22 Fun Free Things to do in San Antonio, Texas

Published By Ketki

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Visiting San Antonio and looking for free things to do in the Alamo City?

San Antonio is one of the best places to visit in Texas.

It is also one of the most budget-friendly destinations in the state.

The city’s top attractions from the historic San Antonio River Walk to the iconic Alamo are free and also most popular to visit!

Also Read: Romantic weekend getaways near San Antonio, Texas

Greetings from San Antonio mural in San Antonio Texas
Greetings from San Antonio mural in San Antonio Texas

Best Free Things to do in San Antonio, TX

Here are our favorite free things to do in San Antonio on your next visit.

San Antonio River Walk

The best free attraction in Downtown San Antonio!

The San Antonio Riverwalk is a fifteen-mile urban oasis winding through the heart of the city.

The River Walk is lined with restaurants, cafes, shops, museums, as well as boutiques, making it the perfect place to spend an afternoon.

San Antonio River Walk Dinner Cruise
San Antonio River Walk Dinner Cruise

Take a stroll along the scenic paths, people watch, listen to the music streaming in from the restaurants, and also see the boats cruise by.

In addition to being a popular tourist destination, the River Walk also plays an important role in protecting the city from flooding.

The Alamo

The Alamo is a National Historic Landmark located in San Antonio, Texas.

Originally built as a Spanish mission in the early 1700s, the Alamo was later converted into a fort.

The Alamo in San Antonio is one of the most popular places to visit in Texas
The Alamo in San Antonio is one of the most popular places to visit in Texas

It became famous in 1836 when it was besieged by Mexican troops during the Texas Revolution.

Although the small garrison of Texan defenders was ultimately defeated, the Battle of the Alamo inspired many others to fight for Texas independence.

Today, the Alamo is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Lone Star State.

Visitors can tour the historic fort, see a variety of historic artifacts at the museum, as well as learn about the Texas Revolution on a visit to the Alamo.

The Alamo is always free to visit.

Mission San Juan is one of the least visited San Antonio missions and a hidden gem
Mission San Juan is one of the least visited San Antonio missions and a hidden gem

San Antonio Missions National Historical Park

San Antonio Missions National Historical Park is a U.S. National Historical Park located in San Antonio, Texas.

Together with the Alamo, they are also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The park comprises four of the five Spanish missions in the city, including Mission Concepción, Mission San Jose, Mission San Juan, and also the Mission Espada.

These missions were established by Catholic missionaries of the Franciscan order between 1690 and 1793 to spread Christianity and to convert Native Americans to Catholicism.

Mission Concepcion is a part of the San Antonio Missions UNESCO World Heritage Site
Mission Concepcion is a part of the San Antonio Missions UNESCO World Heritage Site

They also functioned as frontier forts to defend the territory.

Visitors can walk or bike along the Mission Trail along the San Antonio River to see all the missions.

Or instead kayak along the Mission Reach to see the historic sites!

Entry to the missions is free for all visitors.

Mission Espada in San Antonio Missions National Historic Park Texas
Mission Espada in San Antonio Missions National Historic Park Texas

El Mercado Market Square

El Mercado, or Market Square, is one of the most popular tourist destinations in San Antonio, Texas.

The market square is located in the heart of the city’s historic downtown district and is home to a variety of shops, restaurants, and art galleries.

Visitors can find everything from traditional Mexican goods to handmade jewelry and works of art.

Mexican Mariachi band playing on the river walk in San Antonio
Mexican Mariachi band playing on the river walk in San Antonio

The market square is also a popular spot for live entertainment, with a stage that features a variety of traditional Mexican dances and Mariachi music throughout the week.

El Mercado is truly a unique destination that offers something for everyone and one of top free things San Antonio.

San Fernando Cathedral

San Fernando Cathedral is the oldest cathedral in Texas.

It was founded by Spanish missionaries in 1731 and is named for King Ferdinand III of Spain.

