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The Ultimate Weekend in San Antonio Itinerary

As the most visited city in Texas, it’s no surprise that San Antonio is packed with sights to explore–and a weekend in San Antonio is the perfect amount of time to start to get to know the city!

This San Antonio itinerary is designed to help you discover the best of the city over 2 or 3 days in San Antonio, from historic sights to fantastic museums.

Here’s how to make the most of a weekend in San Antonio! 

Texas house with a white front porch and black shutters shaded by a live oak tree in the King William Historic District San Antonio

How We Structured This San Antonio Weekend Guide

We designed this guide to work for either a 2 or 3 day San Antonio itinerary.

The first two days of this San Antonio weekend itinerary cover San Antonio’s most popular and interesting things to do, and on day 3, we cover some fun day-long experiences and day trips from the city–if you happen to have a long weekend in San Antonio, you’ll definitely find plenty of things to do!

Historic Market Square in San Antonio TX before opening in the morning with colorful flags hung from the building

The Perfect Weekend in San Antonio Itinerary

Day 1 in San Antonio: the Alamo, the Riverwalk + Beyond.

Your first day in the city will take you to some of the best-known places to see in San Antonio, with a great mix of history and modern culture.

This day is also surprisingly walkable–with the possible exception of dinner and getting to the Alamo in the morning, this entire day can be completed without a car!

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Start your morning at the most famous building in Texas.

Of course, any weekend in San Antonio itinerary has to include a visit to the Alamo!

The Alamo is one of five missions in San Antonio, and it is situated in the heart of San Antonio’s most popular places to visit.

Be sure to snap photos of the front facade, to step inside the church, and to explore the beautiful garden behind the building.

The Alamo, including the interior, is free to visit, and it’s also fairly small–despite its status as a Texas icon, it doesn’t take long to see!

Front facade of the Alamo on a sunny day, one of the best things to see during a long weekend in San Antonio TX

Stroll down the Riverwalk.

San Antonio’s shady, picturesque Riverwalk is one of the most popular places to visit in San Antonio.

Lined with restaurants, crisscrossed by limestone bridges, and populated with whimsical, colorful boats filled with tourists, the Riverwalk is both incredibly touristy and definitely not to be missed during a San Antonio getaway!

While you can take a boat tour here, it’s not really necessary–consider simply walking along the Riverwalk while heading in the direction of…

Colorful tourist boats parked along the Riverwalk in San Antonio. The Riverwalk is one of the most instagrammable places in San Antonio

Make your way to the San Fernando Cathedral.

Founded in 1731, San Fernando Cathedral is the oldest still-standing church building in Texas and is a functioning parish to this day.

Like the Alamo, it doesn’t take long to visit, but is definitely worth seeing during your weekend in San Antonio!

front facade of san fernando cathedral, one of the best photography locations in san antonio texas

… and then Historic Market Square.

San Antonio’s colorful Historic Market Square is home to the largest Mexican market outside of Mexico and is a fantastic place to eat, shop for souvenirs, and snap photos!

Head to La Villita and do a little souvenir shopping.

From Historic Market Square, head to La Villita for another taste of San Antonio’s history combined with great shopping.

La Villita’s history dates back to the beginning of San Antonio, when the area was a collection of small buildings meant for housing the Spanish soldiers who staffed the Alamo during its time as a mission.

As San Antonio’s first neighborhood, La Villita has gone through plenty of changes since then, and today is a beautiful and photogenic art community, packed with galleries and excellent shopping.

La Villita and Arsen River Theater along the river in San Antonio Texas with a small stone bridge visible

Check out the view from the top of the Tower of the Americas.

The Tower of the Americas is, without a doubt, one of the most unique buildings in San Antonio. Some (like me) would say quite an ugly one–but it’s definitely a building with a great view.

Built for the 1968 World Fair and stretching 750 feet high, the Tower of the Americas of today boasts a fantastic view of the San Antonio skyline–and, it’s worth noting, is also a great place to cool off and enjoy a little air conditioning during your first afternoon in San Antonio.

Skyline view from Tower of the Americas in San Antonio TX

Wander through the King William Historic District.

This beautiful district is known for its large homes surrounded by leafy trees, primarily dating to the 19th century, and it is widely considered to be one of the most beautiful neighborhoods in San Antonio.

You can find a mix of architectural styles here, including lots of Victorian and Greek Revival homes. The bulk of the homes in the historic district were built by German immigrants at that time–hence the name, King William, which was a nod to King Wilhelm I of Prussia.

For a great overview of the neighborhood, head down the main thoroughfare, King William Street.

3 story white mansion in the King William Historic District, a must-see during a San Antonio weekend getaway

Have a classic Texan dinner. 

