Mention San Antonio and most people think of the Alamo and the San Antonio River Walk, but there are plenty of other fascinating landmarks in San Antonio to discover. This historic city in Texas is packed with Spanish colonial missions, galleries, museums, golf courses and theatres. San Antonio is rich in history and brimming with culture.
San Antonio welcomes millions of visitors annually to discover its history and explore what’s new. From green spaces to festive seasonal events to exciting shopping, dining and cultural attractions, here is our list of top 20 landmarks in San Antonio to see in this vibrant metropolis.
- San Antonio Landmarks
- 20 Landmarks in San Antonio
- 1- The Alamo
- 2- San Antonio Missions National Historical Park
- 3- San Fernando Cathedral
- 4- Natural Bridge Caverns
- 5- Japanese Tea Garden
- 6- San Antonio Botanical Garden
- 7- San Antonio Museum of Art
- 8- San Antonio Zoo
- 9- Spanish Governor’s Palace
- 10- Briscoe Western Art Museum
- 11- Tower of the Americas
- 12- SeaWorld San Antonio
- 13- San Antonio Market Square
- 14- Pearl Brewery
- 15- San Antonio River Walk
- 16- Majestic Theatre
- 17- La Villita Historic Village
- 18- Aztec Theatre
- 19- John T. Floore’s Country Store
- 20- Six Flags Fiesta Texas
- 20 Landmarks in San Antonio
San Antonio Landmarks
20 Landmarks in San Antonio
1- The Alamo
The Alamo, also called the Alamo Mission, is a historic Spanish mission and fortress complex established during the 18th century by Roman Catholic missionaries.
It’s an instantly recognisable landmark that has led to San Antonio being constantly referred to as the Alamo City.
The complex sits in Alamo Plaza right in the city’s heart, attracting over 2.5 million visitors annually.
Many major historical events occurred at The Alamo, from Spanish colonisation to the Battle of Alamo in 1836 when Texas declared its independence from Mexico.
It was a staging point for supplies during the Mexican-American War (1846 to 1848) and was seized by Texas Confederates during the American Civil War.
Texas joined the Confederacy in 1861, and soldiers fought the final battle of the war in Texas at Palmito Ranch a month after the official surrender.
Today, the site stands as a tribute to all those who lost their lives and displays artifacts belonging to some of Alamo’s most prominent defenders, including James Bowie and Davy Crockett.
The Alamo is at 300 Alamo Plaza, San Antonio, TX 78205.
2- San Antonio Missions National Historical Park
Besides the Alamo, the missions in San Antonio are some of the best historical sites in the city, including Mission San Jose, Mission Concepcion, Mission Espada and Mission San Juan.
The four missions are connected through Mission Trail and make San Antonio Missions National Historical Park – a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Founded in the early 18th century, Mission Concepcion was the site of the 1835’s Battle of Concepcion.
Today, it is the oldest original stone church in the US. Mission San Jose is the biggest of the missions, known for its very ornate Rose Window.
The Roman Catholic Mission Espada was established to convert local Native Americans to Christianity.
San Antonio Missions National Historical Park is at 6701 San Jose Dr, San Antonio, TX 78214.
3- San Fernando Cathedral
Officially called Catedral de Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria y Guadalupe, San Fernando Cathedral is the cathedral of the Roman Catholic Church in San Antonio.
The church’s construction began in 1738 by the colonists from the Canary Islands and took almost 15 years to complete.
It is among the oldest cathedrals in the country and a burial site of the heroes of the Alamo.
The cathedral hosts light shows with music and images telling the history of San Antonio projected on the façade of the church.
The church is at the city’s historic graphic centre and is a symbol of the Archdiocese of San Antonio.
San Fernando Cathedral is at 115 Main Plaza, San Antonio, TX 78205.
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4- Natural Bridge Caverns
Some of the most extensive natural caves are right in San Antonio’s backyard.
Natural Bridge Caverns got its name because of a 60 ft (18 m) natural limestone slab bridge across the cavern’s entrance.
Fun things to see and do include zip lining, gem mining and panning for fossils.
Explore the incredible formations in the cave formed by water drops on the Discovery Tour.
Visitors come here to experience the Hidden Passage Tour’s impressive beauty or find their way through the 5,000 sqft outdoor maze.
The Discovery Village has many cafes and bars, while the Discovery Village Trading Post offers souvenirs.
Natural Bridge Caverns is at 26495 Natural Bridge Caverns Rd, San Antonio, TX 78266.
5- Japanese Tea Garden
With a history of over 90 years, the Japanese Tea Garden, or Sunken Gardens, is a picturesque oasis and an official historical landmark.
