Best Things to Do in San Antonio

Explore San Antonio's Thrilling Adventures from Wild Gardens to Ghost Tours!

As the gorgeous and historic South Texas city of San Antonio begins to cool, it's time to go out and play! 

Starting with the renowned San Antonio Botanical Gardens, which is truly a 33-acre wonderland of nature, special events, classes, art installations and new plants to explore. Visiting exhibits are always stellar, such as the popular holiday-themed Lightscape exhibit. The culinary garden is always in bloom with edible delights and cooking classes for a unique experience.

For those looking to explore the dark mysteries of the Alamo City's haunted past will love nothing more than joining in on a tour from Alamo City Ghost Tours, which takes you on a walking tour and spooky adventure that combines a mix of researched factual history and gleefully haunted locations. 

Those on a tight budget will appreciate Slab Cinema's free outdoor movies that are situated throughout San Antonio and feature a wide breath of movies, from cult classics to kids' favorites. 

Keep reading to discover your next adventure! 



In South Texas, it's a given: When the temperatures reach over 100 degrees (sometimes as early as May!), it's time to grab a tube, load up your ice chest, and jump in the river. Usually, someone also brings a waterproof sound system to play authentic Texas music so the 2-6 hour floats down the river are relaxing and entertaining. Rockin' R River Rides rents tubes with or without bottoms. Their motto is "Remember our bottom will save your bottom." If you aren't ready to sit in a tube, try a '1 Man' raft or a '2 Man' raft. They look like inflatable kayaks. Also, they rent larger rafts for up to 6 people and your ice chest.

Recommended for Best Attractions & Activities because: Locals know how to beat the Texas heat and that's by floating on the beautiful Guadalupe River!

Kimberly's expert tip: New Braunfels is also packed with great shops and restaurants, so go early to give you time to explore.

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San Antonio
Pearl Brewery
Photo courtesy of Kimberly A. Suta

The Pearl Brewery is one of the coolest places you can visit in San Antonio. This brewery, established in 1883 and once home to Pabst beer, has recently been transformed from a historic brewery to a thriving multi-use space where you can eat, shop, learn, work and live. The Pearl is situated next to the recent Riverwalk expansion, so you can catch a tour boat or walk from the Pearl all the way downtown, past the San Antonio Museum of Art and numerous artistic elements that have been carefully built into the landscape. You'll find fine dining to street food restaurants, a great coffee shop run by the Culinary institute and more. The Culinary Institute and the Aveda School have facilities at the Pearl and both are open to patrons. Every Saturday, the Pearl is host to an amazing Farmer's Market and has become a traditional Saturday event for locals.

Recommended for Best Attractions & Activities because: The Pearl is a premier destination that includes a variety of restaurants, retail shops, a weekend farmers market, great bars, riverwalk access and more!

Kimberly's expert tip: Pop into Hotel Emma for a look at the lobby and hotel shop. It's a great place to grab a coffee or quick snack.

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San Antonio
Photo courtesy of Kimberly Suta

Bowlero, which opened in November (2013) in San Antonio, Texas, offers a new, revolutionary spin on social entertainment. This isn't the same old bowling alley your parents used to take you to when you were a kid. For groups and couples bored with bars and nightclubs, Bowlero offers an exciting alternative. This hip new hangout features forty-eight lanes of blacklight bowling, a thrilling gravity ropes course, amusement games, multiple themed lounge areas and a full-service kitchen serving inventive culinary creations. No more stale hot dogs and warm beer! In addition to their blacklight bowling lanes and the super fun gravity ropes course in the rafters, Bowlero also offers an oversized redemption arcade featuring a mix of interactive video games and retro-fun favorites, from giant Pac-Man and basketball to billiards and shuffleboard.

Recommended for Best Attractions & Activities because: Bowlero has all you need for a good time, including dinner, drinks, games and more!

Kimberly's expert tip: Monday Mayhem offers players a special discount of $16.89 unlimited bowling per person.

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For the best view in San Antonio, go directly to the Tower of the Americas, which was built for the World's Fair back in 1968. Located downtown, this 750-foot-tall structure in the middle of Hemisphere plaza offers the most spectacular views from its observation deck, as well as a fun-tastic 4D Theatre ride the kids will love! If you want to go all out, grab a bite to eat at Chart House, the fine-dining restaurant that sits atop the tower, revolving slowly, much to everyone's delight. Make sure to take time to enjoy Hemisphere park, which is made up of beautiful grounds, waterfalls and fountains, a children's playground, historic buildings and is also home to the Institute of Texan Cultures and the Children's Magik Theater.

Recommended for Best Attractions & Activities because: There's nothing quite like seeing the Alamo City from this beautiful vantage point.

Kimberly's expert tip: Stop off for a cocktail at the stunning revolving restaurant, Chart House, before visiting the observation deck!

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13th Floor Haunted House
Photo courtesy of Kimberly Suta

Whether you're a Halloween enthusiast or a newbie, the 13th Floor Haunted House offers frightfully delightful experiences! Located downtown, the Haunted House sometimes feels like it will never end (which may be a good thing!) and takes you through various spooky and (playfully) horrifying rooms with well thought-out props and themes, from a haunted hotel to torture rooms. It's a labyrinth filled with monsters and not-too-real nightmares. Expect plenty of jump scares, very dark rooms, strobe lights, disturbing noises, mist and some tight and enclosed spaces. After the Haunted House, there are more thrills in store for you. 13th Floor also features Escape Rooms where you have a set time to figure out clues to inventive puzzles. You can also try your hand and arm at ax throwing. Hopefully, a skill you won't need, but it's still fun to see if you can hit the bulls-eye!

