San Antonio is one of the most beautiful cities in Texas, or anywhere else for that matter. Although you can time to take in events such as the Alamo Bowl or the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo, there is so much to see in San Antonio that you won’t miss them.
San Antonio is an excellent destination for a family vacation. The heritage and history of San Antonio is so rich you cannot help but be fascinated by it all. This city is a step back in the era of Spanish history and the days of Saint Anthony of Padua. It is beautiful to experience and can be a lot of family fun, especially along the River Walk.
Table of Contents
14 Family-Friendly Activities in San Antonio
San Antonio, Texas is packed with activities. They have Six Flags and Sea World, not to mention one of the largest water parks in the world, Schlitterbahn. The nice thing is, teenagers can basically run off and do their own thing in all of these theme parks. Even along the River Walk, kids can go off on their own. While they shop around, parents can grab a drink and also enjoy the River Walk, too. San Antonio also has an incredible zoo, but skip it if the temperature is over 100 degrees outside. Instead, lather on the sunscreen and go float down the Comel River or Guadalupe River.
San Antonio has a ton of stuff for families to do. Here you will find a massive zoo, the Six Flags Fiesta Texas theme park, the famous San Antonio River Walk, and just outside of town is Schlitterbahn … the #1 water park in the world. When visiting, plan at least one full day at Schlitterbahn, half a day at the River Walk, and float the Comel River.
Alamo Trolley is a fun way to see the city. The hop on hop off tour is loaded with must see San Antonio attractions. The route and stops include The Alamo, Hemisfair Park, Institute of Texan Cultures, Mission of San Jose, Mission Concepcion, Market Square, San Fernando Cathedral, La Villita and the Alamo Visitor Center. Located at 216 Alamo Plaza.
Alamo Mission – Just a little further along the San Antonio River is the Alamo, first known as Misión San Antonio de Valero, and the most visited landmark in the state. No trip to San Antonio is complete without a stop at these hallowed grounds. This is where Davy Crockett and others all died fighting for their independence from Mexico.
The museum contains many artifacts from the period of Texian independence, as well as the Wall of History, which portrays the story of the Alamo from its original founding through to modern times. This is a free attraction located at 300 Alamo Plaza.
SeaWorld San Antonio is true to the Sea World brand and offers 250-acres of family fun. There are unique rides, animal experiences and shows to indulge in through the day. Located at 10500 SeaWorld Drive. Save money on SeaWorld San Antonio tickets by purchasing online!
Aquatica Seaworld’s Waterpark is tons of family fun waiting to happen. Aquatica admission is not included in your SeaWorld San Antonio admission, however, it is well worth the added expense. You can get a 2-day flex ticket with admission to both parks. Sixteen action-packed water rides are the perfect way to cool off in the Texas heat. Located at 10500 SeaWorld Drive.
Schlitterbahn is the largest water park in the world and it is located near San Antonio. They have every water ride imaginable The lazy river that is also a wave pool is super fun.
The San Antonio Riverwalk is a series of unique experiences along the Riverwalk. You can take a boat ride, enjoy dining and shopping. It is always enjoyable to walk along the riverwalk with friends or family. The boat ride is especially enjoyable during the holidays when there are lights up. Located at 849 E. Commerce Street.
Six Flags Fiesta Texas provides the great family fun Six Flags is known for. Have a blast with thrill rides, family rides, water rides, entertainment, and more. They have a massive wooden roller coaster. Located at 17000 IH-10 West.
Brackenridge Park is a public park of 343 acres of fun. This well thought out landscape includes the Alamo City Golf Trail, Botanical Garden, Japanese Tea Gardens, San Antonio Zoo, Sunken Garden Theatre, the Witte Museum, and much more. There is a little something to interest everyone. Located at 3910 N St Mary’s Street.
San Antonio Zoo in the Brackenridge Park is fun to visit. In the summertime, it is hard to visit here because there is so little shade.
Kayak the San Antonio River Walk’s Mission Reach Explore one of the most notable sites in the world by kayak. San Antonio’s Mission Reach is the southern stretch of the famous River Walk. This wildflower-lined section connects four of the city’s five Spanish colonial missions, which have recently been designated a World Heritage Site.
Spelunk at Natural Bridge Caverns Explore natural beauty in the recesses of the earth at Natural Bridge Caverns. For first-timers and avid cavers alike, this is a once-in-a-lifetime experience hard to forget. Choose from a cave walking tour or opt for the ultimate underground adventure tour where guests climb, hike, rappel, and explore caverns that are thousands of years in the making. Towering stone monuments, glistening soda straws, and waves of colorful cave ribbons await.
Skydive San Marcos The best Texas Hill Country views just might be 12,000 feet in the air. Take in the scenery aboard a turbine-powered aircraft before diving in with experts from Skydive San Marcos, just north of San Antonio.
Biking and Hiking Explore San Antonio’s more than 50 miles of hiking and bike trails that run through neighborhoods and downtown. The Howard W. Peak GreenwayTrails System connects parks, hotels, and noteworthy spots, including Pearl and the San Antonio museum district. Trail stewards are on-site to help with questions and directions.
Morgan’s Wonderland This is a 25-acre, ultra-accessible park, designed with special-needs individuals in mind and built to be enjoyed by everyone. They have 25 accessible rides located here.
Where To Eat in San Antonio
Some live to eat and others eat to live. Whether you are trying to dine healthy or not San Antonio has good stuff for all palates. Here are 12 family-friendly restaurants in San Antonio
Ocho is a Mexican/Cuban restaurant on the Riverwalk. It is so good and you should definitely eat here! Their brunch is amazing. They also have a good happy hour.
