Couple walking in Riverwalk in San Antonio

San Antonio is stunning, no matter the season. (Photo: Marriott International)

Weekend Getaways

Embark on a Multicultural Exploration of San Antonio, Texas

Whether it’s the abundance of historical monuments or thriving artistic culture, San Antonio’s big-city amenities sit right alongside its small town, Southern appeal. A long weekend in Alamo City will bring with it walks through historic streets, art-filled museums, memorable meals and sprawling parks.

As always, check for travel restrictions and closures before planning your trip.

Friday: Walk Through Historic Downtown

At the center of San Antonio, visit preserved monuments that speak to the city’s fascinating history — beginning with the Alamo Mission, a historic Spanish fortress built in the 18th century.

The compound was founded by Roman Catholic missionaries and was later the site of the Battle of the Alamo in 1836, which was a defining moment in the Texas Revolution. Now designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Alamo is the top tourist attraction in Texas, with more than 4 million visitors every year.

Couple under tree at the San Antonio River Walk
Spend the afternoon strolling the San Antonio River Walk. (Photo: Marriott International).

After the Alamo, head to the Downtown River Walk. A pedestrian walkway snakes alongside the glimmering San Antonio River, with a canopy of trees overhead and outdoor cafés humming with activity. The River Walk is one level below the street traffic, so despite being a popular attraction, it has a serene atmosphere that encourages leisurely exploration.

Continue your cultural expedition in the Historic Market Square, which is the largest Mexican market in the United States. The buzzy outdoor plaza spans three blocks with snack bars, large-scale eateries and specialty stores selling everything from handcrafted silver jewelry to Mexican candy. Stop at Mi Tierra Café for a lively mariachi performance and sumptuous pan dulce.

Once you’ve tasted the eclectic and multicultural cuisine of San Antonio, finish your first day with a light show at San Fernando Cathedral. Founded in 1731, the cathedral is the longest-functioning church in Texas. A stunning visual narration of the city’s history is projected on the ornate façade of the San Fernando Cathedral at 9, 9:30 and 10 p.m. on most weekends.

Saturday: Appreciate the Arts

The Guenther House decorated for Christmas
The Guenther House serves American classics in a charming art nouveau home. (Photo: Marriott International)

Spend your second day exploring the art scene and locally owned businesses that make up San Antonio’s present-day character. But first, brunch. For this, the Guenther House (part museum and part restaurant) cannot be beat.

Simply step over the threshold to be transported to an older San Antonio; Guenther House was built in 1859 for Carl Hilmar Guenther, who founded Pioneer Flour Mills. Indulge in a spread of buttermilk biscuits and gravy, strawberry sweet cream waffles and freshly baked pastries at the restaurant before touring the museum to see mill artifacts and memorabilia.

Next up, visit the Blue Star Contemporary art museum located in Southtown the Arts District. This gallery is a blend of the local and global, with exhibits featuring the work of some of San Antonio’s best artists.

Further immerse yourself in the San Antonio art world with a trip to Ruby City, a cultural center and art gallery aptly named for its crimson walls that jut toward the big Texas sky. The impressive 14,000-square-foot contemporary art center was constructed by renowned architect Sir David Adjaye to house over 800 works of art, including sculptures, video, paintings and installations.

After a long day of exploring, walk to the Friendly Spot Ice House for a cold beer, comfort food and plenty of conversation. While it’s not a swank restaurant designed for fine dining, the atmosphere will give you a sense of San Antonio’s small-town charm.

Sunday: Explore Storied Blocks

Escape the bustle of the major downtown arteries by making your way to the Eastside neighborhood to begin your day. Start out at the St. Paul Square Historic District, which was built in the 1870s and has been revived as an entertainment district. While modern amenities fill this block, the vestiges of its past can be seen in the stunning Gothic Revival architecture and colorful Southern storefronts.

It wouldn’t be a true Texas experience without some flavorful Southern food, so we’re headed to famed San Antonio eatery Mrs. Kitchen for lunch. Whether you’re craving smothered pork chops, fried catfish or caramelized candied yams, this kitchen is cherished among locals for good reason.

Continue your day at the McNay Art Museum, which has made a name for itself as the first modern art museum in the state of Texas. Founded in 1954, this Spanish Colonial Revival mansion has been transformed into an expansive museum of 19th- and 20th-century greats, like Cézanne, Picasso, Matisse and O’Keeffe.

After browsing the immense 20,000-object collection, head into the lush gardens outside and saunter through picturesque lawns, Japanese-style gardens, fishponds and fountains.

Couple walking through Brackenridge Park
Find shaded walkways and a 60-foot waterfall at the Japanese Tea Garden in Brackenridge Park. (Photo: Marriott International)

Finish the weekend at Brackenridge Park, which extends through neighborhoods like Alamo Heights and Olmos Park. Depending on your personal penchant for adventure, you can tailor this destination to your liking: Laze about at the Japanese Tea Gardens or spend your evening at the 35-acre San Antonio Zoo.