In the early 20th century, an abandoned limestone rock quarry was transformed into a picturesque garden with exotic plants, Koi fish ponds and a Japanese pagoda-style pavilion.
The beautiful garden also has impressive stone bridges, lovely walkways, and a 60-ft (18 m) waterfall.
Visitors come to the garden all year round for a romantic post-dinner stroll or to enjoy a picnic with family and friends.
It’s a lovely spot to take photographs and in summer, you will find outdoor concerts in its theatre.
Japanese Tea Garden is at 3853 N St Mary’s St, San Antonio, TX 78212.
6- San Antonio Botanical Garden
The city’s official botanical garden, San Antonio Botanical Garden, is a 38-acre (15 ha) oasis.
The green space has lovely collections and exhibit areas, including seasonal display gardens like a sensory garden, rose garden, water-saving garden and Kumamoto En Japanese Garden.
Bird lovers can also spot around 250 bird species here.
Other highlights include the 11-acre Texas Native Trail featuring over 250 plant species native to South Texas and the Hill Country and the Lucile Halsell Conservatory, a 90,000 sqft (8361 sqm) complex featuring tropical plants from all across the world.
There’s plenty to do besides wandering around on your own. Join a guided tour, go on a bird-watching walk or attend a lecture or garden-related events.
San Antonio Botanical Garden is at 555 Funston Pl, San Antonio, TX 78209.
7- San Antonio Museum of Art
San Antonio Museum of Art has displays of Roman and Greek antiquities and American, Latin American, Asian, and European art.
Covering almost 5,000 years of human history and culture, the museum houses an incredible collection of over 30,000 artifacts worldwide.
There’s a program of special events ranging from kids’ programs to film series and rotating exhibitions featuring works by well-known artists like Harry Bertoia.
San Antonio Museum of Art is at 200 W Jones Ave, San Antonio, TX 78215.
8- San Antonio Zoo
San Antonio Zoo is a 56-acre (22.7 ha) facility in Brackenridge Park and home to one of the USA’s largest collections of animals.
It is America’s third-largest zoo, housing around 779 species, some of which are extinct in the wild.
It was the first facility in the Americas to birth a rhino in 1972 and has an extensive list of conservation projects.
It has an extensive collection of birds and Africa Live! is another drawcard that gives guests the chance to observe Nile crocodiles, hippopotamus, African wild dogs, Angola colobus, and African cichlids through underwater viewing windows.
San Antonio Zoo is at 3903 N St Mary’s St, San Antonio, TX 78212.
9- Spanish Governor’s Palace
Located near the San Fernando Cathedral, Spanish Governor’s Palace is an 18th-century adobe building, which served as the residence and office space of the Spanish governors in San Antonio.
The National Geographic Society has dubbed this landmark the most beautiful building in San Antonio.
Now protected as the National Historic Landmark, the palace features an impressive cobblestone patio and a courtyard.
Highlights here are the building’s three-foot-thick stone walls and its eclectic array of historic furniture, artifacts, and exhibits that show how a family lived during that time.
Spanish Governor’s Palace is at 105 Plaza De Armas, San Antonio, TX 78205.
10- Briscoe Western Art Museum
Nestled on the beautiful San Antonio River Walk banks, Briscoe Western Art Museum is an impressively-stored historic neo-classical deco structure from the 1930s.
The museum displays an outstanding range of artifacts from the area and exhibits conveying the glorious history of the West.
Nine galleries showcase permanent collections and temporary exhibitions.
The most popular exhibits here are the original Chuck Wagon, Pancho Villa’s saddle, the diorama of the Alamo, and many works by Frederic Remington.
Besides preserving the history, art and culture of the American West, the museum inspires and teaches people with educational programs and public events.
Briscoe Western Art Museum is at 210 W Market St, San Antonio, TX 78205.
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11- Tower of the Americas
Located in Downtown San Antonio’s HemisFair Park, the Tower of the Americas is a 750 ft (228 m) tall tower that is fun for families.
Until 1996 when the Las Vegas Stratosphere Tower was constructed, it was the tallest observation tower in America.
Today, the Tower of the Americas is the 30th-tallest occupiable structure in Texas.
You can enjoy stunning views of the city, food at the Chart House Restaurant, a 4D film experience and shopping.
Tower of the Americas is at 739 E César E. Chávez Blvd, San Antonio, TX 78205.
12- SeaWorld San Antonio
Opened in 1988, SeaWorld San Antonio is a 250-acre (100 ha) marine park, animal theme park and oceanarium in Westover Hill.
It is one of the biggest marine-life theme parks globally, focused on education, conservation and animal rescue.
