The best places in San Antonio to take out-of-towners that aren't the Alamo 

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Everybody knows about the Alamo and the River Walk, but San Antonio has much more to offer beyond its two most famous tourist attractions. Even so, when you're hosting visiting family or friends, it's possible to draw a blank when trying to show them new sights around the city.

To give hosts a leg up, we rounded up 27 SA landmarks that will appeal to out-of-towners of all stripes, from history buffs to outdoor enthusiasts — and the kiddos too.
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San Antonio Botanical Garden
555 Funston Pl, (210) 536-1400, sabot.org
Not too far from Fort Sam Houston you’ll get to explore the natural beauty of the San Antonio Botanical Garden. The 38-acre scenic oasis is complete with trails, a pond, roses and plenty of native plants that make for a lovely photo backdrop. There’s also a glass conservatory and Jason Dady's Jardín restaurant, an essential stop once you’re done exploring the grounds. You’ll be smart to do just that – explore and appreciate every inch of this beautiful area.
Photo via Instagram / momjortz
San Antonio Museum of Art
200 W. Jones St., (210) 978-8100, samuseum.org
Housed in an elegantly repurposed Lone Star Brewery within easy walking distance from the Pearl, the San Antonio Museum of Art is an eclectic treasure trove of works from around the globe. In addition to the many discoveries to be made in galleries dedicated to art from Texas, Latin America, Europe, Asia, the ancient Mediterranean world and elsewhere, the museum boasts a solid contemporary art collection that includes works by notable San Antonio artists.
Photo via Instagram / sama_art
San Fernando Cathedral
115 Main Plaza, sfcathedral.org
The cathedral is considered the historic geographic center of San Antonio and serves as a tourist attraction, community gathering place and a symbol of the role of the Archdiocese of San Antonio. The church is one of the oldest in the country, with the cornerstone of the 15-year construction project laid in 1738. Today’s visible landmark, however, is the result of an 1868 renovation in the Gothic Revival style. If you time your visit right, you can also take in a stunning light show of images and music telling the history of the city that’s displayed four nights a week on the façade of the church.
Photo via Instagram / krystalsizzle
Brackenridge Park and the Japanese Tea Garden
3700 N St Mary's St, (210) 207-7275, brackenridgepark.org
San Antonians all love all 343 acres of Brackenridge Park – and visit it for a variety of reasons. Inside the park is the historic Japanese Tea Garden, which was built in a former quarry and features elaborate pathways and carefully cultivated landscaping, as well as waterways filled with koi. In addition to the park's sprawling green spaces are the adjacent San Antonio Zoo, Sunken Garden Theater and Witte Museum, plus the golf course – there’s seriously so many reasons to visit. Honestly, think about it. We may love Brackenridge for all of its separate parts, but consider it as this whole attraction with so much to offer and you’ll love it all the more.
Photo via Instagram / barbarajaylee
Ruby City
150 Camp St, (210) 227-8400, rubycity.org
Ruby City is the posthumous realization of a dream of the late art collector Linda Pace. The contemporary art center offers a range of exhibitions and is a part of a larger campus that includes Chris Park and the Studio exhibition space. What’s more, it’s housed in an award-winning building designed by renowned architect Sir David Adjaye OBE.
Photo via Instagram / rubycity
The San Antonio Missions
Multiple locations, (210) 932-1001, nps.gov/saan
Yes, the headline says not the Alamo — but San Antonio has four other historic missions that are often overshadowed by the famous downtown landmark: Mission Concepción, Mission San José, Mission San Juan Capistrano and Mission Espada. You can choose to visit one or more of the Spanish colonial missions directly, or try to see them all by hiking or biking the 8-mile Mission Reach trail.
Photo via Instagram / txtacomabri
Hot Wells
5503 S. Presa St., bexar.org
Back in the day, Hot Wells hot spring resort was a hotspot for some of the hippest celebs of the silent film era — including director Cecil B. DeMille and actors like Douglas Fairbanks Sr. and Sarah Bernhardt — and the 1911 film The Immortal Alamo was partially shot across the river from the property at Star Film Ranch. The Hot Wells ruins are now a park, where visitors can soak in the landmark's unique history, if not soak their feet, since the well has since been capped.
Photo via Instagram / hotwellsconservancy
Central Library
600 Soledad St, (210) 207-2500, mysapl.org
The bulk of the Central Library makes it stand out, whether viewed from up close or passing by on the freeway, but it is the color – dubbed “enchilada red” by locals – that really grabs the attention. Selected in a design competition held in 1991, the building’s Mexican modernist architecture by Ricardo Legorreta includes a breathtaking multi-story atrium containing the artistic heart of the structure, a blown-glass sculpture created by renowned artist Dale Chihuly.
Photo by Siggi Ragnar
La Villita and the Arneson River Theatre
418 Villita St, (210) 207-8614, lavillitasanantonio.com
La Villita wasn't always a cultural art hub — in fact, it was San Antonio's first neighborhood. It was restored in the mid-20th century to become the cultural landmark it is today. Across the river is the Arneson River Theatre, which was built in 1939. Audiences have enjoyed concerts, folklorico performances, plays, river parades and more at this 800 seat venue over the years .
