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Family Guide to San Antonio with kids – Where to eat, stay & play

Saddle up and visit San Antonio with kids. "The Alamo City" is full of history and fun

One cannot think of San Antonio without thinking about The Alamo. In fact, a local recently told me that if you come to San Antonio and do not see The Alamo or Riverwalk, you have not seen their city.

As our first official stop on our #HotMamaDoesAmerica cross country road trip, we only had about a day to really explore San Antonio attractions and if I saw nothing else, I was determined to at least see those two major landmarks.

Luckily, for a big city we were able to accomplish even more than we thought and that’s with all of our frequent beer breaks. So if you are just passing through or looking for a fun day trip, here are some things to do in San Antonio with kids.

 

Here’s what’s in this article:

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Kid-friendly San Antonio Attractions

Rio San Antonio Cruise

205 N Presa St B201, San Antonio, TX 78205

For fun things to do in San Antonio, I definitely suggest you take the river cruise. It is a relaxing way to see everything that is along the Riverwalk, as well as learn all the history behind this famous river. Get a cool beverage, like a large frozen margarita or cold beer before boarding, sit back and enjoy the ride.

Since it is hot during the day, especially during the summer when we visited, I suggest taking the cruise towards the evening. It is also a great way to decide where you want to dine as you get to scope out all waterfront restaurants.

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Riverwalk

849 E Commerce St, San Antonio, TX 78205

A true South Texas treasure, the San Antonio Riverwalk is a 15-mile urban waterway lined with shops, restaurants, hotels and historic sites. The Riverwalk can be explored by foot or by boat, but either way you want to see it. Not only is the Riverwalk the iconic fun hub of the city, it is a historic part of the city too. You just can’t visit San Antonio without spending some time at the Riverwalk.

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family activity in san antonio city sightseeing bus

City Sightseeing Bus

111 Alamo Plaza, San Antonio, TX 78205

San Antonio is a big city, but an approachable city. Many of San Antonio’s points of interest are pretty close together. However, when you are visiting for the first time it is hard to know exactly what to do in San Antonio with kids. The most efficient and convenient way to see all the things to do in San Antonio, Texas is by taking the City Sightseeing bus. I love these buses and try to take them around any new city I visit. Since we only had one day in San Antonio, taking the City Sightseeing bus is exactly what we did.

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Morgan’s Wonderland

5223 David Edwards Dr. San Antonio, TX 78233

Morgan’s Wonderland is a non-profit theme park created to be fully accessible to individuals with special needs so that all ages and abilities can enjoy an exciting day at this 25-acre funland. Attractions include a wheelchair accessible ferris wheel, a sensory village, splash park, a wonderland express, show and much more. There are also three food outlets and a gift shop!

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Natural Bridge Caverns

26495 Natural Bridge Caverns Rd. San Antonio, TX 78266

This city has it all – history, cool restaurants, live music and even caves! Yes, at Natural Bridge Caverns you can partake in several different tours to give you an experience underground that you will never forget. You make it as easy or as adventurous you would like and afterwards you can have fun enjoying some of the other attractions, like the AMAZEn’ Ranch Roundup outdoor maze or take the Canopy Challenge.

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Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch

26515 Natural Bridge Caverns Rd. San Antonio, TX 78266

Nearby the awesome Natural Bridge Caverns is the Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch. Here, your family can take a safari from the safety of your own car. You can drive through 450-acres of ranchland while not only enjoying natural beauty, but also over 500 animals. Animals at the ranch include Zebras, Giraffes, Buffalos and much more.

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San Antonio Zoo

3903 N. St. Mary’s St. San Antonio, TX 78259

At the San Antonio Zoo, you can visit over 750 animal species within 56-acres of beautifully landscaped grounds. At the zoo you can partake in behind the scenes tours, have up close and personal animal interactions, check out the big cats, and catch a giraffe feeding every afternoon.

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SeaWorld & Aquatica San Antonio

10500 SeaWorld Dr. San Antonio, TX 78251

SeaWorld & Aquatica has everything you need for a fun day in San Antonio with kids. There is a splash park for cooling off on hot days, thrill rides for getting the blood pumping and fascinating marine life to visit. There are a ton of exciting shows, animal interactions and ways to learn about marine life conservation.

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Six Flags Fiesta Texas

17000 IH-10 West San Antonio, TX 78257

If you are all about the thrills, then you might want to visit Six Flags. Here, you can find a number of thrilling roller-coasters and other park rides, splash zones, wave pools, shows and fireworks. If theme parks are your thing, then you will have a great time (though honestly, you’d be much more likely to find us at a pub with live music).

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courtesy of U.S Air Force

Tower of the Americas

739 E. César Chávez Blvd. San Antonio, TX 78205

Take in panorama views of San Antonio at the top of the Tower of the Americas. Soaring above downtown San Antonio, you can dine at the revolving Chart House restaurant or have some fun with the 4D theater ride!

