San Antonio has one of the most well-developed and pedestrian-friendly downtown areas I’ve seen. Within an easily (and pleasantly) walkable distance, there are enough attractions (not to mention hotels and restaurants) to keep you, and the kids, busy for days. Here are the main ones:
1. The Riverwalk: One of San Antonio’s two biggest claims to fame. You walk for quite a long time along the river and/or hop on a cruise boat for a guided tour of river-side sites.
2. The Alamo: The other big claim to fame. Site of the famed 13-day siege in 1836, where 189 Texans fought valiantly against the Mexican army. Right smack in the center of the downtown attractions, the main building and part of the grounds remain for tourists, and it’s free.
3. Rivercenter Mall – We saw the IMAX movie “Alamo: The Price of Freedom”, a great brief introduction to the battle. The kids, from 2 to 6, all sat through it. There is also a play place for small kids, a large food court and of course the usual stores. And as the name suggests, it can be accessed directly from the Riverwalk.
4. Hemisfair Park/Tower of the Americas – The park area is a good size and contains a great kids’ playground. It also has handicap-accessible access to the Riverwalk. But its biggest attraction is the Tower of the Americas, a 750-foot-high tower with a 360 degree view of the city. There are two viewing levels, and a restaurant. Included with tower tickets, is a short 4D movie introducing Texas by air. Bumpy, but the kids still loved it.
5. Louis Tussaud’s Wax Museum/Ripley’s Believe it or Not Odditorium– It’s great fun to pretend to schmooze with the rich and famous in the wax museum (some more believable than others). There’s a optional haunted house veer-off that’s not for the faint of heart. Ripley’s is also entertaining but also not for the faint of heart! My kids still talk about and draw pictures of some of the unusual people they saw there.
6. Guinness World Records/Adventure Haunted House/Tomb Rider 3D – we avoided the big haunted house and the kids still got slightly scared by the Tomb Rider, though it is fairly innocuous and you get to shoot the ghosts. Guinness is very educational and you can even play Mario and other interactive features.
7. Alamo Trolley – there are a couple trolley companies offered guided (and climate controlled!) bust tours of the downtown attractions. A good way to get an overall of everything while sparing your feet.
Disclaimer: Our stay was sponsored by the San Antonio Convention & Visitors Bureau. But opinions are always my own.
Jenny Lin is a writer and editor currently living in Beijing, China, when she is not visiting her family in San Antonio, Texas. You can follow her on Twitter @twinlins.