Want to visit San Antonio, Texas without breaking the bank? San Antonio is totally do-able on a budget! There are plenty of fun free things to do in San Antonio to keep you busy!
I’ve visited San Antonio a ton, and you don’t have to spend a lot to enjoy what the city has to offer! Some of San Antonio’s best attractions are free to visit.
See the best of the city and get off the beaten path with these top free things to do in San Antonio.
Top Free Things to Do in San Antonio
1. Visit the Alamo
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, as well as 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.
2. Browse 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 at the square.
3. Stroll along the 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, you can have a vibrant and refreshing stroll by the river. And in the winter, the trees glisten with Christmas lights that reflect off the water.
While the shops and many restaurants on the River Walk are going to cost you, a morning lap around the river is absolutely free.
4. Hike at 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. Native Americans, Spanish explorers, and other settlers used this high ground for centuries as a lookout point.
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.
5. Visit 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 free to visit and is open to the public throughout the day.
6. See the O. Henry House
Note: The O. Henry House has recently moved a block to the University of Texas at San Antonio campus next to the Casa Navarro State Historic Site. They haven’t decided if they’ll operate it as a museum or if it will be a functional part of the campus. I will update this post when I know more!
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 (A Fog in Santone, The Higher Abdication, and Hygeia at the Solito).
The free O. Henry House Museum is overseen by the San Antonio Conservation Society. The museum contains a layout of how Porter’s writing space may have looked in the small home and information on the house and his writings.
7. Browse 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 throughout the “little village” allow you to give yourself a free walking tour of La Villita’s 300 years of history.
8. Relax at the Japanese Tea Garden
The beautiful Japanese Tea Garden in Brackenridge Park has shaded walkways, stone bridges, Koi-filled ponds, and a 60-foot waterfall. Dogs are allowed in the park as long as they are on a leash.
The lush, year-round gardens are completely free to visit.
More Free Things to Do in San Antonio
9. Visit the San Antonio Missions National History Park to see 4 more historic missions (Mission San Jose, Mission Concepcion, Mission Espada, and Mission San Juan)
10. Relax at Brackenridge Park
11. Visit the Fort Sam Houston Quadrangle and Museum
12. Stroll the historic Pearl Brewery District Farmers Market
13. Explore the San Antonio Art League and Museum
14. Relax at San Pedro Creek Culture Park
15. Visit the Holocaust Memorial Museum of San Antonio
16. Check out San Antonio’s incredible murals and street art
17. Play at Yanaguana Garden
18. See the ruins at Hot Wells of Bexar County
19. Get a free tour of the San Antonio Shoemakers Factory
Yep, it’s all free!
Things to Do in San Antonio for Free Map
Ready to explore all these San Antonio free things to do? Use the map below to plan out your budget vacation!
I hope you enjoy all these free things in San Antonio!
Save on San Antonio’s Top Attractions
Want to save big on San Antonio’s top attractions?
You probably want to see more than just these free things to do in San Antonio. With the Go City San Antonio attraction pass, you can save up to 55% on the cost of entrance tickets to museums, tours, and attractions all around the city!
Visit bucket list attractions, enjoy top tours, and discover hidden gems handpicked by local experts. With one price and one pass, you have everything you need right on your phone.
Top San Antonio Tours
With so much to see, San Antonio can be overwhelming for any first-time traveler. To take some of the stress out of planning your visit, opt for a guided tour! Check out this list of the top San Antonio tours to help you make the most of your time in this Texas city.
- San Antonio Haunted History Ghost Tour
- San Antonio Missions UNESCO World Heritage Sites Tour
- Best of San Antonio Small Group Tour with Boat + Tower + Alamo
Budget Places To Stay in San Antonio
A budget San Antonio guide isn’t complete without some cheap accommodations. Take a look at these top cheap hotels in San Antonio:
- TownePlace Suites San Antonio Airport
- Drury Plaza Hotel San Antonio North Stone Oak
- La Quinta Inn & Suites San Antonio Downtown
- Tru By Hilton San Antonio Downtown Riverwalk
And for more cheap places to stay, check out these websites:
- Compare San Antonio hotel prices at Hotels.com, Booking.com, and TripAdvisor.
- Find cheap San Antonio vacation rentals on VRBO.
More Things to Do in San Antonio
Discover more of what San Antonio, Texas has to offer with these itineraries:
- 13 Chillingly Haunted Spots in San Antonio, Texas
- 5 Restaurants to Try in San Antonio, Texas
- 5 Must-Visit San Antonio Bars
Ready to visit San Antonio, Texas? Plan your trip with these tips.
- Book your flight: Find the cheapest flights using Skyscanner, my favorite flight search engine.
- Find accommodation: You can find top hotels in San Antonio using Hotels.com.
- Get packing: Make sure you’ve packed everything you need with my packing list resources.
- Explore San Antonio in a New Way: Enjoy a Mystery Picnic in San Antonio to discover more of the city.
- Save on Attractions: Save up to 55% on admission to top San Antonio attractions using the Go City San Antonio pass.
What are your favorite fun free things to do in San Antonio, Texas? Let me know in the comments!