San Antonio is one of my favorite cities. I have wonderful memories of family vacations spent along the Riverwalk, exploring the Alamo, and eating the best Tex-Mex in Texas. The diversity of the city, the historical significance it holds for Texans, and the gorgeous weather make it a city I return to again and again. For all the history nuts, San Antonio is a fantastic city to get your geek on. These are my five favorite historical sites to visit in San Antonio, whether you want to have an in-depth visit to a former battlefield or have a drink at one of the coolest bars in Texas.
1. The Alamo
If you grew up in Texas, this historical monument needs no introduction – after all it’s just about the only thing on the history curriculum of Texas public schools. For those who had a more diversified education, the Alamo was a mission in San Antonio that famously fell at the Battle of the Alamo in 1836, killing all that defended the site against the Mexican army. If you are after centrally located San Antonio hotels, the Alamo Plaza region is ideal for exploring. (Total side-note, but if you are flying out of San Antonio Airport we stayed at Holiday Inn Express San Antonio-Airport on our last trip and found it very good value for money.)
Alamo Plaza, San Antonio, TX 78205, Monday-Saturday 9:00 am – 5:30 pm, Admission: Free
2. Menger Bar
This adorable bar is part of the Menger Hotel, dating back to 1858, and known unofficially as the “Most Haunted Hotel in Texas”. The bar was used by Theodore Roosevelt to recruit Rough Riders during the Spanish-American War. Today, the walls are strewn with historical memorabilia and staff are happy to indulge history geeks like myself who want to hear the stories.
204 Alamo Plaza, San Antonio, TX 78205, Monday-Friday 11am-12am, Saturday-Sunday 12pm-12am
3. Hemisfair Park
Hemisfair Park was home to the 1968 World’s Fair and is now one of the city’s best green spaces. The highlight is the 750 ft. tall Tower of the Americas which provides awesome views of San Antonio from its observation deck. A wonderful area to spend an afternoon, enjoying the waterfalls and landscape.
739 E. Cesar E. Chavez Blvd, San Antonio, TX 78205, Observation Deck is open from Sunday-Thursday 10am-10pm and Friday-Saturday 10am-11pm, Admission: Adults $10.95, Children 4-12 $8.95
4. San Fernando Cathedral
The spectacular San Fernando Cathedral (Church of Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria y Guadalupe) was built in 1731, making it the oldest, continuously running place of worship, in the state of Texas and one of the oldest in America. The Cathedral has been home to many important historical events throughout history including the only visit to Texas from a standing Pope, the marriage of Jim Bowie and Ursula de Veramendi, and played a pivotal role in the Battle of the Alamo.
115 Main Plaza, San Antonio, TX 78205, Tuesday-Saturday 9am-5pm, Sunday 8:30am-5pm, Admission: Free
5. Mission Concepción
Arguably the most beautiful mission in San Antonio, Mission Concepción was established in 1716 and still looks very much like it did two centuries ago. The oldest standing unrestored church in America, Mission Concepción provides a fascinating look at the origins of the city and the subsequent growth of San Antonio.
807 Mission Road, San Antonio, Texas, 78210, Monday-Sunday 9am-5pm, Admission: Free
But the absolute best thing to do in San Antonio? Cuddle up under a Mexican serape and stuff your face with *history making* Tex-Mex!
Are there any historical sites to visit in San Antonio that I missed? Let me know in the comments!
"Header Photo by Luke Lienau via Trover.com"