Big City Family Fun

Round Up Your Kids and Head to San Antonio

View of San Antonio River Walk, a family friendly destination in Texas.
The San Antonio River is lined with Tex-Mex Restaurants, art galleries and luxurious hotels. Photo Credit: Catherine Parker

San Antonio with Kids 

San Antonio is the top travel destination in Texas. It has been a favorite of mine for years, with the picturesque River Walk, the cultural history and the warm South Texas hospitality. So you can’t go wrong with San Antonio with kids for your next weekend away.

The River Walk

Since 1946 the iconic River Walk, or Paseo del Rio, has delighted San Antonio visitors. Now extending 15-miles in total with a Mission Reach and a Museum Reach. I love to stroll the downtown section lined with restaurants, hotels and galleries.

The stone and iron bridges that cross the San Antonio River add to its ambience. Stop at Casa Rio Restaurant for margarita and a plate of enchiladas as the river boats float by.

The River Walk is free to stroll and open all day, every day.

Rio San Antonio Cruises

This is as much a part of the River Walk experience as sipping a margarita while listening to mariachi band.

Our boat captain and tour guide piloted us down the San Antonio River while pointing out the history, infamous residents and architecture that defines the River Walk. Each tour takes about 35 minutes. Great for all ages.

The Rio San Antonio Cruises open for 9 a.m. until 9 p.m. Adult admission is $10 and $4 for kids 1 to 5, with senior, military and local residents discounts. This is a must for first-time visitors.

La Villita Historic Arts Village

A charming area with old buildings that now house artisans and artists along with several restaurants. Located between the River Walk and HemisFair Plaza next to the Paseo Del Rio Hilton at 418 Villita St.


The HemisFair Plaza

In 1968, San Antonio hosted the World’s Fair. This area includes UTSA Institute of Texan Cultures, Tower of the Americas and Yanaguana Garden. It’s undergoing a complete revitalization that should be complete for San Antonio’s 300th anniversary of the city’s founding.

The HemisFair Plaza is located at 434 S. Alamo St. and it open from 7 a.m. to midnight every day. It’s free to enter.

UTSA Institute of Texan Cultures

A cultural heritage museum dedicated to the 26 cultures settled Texas. Each culture or country has an area filled with artifacts, costumes and antiques.

UTSA Institute of Texan Cultures is located at 801 E. Cesar E. Chavez Blvd. It’s open every day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday. It’s closed major holidays. Admission is $10 for adults and $8 for kids 6 to 17 with discounts for seniors, the military and students.

The Tower of Americas tops my list for family fun in San Antonio, Texas.
Rising up 750 feet, the Tower of Americas is another San Antonio icon. Photo Credit: Catherine Parker

Tower of the Americas

Built for the HemisFair, a world’s fair in 1968, the iconic tower is as much a symbol of San Antonio as the River Walk. Rising 750 feet above the ground, riding the elevator is part of the fun and my boys pressed their faces against the glass on the way up.

Located at 739 E. Cesar E. Chavez Blvd., the Tower of Americas is open every day at 10 a.m. until 10 p.m. most nights. Admission is $12 for adults, $9 for kids 4 to 12 and kids 3 and under are free, discounts for military and seniors.

Yanaguana Garden

A new downtown play scape that wows even the older kids opened in October 2015. Yanaguana Garden, named after the Payaya Indians that inhibited this area, offers challenging climbing structures, a sandscape, a splash pad, public art areas, Ping-Pong tables, changing rooms and restrooms.

The Yanaguana Garden is located in HemisFair Plaza at 434 S. Alamo St. It’s open every day from 7 a.m. to midnight and is free to enter.

The Alamo in San Antonio is a must-stop for San Antonio.
A trip to San Antonio is not a complete without a stop by the Alamo, day or night. Photo Credit: Catherine Parker

The Alamo

Long before the battle that made the mission famous, the Alamo was called San Antonio de Valero. It was constructed in 1718, and it offered protection and sustenance for the Indian converts.

Secularized in 1793, the original residents continued to live and farm this area. As Texas Revolution escalated the Alamo became the center of the conflict. On March 6, 1836, after nearly two-week long siege, the battle broke out between William B. Travis, commander of the Alamo and General Santa Anna and the Mexican troops.

Though the defenders of the Alamo were lost in the battle, the history lives on and now the Alamo reminds people of heroic struggles against overwhelming odds. In 2015, the Alamo and the four San Antonio missions were designated a UNESCO World Heritage site.

The Alamo is located in downtown San Antonio at 300 Alamo Plaza. Open every day from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and closed December 24 and December 25. Free.

The San Antonio Missions

The UNESCO World-Heritage Site and a national historical park dedicated to the four other compounds built by Spanish Franciscan friars in the 1700s. Each of the four missions are two to three miles from each other close to the San Antonio River.

After visiting the Alamo in Downtown San Antonio, discover Mission Concepión, Mission San José, Mission San Juan and Mission Espada. Touring the missions can take as little as a few hours. Mission San José has a visitor center and guided tours.

