Photo: Restaurant-lined river at dusk

A major attraction in San Antonio, the River Walk's shops and restaurants draw throngs of visitors.

Photograph by Wesley Hitt, Photolibrary

San Antonio ranks as one of the top ten largest U.S. cities by population. It may best be known for the Alamo, the city’s most famous mission, where a small band of Texans held out for 13 days against Mexican General Santa Anna’s army in 1836. The Alamo ultimately fell, but stands as a symbol of courage and sacrifice. Also visit the Mission San Jose, which dates back to 1720, and attend the mariachi Mass held there. The River Walk is popular with families for its numerous attractions, restaurants, and hotels. Check into the Hotel Valencia, located conveniently right on the River Walk.

Where to Play

At Natural Bridge Caverns, home to the largest sluice in Texas, you can pan for precious gems (and keep the ones you find!). Thrill-seekers can take the “Adventure Tour” of the caverns, using ropes and headlamps. The San Antonio Zoo is home to over 3,000 animals, from the Amazon to Africa’s plains. Watch the prairie dogs peek out from their tunnels, and visit the Hixon Bird House where the birds fly freely. At the Guinness World Records Museum—complete with interactive exhibits—learn about record-holders in various categories, including sports and science. For a different take on the city, head to the top of the Tower of the Americas, for a view from 750 feet (229 meters).

At Day’s End

To fully appreciate our solar system, head to the Scobee Planetarium at San Antonio College on Friday nights. Their public programs include shows and telescope viewings. (Note: Currently undergoing renovation with hopeful completion near Autumn of 2013.)


For the Alamo’s visitor information, go to

Find more information about San Antonio’s missions at

Based on articles from National Geographic Traveler and compiled by Stephanie Robichaux

Take a Nat Geo Trip

Select a destination or trip type to find a trip:

See All Trips »

Join Nat Geo Travel's Communities

2016 National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year Contest

  • Picture of a volcano on Reunion Island

    Who Will Win?

    Browse photos of nature, cities, and people and share your favorite photos.

Take a Nat Geo Trip

Select a destination or trip type to find a trip:

See All Trips »

Get Social With Nat Geo Travel