Free Things to Do in San Antonio: Discover San Antonio’s Charm

Explore San Antonio, known for its fascinating past and lively culture, and take advantage of the city’s abundance of free attractions. This article will cover the 20 free things to do in San Antonio. 

With its world-famous River Walk, centuries-old Alamo, and other cultural treasures, San Antonio is a city that perfectly encapsulates the spirit of the Lone Star State. 

Thanks to the abundance of free activities available, you can thoroughly immerse yourself in the allure of this Texas treasure. 

With the help of this detailed guide, you will be able to unearth the city’s unheralded treasures. This guide lists 20 incredible free things to do in San Antonio.   

List of 20 Top Free Things to Do in San Antonio

It doesn’t matter whether you’re taking a stroll along the riverbanks, exploring museums, or immersing yourself in exciting public places; San Antonio invites you to take pleasure in its allure without burdening your finances, all through free things to do in San Antonio.

  1. River Walk
  2. The San Antonio Museum of Art
  3. The Alamo
  4. Brackenridge Park
  5. San Antonio Missions National Historical Park
  6. Japanese Tea Garden
  7. McNay Art Museum
  8. Market Square
  9. The DoSeum
  10. Briscoe Western Art Museum
  11. San Antonio Zoo
  12. San Antonio River
  13. Tower of the Americas
  14. Pearl Brewery
  15. Witte Museum
  16. Yanaguana Garden at Hemisfair
  17. San Antonio Art League and Museum
  18. Public Art San Antonio
  19. Headwaters Sanctuary
  20. Blue Star Arts Complex

1. River Walk

Location: Along the San Antonio River, downtown

Phone: Not applicable (as it’s an outdoor location)

River Walk

A well-known urban watercourse, the San Antonio River Walk, may be found along the Paseo del Rio. 

It stretches for kilometers and beautifully winds through the busy city, ornamented with a lively assortment of shops, restaurants, and cultural attractions.   

The River Walk is a pulsating hub of excitement, giving the ideal blend of scenic appeal and active city atmosphere. The River Walk is located in downtown San Antonio. 

Visitors can participate in various activities, such as going for a stroll, taking a cruise on the river, or dining at one of the restaurants along the river.   

The environment is especially compelling when lighted walkways create a beautiful and energetic aura in the evening. This is when the best photos may be taken of the setting.

  • Timings: Open year-round, 24/7.

2. The San Antonio Museum of Art

Location: 200 W Jones Ave, San Antonio, TX 78215

Phone: +1 210-978-8100

The San Antonio Museum of Art

The San Antonio Museum of Art (SAMA) is a genuine cultural treasure since it is housed in the historic Lone Star Brewery structure.  

The museum is particularly proud of its extensive collection, which includes works of art from a diverse array of eras and geographical locations all over the globe. 

Visitors can examine various intriguing items, including ancient antiquities from the Mediterranean, works of art from Asia, and modern pieces.   

Visitors are treated to an enthralling and enriching cultural experience at the SAMA museum, which has an extensive collection of exhibits that gracefully demonstrate the development of creative expression across time.   

Every trip to the museum will be a unique and enthralling adventure because of the museum’s changing exhibits, special events, and educational programs offered throughout the year.

  • Timings: Check SAMA’s official website for current hours.

3. The Alamo

Location: 300 Alamo Plaza, San Antonio, TX 78205

Phone: (210) 225-1391

The Alamo

One of the most well-known historical landmarks in the United States, the Alamo is a potent symbol of Texas’s fight for independence. It continues to be one of the state’s most popular tourist attractions.   

During the Texas Revolution in 1836, the historically significant Franciscan mission acquired major notoriety. The location is notable for its church, barracks, and beautiful courtyard.   

The Alamo is a significant historical landmark that allows visitors to ponder and learn about the events there.  

Because there is no charge for entrance, guests are welcome to roam the grounds at their leisure, learn about the importance of the site’s history, and participate in interpretive presentations and demonstrations, making it one of the best free things to do in San Antonio. 

  • Timings: Open daily, 9 am – 5:30 pm.

4. Brackenridge Park

Location: 3700 N St Mary’s St, San Antonio, TX 78212

Phone: (210) 207-7275

Brackenridge Park

A vast urban haven may be found in the middle of San Antonio in Brackenridge Park. The park offers a broad selection of leisure opportunities, including walking paths, playgrounds, and picnic spots, amongst other things.   

