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15 Free Things to Do in San Antonio

If you’re looking for free things to do in San Antonio, TX, you’re in the right place!

San Antonio is one of the most visited cities in the Lone Star State, and after one visit here, you will quickly understand why.

We visit San Antonio often and love exploring the city’s free offerings, such as museums, parks, art, and cultural experiences.

Let’s get busy exploring all of San Antonio’s free attractions so you can start planning your visit!

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    Free Things to Do in San Antonio

    The San Antonio River Walk

    The San Antonio River Walk is one of the most popular attractions and one of the top free things to do in San Antonio, Texas, for a reason.

    Boasting numerous bars, restaurants, and hotels surrounding the beautiful river walk area, it’s easy to see why locals and tourists flock here.

    We love strolling along the San Antonio River and taking in the local culture.

    Listen to the mariachi bands and enjoy the sights and sounds of one of San Antonio’s top attractions while exploring the San Antonio Riverwalk.

    Check out some great bars and restaurants on the San Antonio River Walk during your visit. We love places like the Little Rhein Prost Haus and the Hugman’s Oasis.

    The Alamo

    the alamo with the sun setting behind it

    A visit to Alamo City wouldn’t be complete without a visit to The Alamo.

    Luckily for us, the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park offers free admission to the San Antonio Missions, including the Alamo.

    This mission was converted to a fort in the 18th century, and eventually became the site of one of the most famous battles in the Texas Revolution.

    Despite many of the original structures being destroyed during battle, there are still many structures left standing that are open to visitors. These include the chapel, some of the barracks, and the courtyard of the Alamo.

    During your visit, you can enjoy a self-guided tour or a fully guided tour.

    The Alamo is one of the top free things to do in San Antonio for a reason, so don’t miss it!

    San Antonio Missions

    Don’t miss the other San Antonio missions during your trip to San Antonio, TX.

    Granted, the Alamo is the most famous mission, the other missions, which are part of the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park are well worth visiting and also offer free access.

    The four Spanish Colonial Missions and historic sites include Mission San Jose, Mission Concepcion, Mission Espada, and Mission San Juan.

    The missions are spread along an 8-mile stretch and are the largest concentration of Spanish missions in the United States. Not only that, but the San Antonio Missions are also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

    You can take a bus that is completely free to visit the missions directly from the downtown area. The bus leaves from the Alamo, and visits all of the other missions.

    Mission San Juan is of special interest as it is close to the Yanaguana Trail, a trail that many locals call an ‘oasis in the city.’

    San Fernando Cathedral

    The San Fernando Cathedral located in downtown San Antonio, Texas, is one of the unique free things on our list.

    Visit at night to see a fabulous light show take place on the exterior of the cathedral.

    The light show, named The Saga, outlines the history of San Antonio, Texas.

    The show takes place on the exterior of the cathedral Tuesday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights at 9 p.m., 9:30 p.m., and 10 p.m.

    Pearl Brewery

    San Antonio’s Pearl Brewery was once home to the iconic Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer.

    The brewery operated from 1883 until 2001, but the brewery and area are now one of the trendiest places in San Antonio, which is now home to fun bars, restaurants, and boutique shops.

    Be sure to check their schedule of events as Pearl Brewery houses numerous free events throughout the year. These events include a farmers market, live music from Texas artists, dance parties, and more.

    King William Historic District

    Head just off of the San Antonio River Walk to find a designated Cultural Arts District called the King William Historic District.

    This historic district, which is named after King William I of Prussia, consists of ice houses, art galleries, and gorgeous Victorian homes.

    During your visit, be sure to visit the Guenther House and the San Antonio Art League and Museum.

    Fort Sam Houston

    Fort Sam Houston is the second oldest military installation in Texas, and should definitely be on your list of free things to do in San Antonio.

    Here you can view the displays of old weapons and uniforms and learn all about the fort’s history thanks to an on-site movie.

    We especially loved feeding the deer and peacocks that roam the area and call Fort Sam Houston home.

    Be sure to check their calendar so you don’t miss some of the free events hosted here.

    Briscoe Western Art Museum

    The Briscoe Western Art Museum offers free tickets to active military, children under 12, and recipients of WIC, SNAP, and MAP (with valid identification).

