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Ten Free Things To Do In San Antonio

by Andrea on October 3, 2013

San Antonio is home to dozens of attractions, leaving visitors only with the problem of figuring out how to best spend their time. From museums to theme parks to historic sites, there is something for everyone in San Antonio. It’s a very family-oriented city as well. Luckily, some of the most interesting attractions won’t cost you anything to experience.

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The Alamo

Alamo Plaza, thealamo.org

This bastion of independence may be one of San Antonio’s most famous attractions but admission is free. It’s the site of an epic battle for the freedom of Texas in 1836 and the grounds and buildings are a sacred memorial maintained by The Daughters of the Republic of Texas. Inside you’ll find The Shrine, two museums, a library, a meeting hall, the Wall of History, a film and beautiful courtyards and waterways.

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The River Walk

A beautiful place to amble and explore, The River Walk connects a few important areas of the city via pathways located below street level. This attraction is as free as the sidewalks and you’ll enjoy many excellent shops, restaurants and market tables along the way.

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San Antonio Missions National Historical Park

www.nps.gov/saan

Experience four Spanish Colonial 18th-century missions: Mission Concepción, Mission Espada, Mission San José and Mission San Juan Capistrano. An eight-mile trail connects them, making it easy to visit the largest collection of this style of missions in the United States.

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Fort Sam Houston Museum

1210 Stanley Rd, arnorth.army.mil/FSH-Museum.aspx

Open Wednesday through Sunday, this US Army post offers a historical museum and the US Army Medical Department Museum, which tells the story of the world’s largest health care training and delivery system. Visitors can also see The Quadrangle, site of Chief Geronimo’s capture in 1886.

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Southtown

Just south of Cesar E. Chavez Blvd.

This unique, diverse  arts district is alive with historic architecture, shops, restaurants, converted warehouses, galleries and artists’ lofts. It includes the King William Historic District and the Lavaca neighborhood. Don’t miss the various Friday and Saturday events that see live music, gallery openings and area showcases.

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Pearl Brewery

atpearl.com

Currently undergoing redevelopment, 128-year old Pearl Brewery is home to the Culinary Institute of America San Antonio, Aveda Institute San Antonio and a bunch of hip shops and restaurants. Don’t miss the Saturday morning Farmer’s Market, San Antonio’s largest.

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Market Square

514 West Commerce St, sanantonio.gov/marketsquare

The largest Mexican Market outside of Mexico invites you into its festive atmosphere where you can browse market stalls, shops and boutiques or enjoy hearty Mexican food while enjoying the music of mariachis.

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Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center

1300 Guadalupe St, guadalupeculturalarts.org

This multidisciplinary arts center features a variety of artists from San Antonio and around the world. Visit the website to discover what’s currently happening at the center and be sure to call ahead to schedule a tour.

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Japanese Tea Garden

3800 N. St. Mary’s St, japaneseteagarden.org

Wander among the beautiful flowers, Koi ponds and waterfalls in this converted rock quarry.

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Lackland Air Force Base Air Force History & Traditions Museum

2051 George Ave, aero-web.org/museums/tx/htm.htm

Tour 46 historic aircraft at this wonderful museum. You must email fernando.cortez@us.af.mil at least four days in advance to arrange admission.

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Many thanks to the San Antonio Convention & Visitors Bureau for your hospitality during our stay.

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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Jess October 3, 2013 at 9:30 pm

I loved seeing the Alamo and the riverwalk when I visited San Antonio. I only was there for a weekend, though, I wish I could have explored more.

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inspiringtravellers October 4, 2013 at 9:18 am

Same for us, Jess – needed much more time!

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Megan October 5, 2013 at 8:03 pm

wow i have done two of these! and i used to live in SA haha. and one of them (lackland afb) was only done because i was stationed there. great suggestions! hope to make it back there at some point (partially because of the food)!

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inspiringtravellers October 6, 2013 at 11:26 am

I didn’t know you used to live there! Come back – we can be neighbors =)

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Renuka October 6, 2013 at 10:53 am

Great list! San Antonio – pretty new to me, so this was helpful.

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A Montrealer Abroad (@amontrealer) October 6, 2013 at 12:14 pm

Such a fabulous city. I really hope I can make it there one day, I heard the food is amazing!

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inspiringtravellers October 7, 2013 at 4:53 pm

Wish we’d had more time to try different restaurants!

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Heather October 7, 2013 at 7:08 pm

This looks like a fabulous place to visit! My SIL just moved to Dallas so will have to put San Antonio on the Texas itinerary!

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inspiringtravellers October 8, 2013 at 4:51 pm

Let us know if you come to Houston!

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Krista October 7, 2013 at 11:26 pm

So many beautiful and free places! I’d HAVE to go to the Japanese Tea Garden for sure. :-)

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TammyOnTheMove October 10, 2013 at 4:21 am

I love the look of the riverside. Looks so pretty!

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