Cheap Things to do in San Antonio

San Antonio, Texas, is a vibrant city with a rich history and diverse attractions.

This article overviews the city’s top sights and activities, from the iconic Riverwalk to the historic Spanish missions.

Whether you’re interested in exploring the city’s cultural heritage, enjoying the great outdoors, or immersing yourself in the arts, San Antonio has something to offer every traveler.

The best part of this list is that most of these activities and places are free or offer low-cost admission.

Let’s explore the cheap things to do in San Antonio.

Top 10 Cheap Things to Do in San Antonio

Discover budget-friendly fun in San Antonio with our list of the Top 10 Cheap Things to Do in San Antonio.

From exploring historic landmarks to enjoying scenic parks, there’s something for everyone!

Ready to explore?

1. San Antonio Riverwalk 

Address: 849 E Commerce St, San Antonio

Phone: (210)227-4262

San Antonio Riverwalk 

The iconic San Antonio Riverwalk is a network of special pedestrian walkways located along the banks of the San Antonio River, nestled in the city’s downtown area.

Known as the Venice of Texas, the Riverwalk is a quaint, picturesque area serving the heart of the city’s art, history, and culture.

Travelers must explore the Riverwalk on foot, perusing the restaurants, shops, and attractions that line the canal.

Guided boat tours allow visitors to enjoy the Riverwalk from the water, taking in the iconic sights that tell the story of San Antonio’s colorful history.  

There are many activities and entertainment options for tourists, including fine dining, wellness spas, quick bites, nightlife, and boutiques.

The Riverwalk is a romantic destination for visitors and locals alike that boasts free admission, making it a seminal yet affordable attraction of the Lonestar state.

2. The Alamo

Address: 300 Alamo Plaza, San Antonio, TX 78205

Phone: (210)225-1391

The Alamo

The Alamo, a towering fortress built by the Spanish missions in the 18th century, is an iconic monument of Texas history.

It is the site of the infamous 1836 battle between colonists and the Mexican Army during the Texas Revolution. 

Today, the Alamo is a national landmark and tourist attraction for those seeking to learn more about Texas history.

Entrance to the main grounds is free, but tickets are available to view the accompanying church and museum.

Visitors can explore the historic buildings, watch informative films, take photos, and learn about the Alamo’s pivotal role in Texas history.

3. Natural Bridge Caverns 

Address: 26495 Natural Bridge Caverns Rd, San Antonio, TX 78266

Phone: (210)651-6101

Natural Bridge Caverns

A 30-minute drive from San Antonio’s urban downtown is a natural underground oasis that invites visitors and locals alike to explore its vast contents.

Natural Bridge Caverns is a massive 2-mile cavern system housing gorgeous feats of geology and nature. 

The cavern’s entrance features a striking 60-foot natural limestone bridge that spans the amphitheater-like setting, giving the attraction its distinctive name.

 Visitors can take guided tours of the cavern and other above-ground attractions, such as ziplining, climbing, and gift shops.

Tickets can be purchased online or at the visitor center, and children, seniors, and the military can receive discounts.

4. Mission San Jose

Address: 6701 San Jose Dr, San Antonio, TX 78214

Phone: (210)922-0543

Mission San Jose

San Antonio is one of the best cities to learn about Texas history.

The Spanish Catholic missions in parts of America, including Texas, are a significant part of that history.

Mission San Jose is the largest of all the Spanish missions, located in the heart of San Antonio.

Explore the old-fashioned buildings that tell the story of a religious community that once thrived there.

Visitors can peruse the native family quarters, soldier’s quarters, the church, and other parts of the Mission.

Free guided ranger tours are offered in the mornings and afternoons, making it a must-see destination for those looking for affordable activities in San Antonio.

5. San Antonio Missions National Historical Park

Address: San Antonio, TX 78214, United States

Phone: (210)534-8875

San Antonio Missions National Historical Park

The indigenous people of South Texas endured significant challenges, including prolonged drought, exposure to European diseases, and the encroachment of Spanish colonization.

In the early 1700s, many Native communities made the difficult decision to abandon their traditional ways of life and faith, converting to Catholicism and adopting a rural lifestyle in an attempt to ensure their survival.

San Antonio Missions National Historical Park preserves this history and provides a place for education and exploration of the people of South Texas during colonialism.