    In addition to this, free admission is also offered to San Antonio and Bexar County residents the first Sunday of the month.

    The museum houses historical artifacts, art, paintings, and film memorabilia that depicts the American West.

    We love visiting the Briscoe and learning all about the Native Americans who once called this are of Texas home.

    El Mercado (Market Square)

    El Mercado, also known as Market Square, is located in downtown San Antonio and is the largest Mexican Market in the United States.

    Home to over 100 local bars, restaurants, and shops, El Mercado offers loads of fun, free things to do.

    Enjoy the completely free performances that take place in the Farmer’s Market food court or on the stage set up outside the Farmer’s Market vendor area.

    The performances often include free live music and cultural dance demonstrations.

    While visiting the historic Market Square, check out the local artists and grab a delicious bite to eat.

    We recommend Mi Tierra, with its fun decor and delicious food!

    Brackenridge Park

    Head north of downtown San Antonio, TX, and you will find one of the fabulous free things to do in San Antonio, Brackenridge Park.

    This 343-acre public park is home to the San Antonio Zoo (entrance fee required), the Japanese Tea Garden (with the beautiful Japanese pagoda), museums, baseball fields, the Botanical Garden (fee required), and numerous trails.

    One of the best free things to do in Brackenridge Park is to pack a picnic lunch and enjoy some time outdoors while in San Antonio, TX.

    Holocaust Memorial Museum

    The Holocaust Memorial Museum‘s mission is to educate the public on the atrocities associated with World War II.

    The museum offers both self-guided and guided tours that are completely free of charge.

    Here, visitors can learn all about World War II by immersing themselves in the many artifacts housed at the museum.

    This is one of the free activities in the city that should definitely be on your list if you like to learn about history.

    Witte Museum

    Located inside Brackenridge Park, the Witte Museum is home to a permanent collection of artifacts and art that range from dinosaur bones and cave paintings to historic photographs and works of art.

    Kids will love visiting the Naylor Family Dinosaur Gallery and getting up close and personal with the animals that lived in this area over 100 million years ago.

    Of course, that isn’t the only exhibit at the Witte. Kids of all ages will enjoy exploring the numerous hands-on exhibits found throughout this San Antonio museum!

    Hemisfair Park

    If you are looking for something to do outdoors during your time in the city, head to San Antonio’s Hemisfair Park.

    Park amenities here include a splash pad, picnic tables, chess and checkers tables, cornhole, and so much more.

    One visit and you can quickly see why this park is one of the top free things to do in San Antonio.

    McNay Art Museum

    The McNay Art Museum is a treasure for art lovers.

    Housing rotating exhibits that include contemporary art, film screenings, photography, and more, the McNay truly has something for the whole family.

    Not only that, but the home that the museum is housed in is incredibly beautiful as well.

    While the museum usually charges a fee, you can enjoy free entry every Thursday from 4-9 p.m., and the first Sunday of every month from 12-5 p.m.

    San Antonio Fire Museum

    The San Antonio Fire Museum is another of the free things to do in San Antonio, and is great for families.

    The museum is free on the first Tuesday of every month from 12 to 4 p.m., so plan accordingly.

    Visitors love checking out the antique fire equipment and the other fire-related artifacts that date back to the mid-1800s.

    Kids will love trying on the fire suits and enjoying the other hands-on exhibits.

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    Michelle Snell founder of That Texas Couple and Totally Texas Travel

    About The Author

    Michelle Snell is a travel writer, history buff, wine lover, and enthusiast of different cultures. Michelle enjoys bringing places to life through her informative writing style on her blogs, That Texas Couple and Totally Texas Travel.  Her practical tips and suggestions help make travel dreams a reality while immersing her readers in the history, culture, and food of a region.  She is happiest sipping wine in Italy or chilling on a beach with her husband, Marty.

    Anastasia Finch

    Sunday 12th of May 2024

    Thanks for this! I love finding free things to do when I travel-- they've often more fun than the paid things, tbh.


    Monday 13th of May 2024

    Us too, so you're in good company!

    Under Flowery Sky

    Saturday 11th of May 2024

    Such a pretty town, makes me want to visit. Great captures, the sunset is stunning...


    Sunday 12th of May 2024

    Thank you so much!