San Fernando Cathedral And Christmas Tree Main Plaza - San Antonio Texas
San Fernando Cathedral And Christmas Tree Main Plaza – San Antonio Texas

The cathedral features beautiful Spanish Colonial architecture and is made of limestone blocks that were quarried in nearby New Braunfels.

The interior of the cathedral is decorated with murals, stained glass windows, and an altar that was carved out of cedarwood. 

The San Fernando Cathedral is a beautiful and historic building that is worth visiting when you are in San Antonio.

Every evening, the cathedral features The Saga light show, dedicated to San Antonio’s history.

San Antonio River walk is most popular of all Texas Christmas destinations
San Antonio River walk is most popular of all Texas Christmas destinations

During the show, the facade is illuminated with an art projection that tells the story of the city through images, music, and sound.

The show is free to watch and one of the most popular attractions in San Antonio.

San Antonio Christmas Lights on the Riverwalk

The San Antonio Riverwalk is illuminated with over 2 million lights during the holidays.

This is one of the best free holiday light displays in Texas.

The Riverwalk is a great place to take a stroll and enjoy the festive decorations on a Christmas visit to San Antonio.

Community caroling boats on the Riverwalk at San Antonio during Christmas
Community caroling boats on the Riverwalk at San Antonio during Christmas

Brackenridge Park

Brackenridge Park is a public urban park in San Antonio, Texas. 

The park is home to a variety of amenities, including hiking and biking trails, a Japanese tea garden, and several museums. 

The renowned San Antonio Zoo, while a ticketed attraction, is also located here.

Throughout the year, the park hosts a variety of festivals, concerts, and other public events.

Kids love the petting zoo at the rodeo

Japanese Tea Garden

The Japanese Tea Garden is a public park located in San Antonio, Texas.

The garden was is built on an abandoned stone quarry and is on the National Register of Historic Places.

The garden features a variety of traditional Japanese elements, including a koi pond, ceremonial gate, pagoda, and stone lanterns.

Visitors can enjoy the tranquil setting and take in the beauty of the gardens.

The garden is open daily and admission is free.

Japanese Garden at Hermann Park looks beautiful during spring
Japanese Garden looks beautiful during spring

Holocaust Memorial Museum of San Antonio

The Holocaust Memorial Museum of San Antonio is a small but informative destination.

It is a moving tribute to the millions of innocent victims who perished during the Holocaust.

The museum’s permanent exhibit features genocide artifacts, personal testimonials, and interactive displays that bring the history of the Holocaust to life. 

The exhibits also focus on prejudice today and the need to fight it.

The Holocaust Memorial Museum of San Antonio is a powerful reminder of the atrocities of the past and a solemn educational experience for all visitors.

San Antonio Art League and Museum

The San Antonio Art League and Museum is a small art museum located in the historic King William Historic neighborhood.

The museum building, housed in a historic carriage house, is itself worth a visit.

The museum features a variety of artwork including sculptures, paintings, ceramics, and more by Texas artists.

It also has rotating exhibits.

King William Historic District

The King William Historic District is one of the oldest Historic Downtown neighborhoods in Texas.

The area was first settled by German immigrants in the mid-19th century, and many of the original buildings from that era are still standing.

The architecture of the homes reflects a variety of styles including Victorian, Queen Anne, Richardsonian Romanesque, and Neo-Classical.

Today, the King William Historic District is a popular tourist destination, with its charming architecture, quaint cafes and shops, and riverfront location.

The district is also home to several museums and art galleries, making it an ideal place to spend a day exploring San Antonio’s rich history.

Fort Sam Houston Museum

The Fort Sam Houston Museum is a must-see attraction for anyone interested in the history or military.

The Museum chronicles the fascinating story of Fort Sam Houston, from its humble beginnings as a frontier outpost to its present-day role as a leading military base.

