I was in San Antonio for business and spent my free evening sightseeing and knew it was the perfect place for a Destination Dash write-up!
Name: San Antonio, Texas, U.S.A.
Population: 1.5 million (2013)
Flight Time: from LAX, US 3 hours non-stop; from EWR, US 4 hours non-stop
Get Started: If you will be coming from the airport while on a layover, grab the VIA number 5 bus at the airport. Consider a day pass as the VIA service is pretty extensive and easy to use.
Here are my top things to do in an evening or more leisurely afternoon.
1. The Alamo Mission – 300 Alamo Plaza. We’ve all heard the story of the Alamo or so we think but after a visit to the Alamo, you’ll know the whole true history. Do yourself a favor, take the audio tour or talk to the well-educated docents. The history of the Alamo is about more than an ill-fated garrison, it spans colonization, religion, military, and civic history. During my visit it was VERY crowded which lessened the enjoyment for me but my chats with the docents helped improve my experience greatly. Be sure to look up to see recently uncovered Spanish Mission frescoes and initials carved by former inhabitants from the 1800s. The grounds are lovely and the exhibits are well-planned so be sure to walk through to the courtyard to see everything. Well worth a visit for history buffs or anyone interested in true stories of courage and grit. Recommended time – 2 hours.
2. The Riverwalk – Downtown. The Riverwalk is what everyone tells you to do when you get to downtown San Antonio, but what they don’t tell you is that it is largely a crush of chain restaurants and tons of flip flop shuffling, fanny-pack wearing tourists. If that’s your scene, rock on. If that is NOT your scene, keep walking to find the cool shade of the serene pathways beyond the mall of the Riverwalk. Trust me, it gets a lot nicer as you round the bend. A great idea for an afternoon stroll or to kill time on a lazy evening. Would I go again? Probably not, but I’m glad I’ve been. Recommended time – 1 hour, 2+ with dinner.
3. The Cathedral of San Fernando – 115 Main Plaza. Since 1750 this gorgeous cathedral has been a fixture of San Antonio. Also known as the Church of Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria y Guadalupe and is one of the oldest cathedrals in the United States. If religious significance or architecture doesn’t draw you, the remains of the fallen from the siege at the Alamo may be more up your alley. Recommended time – 1 hour.