San Antonio Missions National Historical Park

#5 in Best Things To Do in San Antonio
San Antonio Missions National Historical Park picture1 of 6
San Antonio Missions National Historical Park2 of 6
madgerly/Flickr

Key Info

6701 San Jose Drive

Price & Hours

Free

Details

Churches/Religious Sites, Sightseeing, Free Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
4.1scorecard
  • 5.0Value
  • 3.0Facilities
  • 4.5Atmosphere

Aside from the Alamo, this is where all of San Antonio's historic missions – Mission San José, Mission Concepción, Mission Espada and Mission San Juan – are located, making this a must-see site for history buffs. Established along the San Antonio River in the 18th century by Franciscan friars, the missions stand as a tribute to Spain's success in spreading Catholicism through the Southwest and into Mexico. Each mission (located approximately 3 miles apart from one another) is beautiful in its own way, from the undisturbed frescos at Mission Concepción to the Romanesque arches of Mission San Juan.

Recent visitors suggest taking advantage of the free tours offered by the park rangers, noting how much more they learned during their visit. You can also hike or bike the Mission Trail (there are also roads for visitors with cars) past each structure to learn about how the friars lived side-by-side with Native Americans. Scattered around the missions are remnants of granaries, workshops and water mills.

Located a few miles south of downtown San Antonio, San Antonio Missions National Historical Park is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and admission is free. You can get to the site by car or bus, or even on foot or bike if you take the trail. Each mission has its own visitor center (the main center is located at Mission San José). Visit the National Park Service website for details.

Located a few miles south of downtown San Antonio, San Antonio Missions National Historical Park is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and admission is free. You can get to the site by car or bus, or even on foot or bike if you take the trail. Each mission has its own visitor center (the main center is located at Mission San José). Visit the National Park Service website for details.

See all Hotels in San Antonio »

More Best Things To Do in San Antonio

Brackenridge Park1 of 15
The Alamo2 of 15
Type
Time to Spend
#1 Brackenridge Park

When the River Walk seems too busy, seek refuge from the heat and the swarms of tourists in Brackenridge Park. Its 343 acres offer much in the way of relaxation: rustic stone bridges and shaded walkways are perfect for strolling, and the Japanese Tea Garden and San Antonio Botanical Garden beckon to botanists. Dress casual so you can take advantage of Brackenridge's jogging trails, golf course and athletic fields. The park also hosts outdoor concerts in the natural Sunken Garden Theater. In and around the park, you'll also find popular attractions like the San Antonio Zoo and the Witte Museum.

Past visitors appreciated the park's train, which runs through the zoo and offers an excellent opportunity to get around the large area. They also recommend bringing some bird seed to feed the ducks that float down the San Antonio River.

Read more
dave_stone/Flickr
See full list of Best Things To Do in San Antonio »

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

America's 15 Coolest Ghost Towns to Visit

From Kentucky to California, the U.S. is filled with eerie abandoned cities.

Lyn MettlerAugust 22, 2019

The 7 Best New Orleans Plantation Tours

Learn about the Big Easy's history through one of these daytrips.

Holly JohnsonAugust 21, 2019

22 Top Sonoma Wineries to Visit

Sip world-class wines while enjoying vineyard and mountain views.

Gwen PratesiAugust 19, 2019

30 Beautiful Caribbean Islands to Visit

It's time to plan your next tropical getaway.

Holly JohnsonAugust 8, 2019

The Best Travel Rewards Programs for 2019-20

See which airline and hotel loyalty programs come out on top.

Erin ShieldsAugust 6, 2019

20 Surprising Ways to Earn Loyalty Program Points or Miles

Branch out beyond hotel stays and flights to maximize your earnings.

Christine SmithAugust 6, 2019

The 12 Best Cancun Tours

These excursions will show you what lies beyond the city's bright beaches.

Lyn MettlerJuly 26, 2019

Traveling With Toddlers: 16 Tips to Make Your Vacation Go Smoothly

These expert travel hacks guarantee a happy trip for the whole family.

Kyle McCarthyJuly 25, 2019

The 11 Best New Orleans Ghost Tours

Hear chilling tales of the city's paranormal activity on one of these guided tours.

Kim Foley MacKinnonJuly 25, 2019

The 10 Best Seattle Boat Tours

Take in the Emerald City's top sights from the water.

Kim Foley MacKinnonJuly 24, 2019