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San Antonio with Kids

Feb 8, 2019 | Texas | 0 comments

Updated: Jul 1, 2024

Planning a trip to Texas? Well, get ready for an amazing adventure of culture, Tex-Mex food, and loads of fun in San Antonio, Texas! Spending a week here will give you plenty of time to dive into its world-famous theme parks and have a blast. So, buckle up and check out these suggestions for a week filled with excitement and unforgettable experiences!

El Tropicano on the Riverwalk Hotel in San Antonio, Texas

110 Lexington Avenue San Antonio, TX 78205

Experience the heart of San Antonio by staying downtown! Enjoy rooms equipped with a microwave, coffee maker, and complimentary Wi-Fi—everything you need for a comfortable stay.

Aerial view on El Tropicano on the Riverwalk Hotel pool and pool deck in San Antonio. | Week in San Antonio, Texas

Click Here to Book

If you’re looking for an amazing breakfast buffet, this hotel is a must-visit! The buffet is extensive, with a wide selection to choose from, and at just $10.99 per person, it’s a fantastic deal. Though it used to be complimentary, the price is still quite reasonable.

The rooms are affordable, costing only $100 to $200 per night, and the hotel’s location right on the Riverwalk is unbeatable. I love waking up and taking a morning stroll along the Riverwalk—it’s a great way to start the day.

However, there are a couple of downsides. You will need to pay for parking, which is typical for downtown accommodations. Also, the walls are quite thin. I could hear the family in the adjacent room returning late from the Riverwalk and their baby crying, which was a bit disruptive.

Overall, the positives far outweigh the negatives, making this hotel a great choice for travelers.

Riverwalk in San Antonio, Texas

849 E. Commerce Street, San Antonio, TX 78205

Spend at least a day soaking in the charm of America’s #1 Riverwalk. This picturesque three-mile stone pathway is a haven for foodies, shoppers, and nightlife enthusiasts alike. Lined with vibrant restaurants, unique boutiques, lively bars, and energetic clubs, there’s something for everyone. And yes, you can enjoy your favorite drink as you stroll along, thanks to the open-container policy!

What to Pack

If you’re heading downtown, make sure to pack your most comfortable tennis shoes. You’re in for a lot of walking and trust us, you won’t want to miss a thing.

Dining Tips

While the Riverwalk is surrounded by dining options, a little insider tip—skip the restaurants here. They’re often crowded, expensive, and the food can leave much to be desired. Instead, seek out a local street vendor and treat yourself to some mouthwatering Tex-Mex street tacos. You’ll get an authentic taste of the local cuisine without breaking the bank.

Drink Wisely

When it comes to drinks, be cautious. Mixed drinks in this area can sometimes be light on the liquor, leaving you spending more for less buzz. Opt for beer or wine to ensure you get the best bang for your buck.

Rio San Antonio Cruise

Your visit to the Riverwalk isn’t complete without a ride on the “Rio San Antonio Cruise,” also known as the iconic boat ride down the Riverwalk. Here are some practical tips to help you make the most of this must-do experience:

Plan Ahead for Tickets

The lines for the ticket booth and the boat can get quite long, so plan accordingly. A smart strategy is to have one person stand in line for the boat while another purchases tickets at the booth. This will save you time and ensure you get on the boat as quickly as possible.

Grab the Best Seat

For the best view, aim to sit at the front of the boat. This prime spot offers unobstructed views and the best photo opportunities.

Choose the Right Time

While the Riverwalk is beautiful anytime, nighttime tours offer something extra special. The city lights up magnificently, creating a magical and breathtaking atmosphere. Plus, it’s often cooler in the evening, making for a more comfortable ride.

Tour Duration

The tour lasts about 30 minutes, providing a thorough yet concise overview of the beautiful Riverwalk area.

Stay Cool

Keep in mind that it can get really hot during the day, especially in the summer months. Be sure to bring water, wear sunscreen, and consider a hat for added comfort.

Rivercenter Mall in San Antonio, Texas

849 E. Commerce San Antonio, TX 78205

Follow the Riverwalk trail to the three-story Rivercenter Mall.

You could easily spend hours exploring this mall—it’s one of my absolute favorites. If you have picky eaters in your family, the food court offers a diverse selection of fast food options that are sure to please everyone.

Market Square

514 W Commerce St, San Antonio, TX 78207

Continue walking and head over to Market Square. This is where you can find authentic street tacos and art.

Alamo in San Antonio, Texas

300 Alamo Plaza, San Antonio, TX 78205

The Alamo is within walking distance from the Riverwalk.

View of the outside of the Alamo in San Antonio. | Week in San Antonio, Texas

Free Entry Inside the Alamo

Great news! Entry to the Alamo is free, so you can step inside this historic site without spending a dime. For a more enriched experience, consider a guided tour for $18 or an audio tour for $7.