In addition, the San Antonio Zoo allows families to learn about a wide range of animals via the many exhibits housed there. 

The breathtaking natural beauty of the park, which has extensive green areas and the flowing San Antonio River, makes for the ideal environment for a peaceful day spent in the great outdoors.   

Because it provides such a diverse selection of things to do, Brackenridge Park is an ideal location for several different outings, including a relaxed walk around the park, a picnic with the family, and a trip to the zoo.

  • Timings: Open daily, 5 am – 11 pm.

5. San Antonio Missions National Historical Park

Location: San Antonio, TX 78214, United States

Phone: +1 210-534-8875

San Antonio Missions National Historical Park

Four Spanish border missions have been painstakingly preserved thanks to the efforts of the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park, a spectacular UNESCO World Heritage site.  

Each mission has its unique history and architectural significance, which can be found throughout the complex. Churches, residential quarters, and granaries that date back to the 18th century and have been surprisingly well-kept may be explored by site guests. 

This area has a long and illustrious history. The park gives visitors a fascinating look into the everyday life of the native people and the missionaries who lived on the missions, and it is one of the best free things to do in San Antonio.   

Participating in one of our guided tours or interpretative programs may help us comprehend these missions’ cultural and historical value.

  • Timings: Grounds open daily; check visitor centers for hours.

6. Japanese Tea Garden

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

Phone: (210) 559-3148

Japanese Tea Garden

A serene and alluring hideaway may be found at Brackenridge Park’s Japanese Tea Garden. This garden is located in the park.  

In the early 20th century, the location was transformed from a rock quarry into a tranquil garden with a Japanese-style theme. This astonishing change took place. 

Visitors are encouraged to walk through the lush sceneries along the stone paths, and their eyes will be treated to a visual feast as they do so. 

The presence of the ponds and waterfalls contributes to a sense of calm and helps to produce an environment rich in tranquility.   

The garden has a breathtaking pavilion and a quaint tea house, creating an atmosphere ideal for quiet reflection and appreciation of the surrounding natural beauty.

  • Timings: Open daily, sunrise to sunset.

7. McNay Art Museum

Location: 6000 N New Braunfels Ave, San Antonio, TX 78209

Phone: (210) 824-5368

McNay Art Museum

San Antonio’s McNay Art Museum, housed in a beautiful palace designed in the Spanish Colonial Revival style, is a shining example of the city’s cultural vitality.   

The museum has an enormous collection that covers 5,000 years and showcases a diverse array of artwork from both Europe and the United States. Visitors can see the works of internationally renowned painters such as Picasso and O’Keeffe.  

The outside space is beautifully landscaped and has several works of art.   With exhibitions that change often and educational programming offered regularly, the McNay is an exciting and intriguing location for anyone interested in art.

  • Timings: Check the museum’s website for current hours.

8. Market Square

Location: 514 W Commerce St, San Antonio, TX 78207

Phone: (210) 207-8600

Market Square

El Mercado, more often referred to as Market Square, is a vibrant public market that showcases San Antonio’s extensive cultural history. 

This market has been there for a very long time, and it is now the biggest Mexican market that can be found in the United States. It has a bustling assortment of stores, booths, and eating establishments.   

Visitors will have the chance to explore a diverse selection of artisan handicrafts, traditional Mexican textiles, and Mexican food throughout their stay. 

Market Square is a bustling commercial district that also acts as a cultural center since it hosts various events, live music performances, and celebrations throughout the year.

  • Timings: Vary by shop and event.

9. The DoSeum

Location: 2800 Broadway St, San Antonio, TX 78209

Phone: (210) 212-4453

The DoSeum

The DoSeum is a first-rate children’s museum with interactive and educational displays intended to stimulate the curiosity of young visitors and stimulate their brains. 

The museum cultivates an atmosphere that encourages creative expression, intellectual curiosity, and analytical thought through various interactive, hands-on programs.   

From the Sensations Studio to the Spy Academy, the DoSeum provides a wide variety of exhibits designed to appeal to a broad spectrum of audiences, both in terms of their interests and ages.   

This is the perfect place for families who want to give their children an enjoyable and instructive experience while they are out together.

  • Timings: Check The DoSeum’s website for current hours.

