San Antonio is renowned for its multitude of cultural offerings, making it an ideal destination for those seeking to immerse themselves in art, history, and nature. Nestled on the outskirts of the picturesque Hill Country, this beautiful Texan city boasts a rich tapestry of Spanish heritage and culture that spans centuries. If you’re planning a trip to San Antonio and yearning to uncover its abundant cultural heritage, look no further. Here are 5 cultural find sin San Antonio you won’t want to miss.
My list includes the San Antonio Botanical Garden, Japanese Tea Garden, Witte Museum, San Antonio Missions National Historical Park, and Tower of the Americas.
I was hosted at the IPW travel conference and by Visit San Antonio for these attraction admission tickets. As with all posts on this site, all opinions and reviews are 100% my own and unbiased.
1. San Antonio Botanical Garden
Escape the hustle and bustle of the city to a tranquil oasis at the San Antonio Botanical Garden. With 38 acres of plant species from around the world, including succulents, cacti, and orchids, you’ll feel like you’ve entered another realm.
Explore 17 themed gardens like the Texas Native Trail, Kumamoto En (Japanese Garden), and Culinary Garden to discover the beauty of nature. They even have a sensory garden! My favorite part of the San Antonio Botanical Garden is the Lucile Halsell Conservatory with exotic plants from around the world, namely the rainforest region.
Come during springtime when the garden really blossoms to its hilt, or take a cooking or cocktail class in the state-of-the-art outdoor classroom. That’s what I did, and learned to create a refreshing green goddess cocktail using fresh herbs.
See the garden’s website for future classes, which often include propagation basics, meditation in the garden, and homeschool workshops.
Imaginary Worlds is a traveling garden exhibit that is one you’ll definitely want to pencil in. Adult tickets are $16 to $18, depending on the day, and $13 to $15 for children ages 3 to 13.
For more to do in San Antonio, including seeing the city via Double Decker Bus, read this article.
2. Japanese Tea Garden
Immerse yourself in the serenity of the Japanese Tea Garden, located in San Antonio’s Brackenridge Park, one of the dozens in the SA park system. Experience the authenticity of its traditional Japanese design complete with a koi pond, stone bridges, a 60-ft waterfall, and pagodas.
Learn about Japanese culture in this tranquil setting maintained by the city park system, and take in the free events, like live jazz music on many occasions.
This garden is ideal for anyone looking for a peaceful escape, breathtaking photo ops, a romantic walk, or to be at one with nature. Hard to believe that 90 years ago it was operating as a rock quarry. Feel free to grab crispy gyoza or noodle salad and boba tea or slushie from Jingu House, typically open for dine-in, but currently in a remodel phase with grab & go items only.
Hours are 5 AM to 11 PM daily and is wheelchair accessible.
Pro Tip: Though you won’t need the Riverwalk here, your San Antonio trip will be much better with the help of the area map, providing valuable information, such as water sources, restroom locations, trail access points, attractions, and more.
3. Witte Museum
The Witte Museum is a must-see cultural find for anyone interested in the history, culture, and science of San Antonio and the wider Texas region. The enormous museum with immaculate grounds has a range of exhibits on display.
Included in those are a fantastic dinosaur gallery, artifacts from Native American tribes, H-E-B Body Adventure, and Spanish colonial art pieces.
There are also rotating exhibits that cover various topics such as Antarctic dinosaurs and Fiesta: A World of Inspiration. Outside, explore the pristine grounds with interesting additions like an amphitheater, artist studio, log cabin, memorial garden, and picnic park.
Among my favorites were the McLean Family Texas Wild Gallery, with 150 taxidermies animals on display, and the People of the Pecos Gallery. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for kids 4 to 12. Get in free Tuesday evenings 3 to 7 PM!
4. San Antonio Missions National Historic Park
The San Antonio Missions National Historical Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site (the only in San Antonio) and is home to five historical missions that were established by the Franciscan Order in the 18th century. Of course the Alamo is the most famous, but there are four more: San José, San Juan, Espada, and Concepción, the nation’s oldest unrestored stone church.
These are great places to explore if you want to learn more about the San Antonio’s Spanish colonial history. To get a great understanding about the missions and their history, partake in a ranger-led walk at 10 and 11 AM daily from the Visitor Center.
The “Queen of the Missions” also has hike-and-bike trails that link the historical missions and make it easy to explore the buildings and surrounding areas. There are around 2.5 miles between missions, all along the San Antonio River. Admission is free.
You can find the Mission Trail map on the website to pick one up at the Visitor Center (at the Alamo).
5. Tower of the Americas
The Tower of the Americas is easily one of the most recognizable landmarks in San Antonio. It stands at 750-ft tall and offers stunning panoramic views of the city. The tower also has a revolving restaurant, Chart House, located at the top, making it an ideal spot to have dinner and enjoy the stunning sunset views.
Besides the restaurant, there’s also an observation deck that gives you a breathtaking view of the city as well as a 4-D adventure ride & theater that tells the story of Texas.
Simply Sensational San Antonio
San Antonio is a beautiful city with so much to offer. From the Tower of the Americas to the Instagram-worthy Japanese Tea Garden, there is something for everyone to ooh and aah over in San Antonio. This city will captivate your heart.
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