe for all ages.
It’s easy to see why it’s one of the city’s most popular attractions for families. There are quality exhibits that focus on themes related to STEAM (the natural sciences, math, engineering, art, and technology).
18. Attempt the Amazing Mirror Maze
On the other side of Alamo Plaza, you’ll find several tourist attractions, including the Amazing Mirror Maze. It’s another stop that’s perfect for all ages!
Inside, across 3 levels, you’ll have access to a variety of things to do. The main attraction is the Mirror Maze, and it’s more challenging than you’d think! There are also optical illusion mazes, a laser obstacle course, 6 different escape rooms, and a game room called the Fun Zone.
19. Cool Off at a Water Park or Enjoy the Thrills of a Theme Park
If you’re visiting San Antonio for spring break or during the warmer months, you’ll definitely want to cool off at one of the great waterparks in San Antonio. Days with nice weather mean you should head to one of the city’s theme parks
Aquatica San Antonio is one of the best waterparks in Texas, and it’s got a great mix of things to do for older kids and younger kids alike. Plus, it’s pretty affordable if you just get the waterpark tickets.
Another great themepark with a great mix of thrill rides and pools is Hurricane Harbor San Antonio at Six Flags Fiesta Texas. You have to buy general admission to the theme park and add on admission to the seasonal water park, but it’s definitely worth it!
Morgan’s Inspiration Island is San Antonio’s first inclusive water park made specifically for children with special needs! All the water attractions, rides, and games are wheelchair accessible and ideal for children with disabilities, but anyone is welcome. They also have Morgan’s Wonderland, a theme park for all ages and abilities.
Don’t miss Schlitterbahn in New Braunfels. It’s about 30 minutes northeast of San Antonio. This park is definitely worth a visit, especially if your family loves thrill rides! The massive 70-acre park is split up into 4 different sections and also includes a top-notch resort, in case you’re looking for places to stay outside the city.
20. Do a Street Art Cycling Tour
San Antonio has a thriving arts community including organizations like the San Antonio Street Art Initiative. This initiative works with local artists to create stunning murals and art installations across the city.
A great way to see them is on a bike tour through Tobin Hill, the Pearl District, Downtown, and South Town. On this 2-hour tour, you’ll see over 60 works of art across San Antonio. You’ll also see local art galleries and eateries that most tourists don’t get to experience!
22. See Hopscotch Immersive Art
Hopscotch San Antonio is an immersive art exhibition just off Travis Park in the heart of downtown San Antonio. It’s a fun experience for teens and adults alike, with different galleries with works by both local and international artists. You’ll see fun murals, light projections, sculptures, sensory-based exhibits, and even a ball pit!
This is a creative way to show the important relationship between technology and art, especially if you have kids interested in either field. You walk through the entire exhibition in about an hour or take your time and spend several hours at Hopscotch. If you get hungry, the gorgeous lounge features a bar and food truck.
23. Go to the Saturday Night Rodeo
Nothing is more iconic to South Texas than a rodeo! And here, you can experience one from March through November in Bulverde. The Tejas Rodeo Company hosts evening rodeos Thursday through Sunday nights and it’s a fun way to see an authentic side to San Antonio!
The gates open at 5 pm and there’s plenty to do! You can enjoy Texas BBQ, tacos, and beer at the restaurant onsite. The rodeo starts at 7 with fun events like roping competitions and finally the main event with bull riding, barrel racing, and more. After the 2-hour show, you’ll enjoy live music and dancing.
If this is your first rodeo or your first time in Texas, it’s a must-see! You’ll even get to see longhorns, eat Tex-Mex, and have a truly authentic experience at a ranch in San Antonio.
Whether it’s your first trip to San Antonio or your 20th, you are sure to find plenty of things to do in San Antonio with teens!