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Historic Sites in San Antonio

The Alamo

300 Alamo Plaza, San Antonio, TX 78205

There are actually five historical missions in San Antonio. Four of the San Antonio Missions are located in the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park. However, the fifth mission and the most famous, The Alamo, is separate from the other missions and in the heart of downtown.

It may be a small building, but it has a big history. This was the site of The Battle of the Alamo, a pivotal turning point in the Texas Revolution. You learn all the details during your visit as well as read all the names of those who fought and died in the battle including the infamous Davy Crockett.

The Alamo as well as the other four missions offer some free things to do in San Antonio, making this a very budget-friendly attraction for the whole family.

 

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San Antonio Missions National Park

6701 San Jose Dr, San Antonio, TX 78214

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, this area holds four of the five Spanish missions in San Antonio, which include the Mission Concepción, Mission San Jose, Mission San Juan, and Mission Espada. All the missions were established between the years of 1690 and 1720, each offering their own unique treasures to be enjoyed. The park in which the missions are situated can easily be explored along with tranquil walking trails and bridges.  Also, staff permitting, the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park gives free guided tours.

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King William Historic District

This area south of downtown San Antonio is known for its cluster of 19th-century mansions. It was called the King William District because it was a German settlement and was named after the King of Prussia at the time. It is also a cool area to drive through, and also to stop for a bite to eat and cold drink. The area now is full of eclectic restaurants and a craft brewery.

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Pearl Brewery

303 Pearl Parkway, Suite 300 San Antonio, Texas 78215

Founded in 1881, the historic Pearl Brewery is now the gathering place for locals surrounded with trendy apartments, restaurants, hotels, retail shops, live music and farmers markets. It is a really lively place to hangout and it really was one of our highlights of the day.

There is a mini San Antonio splash zone that is very popular among the kids. It is a great way to let kids cool down mid-day. You can bring a bathing suit or change of clothes, but you may not need them if you visit in the summer. It was so hot when we visited and our kids got drenched. I was upset, because we were waiting for a table at Boiler House. However, they were completely dry by the time we finished our beers.

 

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Spanish Governor’s Palace

105 Plaza de Armas San Antonio, TX 78205

Built in 1749 this house served at the residence and working offices of the Spanish Governors who lived in San Antonio. It is one of the oldest residential buildings in Texas. It is a beautiful site with a lovely courtyard that transports you back in time. It is a wonderful way to catch a glimpse into earlier days in San Antonio.

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Charline McCombs Empire Theater

208 E. Houston Street San Antonio, TX 78205

Built in 1913 this historic theater was once the Rische’s Opera House. Now it is a popular live entertainment venue, hosting a variety of shows and concerts, including children’s theater. It makes for a fun night on the town in a historic, charming and ornate building.

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Maverick Carter House

119 Taylor St. San Antonio, TX 78205

This three-story limestone estate was built in 1893 for the Texas real estate developer, William Harvey Maverick. Fun fact, William’s father was one of the signers of the Texas Declaration of Independence. The home remained in the Maverick family until 1914 when it was sold to the Carters. Aline Carter was a respected poet, artist, astronomy educator, musician and humanitarian. The home is the host to various charitable and social events over the years. Aline Carter even built an observation dome on the roof! Today the home still hosts educational events throughout the year.

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Family Restaurants in San Antonio

family friendly restaurant in San Antonio Boiler House

Boiler House Texas Grill & Wine Garden

312 Pearl Pkwy Building 3, San Antonio, TX 78215

For lunch, I suggest heading over the Pearl section of the city. What was once the site of the famous Pearl Brewery is now a cluster of hotels, shops and restaurants. We dined at Boiler House, which is located in the 130 year old original boiler room of the Pearl Brewery. Serving up Texas ranch-style dishes using only local ingredients, everything we ordered was super yummy and fresh.

Happy hour is Monday through Friday from opening to 6:00pm, which is really long! It’s more like happy hours, during which select brews are only $3, select cocktails are $5 and any bottle of wine will be opened with a two-glass commitment. I visited during their brunch, so I ordered their Michelada served with a local Texan lager for only $6!

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Waxy O’Connor’s Irish Pub

234 River Walk St, San Antonio, TX 78205

You can’t go wrong with an Irish pub. I know it sounds kind of funny, but the happy hour drew us in along with the great patio on the river. Then we ended up staying for dinner. The menu had many traditional items one would expect from an Irish pub, like fish n’ chips and Shepherd’s pie, but it also had some surprising options such as curry chicken with rice. Basically, Waxy O’Connor’s was a crowd-pleaser with something for everyone and reasonable prices to boot. Interestingly enough, there was also a mariachi band that played live music on the patio for us. Go figure!