A classic dinner in Texas means one of two things: TexMex or barbecue.

Personally, I’d recommend TexMex for your first night in San Antonio, but you can’t go wrong with either.

For great ambiance, consider heading to the Riverwalk to eat. As the most touristy section of the city, this isn’t a clear-cut choice, but while you’ll pay more than you would elsewhere, you’ll also be treated to a great atmosphere and lovely views.

Boudro’s on the Riverwalk, Biga on the Banks, and Acenar Mexican Restaurant are among the Riverwalk restaurants with reputations for tasty food–no need to sit down at the Hard Rock!

San Antonio Texas River Walk as seen from above at night with colorful umbrellas on the left side of the photo

Day 2 in San Antonio: Missions + Museums.

Be sure to wear comfortable clothes and excellent walking shoes, and to bring plenty of water and sun protection for your second day of sightseeing in San Antonio, because you’re going to be spending the bulk of the morning outside!

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Visit the San Antonio Missions.

The San Antonio Missions National Historical Park is made up of four missions: Mission Concepción, Mission San José, Mission Espada, and Mission San Juan Capistrano.

These four missions, plus the Alamo, make up Texas’ only UNESCO World Heritage site (but the Alamo, though part of the UNESCO designation, isn’t part of the National Historical Park).

Top of Mission San Juan Capistrano church with 3 bells set in white stucco. The San Antonio Missions are some of the most instagrammable places in san antonio texas

Dating to the early 18th century, the San Antonio Missions each operated as a small town of sorts, and they remain both beautiful buildings and links to a dark past–their ultimate purpose, after all, was for Spanish missionaries to use them to convert Native people to Catholicism and the Spanish way of life, while attempting to strip them of their own religion and culture in the process.

To visit the San Antonio Missions today primarily means visiting the remains of the churches, though the spaces were initially much larger–Mission San José was partially rebuilt during the 1930s and gives the best example of the size of a Spanish mission in the 18th century.

The missions are all connected to each other via a hiking and biking trail, and if the weather is not too hot, renting bikes to travel between the missions is a fun way to explore San Antonio (if the weather is unpleasantly hot, you may prefer to drive between some of the missions).

Mission in San Antonio Texas as seen through a limestone opening in the wall

Grab lunch at one of San Antonio’s artistic, mixed-use spaces.

After wrapping up at the San Antonio Missions, you’ll no doubt be ready for lunch–and what better way to enjoy it than by visiting one of San Antonio’s mixed-use spaces?

In recent years, several creative spaces featuring art, restaurants, galleries, street art, and more have become very popular in the city, including the Pearl District, Essex Modern City (known for having some of the most popular street art in San Antonio), and Blue Star Art Complex.

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Check out one of San Antonio’s museums.

San Antonio is home to plenty of incredibly varied museums, and you should definitely stop in at least one of them during your San Antonio weekend getaway (plus, after being outside all morning, you’re probably ready for some air conditioning)!

Here are some of the most popular.

Stone pathway in the center of a pond in the San Antonio Botanical Garden

San Antonio Museum of Art

Housed in a former brewery, the San Antonio Museum of Art is home to one of the southern USA’s largest and most impressive art collections, including collections of Egyptian, Greek, and Roman art.

The Witte Museum

Focused on science, nature, art, and history in Texas and beyond, the Witte Museum is one of our favorite museums in San Antonio–and not just because of its great dinosaur exhibit.

Briscoe Western Art Museum

Located right on the Riverwalk, the Briscoe Western Art Museum focuses on the diverse history, art, and culture of what is now known as the American West.

Cowboy boots lined up on a shelf with saddles about them. Cowboy boots are one of the most classic things to buy in Texas!

McNay Art Museum

San Antonio’s modern art museum is home to large collections of both American and European art, as well as beautiful grounds that are beloved in the city.

Close out your second day of sightseeing in San Antonio in a garden.

San Antonio is home to some beautiful gardens and green spaces–finish up your second day of San Antonio sightseeing with either a visit to the city’s impressive botanical garden or the smaller but still lovely Japanese Tea Garden nearby.

Japanese tea garden in San Antonio with a pond in the foreground of the photo and a stone pavilion in the background

Day 3 in San Antonio: Beyond the City

If you’re spending a full long weekend in San Antonio and have another day to enjoy the city, consider heading out of the city center for your final day in town!

We have a full list of the best day trips from San Antonio here, but there are plenty of cool places to see in San Antonio as well.

Here are a few ways to spend your final day in the city:

Ride roller coasters at Fiesta Texas.

Six Flags Fiesta Texas is a fantastic amusement park and a big draw for family travelers coming to San Antonio from elsewhere in the region.