SeaWorld offers an array of attractions and activities, including shows, tours and rides.
In addition, the park houses various creatures, including eels, dolphins, otters, penguins, seals, whales, American alligators, flamingoes and sharks.
SeaWorld San Antonio is at 10500 SeaWorld Drive, San Antonio, TX 78251
13- San Antonio Market Square
Located in downtown San Antonio is the biggest Mexican market in the United States.
Market Square is a three-block strip of shops and eateries.
Over a hundred locally owned shops display exciting items, including handicrafts, leather goods, paintings, jewellery, apparel, instruments, and more.
Almost every weekend, people can also experience the rich cultural Mexican traditions on many stages arranged throughout the marketplace.
San Antonio Market Square is at 514 W Commerce St, San Antonio, TX 78207.
14- Pearl Brewery
Pearl Brewery, or simply Pearl, is a culinary and cultural landmark in San Antonio.
This site has been transformed from an American brewery operated between 1883 to 2001 to a lively multi-use space where people can eat, shop, work, and live.
It is located just off of the northern end of River Walk, making it easier for people to take a tour boat to the city centre.
Pearl Brewery is at 303 Pearl Pkwy, San Antonio, TX 78215.
15- San Antonio River Walk
The River Walk is a 2.5 mile (4 km) network of stone walkways along the banks of the San Antonio River.
It’s set below street level with calm waters, bridges and shade from trees towering over the banks.
There’s an excellent choice of restaurants, bars and shops, and on Friday and Saturday nights, the lively Fiesta Noche del Rio hosts dances and songs of Texas, Spain and Mexico.
San Antonio River Walk is also a destination for fun events like artisan shows and boat parades.
Other relaxing ways to experience the River Walk are guided tours and dinner cruises.
San Antonio River Walk 849 E-Commerce St, San Antonio, TX 78205.
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16- Majestic Theatre
San Antonio is home to the city’s oldest and most atmospheric theatre, the Majestic Theatre.
This National Historic Landmark has 2,264 seats and three balconies featuring Mission Revival, Mediterranean Revival, and Baroque architectural styles.
It was designed and established in 1929 by John Eberson and stood proudly for years as the second-largest motion picture theatre in the United States.
Also, it was the first theatre in Texas to be air-conditioned.
Many movies have premiered here and the historic building has also starred in a few.
These days, it’s the city’s premier performing arts facility, with a programme of concerts, Broadway shows and many other live events.
Majestic Theatre is at 224 E Houston St, San Antonio, TX 78205.
17- La Villita Historic Village
La Villita Historic Village is a top spot to shop for art as the neighbourhood is home to studios, galleries and eating spots south of River Walk.
In 1939, it was established and later became a centre for teaching regional crafts and a market for artists to sell their work.
Around 30 galleries and stores offer exceptional handcrafted items by artists from the city and beyond.
From sculptures, copper wares and paintings to textiles, jewellery and ceramics, this is the place to go to take up a quality momento of San Antonio.
La Villita Historic Village is at 418 Villita St, San Antonio, TX 78205.
18- Aztec Theatre
The Aztec Theater is one of San Antonio’s historical landmarks dating back to 1926.
The theatre is decked out with columns, statues, furnishings and murals, many of which are authentic reproductions of Meso-American antiquities.
Its interior is full of fixtures, carvings and architectural elements inspired by Aztec, Zapotec, Mixtec and Mayan cultures.
Today, it serves as a multi-purpose entertainment and events facility.
Aztec Theatre is at 104 N St Mary’s St, San Antonio, TX 78205.
19- John T. Floore’s Country Store
The John T. Floore’s Country Store opened in 1942 and is a famous historical landmark for its connection with top artists in Texas.
Above all, it’s known for its association with Willie Nelson, who performed there regularly during the early days of his career.
In 2006 and 2013, Floore’s was nominated for the Nightclub of the Year category by the Academy of Country Music.
The National Register of Historic Places venue hosts live music and dance performances.
John T. Floore’s Country Store is at 14492 Old Bandera Rd, Helotes, TX 78023.
20- Six Flags Fiesta Texas
Six Flags Fiesta in San Antonio is one of the most famous show parks in the US, sitting on 200 acres (81 ha) of land and including an impressive range of rides and shows for all ages.
This year-round destination has over 50 attractions, from roller coasters to slides, pools and go-karts.
The water park rides offer a cool break from the heat of the day, and with lots of shopping options and a variety of eateries, it’s not hard to spend a whole day at Six Flags Fiesta Texas.
Six Flags Fiesta Texas is at 17000 W I-10, San Antonio, TX 78257.
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