San Antonio is totally do-able on a budget! You can see the best of the city and get off the beaten path for a truly incredible San Antonio experience. There’s plenty to see and do in San Antonio for free to keep you busy:
The Alamo is a must-see when in San Antonio and luckily entrance to the church and grounds is completely free! Inside the Alamo, informative plaques describe the history of the church. In the Long Barrack Museum is a short film about the Alamo and exhibits on the Texas Revolution and antiques from the time period. The courtyard holds daily programming of history talks and living history demonstrations take place throughout the grounds.
Market Square and El Mercado
Sure, you’ll have to spend money if you want to buy something, but just walking around San Antonio’s Historic Market Square is a treat in itself. You can window shop at over 1,000 locally owned shops in what is referred to as the largest Mexican market outside of Mexico. You can also enjoy free entertainment that is frequently put on at the square.
San Antonio River Walk
It’s crowded and filled with tourist, but the San Antonio River Walk is well worth the fuss. In the summer, a stroll by the river is vibrant and refreshing, and in the winter, the trees are filled with glistening Christmas lights that reflect off the water. And while the shops and many restaurants on the River Walk are going to cost you, a morning lap around the river is absolutely free.
Comanche Lookout Park
96 acres, the fourth highest point in the county, and a haunted tower on the hill — Comanche Lookout Park has all you need. This high ground has been used for centuries as a lookout point by Native Americans, Spanish explorers, and other settlers. The tower at the top of the hill was designed by a romantic WWI veteran who never got to see his dream of a Medieval castle realized. Today, you can hike 4.55 miles of paved and unpaved trails around the park and to the tower and back.
San Fernando Cathedral
The beautiful Gothic Revival style San Fernando Cathedral in San Antonio’s Main Plaza is one of the oldest cathedrals in the United States. A tomb in one of the front entrances claims to contain the remains of three Alamo heroes, Davy Crockett, William B. Travis, and James Bowie. The church is open to the public throughout the day.
O. Henry House Museum
This two-room adobe brick house was where writer William Sydney Porter, better known as O. Henry, lived from 1885 to 1886. He rented the home for $6 a month and wrote several short stories set in San Antonio. The O. Henry House Museum is overseen by the San Antonio Conservation Society and contains a layout of how Porter’s writing space may have looked in the small home and information on the house and his writings.
La Villita Historic Arts Village
La Villita Historic Arts Village is one square block of artisan shops, courtyards, and plazas. Located just off the River Walk, La Villita was one of the first neighborhoods in San Antonio. Markers are placed throughout the “little village” so that you can give yourself a free walking tour of La Villita’s 300 years of history.
What’s your favorite thing to do in San Antonio? Let me know in the comments!