Recommended for Best Attractions & Activities because: This popular haunted house always offers thrills and chills that will literally knock your socks off!

Kimberly's expert tip: Although the Haunted House is only open until the beginning of November, the Escape Rooms and ax throwing is open year-round.

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Blue Star Arts Complex is a hub of San Antonio's Southtown arts district. This expansive complex is home to art galleries, studios, a playhouse, commercial and residential space as well as the Blue Star Brewery, which is a fantastic place to go for lunch, dinner or just a brew out on the patio after a long day of sight-seeing. It's also part of the new riverwalk extension. Locals like to go bike riding on this section of the river. Blue Star Bike Shop is located next to the brewery and is a great way to spend the day with the family. With a beautiful view of the riverwalk and access to so many wonderful shops, this is a must-see destination while visiting San Antonio!

Recommended for Best Attractions & Activities because: Located in the Southtown Arts District, Blue Star is a hot spot for locals and tourists alike.

Kimberly's expert tip: The Brick at Blue Star hosts a phenomenal local arts market every first Friday of the month.

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The San Antonio Museum of Art boasts one of the most comprehensive collections of ancient Egyptian, Greek, Roman and Near Eastern art in the southern United States. It is also one of the largest collections found in public museums. The size and variety of all the exhibitions is astonishing. Located on the River Walk, the museum is also host to many children during the school year. The vast array of educational information makes it a very attractive place for field trips. The museum hosts over 500 guided tours each year and is appealing to adults seeking scholarly immersion as well as families with young children.

Recommended for Best Attractions & Activities because: SAMA is an exceptional museum that features a variety of exhibits from modern to ancient art and everything in between.

Kimberly's expert tip: You can easily hop on the northern reach part of the River Walk from here.

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San Antonio
Slab Cinema
Photo courtesy of Slab Cinema

What's better than an outdoor movie? A free outdoor movie! And thanks to Slab Cinema, which provides free movie watching experiences all over the city of San Antonio, you have the opportunity to enjoy popular films, often several times a month. Slab Cinema started in 2004 and has been a favorite family activity ever since. From The Little Mermaid to War Games and even a Coen Brothers triple feature which includes Raising Arizona, Big Lebowski and Fargo, Slab Cinema pops up at the coolest, iconic venues, ranging from the San Antonio Museum of Art (at Confluence Park) to Hemisfair Park and even the Alamo. On the Southside, they've been playing movies on a restored drive-in screen at Mission Marquee Plaza. Typically, the movies tend towards family-friendly flicks, but the content varies, so be sure to check out their website to see what's coming up. Bring a blanket or chair, maybe a cooler with some drinks and snacks and you're set for the evening. Often the venues have food trucks or access to nearby restaurants, in case you don't have time to prepare. Free never felt so fun!

Recommended for Best Attractions & Activities because: This free movie experience is an affordable and relaxing way to spend time with loved ones.

Kimberly's expert tip: Slab Cinema doesn't want you to miss the movie, so they ask that you be there before dusk. The movie starts approximately 15 minutes after the official sunset time.

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Alamo City Ghost Tours
Photo courtesy of Menger Hotel

San Antonio has a rich history. A vast part of downtown, surrounding the Alamo, was land that was the site of one of the most significant wars. Many many people have seen all sorts of ghosts in San Antonio, including the ghosts of soldiers and their horses. The tour Includes real ghost stories about San Antonio, Texas. They are San Antonio's #1 Ghost Tour, and the only ghost tour that takes you inside the Menger Bar for a drink, which is known for its spooky visitors. They offer two of the most popular ghost tours in San Antonio. Their Ghost Hunts are known world wide as good family entertainment. Ghost Hunting isn't just for kids and family any more!

Recommended for Best Attractions & Activities because: Alamo City Ghost Tours allows you to explore the haunted underbelly of this historic city.

Kimberly's expert tip: If you want to find out more paranormal stories about San Antonio, check out the local podcast, The Paranormal Empath.

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San Antonio's Botanical Gardens is one of the prettiest places to see in the city. This extraordinary 33-acre facility showcases plants from desert regions to equatorial rainforests, some of which are housed in individual, climate-controlled glass environments surrounded by a sunken courtyard and tropical lagoon filled with aquatic plants. Specialty collections include epiphytic plants, desert cacti and succulents, equatorial tropicals, palms and cycads, tropical fruits, ferns and aroids and insectivores. The Gardens, which always strive to connect people to the plant world through experience, education and research also features a children's garden, a Japanese garden and even a garden for the blind. .

Recommended for Best Attractions & Activities because: SA Botanical Gardens has it all from nature and education to events and fun explorations for the kiddos.

Kimberly's expert tip: Make sure to leave time for lunch at the Botanical Garden's excellent on-site restaurant!

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Meet Kimberly Suta

Kimberly A. Suta is a professional freelance writer, filmmaker and entrepreneur with a background in marketing, advertising and social media. Her first business, Midnight Sun Innovations,...  More About Kimberly