Visitors can learn about the fort’s important role in the Texas Revolution, the Mexican-American War, and the Civil War, as well as its more recent history as a training ground for American troops.

The Museum also features a wide variety of artifacts and exhibits, including weapons, uniforms, and other memorabilia.

Admission to the museum is free, making it an affordable option for visitors to San Antonio.

San Pedro Creek Culture Park

San Pedro Creek Culture Park is a linear park located in San Antonio, Texas.

It runs parallel to the San Pedro Creek and offers beautiful views of the San Antonio skyline.

The park consists of two miles of paved trails and features public art, sculptures, and native landscaping.

Pearl District

The Pearl District is one of San Antonio’s most popular neighborhoods.

It is located at the site of the former Pearl Brewing Company.

The Pearl District features a variety of shops, restaurants, a farmers market on Saturdays, and a large green space with picnic tables and lawn games.

The stalls at the market are great for budget friendly breakfast in San Antonio.

Yanaguana Garden

Yanaguana Garden at Hemisfair is a beautiful sprawling park located in the heart of downtown San Antonio.

The park features a large play area complete with unique swings, climbing structures, a sandpit, and a splash pad for water fun.

Adults can enjoy the larger-than-life chessboard, public art, and calm trails in the park.

Yanaguana Garden is the perfect place to take a break from exploring downtown San Antonio.

Phil Hardberger Park Conservancy

Phil Hardberger Park is a huge park located on the west side of San Antonio.

The park has two sections, East and West, each with its own distinct features.

The East Side features a dog park, playgrounds, an urban ecology center, as well as several miles of trails.

The West Side has a nature center, an amphitheater, and also a one-mile boardwalk that winds through the park.

Both the parks are connected by the Skywalk and Landbridge, a highlight of the park!

Phil Hardberger Park is a great place to spend a day outdoors with family and friends.

Free Museum Days in San Antonio

Many of San Antonio’s museums offer free admission on certain days or for specific groups.

Here are some of the best museum deals in the city.

San Antonio Museum of Art

The San Antonio Museum of Art offers free general admission on Tuesdays and Sundays for locals – check details here.

The Museum features a wide variety of artwork from around the world, including paintings, sculptures, as well as textiles.

Visitors can also enjoy temporary exhibitions, films, concerts, and lectures.

McNay Art Museum

The McNay Art Museum offers free general admission on Thursday nights; updated timings here.

The Museum is home to a collection of Impressionist, post-Impressionist, and modern art.

It also features temporary exhibitions, educational programs, and events.

Witte Museum

The Witte Museum offers free general admission on Tuesdays, for timings check here.

The Museum has a variety of exhibits relating to the history, science, as well as culture of Texas.

It features permanent exhibitions on topics such as dinosaurs, the Texas Revolution, and local wildlife.

The Museum also has a planetarium and an aquarium.

The DoSeum

The DoSeum is a children’s museum that offers free family nights on the first Monday of every month, check here for details.

The Museum features interactive exhibits and educational programs for children of all ages from toddlers to preteens.

Some of the popular exhibits include a water play area, a construction zone, and also a toddler play area for the littles.

San Antonio Fire Museum

The San Antonio Fire Museum offers free admission on Tuesdays, check here for updated timings.

The Museum, dedicated to the history of firefighting in San Antonio, is excellent to visit.

It features a variety of equipment used by the San Antonio Fire Department over the years, as well as a collection of memorabilia about fire fighting.

Kids love seeing the museum and its displays, hence making this a popular spot for families.

The Briscoe Western Art Museum

The Briscoe Western Art Museum offers certain free admissions and discounts; check their website for details.

The Museum features exhibits on the art and culture of the American West as well as its artists.

It features a collection of paintings, sculptures, photographs, and also historical artifacts including photographs.

The Museum also has a library and an auditorium.

Did you like our guide to the free attractions in San Antonio?

Let us know in the comments!

Also Read: Best beaches near San Antonio, Texas

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