Mi Tierra is an awesome Mexican food restaurant that is decked out in shiny decor. The food is delicious and there is usually a Mariachi band playing. There’s typically a long wait to eat here, but it’s worth it.
La Gloria is another great Mexican food restaurant with several locations around San Antonio.
Henry’s Puffy Tacos has two San Antonio locations. One is a main location while the other is an express location. The menu boost family recipes and made from scratch goodness.
Southerleigh is a spectacular restaurant inside Hotel Emma. Everything I have ever had here was wonderful including the stuffed acorn squash, cornbread, steak, and berry trifle.
Ostra is an oyster bar and restaurant on the Riverwalk. They’ve got a great happy hour that starts at 3 PM during the week. The oysters are much cheaper during happy hour.
Rita’s on the River is another Mexican food restaurant on the Riverwalk.
Supper is another restaurant inside Hotel Emma and it is really good too. They have the most incredible oatmeal and bacon!
Botika is a nice restaurant which presents itself as a culinary crossroad between Asia and South Africa. The creative menu presents many visual appealing dishes with a unique taste of delight. Located in The Pearl at 303 Pearl Parkway their hours vary according to lunch, dinner and holidays.
Wildfish Seafood Grille is a very chic urban restaurant with delicious fresh seafood. Located at 1834 North Loop 1604 West their hours of operation are Friday through Saturday from 4pm until 11pm and Sunday through Thursday from 4pm until 10pm.
Schilo’s Delicatessen is German Texan fare and celebrating their 100th anniversary. Established in 1917 they are undergoing a major renovation. Call 210.223.6692 before going to make sure they have reopened. Located at 424 E. Commerce Street.
Mrs. Kitchen Soul Food & Bakery is good down South southern cooking! This restaurant is true the community the owner grew up in. Giving back to the community inspired this restaurant. Located at 2242 East Commerce Street their hours of operation are Tuesday through Friday from 11am until 6pm and Saturday through Sunday from noon until 6pm.
Toro Kitchen + Bar is an adorable tapas restaurant with live entertainment on Thursday’s. If you are there for the salsa dancing they charge a $5 fee.
Family-Friendly Hotels in San Antonio
Family travel needs, family-friendly accommodations. If you prefer to be spoiled a little or a lot, be sure to consider Hotel Emma. Hotel Emma is a luxury boutique hotel in the revitalized Pearl area. It is a short drive to the Riverwalk from this hotel.
If you want to stay somewhere on the Riverwalk with direct access check out the Omni La Mansion Del Rio. Their patios overlook the Riverwalk.
I hope you take a family fun vacation to San Antonio soon! The spring and fall are excellent times to visit. The summer is good too, just super hot!
Where to go Shopping
There is an incredible amount of places to shop in San Antonio. From luxury goods to outlet items, they have it. You could literally spend your entire time in San Antonio shopping if that’s what you wanted to do.
- Boots and western wear – If you want your own pair of cowboy boots, be sure and stop by the Cavender’s Boot City.
- Jewelry – If you are looking for jewelry I suggest: James Avery, Brighton, and Kendra Scott.
- River Center Mall – You do not have to go very far to find shopping since there is a mall on the river walk. This is not the biggest mall but will do if you just want to do a little shopping.
- The Shops at La Cantera – The Shops at La Cantera is a large outdoor mall with all kinds of shops, including my favorite women’s clothing store, Alter’d State, and my friend’s favorite store, Free People. Here you will find almost any store you might be looking for.
- San Marcos Tanger Outlet Mall – A short drive out of San Antonio over to San Marcos will bring you to a massive outlet mall. They have well over one hundred different stores.
- Penner’s – Family-owned since 1916, Penner’s began as a second-hand clothing store, gaining notoriety in the 50s as the spot to pick up pachuco style apparel. By 1997, Penner’s hit the web, selling their famous, authentic Guayabera shirts. With over a century in business, Penner’s has carved a permanent spot in the cowboy fashion world, stocking boot brands from Ariat to Dan Post, in addition to stylish Stetson hats and much more.
Ditch the kids and go bar hopping! Now clubbing may not be your idea of fun, but most people at least hit up some lounges. I have a handful of lounges and bars I love.
- Blue Box – Blue Box in the Pearl is a lively indoor-outdoor bar with a live DJ some weekends. Downstairs you can hang out and try one of their cocktail creations and upstairs you can dance.
- Sternewirth – Next door to Black Box inside Hotel Emma is the Sternewirth. The ambiance in this lounge is swanky and although it’s just a lounge it can get pretty crowded.
- St. Mary’s Strip – One area I recommend going is St. Mary’s strip. The street is lined with clubs and bars so you can basically pick and choose where you want to go. They all seem to have completely different vibes, so chances are high you will find one you enjoy. At Brass Monkey’s you can enjoy cheap drinks and dance to 70’s and 80’s throwbacks or hang out outside on their large patio. Over at Hi-Tones, you can catch live music by local bands.
- Pat O’Brien’s – Yes, this place is a tourist trap. But with live music on one level, a piano bar on another, and a dance club upstairs, it is a really fun time.
- Paramour – I almost didn’t include this rooftop cocktail bar, because the staff was not so hot. But it’s such a cool spot I decided to go ahead and include it. This place is a large rooftop lounge and if it is a cold night they have blankets you can borrow to wrap up in and heaters. The menu only has three food items, but the portions are large and good for sharing. I highly recommend that you make a reservation in advance. In fact, if you haven’t made a reservation, I would not go.