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Photo courtesy of Cafe Ole

Café Ole

521 River Walk, San Antonio, TX 78205

Located right on the Riverwalk, Cafe Ole features Tex-Mex cuisine and great margaritas. If you like to go big, order the 60oz margarita. I suggest sharing, but I’m not judging if you don’t. Pop in on the weekends for live music to accompany those beautiful river views.

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Casa Rio

430 E. Commerce Street San Antonio, TX 78205

This was one of the first restaurants to open on the Riverwalk and it is probably one of the most iconic with its colorful umbrellas that line the riverside patio. It has multiple levels and is capable of serving high-volumes at a time, no need to worry about high wait times. With delicious Mexican favorites and a lively colorful atmosphere, this is a winner.

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The Buckhorn Saloon and Museum

318 E. Houston St. San Antonio, TX 78205

Opening in 1881, The Buckhorn Saloon is a historic site, an attraction and a cool restaurant all in one! In the days when money was tight, the owner Albert Friedrich collected horns and antlers in exchange for a beer or whisky. Now, the saloon has one of the world’s largest collections of horns and antlers on display! Interestingly, his wife collected rattlesnake rattles to use in artwork that can still be viewed today. As far as food, be ready to feast on good ole Texas BBQ. Before you go, be sure to check out their museum of wildlife from around the world.

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Family-Friendly Hotels in San Antonio

Best Western Plus Sunset Suites Riverwalk

1103 E Commerce St, San Antonio, TX 78205

This is a big city, so there are many options for where to stay in San Antonio. However, we stayed at a real gem. As part of our #HotMamaDoesAmerica road trip, we were invited to stay at Best Western Plus Sunset Suites during our time in San Antonio. The location was conveniently located near area attractions, the hotel is a beautifully restored historical building, the room rates are very reasonable and they offer complimentary hot breakfast daily! I go in more detail in our full review, but it worked out great for us and I would recommend it to other traveling families. Check Prices. If you are staying at the Best Western Plus Sunset Suites Riverwalk then you can start your day with a free breakfast. It makes for an easy, efficient and affordable way to start your day before heading out on your adventures.

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Hotel Emma

136 E Grayson San Antonio,TX 78215

This hotel is a landmark in San Antonio. Hotel Emma is housed in what was once the historic Pearl Brewhouse built in 1894 and it looks as grand as ever. The classic rooms do offer two queens, which works for smaller families. Originally designed in Chicago in the Second Empire-Style, Hotel Emma is ultra cool with a cozy mix of industrial and Victorian decor. The hotel has a really warm old-school library, bustling restaurant and lounge, and a rooftop pool, just to name a few amenities. It has an really interesting history too, complete with strong women, love triangles and murder! Even if you don’t stay here, at the least pop in for a look around. It is truly amazing.

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Emily Morgan Hotel- A Doubletree by Hilton

705 E Houston St, San Antonio, TX 78205

This historic hotel features architecture from the 1920’s and is located in the heart of downtown San Antonio. What was once a medical arts building, is now a comfortable hotel with easy access to the Riverwalk and the Alamo. The building has very interesting history as well as a few ghosts stories. Beyond the spooks and history, the rooms are spacious for families, some with views of the Alamo. There is an outdoor pool that will love to splash around in after a hot day exploring the city. They also give complimentary cookies at check-in.

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That’s a Wrap!

We really enjoyed the vibe in San Antonio and would love to go back to enjoy more of what the city has to offer. Thanks to the convenient location of our hotel and the City Sightseeing bus, we definitely got to experience some of the best things to do in San Antonio with kids. I hope you found this list helpful for your next trip to San Antonio!

 

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family travel guide: San Antonio, Texas
Author

I am a busy mama with 3 delicious babies and a serious itch for travel and writing (when I am not bartending, that is)! After graduating from Cal State San Marcos with a B.A. in Communications, I decided to start a family and pursue a career in freelance writing. I created HotMamaTravel as an outlet to do what I love while sharing useful travel tips and inspiration with others. Our mission is to show parents how to master travel with kids, while keeping your Saturday-night selves. We call it "Family travel...with a twist".

11 Comments

  1. It looks interesting. Locals are probably right, I mean – I’ve heard about the place because of the Alamo. 🙂 So good that you’ve put down detailed budget for the visit, that’s so useful!

    • Yeah, those two important sites are literally right next to each other, so it is super simple to see them both in a day.

  2. You sure accomplished a lot in the little time that you had there! The Boiler House’s happy hour is going on our to-do list.

    • We try to do as much as possible while still having fun. Happy Hour always makes the day great.

  3. I knew I’d heard of the Alamo but couldn’t remember why until you mentioned Davey Crockett! You certainly managed to do a lot in San Antonio – with the all important beer breaks, well done!

  4. Pingback: Family Road Trip Across US: 19 states in 60 days - HotMamaTravel

  5. Pingback: Why You Should Stay at Best Western Plus Sunset Suites Riverwalk San Antonio - HotMamaTravel

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