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The Top 18 Free Things To Do In San Antonio
Looking for a super budget-friendly getaway? If so, San Antonio might just be your place. This awesome Texas city is full of history, culture, and delicious food. Not only that, but there are tons of amazing free things to do in San Antonio. In fact, there are so many free things to see and do in San Antonio that we can almost guarantee you’ll find something to suit your fancy.
Wondering where to find all the freebies offered in this city? You’ve come to the right place! We’ve rounded up some of the best free things to do in San Antonio.
Historic sites in San Antonio
As mentioned before, San Antonio is chock-full of history. For this reason, it should come as no surprise that there are lots of awesome historic sites to check out in the area. Because many of these places are free to the public, they are some of the best free things to do in San Antonio.
Below are our favorite free historic sites in the city.
1. The Alamo
The Alamo is a must-see for everyone who visits San Antonio. This landmark is home to a lot of fascinating history. The information and stories behind the Alamo are presented in a very well-thought-out way, meaning a person can go in knowing nothing about the history of the area and come out with quite a lot of knowledge on the subject. Though it is temporarily closed, you can check for the latest updates on their website.
2. San Antonio Missions National Historical Park
Another fabulous place to learn about the history of this part of Texas is San Antonio Missions National Historical Park. This park is run by the NPS, meaning you can count on another well-presented history lesson. The park is home to a total of 4 missions as well as a Spanish colonial demonstration farm.
3. The Main Plaza
Home to the gorgeous historic San Fernando Cathedral, The Main Plaza is considered the “heart of the city.” Concerts and other events often happen here, and a beautiful light show is shown multiple times a week on the front of the cathedral.
4. Fort Sam Houston Museum
This free-admission, Army-run museum and historic place gives even more backstory on the city of San Antonio. Observe artifacts and hear stories to learn all about Fort Sam Houston and how it helped shape the people and the area. Be sure to look out over the Fort Sam Houston Quadrangle while you’re there!
Please note the museum is temporarily closed. Get updates on their website.
Parks in San Antonio
A visit to a local park is always a good way to get a feel for the vibe of a city. Go for a morning stroll, take a picnic lunch, or spend the afternoon at the playground.
Whatever you decide to do during your park day, you won’t have to spend a dime doing it. And because this city has so many wonderful parks, they offer some pretty great options in terms of free things to do in San Antonio.
Here are our favorite San Antonio parks:
5. Brackenridge Park
Home to a number of attractions, Brackenridge park is full of life. If you want to avoid spending money, we recommend strolling the trails, enjoying a picnic lunch, taking the kids to the play area, and visiting the Japanese Tea Garden.
6. San Pedro Creek Culture Park
Another fantastic San Antonio park, San Pedro Creek Culture Park is a gorgeous green space. It features a number of lovely works of art and is host to events throughout the year.
7. Yanaguana Garden
Yanaguana Garden is another amazing place to spend a few hours. It features a splash pad, art installations, free events, and more. Be sure to give yourself plenty of time to see and do it all.
Shopping in San Antonio
It seems obvious to say, but shopping to buy costs…well, money. That said, window shopping doesn’t have to cost a single penny, and when the shopping is unique enough, you can have tons of fun just looking around.
Alamo City has a couple of unique shopping opportunities—window or otherwise—creating some really great free things to do in San Antonio. Be sure to check them all out!
8. San Antonio River Walk
Like the Alamo, the San Antonio River Walk is a must-visit attraction. The area is home to a number of great restaurants and shops. Sure, you could easily spend money while visiting, but even just walking around without spending a single cent is fun.
9. Historic Market Square
To get a taste of the Mexican culture that runs through the veins of this city, be sure to visit Historic Market Square. Here, dozens of vendors and artists gather to sell their wares in a colorful and authentic Mexican street market.
Free museums in San Antonio
At least one good museum visit should be a part of every vacation. That said, museum admission can be pretty pricey, especially if you’re paying for an entire family to visit. Fortunately, many of the free things to do in San Antonio come in museum form.
Check out the free museum options below for a fantastic learning experience without the typical admission costs.
A non-profit that works to help support and promote artists from around the world, Artpace is certainly worth checking out. The organization is housed in an old warehouse space where a revolving collection of artwork is displayed for public viewing.
11. San Antonio Art League and Museum
Looking for more art? The San Antonio Art League and Museum houses over 600 amazing works of art. This museum was once a house, so you can expect a very intimate experience.
Please note the museum is temporarily closed. Get updates on their website.
12. Holocaust Memorial Museum of San Antonio
A beautiful yet haunting place to learn about the Holocaust and remember the victims of this horrible event, the Holocaust Memorial Museum of San Antonio features a number of artifacts, countless moving stories, and a dedicated staff. The museum is free to the public, but donations are accepted and encouraged.
Museums with free days
If you want to see something cool, but none of the free things to do in San Antonio above are jumping out at you, you might look into a museum that offers a free day. San Antonio has quite a few of these, and if you play your cards right, you might be able to visit almost every museum in the city free of charge!
13. Witte Museum
A well-presented and engaging natural history museum, Witte Museum is a wonderful attraction for all ages. It is free every Tuesday from 3:00 p.m.–8:00 p.m. Additionally, this museum is a part of the “Museums on Us” program, which entitles Bank of America and Merrill Lynch cardholders to one free general admission.
14. The DoSeum
The DoSeum is a playground and learning space unlike any other, and something every child will adore. This museum is free on the first Tuesday of every month from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. and offers free parking. That said, only the first 1,500 guests will be admitted on Free Tuesday.
The DoSeum is also a part of the aforementioned “Museums on Us” program.
Please note the DoSeum is temporarily closed. Get updates on their website.
15. The San Antonio Museum of Art
In case you haven’t already noticed, San Antonio is big on art, and the San Antonio Museum of Art is a great place to see even more amazing works. Free admission is offered on Tuesdays from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m., and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. That said, children 12 and under are always free.
Additionally, this museum offers free admission to students of certain universities and employees of certain companies. Lastly, the San Antonio Museum of Art is a part of the “Museums on Us” program.
16. The McNay Art Museum
The McNay is another noteworthy art museum in San Antonio. Kids 19 and under are always free. Additionally, the museum offers free admission to everyone on the first Sunday of the month, as well as every Thursday from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m.
The McNay Art Museum is also a member of the “Museums on Us” program.
17. Institute of Texan Cultures
Texas is home to people from a number of different backgrounds and is a melting pot of cultures. The Institute of Texan Cultures is the perfect place to learn all about this.
The museum is free on the second Sunday of the month from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. On top of that, students, faculty, and staff members at both UTSA and Alamo College get free entry any day with an ID.
Please note this museum is temporarily closed. Get updates on their website.
18. The Briscoe Western Art Museum
Finally, we must mention the Briscoe Western Art Museum. This niche museum is both interesting and lovely to see. Admission is free for kids 12 and under, as well as for the military and their families. Everyone else can enjoy free admission on Tuesdays from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. Free parking is available in the city’s garages on Tuesdays after 5 p.m.
As you can see, there are tons of amazing and free things to do in San Antonio, making this the ideal city to visit when traveling on a budget. If you’re among the 24% of Americans who haven’t taken a vacation in over a year and money is the reason for this delay, why not head to San Antonio for free entertainment, affordable lodging and food, and an absolutely fantastic time?