10. Briscoe Western Art Museum

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

Phone: (210) 299-4499

Briscoe Western Art Museum

Western American art, history, and culture are displayed at the Briscoe Western Art Museum in Dallas.  You’ll find this museum housed in a stunning old edifice along the San Antonio River Walk. 

It features diverse art, antiquities, and artifacts from Western culture.  To provide a more in-depth examination of what it was like to live in the West, the exhibitions highlight the compelling life stories of cowboys, Native Americans, and early settlers.  

Anyone interested in the rich history of the American West should pay a visit to the museum since it has enthralling exhibits, exciting events, and informative educational activities.

  • Timings: Open daily; check the museum’s website for hours.

11. San Antonio Zoo

Location: 3903 N St Mary’s St, San Antonio, TX 78212

Phone: (210) 734-7184

San Antonio Zoo

The San Antonio Zoo is a well-known destination for those with a soft spot in their hearts for animals. It is known for presenting a diverse collection of species from all over the globe.

Through its vast collection of exhibits and ongoing commitment to the cause of conservation, the zoo provides visitors with a compelling and educational experience.   

Visitors can see diverse animals, including majestic large cats and active primates. The San Antonio Zoo is an engaging and delightful location since it provides family-friendly, participatory activities and events that are themed to the seasons.

  • Timings: Open daily. Check the zoo’s website for hours.

12. San Antonio River

Location: Throughout downtown San Antonio

Phone: Not applicable (as it’s an outdoor location)

San Antonio River

The San Antonio River, notably the River Walk, is a famous and picturesque stream that winds through the middle of downtown San Antonio.   

With its diverse selection of stores, restaurants, and places to enjoy entertainment, the River Walk makes for a beautiful escape from the hustle and bustle of the city.   

Visitors can participate in boat excursions, take strolls along the riverbanks at their leisure, and fully immerse themselves in the vibrant ambiance.   

The river has always played an important role in San Antonio’s long and illustrious history, and its breathtaking natural beauty has long been a significant draw for tourists and locals alike.

  • Timings: Open year-round, 24/7.

13. Tower of the Americas

Location: 739 E César E. Chávez Blvd, San Antonio, TX 78205

Phone: (210) 223-3101

Tower of the Americas

The Tower of the Americas is an iconic structure that stands out in San Antonio and provides fantastic city views. The tower is an astounding 750 feet tall and has an observation deck and a restaurant that rotates 360 degrees to accommodate guests. 

This affords visitors a spectacular perspective of the city that is unlike any other.   Take a stunning perspective of San Antonio’s skyline, historical buildings, and the surrounding landscapes from a vantage point that provides 360 degrees of panorama. 

The tower is an impressive piece of architecture and provides a breathtaking vantage point from which to take in the city’s splendor, rendering it the ideal free thing to do in San Antonio. 

  • Timings: Check the Tower’s website for hours.

14. Pearl Brewery

Location: 303 Pearl Pkwy, San Antonio, TX 78215

Phone: (210) 212-7260

Pearl Brewery

The Pearl Brewery has seen a remarkable metamorphosis, developing from a working brewery into a flourishing center of gastronomic and cultural events in recent years. The property has quaint stores, eateries, open areas, and the historically significant Pearl Stable.   

Visitors can peruse the local farmer’s market, participate in various culinary events, and completely immerse themselves in the dynamic environment.   

The Pearl Brewery is a well-known attraction frequented by many people, including those living in the area and just passing through.

  • Timings: Vary by shop and restaurant.

15. Witte Museum

Location: 3801 Broadway St, San Antonio, TX 78209

Phone: (210) 357-1900

Witte Museum

The Witte Museum is a remarkable establishment devoted to investigating topics across the fields of history, culture, and science. 

To give a wide variety of educational opportunities, the museum has various displays that include topics such as paleontology, anthropology, and the history of Texas.   

Individuals and families interested in delving further into the natural and cultural history of San Antonio and the surrounding area will find that the Witte Museum is an enthralling site to visit. 

Visitors are guaranteed to be captivated by exciting presentations, interactive exhibits, and relics shown at the museum.

  • Timings: Check the museum’s website for current hours

16. Yanaguana Garden at Hemisfair

Location: 434 S Alamo St, San Antonio, TX 78205

Phone: (210) 212-9373

Yanaguana Garden at Hemisfair

Within the enticing Hemisfair neighborhood may be found the vibrant urban park known as Yanaguana Garden at Hemisfair. Due to the presence of a playground, a splash pad, and many interactive public art projects, this location is ideal for families.   