Guided and Audio Tours

The guided tour offers in-depth insights for history buffs, while the audio tour allows you to explore at your own pace. Both options provide valuable context to the storied past of this iconic landmark.

Professional Photos

Capture your visit with a professional photo taken at the entrance of the “shrine.” It’s a great keepsake of your adventure.

Beat the Crowds

Arrive early to avoid long lines, especially if you want to enter the shrine. The interior is small and can be toured in about 10 minutes. Note that photography is not permitted inside.

Alternative Exploration

If the lines are too long, don’t worry. You can still enjoy the Alamo by exploring the beautiful outside gardens and visiting the Alamo Barracks Museum behind the gates, which often has shorter wait times.

Spot the Famous Alamo Cat

Keep an eye out for the famous Alamo cat, a beloved part of the grounds. We were fortunate enough to get a glimpse during our visit.

Best Time for Photos

For the best photo opportunities, visit at night when the crowds have thinned out. The Alamo looks stunning under the night lights and you’ll have a much more serene experience.

Plaza Wax Museum & Ripley’s Believe It or Not

301 Alamo Plaza, San Anotnio, TX 78205

Across the street is the Plaza Wax Museum & Ripley’s Believe It or Not.

If you have never been to a wax museum or Ripley’s, then here is your chance. It’s a cool experience.

Two girls posing with a wax character at Plaza Wax Museum and Ripley's Believe It or Not in San Antonio. | Week in San Antonio, Texas

Towers of Americana

739 E César E. Chávez Blvd, San Antonio, TX 78205

I heard the view of downtown is amazing.

San Fernando Cathedral

301 Alamo Plaza, San Antonio, TX 78205

Mi Tierra Café Y Panaderia

218 Produce Row, San Antonio, TX 78207

If you’re up for a little drive, make sure to stop by Mi Tierra Café Y Panaderia. This 24-hour gem is always buzzing with life, offering an irresistible array of Mexican pastries. And trust me, the food is absolutely delicious. It’s a must-visit spot for any travel enthusiast looking to indulge in some flavorful local cuisine.

Plate of food from Mi Tierra Cafe Y Panaderia in San Antonio. | Week in San Antonio, Texas

Courtyard by Marriott San Antonio SeaWorld®/Westover Hills

11605 State Highway 151, San Antonio, TX 78251

After soaking in the vibrant atmosphere of downtown San Antonio, it’s time to explore the city’s thrilling theme parks. When it comes to a perfect family stay, we recommend the Courtyard by Marriott.

Convenience and Comfort Near SeaWorld

One of the best features of this hotel is its prime location—just 3 miles from SeaWorld. Even better, the Courtyard by Marriott offers a complimentary shuttle service to SeaWorld and Aquatica Park. This means you can save on parking fees and enjoy VIP-style drop-off right at the park entrance.

Hassle-Free Parking and Budget-Friendly Options

While parking at the hotel is free, be aware that breakfast comes at an additional cost. To keep expenses in check, we usually bring our own snacks and breakfast items. This way, we avoid unnecessary spending, which can add up quickly for a family on vacation.

Enjoying the View and Year-Round Swimming

If you’re like me and appreciate a good view, opt for a room with a pool view. There’s nothing quite like sitting on the patio with a cup of morning coffee, taking in the serene surroundings.

A major perk of this hotel is its heated outdoor pool, allowing you to swim year-round. We always make sure to spend a few hours enjoying the pool during our family vacations.

SeaWorld San Antonio

10500 SeaWorld Drive

San Antonio, TX 78251

Little boy looking at sea life in aquarium at SeaWorld in San Antonio. | Week in San Antonio, Texas

We decided to visit SeaWorld San Antonio on a Friday when the weather was overcast. To our delight, the place was nearly empty. I had purchased our tickets online three days prior, which saved us a significant amount of money. Plus, Ebates (now Rakuten) was offering 2.5% cash back on SeaWorld tickets at that time. You also have the option to buy all-day dining with your tickets for $49.99, but since my family doesn’t eat that much, we skipped it. However, if you have older kids, it might be worth it. Under “special offers,” we found a deal for free Aquatica tickets with our SeaWorld admission. Additionally, we chose credit card wristbands to make purchases without needing to dig for our cards.

SeaWorld offers a “teacher card” where active, certified K-12 Texas teachers can get complimentary tickets by registering online by May 31, 2019. This card provides unlimited admission to SeaWorld San Antonio until January 5, 2020. Teachers can also add an Aquatica card for $30.

Another great option is the Free Preschool Card for kids aged 5 and under, offering free admission to SeaWorld through 2019 for Texas residents who register by May 31, 2019.

We packed plenty of snacks and water bottles for the day. Although outside food isn’t technically allowed, security didn’t mention anything about our snacks. You can save money by refilling your water bottle at the water fountains, which conveniently have filters.

We rented a plastic stroller since our kids, despite being too old for regular strollers, would inevitably get tired of walking.