Photo via Instagram / zachgennett
Denman Estate Park
7735 Mockingbird Ln, sanantonio.gov
Denman Estate Park features a traditional South Korean pavilion, styled similarly to the Gwangju Democracy Bell in South Korea. Gwangju, South Korea and San Antonio, you may be surprised to learn, are sister cities. Denman Estate Park is a beautiful place to visit, not only for the pavilion, but for the pond and garden as well.
Photo via Instagram / rebekahsantoyo
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McNay Art Museum
6000 N. New Braunfels Ave., (210) 824-5368, mcnayart.org
The McNay, opened in 1954 in Marion Koogler McNay’s sprawling Spanish Colonial Revival mansion, proudly presents itself as “the first museum of modern art in Texas.” Greatly expanded in 2008 with the addition of the sleek, 45,000-square-foot Jane and Arthur Stieren Center for Exhibitions, the museum complements its impressive permanent collection of Post-Impressionist paintings, medieval and Renaissance treasures, modernist outdoor sculpture, Southwestern folk art and contemporary Latino prints with both touring and homegrown exhibitions.
Photo by in.her.heart.were.mangroves via Instagram / mcnayart
Plaza Guadalupe
1327 Guadalupe Street, avenida.org
This historic West Side jewel has played host to many dignitaries and visitors including Pope John Paul II in 1987, a Mexican president and several U.S. presidential aspirants, including San Antonio’s own Julián Castro. It’s also the site of a variety of arts and cultural events throughout the year.
Photo via Instagram / _michaelsaiz
San Pedro Creek Culture Park
715 Camaron St., (210) 302-3652, spcculturepark.com
Located on the western edge of downtown, culture, art and nature come together as a tribute to the birthplace of San Antonio. The San Pedro Creek Culture Park features local artists’ works, created with the story of the diverse cultures drawn to the banks of San Pedro Creek for 12,000 years in mind. Murals, tiled benches, ceramic art and historical texts and poetry can be seen along with the creek's natural flora and fauna.
Photo via Instagram / milesmeasured
Mission Marquee Plaza (formerly the Mission Drive-In)
3100 Roosevelt Ave, (210) 207-8612, missionmarquee.com
The Mission Drive-In entertained countless numbers of car-bound moviegoers who came from all over the city from 1948 into the early 2000s. After the theater’s closure, the city purchased the site and now uses it for arts and cultural events under the supervision of the San Antonio World Heritage Office. Throughout the year, movies still flicker across the original big screen, only viewers now sprawl on blankets or in lawn chairs across the green space.
Photo via Instagram / slabcinema
King William Historic District
Southtown, visitsanantonio.com
Southtown is known as a haven for art, flavor, culture and fun – and the entire area revolves around the heart of the King William Historic District. The Victorian-inspired neighborhood is packed with history and charm. Established in the 1800s, the district was home to German immigrants who bought land and built homes. It is named after King Wilhelm I of Prussia and is considered a Cultural Arts District today. Just drive through and you’ll be able to enjoy the amazing views – namely in the beautiful homes here. If you have time, walk around and explore the culture of the district.
Photo via Instagram / twelve26townhomes
San Antonio River Walk Museum Reach
thesanantonioriverwalk.com
This stretch of the River Walk runs north from the more famous Downtown section up to the Pearl. The first 1.5 mile segment of the Museum Reach extension of the River Walk opened in 2009, and the final "cherry on top" Mission Reach Park Segment trail in Brackenridge Park opened in 2019. You can enjoy public artworks like Carlos Cortés' The Grotto and Donald Lipski's F.I.S.H, and easily access the San Antonio Museum of Art, which is located right off the river.
Photo via Instagram / marshallmobes
Comanche Lookout Park
15551 Nacogdoches Rd, (210) 207-7275, sanantonio.gov
Though it encompasses 96 acres, Comanche Lookout Park is best known for having one of the highest elevation points in the city. In addition to beautiful views of SA, in early 2021, the park debuted new public artwork at the peak that honors the city's indigenous heritage.
Photo courtesy of City of San Antonio
The Guenther House
205 E Guenther St, (210) 227-1061, guentherhouse.com
Giving a glimpse into the lifestyle of San Antonio’s affluent residents of the 1800s, the impeccably-upkept Guenther House truly takes you back in time. The home, which has served as a restaurant and museum, belonged to Pioneer Mills founder Carl Hilmar Guenther. Not only do you get to enjoy American breakfast classics in dining rooms throughout the house (or out on the patio), but you also get to enjoy the rooms upstairs that are frozen in time. Located on the river and hidden away from the surrounding Southtown, the Guenther House is a must-visit for foodies and history buffs alike.
Photo via Instagram / sa.schmid
San Antonio Zoo
3903 N. St. Mary’s St., (210) 734-7184, sazoo.org
Located by Brackenridge Park, the San Antonio Zoo has been in operation since 1914 and is home to many species from around the planet. The zoo has many attractions including Africa Live, the Friedrich Aquarium and the recently opened Neotropica realm. The zoo also operates Kiddie Park and the San Antonio Zoo Train, making it a prime destination for kid-friendly fun.
