Top Free Activities In San Antonio
San Antonio, TX is a perfect getaway for an extended weekend visit, or even a day trip. When you think of things to do and see in San Antonio, most likely the Alamo comes to mind, as well as the famous River Walk, or Six Flags Fiesta Texas.
While those are all great places worth visiting with your family, not everyone will have the budget for it. Not to worry, there’s plenty of fun (and free!) things to do in San Antonio. We take a look at some of the best places to visit for those of you looking to save some cash.
Market Square (El Mercado)
El Mercado (or Market Square) in San Antonio is a great place to start, as you can fully experience just how much diversity the city has to offer. Once home to a vibrant produce market, it’s now an exciting and festive representations of all the colorful flavors and cultures that create today’s San Antonio.
Visit on the weekend and find all kinds of activities, such as events and vendors designed just for kids, and live music. There’s also plenty of shopping to be had, from pottery to blankets and sombreros, as well as many other handmade items.
Once you’ve had your fill, head to Mi Tierra Cafe Y Panaderia for a bakery treat, lunch or dinner. The Cortex family has operated this San Antonio institution since 1941. It sits on top of an entire block and is worth the visit even if you’re not hungry, thanks to the festive decorations. Enjoy the fiesta flags and year-round Christmas lights in a delightful atmosphere which often includes live music.
Japanese Tea Garden
The San Antonio Japanese Tea Garden is truly an oasis of breathtaking views, lush greenery and calming ponds. The tea garden was built in the early 1900s and you can enjoy an afternoon strolling down paths through the gardens and take in its multiple koi-filled ponds. The garden is open daily and has free admission. The Jingu House Restaurant also offers some great Japanese food if you’re in the mood for a snack.
Blue Star Arts Complex
This art hub is located in the Southtown arts district of San Antonio, and is part of the new River Walk extension. It is home to studios, art galleries, commercial and residential space, a playhouse and the Blue Star Brewery, which we highly recommend as a place for lunch or dinner, or a refreshing beer to rest your weary feet after a long sightseeing day.
You’ll find San Antonio locals bike riding along this area, as it has great views of the River Walk, and is near some wonderful and quirky shops.
McNay Art Museum in San Antonio
If your schedule allows only one museum visit while in San Antonio, Texas, definitely visit the McNay. The museum’s Spanish colonial revival-style architecture is a work of art, while housing a magnificent art collection. American art teacher and painter Marion Koogler McNay donated the collection, along with the mansion.
The main focus of the museum is mostly on 19th and 20th century American and European art, and is home to some fantastic pieces by artists like Pablo Picasso, Paul Cezanne, Henri Matisse, Diego Rivera, Edward Hopper, Mary Cassatt, Paul Gauguin and Georgia O’Keeffe. While in the museum, don’t miss the incredible interior courtyard, with its own Japanese inspired fishpond and garden.