This iconic natural park houses the five Spanish mission sites in San Antonio, including Mission San Jose, Mission Concepción, Mission San Juan, and Mission Espada.

Visitors can explore the beautiful Spanish colonial architecture while reflecting on the ways of life enforced by the Spanish missionaries during colonial times.

Guided tours and educational programs are led daily, so stop by this free activity. 

6. San Fernando de Bexar Cathedral

Address: 115 Main Plaza, San Antonio, TX 78205

Phone: (210)227-1297

San Fernando de Bexar Cathedral

The San Fernando Cathedral is the oldest in the United States, dating back to 1731.

Visitors can admire the cathedral’s antiquated Spanish colonial architecture, including the distinctive twin bell towers.

The cathedral still holds regular Catholic masses and other religious services open to the public, which makes for a very special worship experience for those who practice.

Admission to the cathedral is free, and visitors are welcome to attend services, take self-guided tours, or spend time in quiet reflection.

7. Japanese Tea Gardens

Address: 3853 N St Mary’s St, San Antonio, TX 78212

Phone: (210)559-3148

Japanese Tea Gardens

The Japanese Tea Gardens in Brackenridge Park is another must-see destination in San Antonio.

They showcase various flora, fauna, and Asian-inspired fixtures and architecture.

Visitors can get lost in the oasis of flowers, guided by winding paths, pondering and reflecting on the garden’s natural beauty. 

The garden is free to visit and open daily. After walking through the gardens, I noticed that a tea house also offers various Chinese refreshments.

Overall, this is a gorgeous stop when looking for places to visit in San Antonio that don’t break the bank. 

8. San Antonio Botanical Gardens

Address: 555 Funston Pl, San Antonio, TX 78209

Phone: (210)536-1400

San Antonio Botanical Garden

For fans of diverse flora or those who enjoy the outdoors, the San Antonio Botanical Garden is a 33-acre urban oasis that showcases the diverse plant life of Texas and the Southwest.

The garden features themed areas like the Texas Native Trail, which highlights the state’s native flora, and the Japanese Garden, which offers a serene, contemplative space.

Visitors can explore the garden’s winding paths, attend educational programs, and enjoy the tranquil setting surrounded by various plant species.

All tickets are under $25, and seniors, children, and the military receive discounts, making this a seminal stop for those looking to explore San Antonio on a budget.

9. Briscoe Western Art Museum

Address: 210 W Market St, San Antonio, TX 78205

Phone: (210)299-4499

The Briscoe Western Art Museum is a premier institution in San Antonio that celebrates the art, culture, and history of the American West.

Located steps away from the RiverWalk, the museum exhibits a stunning array of art and artifacts from the region and exhibits that convey the long and fascinating history of the West.

Visitors can explore the museum’s permanent and rotating galleries and the McNutt Sculpture Garden, which features Texas-sized statues crafted by some of the world’s leading Western artists.

The museum also hosts the annual “Night of Artists” event, one of the world’s premier Western art events. This event features the viewing and sale of new works of painting, sculpture, and mixed media by renowned artists.

Tickets range from $8-$14, and admission is free to the military and children under 12, making this a great place to explore while saving money in SA.

10. Mission Trail

Address: Mission Trl, Phone: San Antonio, TX 78205

Phone: (210)207-2011

For fans of hiking and biking, look no further than Mission Trail.

The Mission Trails system provides pedestrian, bicycle, and vehicle routes that link San Antonio’s five Spanish colonial missions: San Antonio de Valero (the Alamo), Concepcion, San Jose, San Juan, and Espada. 

The trails are a fantastic way to learn about the city’s history while spending time outdoors.

Peruse the winding trails while marveling at the historic sites along them.

This trail is truly a hidden gem of the city. It offers a free way to exercise and explore the city’s rich past. 

Conclusion

In conclusion, San Antonio is a must-visit destination that offers a wealth of affordable and accessible attractions for travelers.

From the Alamo to the Japanese Tea Gardens, the city’s diverse array of landmarks, museums, and natural wonders provide ample opportunities for visitors to discover this dynamic Texas city’s unique history, culture, and beauty.

With so much to see and do, cheap things to do in San Antonio is perfect for those seeking an enriching and budget-friendly travel experience.

Alana Anh

I am an aspiring journalist, researcher, and PR professional at the University of Texas at Austin. I am passionate about food, literature, culture, and music!