With or without kids, though, Fiesta Texas can be an incredibly fun way to spend the day.

Roller coaster lovers, don’t miss Poltergeist, Superman, and the Iron Rattler!

Red and yellow rollercoaster loop shot against a bright blue sky

Marvel at Natural Bridge Caverns.

Named for its famous, naturally-occurring, 60-foot limestone bridge, the Natural Bridge Caverns as we know them today were discovered in 1960, and are part of the largest cave system in Texas that is open to the public.

The caverns are absolutely incredible, and only about 30 minutes from central San Antonio (without traffic, that is).

Interior of Natural Bridge Caverns in Texas

Go for a hike.

While there are several beautiful state parks close to San Antonio, you don’t have to go far to enjoy a bit of nature in San Antonio!

Our picks within (or right next door) to town are Government Canyon State Natural Area and Friedrich Wilderness Park.

Friedrich Wilderness Park also happens to be very close to the original Rudy’s BBQ location, which makes for a fantastic lunch after hiking!

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Head to Fredericksburg for a day.

Want to see one of the loveliest small towns in Texas as part of your long weekend in San Antonio?

Fredericksburg is a little over an hour from San Antonio and is known for its German heritage (and food), its many nearby wineries, its great shopping (especially for antiques), its peaches, and being near Enchanted Rock State Natural Area.

2 glasses of wine with a bottle between them and a plate of crackers and fruit in the foreground near Fredericksburg Texas

Float the river.

If you’re visiting San Antonio during the heat of summer (or let’s be real: the heat of spring or fall, too), consider taking part in a cherished Texas tradition during your final day in town by floating the river!

Grab an intertube, some snacks, plenty of sunscreen, and hit one of the rivers near San Antonio–the Comal and Guadalupe Rivers are some of the closest and most popular options.

View of Guadalupe River from above with Texans floating on it. Guadalupe River State Park is one of the best day trips from San Antonio TX

Where to Stay During a Weekend in San Antonio

As cliche as it may be, for a first visit to San Antonio, staying on or near the Riverwalk is a great choice: you’ll be close to many of the best things to do in San Antonio, able to walk back and forth to your hotel from many places to avoid the necessity of driving absolutely everywhere, and the area is home to some great hotels.

Here are a few popular places to stay in San Antonio!

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Budget

Best Western Premier Historic Hotel — Located just steps from the Riverwalk and less than a quarter-mile from the Alamo, this Best Western property gets excellent reviews and is a fantastic way to stay on a budget in San Antonio without compromising on location!

Check rates & book your stay at the Best Western Premier Historic Hotel!

The front facade of the Alamo in San Antonio Texas as seen from the ridge side of the building

Mid-range

O’Brien Boutique Riverwalk Hotel — If you’re looking for a quiet hotel with a boutique feel near the San Antonio Riverwalk, you can’t go wrong with a stay at popular and charming O’Brien Boutique Hotel, located a block from the Riverwalk and within a short walk of both La Villita and the Alamo.

Check rates & book your stay at O’Brien Boutique Riverwalk Hotel!

Luxury

Hotel Havana — Housed in a Cuban-style villa that dates to 1914, popular Hotel Havana is one of the most unique hotels in the city and a fantastic place to stay during your San Antonio weekend getaway. The hotel is also home to Ocho, an incredibly popular–and photogenic–San Antonio restaurant.

Check rates & book your stay at Hotel Havana!

Cobblestone path on the San Antonio Riverwalk with a small waterfall visible to the right

Getting Around During a San Antonio Weekend Getaway

With good weather, excellent walking shoes, and a few well-placed Uber rides, you can technically get by during the first couple days of this San Antonio itinerary without a car–but realistically speaking, this is a driving city, and unless you’re very committed to not driving here, it’s best to rent a car (or bring your own) to get around.

San Antonio Weekend Itinerary Map

When to Visit San Antonio, TX

San Antonio’s weather is characterized by incredibly hot, humid summers and by mild, temperate winters, and it’s definitely best to spend a weekend in San Antonio outside the summer months if you can.

Temperatures peak in August with an average high of 96°F and are coolest in December and January, when there’s an average high of 64°F.

If you do happen to visit in the summer months, be sure to bring plenty of water out with you when sightseeing in San Antonio, and to take plenty of breaks in the air conditioning! 

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Personally, our favorite season in San Antonio is spring, when the wildflowers bloom and the weather starts to warm up a bit without getting brutally hot.

Great times to catch festivals in San Antonio include April (Fiesta), November (Dia de los Muertos), and December (the Riverwalk is known for its incredible holiday lights).

2 photos from San Antonio TX, one of the Riverwalk and one of the Alamo. Black text on a white background reads "san antonio weekend guide"

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