Mission Reach Hike and Bike trail is a great way to visit the San Antonio Missions. It’s 16-miles roundtrip. This might be a little too far for a young family, though lots of adults and older kids enjoy the scenic ride along the San Antonio River.

The San Antonio Missions National Historical Park is open every day, hours vary from mission to mission. Though all are open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The missions are closed on Thanksgiving Day, December 25 and January 1. All the missions are free to enter.

Mission San Juan is the only mission to have a white stucco exterior in San Antonio, Texas.
Learn some world history, visit the newest UNESCO World Heritage site and the only site in Texas. Photo Credit: Catherine Parker


The foodie King William neighborhood packed with Victorian homes, hip restaurants and food trucks. The King William neighborhood was the first historic neighborhood in Texas and now is home to art galleries and night clubs along with San Antonio’s vibrant restaurant scene.

Located south of Cesar E. Chavez Blvd and bordered by S. St. Mary’s St. and the San Antonio River, this area is free to stroll. This is an easy walk from River Walk hotels and another option for dinner.

San Antonio Museum of Art

I love art so I took my boys to the San Antonio Museum of Art. The San Antonio Museum of Art features collections from across the world and from Ancient to Contemporary.

Located on the River Walk along the Museum Reach or at 200 W. Jones Ave. The San Antonio Museum of Art is open Tuesday through Sunday at 10 a.m. and closes at 5 p.m. every day except Tuesday. The admission is $10 for adults and free for kids 12 and under, military, student and senior discounts.

The DoSeum in San Antonio, Texas, offers family fun for all ages, babies too.
The DoSeum had my kids touching, doing and tinkering across this interactive space. Photo Credit: Catherine Parker

The DoSeum- San Antonio’s Museum for Kids

My boys loved the DoSeum with exhibits like spy-training and a crazy tree house. The DoSeum had my boys touching, doing and tinkering from one room to the next.

Located at 2800 Broadway, it’s open every day with varying hours. The admission is $12 for everyone over 1-year-old. Babies are free.

McNay Art Museum

Named after the benefactor and founder, Marion McNay, its collections include 19th and 20th century European and American art. It features a sculpture garden on the grounds of McNay’s Spanish Colonial home.

Located at 6000 N. New Braunsfels, it’s open from Tuesday through Sunday with varies hours. The admission is $20 for adults and free for kids and teens 19 and under, military, student and senior discounts.

Briscoe Western Art Museum

My boys loved the Briscoe. The life-sized stagecoach, wind mill and the Alamo diorama were hits with them. The antique guns and military uniforms added to the adventure for them. I liked the western landscapes and the cowboy scrulptures. We spent about an hour in the Briscoe.

Located next to Hotel Contessa at 210 W Market St. along the River Walk, it’s open Tuesday through Sunday at 10 a.m. with varying closing times. The admission is $10 for adults and free for kids 12 and under, military, student and senior discounts.

The Briscoe Western Art Museum in San Antonio features more than western; I dioramas and a stagecoach.
The Briscoe Western Art Museum is packed with gems like this stagecoach. Photo Credit: Catherine Parker

Blue Star Contemporary Art Museum

Showcasing contemporary art in San Antonio for 13 years, the Blue Star Contemporary Art Museum is part of a complex with coffee shops, restaurants and shops.

Located at 116 Blue Star along the San Antonio River Walk’s museum reach, it’s open at noon, Thursday through Sunday with varying closing times. The admission is $5 for adults and free for kids, students and the military.

San Antonio Zoo

Since 1914 the San Antonio Zoo has delighted kids and adults alike. With 750 species across 56 acres, it was one of the first cageless zoos in the U.S. Along with animal exhibits, the San Antonio Zoo has a miniature train and carousel.

The San Antonio Zoo is located at 3903 N. St. Mary’s St. and is open every day at 9 a.m. and closes at 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 6 p.m. Friday through Sunday. The admission for adults is $14.25 and for kids 3 to 11 is $11.25, with discounts for the military and seniors.

Japanese Tea Garden

Set in an old rock quarry that dates back to 1899, this garden features paths and foot bridges that meander through the tropical oasis and shallow ponds shocked with Koi fish. It’s located at 3853 N. St. Mary’s, free and open every day from dawn to dusk.


Part of this trip was provided for review purposes.

San Antonio is a top destination in Texas with the world famous River Walk and Alamo. And find lots of museums, a zoo, gardens along with parks. Head to this South Texas destinationa for your next getaway. #SanAntonio #Texas What to do in San Antonio | Places to see in San Antonio | Where to go in Downtown San Antonio

Catherine Parker has a passion for travel and seen all 50 U.S. States. As a former flight attendant with one of the largest airlines, there isn't a North American airport that she hasn't landed in at least once. Since clipping her professional wings after 9/11, she combines her love of the open road with visiting architectural and cultural icons. She is based out of Central Texas dividing her time between writing and restoring a pair of 100-year-old houses. She shares her life with her three kids and her husband.

Comments are closed.