As the seventh largest city in the U.S. with a population of two million, San Antonio has much to offer visitors. Founded in 1718, the city has a rich past and has done a good job at preserving much of it. After the military, tourism is the top industry in our city. Many cultures, including but certainly not limited to the Hispanic and Germanic, have created a vibrant, cosmopolitan city that feels like a small town. The people are friendly and polite (we are in the South, after all), and while the weather in August is hot and humid, remember that air conditioning was invented in San Antonio (thank goodness!).
The best place to learn about San Antonio and all that it offers you, our welcome visitor, is through the Visitors and Convention Bureau website www.visitsanantonio.com. You may order the Official Travel & Leisure Guide by going to that website. You can also call 800-The Alamo.
Listed below are a few of the city’s major attractions.
Downtown(within walking distance from the Hyatt or a short trolley ride)
The Alamo (located one block from the Hyatt)
The Riverwalk (located out the doorway of the Hyatt) – shopping, dining, nightlife
La Villita (located right above the Riverwalk; the original settlers’ village) – shopping and dining
San Antonio River Cruises (see Optional Entertainment) – tickets available for non-dinner cruises at the Rivercenter Mall, one block from the hotel (cruise lasts about 45 minutes)
Institute of Texan Cultures – informative and interesting displays of all the cultural influences in Texas
San Antonio Children’s Museum – a hands-on experience where children and adults actively learn through creative play
Tower of the Americas – symbol of the 1968 World’s Fair with a revolving restaurant and a non-revolving observation deck
Plaza Wax Museum/Ripley’s Believe It or Not (the world’s largest) – the place for those with an interest in the strange, the unusual, the odd, and the just plain weird
Buckhorn Saloon & Hall of Horns – an old-fashioned saloon-turned-café
El Mercado (Market Square) (see Optional Entertainment) – a Mexican-style market with restaurants, shops, and strolling musicians
Southtown – San Antonio’s “hip” neighborhood with contemporary art galleries, restaurants, and boutiques; home of “First Friday” (which happens to be August 5th) when galleries stay open late and live music abounds
King William Area – next door to Southtown and home of the German community in the 19th century; lots of B&B’s with some restaurants and shops but mainly residential
Near Downtown(transportation necessary)
The San Antonio Missions (part of the National Parks System) - Mission San Jose is especially impressive
San Antonio Museum of Art - housed in a former brewery with collections of Latin American, Greek/Roman, and Asian art
San Antonio Zoo - home to over 3,500 animals representing 600 species on 56 acres
Witte Museum - San Antonio 's premiere museum of South Texas history, culture, and natural science
San Antonio Botanical Gardens - 33 acres in the center of San Antonio connecting people with the plant world to enhance their understanding of the importance of plants in our lives
Theme Parks, etc.(transportation necessary)
Six Flags Fiesta Texas
Splashtown Water Park
Schlitterbahn Water Park - a unique water park located about 45 minutes north of downtown in New Braunfels
Natural Bridge Cavern & Wildlife Ranch - located on the way to New Braunfels
Major Shopping Venues(almost all require transportation)
Rivercenter Mall (located next to the Alamo, one block from the Hyatt) – Macy’s, Dillard’s, Cinema including IMAX
Alamo Quarry Market (located in a former cement plant) – halfway between downtown & the airport on Hwy 281: Restoration Hardware, Borders Books, Pottery Barn, P.I. Chang’s, etc.
North Star Mall (located on Loop 410, near the airport) – Saks Fifth Avenue, Macy’s, Dillard’s, Penney’s, Williams-Sonoma, Pottery Barn Kids, etc.
The Shops at La Cantera (located near Loop 1604 and Interstate 10 West) – Nordstrom’s, Neiman-Marcus, Dillard’s, Macy’s, etc.
One of the best outlet centers in the entire country is located 45 minutes north of San Antonio in San Marcos. Shops include Last Call, Off 5th, Gucci, Coach, and many other middle and high-end retailers. There are restaurants nearby and an Embassy Suites if you want an extended shopping spree.
For a taste of small towns that exemplify our area’s German heritage, visit Boerne (30 minutes from San Antonio on Interstate 10 West) or Fredericksburg (“Fredburg” for short, 75 minutes away). Fredburg has lots of quaint B&Bs in “Sunday houses.” Both towns offer unique shops and great restaurants. One of Texas’ main wine-growing areas is near Fredburg.
With lots of retired military officers in the area, San Antonio is one of the best cities in the nation for golfing. Visit www.sanantoniogolf.com for more info.
Sand and Surf
If you crave the beach life, Corpus Christi is about 2 hours away, along with Padre and Mustang Islands. Visit www.corpuschristicvb.com for more info.