The two-terminal San Antonio International Airport (SAT), 8 miles north of downtown, is compact and easy to navigate.
After being a construction zone for several years, the airport completed new rental car and short-term public parking facilities at the end of 2017. For the most up-to-date information on new construction; added features, including a cell-phone waiting area; parking availability at the airport lots; and even the time it’s likely to take you to get through TSA checking (Terminal A only), log on to www.sanantonio.gov/SAT. There’s also a 24/7 information line, tel. 210/207-3433.
Getting into Town from the Airport — Loop 410 and U.S. 281 S. intersect just outside the airport. If you’re renting a car here, it should take about 15 to 20 minutes to drive downtown via U.S. 281 S. Most hotels within a mile or two provide free shuttle service to and from the airport (check when you make your reservation). If you’re staying downtown, however, you’ll most likely have to pay your own way.
VIA Metropolitan Transit’s bus no. 5 is the cheapest ($1.30) way to get downtown, but also the slowest; it’ll take from 35 to 40 minutes. Pick it up at the far west end of Terminal B. SuperShuttle (www.supershuttle.com/locations/sanantonio-sat; tel. 800/258-3826), with a booth outside each of the terminals, offers shared van service from the airport to downtown hotels for $18 per person one way, $34 round-trip. If you download the mobile app, you can often get a discount. The drawback of this service is that you often share your ride with several others, who may be dropped off before you. You don’t have to book in advance for pickups at the airport, but you must make an online reservation or phone 24 hours ahead to arrange a pickup when departing.
A series of ride-share stations line the lower level of Terminal A. Uber.com and Lyft.com are among the approved vendors; the police give extra vetting to the drivers in those companies who want to pick up passengers at the airport. Expect to pay about $24 to go from the airport to downtown.
There’s also a taxi queue in front of each terminal, past all the ride-share stations. If you don’t want to hassle with trying to find your Lyft or Uber driver among the waiting crowds when you arrive, it may be easier to take a cab, if more expensive: You’ll pay approximately $35 to get downtown.
San Antonio’s bustling Greyhound station, 500 N. St. Mary’s St. (www.greyhound.com; tel. 210/270-5868), is located downtown about 2 blocks from the River Walk. The station, open 24 hours, is within walking distance of a number of hotels, and many public streetcar and bus lines run nearby.
If you're visiting from abroad and plan to rent a car in the United States, keep in mind that foreign driver's licenses are usually recognized in the U.S., but you should get an international one if your home license is not in English.
If you plan to rent a car in the United States, you probably won't need the services of an additional automobile organization. If you're planning to buy or borrow a car, automobile-association membership is recommended. AAA (American Automobile Association; tel. 800/222-4357; www.aaa.com) is the country's largest auto club and supplies its members with maps, insurance, and, most important, emergency road service.
As has been said of Rome, all roads lead to San Antonio. The city is fed by four interstates (I-35, I-10, I-37, and I-410), five U.S. highways (U.S. 281, U.S. 90, U.S. 87, U.S. 181, and U.S. 81), and five state highways (Hwy. 16, Hwy. 13, Hwy. 211, Hwy. 151, and Hwy. 1604). In San Antonio, I-410 and Hwy. 1604, which circle the city, are referred to as Loop 410 and Loop 1604. All freeways lead into the central business district; as noted before, U.S. 281 and Loop 410 are closest to the airport.
San Antonio is about a 4-hour drive from Dallas, a 3-hour drive from Houston, and an hour and a half from Austin.
The most cost-effective, convenient, and comfortable way to travel around the United States is by car. The interstate highway system connects cities and towns all over the country; in addition to these high-speed, limited-access roadways, there's an extensive network of federal, state, and local highways and roads.
San Antonio’s train station is located at 350 Hoefgen St., in St. Paul’s Square, on the east side of downtown near the Alamodome and adjacent to the Sunset Station entertainment complex. Lockers are not available, but Amtrak will hold passengers’ bags in a secure location. Information about the city is available at the main counter. For train schedules and fees, go to Amtrak (www.amtrak.com; tel. 800/USA-RAIL [872-7245]).
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.