There are so many attractions in San Antonio, but listed below are some of the most visited:
The Alamo: The 300-year-old Mission San Antonio de Valero was the site of a pinnacle battle during the Texas Revolution March of 1836. Here, 189 defenders held off Mexican General Santa Anna's 4,000 soldiers for 13 days. San Antonio de Valero (the Alamo) was established in 1718 as the city's first mission. The chapel, one of the most photographed facades in the nation, and the Long Barracks are all that remain of the original fort. The Long Barracks Museum and Library is located near the chapel. The museum contains relics and mementos from the Republic of Texas and offers a narration on the fall of the Alamo. The Alamo is located in the heart of the city, inside beautifully landscaped grounds.
The River Walk (Paseo Del Rio): Millions of people visit the River Walk each year to enjoy this unusual urban sanctuary that winds along the San Antonio River in central San Antonio, one story below the bustling street level. Restaurants, galleries and shops line the banks of the downtown River Walk while the north River Walk is less commercial.
The River Walk's "Museum Reach" stretches north along the San Antonio River and connects the existing River Walk to the San Antonio Museum of Art and the 125 year old Pearl Brewry, a vibrant urban village. Public art installations line the banks. A lock and dam system, the only one in Texas, overcomes a 9-foot rise in elevation. Take a river cruise and navigate right through the lock and dam.
Catch a guided tour ride or a river taxi. To learn more, click here.
Market Square (El Mercado): The rich culture of San Antonio abounds throughout the plazas of Market Square with family-owned cafes, working artists and the largest Mexican market north of the Rio Grande also known as El Mercado. From early morning until late at night, Market Square is alive with activity. Visitors browse through 32 shops at "El Mercado," and 80 specialty shops in the Farmers Market Plaza. Market Square is also the scene of many Hispanic festivals where food and beverage booths spring up alongside Guadalajara lamps while the sounds of mariachi music blends with the excitement of Mexican dances.
Spanish Missions: The chain of missions established along the San Antonio River in the 18th century is a reminder of one of Spain's most successful attempts to extend its New World dominion from Mexico. Representing both church and state, these missions were charged with converting the local Native Americans, collectively called Coahuiltecans, into devout Catholics and productive members of Spanish society. More than just churches on the Spanish Colonial frontier, the missions also served as vocational and educational centers, economic enterprises involved in agricultural and ranching endeavors and regional trade. They were the greatest concentration of Catholic missions in North America and formed the foundation for what is today the thriving city of San Antonio. The park contains the historically and architecturally significant structures of missions Concepción, San José, San Juan and Espada. Other important cultural resources included are the historic Espada Dam and Aqueduct, acequia (irrigation) systems and the Rancho de las Cabras. Hours: 9 a.m.–5 p.m. daily. Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's. Free admission. The visitor center is located next to Mission San José and contains a theater showing a 20-minute depiction of early life at the mission, a museum and book shop. Mission Concepción, 807 Mission Rd. at Felisa St., Tel. +1 210.534.1540; Mission San Francisco de la Espada, 10040 Espada Rd., Tel. +1 210.627.2064; Mission San José, 6701 San Jose Dr., Tel. +1 210.932.1001; Mission San Juan Capistrano, 9101 Graf Rd., Tel. +1 210.534.3161
La Villita: As San Antonio's first neighborhood, La Villita, "the little village," was originally established by Spanish soldiers stationed at the Alamo. Today it is an historic village that houses shops, art galleries and restaurants in Spanish, Mexican, German and French-influenced residences. Take a walking tour to experience the rich history of La Villita. Click here for a brochure of the walking tour.