The Best Free Events in San Antonio
San Antonio is a great city to visit, even if you're on a budget, next time you're in the Alamo city, check out these totally free, totally awesome attractions!
San Antonio is a great place to visit. While there are many attractions with high price tags that are well worth the visit, like SeaWorld, SixFlags, and Schlitterbahn, why not check out some of the places that offer just as much fun for free. The Alamo, the Riverwalk, and the HemisFair Park are all located right in the heart of San Antonio and provide plenty of fun and education for no cost. These places are landmarks of San Antonio and will definitely be worth your time to visit.
The HemisFair Park in San Antonio is the perfect place to visit on a sunny day. This large outdoor site has all sorts of activities to interest a tourist in need of fun. The park was originally built in 1968 for the 1968 World's Fair. It is located in the heart of downtown and surrounded on the north end by the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center.
In the last few years a billion dollar redevelopment plan for the park has been implemented. This started with the development of a child's play area. If you have kids, they will love the new playground which has a game area with life-size chess, horseshoes, table tennis, bocce ball, and foosball tables. Near the game area there is a splash pad to cool down from the heat and a large sand pit with innovative toys. There are also many large play structures with slides, swings, ropes courses, and jungle gyms. While visiting pay attention to the sound - there are many sound attractions which allow children to make music while playing.
If you're less interested in children's activities, there is still plenty to see in this park. The park is filled with green space for relaxing, tables for picnics, and has a pet-friendly paved trail for walking. If you feel like walking around, check out the buildings that look like houses. Many of the buildings from the original World's Fair remain and have been restored. There is information provided about each building and tours of some during the day. At the east end of the park there is the Tower of the Americas, a 750-foot observation tower with a restaurant and bar as well as an observation deck at the top.
The Riverwalk is one of San Antonio's most famous landmarks. This pedestrian street sits a level below the actual roadways which isolates it from traffic and noise. It is lined with shops, restaurants, and bars all which offer direct access from the Riverwalk. You can walk along this pathway all through downtown without ever stepping foot on the streets above. While exploring the area, stop at one of the many outdoor cafes for an ice cream cone or a margarita. If you have time for dinner there are plenty of choices from quick grab-and-go pizza to fancy restaurants.
The Riverwalk connects many famous tourist destinations such as the Alamo, the Rivercenter Mall, La Villita, the HemisFair Park, the San Antonio Art Museum, and the newly restored Pearl Brewery area. When you walk through the Riverwalk, make it a point to check out some of those attractions, many of which are also free. In addition, stop by the Arneson River Theater which is at the center of the loop. This outdoor entertainment venue often has free concerts, plays, and entertainment for you to enjoy.
After exploring the downtown portion of the Riverwalk try walking South on the Mission Reach expansion that leads you all the way down to the Mission Espada. The scenery of buildings and restaurants will quickly give way to nature and residential areas after you're south of the Blue Star Arts Complex. If you don't feel like doing the nearly 10-mile walk, rent a bike from one of the city's many B-Cycle stations which allow you to rent bikes by the day or hour.
Probably the most iconic building in San Antonio is the Alamo. With free admission for all it's a no-brainer that this attraction should be on the top of your list. The Alamo symbolizes liberty through courage and sacrifice and is most well known as the location where a small group of Texans held their ground for 13 days against General Antonio López de Santa Anna and his army.
If you're looking to learn more about the Alamo and the role it played in Spanish colonization, Mexican Independence, and of course the famous battle of the Alamo stop by the Clara Driscoll Theatre inside the Long Barrack Museum for a free 20-minute orientation video. This video will get you excited to learn more about this historical landmark and the people that created its history such as James Bowie, David Crockett, and William B. Travis.
If you're visiting the Alamo keep in mind you won't be the only one with the idea. The Alamo hosts over 2.5 million visitors per year in its four acre complex located in the heart of San Antonio's downtown. In addition to the Alamo itself there are also exhibits showcasing Texas History and the Texas Revolution. By the end of the day you should definitely be able to "Remember the Alamo!"
While the HemisFair Park, the Riverwalk, and the Alamo are great, free places to visit in San Antonio there are many others so be sure to do your research before coming to the Alamo City. La Villita, located downtown, is a large market place with artisan shops. If you're looking for some fun window shopping and snacks check out the Mercado which is a great place to purchase souvenirs and Mexican sweets. No matter what you choose you'll have a great time visiting San Antonio.
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