Photo courtesy of San Antonio Zoo
Hays Street Bridge
803 N Cherry St., sanantonio.gov
Originally built to allow vehicular crossing over the tracks of the Galveston, Harrisburg and San Antonio Railroad, the restored Hays Street Bridge, which now accommodates pedestrian traffic, has dual appeal. First, it's a historically significant structure that long served as the chief connector between downtown and the city's predominantly Black East Side. Second, the bridge offers amazing views of the city, which explains why so many runners, cyclists and lovebirds end up there.
Photo via Instagram / visualcause
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Natural Bridge Caverns
26495 Natural Bridge Caverns Road, naturalbridgecaverns.com
Right in San Antonio’s backyard is the largest known commercial caverns in the state of Texas. Yes, really! In 1960, students from St. Mary’s University were granted permission to explore the area and were convinced that underground passages would be found underneath a 60 foot limestone slab bridge. Sure enough, one of the students felt a draft from a rubble-filled crawlway – meaning there were additional passages. Today, you can explore the caverns through various tours.
Photo via Instagram / naturalbridgecaverns
Majestic Theatre
224 E Houston St, majesticempire.com
Featuring Baroque, Mediterranean Revival and Mission Revival architecture styles, the iconic Majestic Theatre is a must-visit even if there isn’t a show going on. As the city’s oldest and largest atmospheric theatre, the Majestic, which opened in 1929, has a lot of history. It was the first theater in Texas to be completely air-conditioned. Films have been screened and made their premiere here, and some scenes have even been shot within the historic building. Oh, and it’s straight-up gorgeous.
Photo by Michael Jones / Courtesy of the Majestic Theatre
The Medicine Wall
3104 N Loop 1604 W, texasclimberscoalition.org
This may be a bit much for the average tourist, but it's a must-visit for outdoors enthusiasts. After 20 years without legal access, rock climbers were officially given the go ahead to ascend the popular sport climbing crag known as Medicine Wall last July. Accessed through the Salado Creek Greenway trail system, the outdoor climbing area offers nearly 50 bolted routes on an 80-foot limestone bluff. The City’s first officially sanctioned outdoor climbing wall is reached through the Greenway's parking lot off Loop 1604.
Photo via Instagram / nick.ackermann
Carver Community Cultural Center
226 N Hackberry, (210) 207-7211, thecarver.org
This East Side landmark was built as a community center in 1918 and became a segregated library for the city’s black population in the early 1930s. By the 1940s, it drew big musical acts such as Count Basie, Ella Fitzgerald, Dizzy Gillespie and Louis Armstrong. After desegregation it fell into neglect, but area residents realized its significance and formed a wall of bodies to protect it from the city wrecking ball in 1973. By 1977, under the ownership of the city, a renovated Carver reopened and has served as a go-to events facility, with a focus on African-American culture.
Photo via Instagram / reflect1_media
Morgan’s Wonderland
5223 David Edwards Dr, morganswonderland.com
While Six Flags and Sea World are big frontrunners in the amusement park world, SA’s own Morgan’s Wonderland definitely holds its own. Honored to be the world’s first-ever ultra-accessible theme park, the family-friendly park allows kids and adults of all ages and abilities to have fun. The park, as well as the addition of the water park, are regarded as blessings for parents of children with disabilities as the park has accommodations to make sure guests are never excluded from the fun. The park also hosts themed holiday events, so the fun never stops.
Photo via Instagram / morganswonderlandtexas
Bracken Cave
26101 FM 3009, tpwd.texas.gov
In the summer, you can find the largest colony of bats in the world right here in San Antonio. About 20 million Mexican free-tailed bats chill at Bracken Cave from March to October, making it the largest concentration of mammals. Here’s why there’s so many: the cave is a maternity site for the species, so females gather here to give birth and rear their young.
Photo via Instagram / gregory_works
Take a swim at San Pedro Springs
2200 N. Flores St., (210) 732-5992, sanantonio.gov
The blue, clear waters found in San Pedro Springs Park have been used since hunters and gatherers roamed the land nearby and drank from its springs. As the second oldest public space in America, it’s likely that your ancestors have swam in the park’s pool. If you're family isn't from SA, then that tradition can begin with you. There’s no fee for San Antonians looking to jump in this cold-refreshing water hole in the summer, and its beauty can be enjoyed year round.
Photo via Instagram / michelletcarson
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San Antonio Botanical Garden
555 Funston Pl, (210) 536-1400, sabot.org
Not too far from Fort Sam Houston you’ll get to explore the natural beauty of the San Antonio Botanical Garden. The 38-acre scenic oasis is complete with trails, a pond, roses and plenty of native plants that make for a lovely photo backdrop. There’s also a glass conservatory and Jason Dady's Jardín restaurant, an essential stop once you’re done exploring the grounds. You’ll be smart to do just that – explore and appreciate every inch of this beautiful area.
Photo via Instagram / momjortz

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