The garden is a well-liked destination among the community’s residents and travelers since it provides a serene and pleasurable environment in which to rest and have fun.   

Because of its central position in San Antonio and its wide variety of services, Yanaguana Garden can offer guests a relaxing escape right in the middle of the city.

  • Timings: Open daily, 7 am – 11 pm.

17. San Antonio Art League and Museum

Location: 130 King William St, San Antonio, TX 78204

Phone: (210) 223-1140

San Antonio Art League and Museum

The San Antonio Art League and Museum takes great pride in showcasing the works of remarkably skilled artists who are members of the surrounding community. Doing so makes a significant addition to the rich creative history of the city.  

The museum is located in a historic structure and has a diverse collection of works of visual art, including paintings, sculptures, and other displays.  

The town of San Antonio’s creative expression and the artistic prowess of its members are on display in several fascinating exhibitions that are open to the public.

  • Timings: Check the Art League’s website for hours.

18. Public Art San Antonio

Location: 203 S St Mary’s St, San Antonio, TX 78205, United States 

Phone: (210) 207-1458

Public Art San Antonio

The mission of the organization known as Public Art San Antonio is to infuse the urban landscape with increased creative energy by introducing art into the public sphere.   

The murals, sculptures, and interactive installations that are a part of San Antonio’s public art program all contribute to the city’s overall cultural character. These works of art are shown in public spaces across the city.  

Self-guided art tours provide guests with the chance to investigate these works of art that are displayed in the open air. Each piece of artwork conveys a unique narrative and adds to the vibrancy of the urban landscape in its unique way.

  • Timings: Outdoor public art is accessible year-round.

19. Headwaters Sanctuary

Location: Headwaters Sanctuary, 4503 Broadway, San Antonio

Phone: (210) 828-2224

Headwaters Sanctuary

In the middle of the hustle and bustle of the city, you’ll find an oasis of calm and serenity at the Headwaters Sanctuary. 

This peaceful area provides visitors with various attractions, such as picturesque walking routes, native plant gardens that have been attractively groomed, and the opportunity to see various bird species.   

Get away from the hustle and bustle of the city and connect with the area’s ecology. This will enable nature lovers to completely immerse themselves in the natural world and all its splendor.   

The Headwaters Sanctuary is a tranquil retreat that inspires visitors to develop a profound respect for the natural world and an awareness of the significance of protecting it.

  • Timings: Open daily, dawn to dusk.

20. Blue Star Arts Complex

Location: 1414 S Alamo St, San Antonio, TX 78210

Phone: (210) 227-6960

Blue Star Arts Complex

The Blue Star Arts Complex is a bustling hub for modern art and culture in the United States.   The complex is home to a thriving community of artists, and the complex’s art galleries, studios, stores, and cafes all contribute to the mood of creativity that permeates the complex.  

Visitors are allowed to see state-of-the-art exhibits, participate in art activities, and interact with the work of regional and worldwide artists.   

The Blue Star Arts Complex is a representation of San Antonio’s commitment to the development of a thriving arts community.

  • Timings: Vary by gallery and event.

Conclusion 

As the day draws to a close and you reflect on what you’ve discovered at San Antonio’s free attractions, you realize you’ve been exposed to various historical sites, artistic masterpieces, and breathtaking natural settings.   

The unique allure of San Antonio is enhanced by several attractions, including the mesmerizing River Walk, the historic Alamo, and the dynamic cultural pockets located all across the city.   

These free things to do in San Antonio are the ideal way to get a feel for the character of San Antonio, whether you’re a resident or a tourist to the city, and they’re fantastic for anybody who wants to learn more about the city’s lively spirit.   

Appreciate the wealth of this Texas treasure, a place where the experiences are genuinely priceless despite their high value.

Chris Kim

A passionate Texan with a flair for capturing the essence of the Lone Star State through his words. Born and raised in the heart of Texas, Chris brings a unique perspective. With a background in journalism and a love for storytelling, he weaves together narratives that transport readers to the vibrant landscapes and rich culture of Texas. Whether he's exploring hidden gems in local communities or savoring the diverse flavors of Texan cuisine, Chris invites you on a journey to discover the untold stories that make Texas so tantalizing.