San Antonio Travel Guide

USA  #2 in Best Places to Visit in Texas
Credit

Courtesy of None/None

San Antonio Area Map

Neighborhoods

The second-largest city in the Lone Star state, San Antonio is located on the southern edge of the mountainous Texas Hill Country. Its streets follow old Spanish trails and 19th century wagon trails to form what residents refer to as a wheel-and-spoke pattern. The inner loop is formed by I-410, inside which the historic districts can be found. The outer loop is known as Highway (or Loop) 1604.

Downtown San Antonio occupies the site where the original Spanish settlements once stood and includes historical sites such as the Alamo, a mission-turned-fort during the battle for Texas independence, and entertainment hubs like the River Walk, a 3-mile path along the San Antonio River that features numerous shops and restaurants. The area also houses the Alamodome, where the NBA's San Antonio Spurs play basketball. Because it's also the center of commerce and government, downtown is home to many of the city's top hotels, restaurants and shops. This area is lively and vibrant, and you should take some time to explore the historic streets beyond the River Walk, which are peppered with unique shops and mouth-watering restaurants.

The King William district was San Antonio's first suburb. Located just south of downtown, the area attracted a large number of wealthy merchants from Germany in the mid- to late-19th century. This neighborhood's historic buildings make it a great place for sightseeing. Although only a few of the restored homes are open for public tours, several others have been transformed into bed and breakfasts. Accommodations in the King William district are perfect for visitors who wish to explore central San Antonio without paying the high room rates seen at downtown hotels.

Next to King William are Southtown and South Side, home to a large portion of the city's Hispanic population. These districts feature Hispanic goods stores, trendy coffee shops and galleries, as well as four of the city's five historic missions. History buffs will enjoy spending a day at San Antonio Missions National Historical Park in South Side, which is home to several of the city's oldest missions, including Mission Concepción and Mission San José. Although these two districts attract numerous visitors every year, there are few hotels worth mentioning.

This neighborhood  located immediately north of downtown San Antonio  was settled in the early 1900s by wealthy politicians, generals and cattlemen. Today, the Monte Vista Area is home to both Trinity University and San Antonio College. This neighborhood also features a popular nightlife area known as The Strip. The area spans a stretch of northern St. Mary's Street, featuring several restaurants, bars and clubs, but since Monte Vista has grown more residential over the past few years, experts say The Strip has grown increasingly sleepy.

The Alamo Heights Area, which was constructed in the 1890s, is located north of Monte Vista and is now home to the Witte Museum, the San Antonio Botanical Gardens and Brackenridge Park. As one of the city's ritzier districts, the Alamo Heights Area features most of San Antonio's fashionable shops and restaurants, as well as the Quarry, a large complex featuring an upscale golf course, marketplace and shopping mall.

Northwest San Antonio, which contains the South Texas Medical Center, is becoming one of San Antonio's prime growth areas and features trendy condos and strip malls. San Antonio's northern suburbs are most popular with families, since they are home to the city's major amusement park, Six Flags Fiesta Texas. This part of the city also features some of San Antonio's most popular resorts, but if you are looking to visit any of the city's historical sites, it's best to find a hotel that is more centrally located. 

Although San Antonio's western suburbs are experiencing commercial development, it is in no way comparable to the growth seen in the city's northern areas. However, western San Antonio does welcome its fair share of visitors as well, since it is home to several luxury resort hotels and SeaWorld.

Explore More of San Antonio

When purchasing from our site, we may earn commissions. This does not affect the quality or independence of our editorial content.

Recommended

The 12 Best Niagara Falls Tours

Explore one of North America's most impressive natural sights and the surrounding region on a tour.

Lyn MettlerJuly 19, 2019

The Cheapest Ways to Travel: 15 Tips to Save Money on Your Next Vacation

These cheap travel tips can help you save big on your next getaway.

Holly JohnsonJuly 18, 2019

The 9 Best San Francisco Wine Tours

Taste some of America's finest wines on one of these daytrips.

John RodwanJuly 18, 2019

The 6 Best Sedona Jeep Tours

Take a rollicking ride through Sedona's natural beauty in a rugged SUV.

Holly JohnsonJuly 16, 2019

The 12 Top Florida Keys Beaches

Relax on the sandy shorelines from Key West to Key Largo.

Gwen PratesiJuly 15, 2019

The 15 Best New Orleans Walking Tours

Take on the Big Easy with a stroll through its streets.

Lyn MettlerJuly 15, 2019

The 8 Best Charleston Ghost Tours

Experience the Holy City's history and haunts on one of these excursions.

Holly JohnsonJuly 12, 2019

The 5 Best Oahu Helicopter Tours

Tour this picturesque island from the air on one of these excursions.

John RodwanJuly 11, 2019

The 15 Best Los Angeles Tours

Maximize your time in Los Angeles with the insider tips and historical context provided by the best local tours.

Kyle McCarthyJuly 3, 2019

The 15 Best Las Vegas Tours

See a different side of Sin City – its attractions go beyond gambling.

John RodwanJuly 2, 2019