Follow our one and two-day itineraries on your first days. 

This itinerary may not be the most logical from a geographical perspective—it has you heading from northwest downtown to the center and then back north again—but this is necessary to work around the fact that, although it’s smart to get an early start to beat the hot weather, many shops and attractions open comparatively late, at 10am. (That’s one of the few frustrating things about visitor-friendly San Antonio.) That said, this route lets you enjoy the outdoors in the cool of the morning, which is often a very good thing. 

1. San Pedro Creek Culture Park

advertisement

Grab a light breakfast near your hotel and head for San Pedro Creek Culture Park, which completed its first phase in 2018, to enjoy its public artworks and the restored ecosystem of one of San Antonio’s key waterways. (Download a free app to get in-depth information about what you’re seeing.) By the end of the route, you’ll have worked up an appetite for a hearty breakfast at Schilo’s, billed as the oldest restaurant in town; it’s been in its current location since 1942. On the way, stop in to see the even older—and far grander—San Fernando Cathedral; parts of it date back to 1738.

2. Briscoe Western Art Museum

In the heart of downtown, the Briscoe Western Art Museum is the perfect size for an hour or so of browsing. Even if you don’t think you like Western art, you’re likely to be pleasantly surprised; special exhibitions in 2018 included one with a Cowboys and Indians series by Andy Warhol.  

advertisement

3. The Pearl

Take a river taxi north to the Pearl (see Day 1, #4) and spend some time visiting the boutiques you didn’t have time to check out earlier. Peer into the pricy Hotel Emma as an aspirational place to stay, then have a relaxed lunch at another one of the complex’s trendy restaurants. 

4. Witte Museum 

In the afternoon, head north from the Pearl through Brackenridge Park to the Witte Museum, at the park’s north end, to learn more about the natural history of the area, including dinosaurs that roamed here millennia ago.

advertisement

5. The San Antonio Zoo

Not far from the Witte, you can spend the cooler late afternoon hours ogling non-extinct animals at the San Antonio Zoo. Finish the day with dinner at one of the local favorite restaurants in the Alamo Heights, Monte Vista, or Olmos Park areas; see our section for suggestions.

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.