When the park opened, we headed straight to the dolphin area. The dolphins were incredibly sociable in the morning, and my son had a blast interacting with them. They followed him around the tank, which was an unforgettable experience. However, by midday, the dolphins seemed less interactive, simply swimming around without engaging with visitors.

SeaWorld has an entire kids’ section called Sesame Street Bay of Play, featuring various rides. We spent hours here, riding the attractions repeatedly. Note that backpacks aren’t allowed on the rides, so consider bringing an old one that you wouldn’t mind leaving unattended. Kids can also meet characters and watch shows, with scheduled meet-and-greet times available on the park schedule. There’s even a splash pad, so don’t forget bathing suits and towels.

My son was also tall enough to ride some of the larger rides outside the kids’ area, with Journey to Atlantis being his favorite. I think he rode it over 20 times!

Lunch with Shamu

If you’re planning a visit to the theme park, the lunch buffet with the orcas is a must-do experience. While it’s pricey, it’s definitely worth every penny. Here’s everything you need to know to make the most of your visit:

Purchase Tickets in Advance

Be sure to buy your tickets online ahead of time. This experience is popular and sells out quickly.

Behind-the-Scenes Experience

Your ticket includes a behind-the-scenes tour with the trainers, offering a rare glimpse into the lives of these magnificent creatures.

All-You-Can-Eat Buffet

The buffet features a variety of theme park favorites. While the food is typical fast food fare, the real highlight is the orca show.

Amazing Orca Show

Get ready for an up-close and personal encounter with the orcas. My son was thrilled to be just 20 feet away!

Arrive Early for Good Seats

To get the best seats, arrive 40 minutes early and stand behind the hostess stand. Many people will begin to gather, but if you’re not directly behind the stand, you might end up with a less desirable spot. Note that there are no signs indicating where to stand, so keep an eye out.

SeaWorld Aquatics in San Antiono

Just a heads-up—the pools aren’t heated, so it can get pretty chilly. We visited in March, and the water was freezing! Despite that, we had a great time. We went on a Saturday, and it was quite packed. Fortunately, there’s plenty to do for both bigger and smaller kids.

We arrived right when the park opened and claimed chairs by marking them with our towels. Everyone was respectful, and no one touched our stuff. There are plenty of life vests available for the kids, so you don’t need to bring any floaties.

Aquatica offers a lot of close-up animal encounters. You can pet stingrays or feed the fish for $5. We got lucky—a kind couple gave us their fish food, so we got to feed the stingrays for free.

Man and little boy petting stingrays at SeaWorld in San Antonio. | Week in San Antonio, Texas

Acadiana Café San Antonio

1289 SW Loop 410, San Antonio, TX 78227

This is right down the street from the SeaWorld hotel, and it’s my favorite Cajun seafood restaurant. The food is to die for.

Plate of food from Acadiana Cafe in San Antonio. | Week in San Antonio, Texas

Six Flag San Antonio, Texas

17000 Ih-10 W, San Antonio, TX 78257

I’m envious if you get the chance to visit Six Flags San Antonio during your trip, as I haven’t had the opportunity to go yet. I can’t wait to hear all about your experience! Please share your thoughts in the comments below

The DoSeum in San Antonio, TX

2800 Broadway Street

San Antonio, TX

Special Offers for Families

  • $3 Tickets for EBT cardholders
  • Free Admission for Bank of America credit or debit cardholders
  • Free Family Day on the first Tuesday of every month from 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm

With over six exciting exhibit areas, our museum promises a full day of fun and learning for the entire family. Bring the kids and watch them have an amazing time exploring and discovering new things!

Little girl playing in the DoSeum in San Antonio. | Week in San Antonio, Texas

Japanese Tea Garden

200-414 Alpine, San Antonio, TX 78212

Looking for a stunning spot that’s perfect for family outings and won’t cost you a dime? Check out this hidden gem! Not only is it free to enter, but parking is also completely free. No excuses are needed to explore this beautiful garden.

Open year-round, the garden features a breathtaking 60 ft waterfall and a pond teeming with vibrant Koi fish. Plus, it’s fully wheelchair accessible, so everyone can enjoy this serene escape.

Pack a picnic, bring the kids, and make some unforgettable memories in this picturesque setting.

Woman taking a selfie at the Japanese Tea Garden in San Antonio. | Week in San Antonio, Texas

Magic Time Machine in San Antonio, Texas

902 NE Interstate 410 Loop, San Antonio, TX 78209

If you’re looking for a dining adventure rather than just a meal, this is the place to be. The servers dress up as beloved characters from pop culture’s past, present, and future, making each visit unique and memorable. Every booth is themed and decorated to immerse you in a different world.

My kids absolutely adored it! They even got to enjoy spooky drinks with dry ice that lit up, which they found incredibly cool. It’s a fun-filled experience for the whole family!

Animal World & Snake Farm

5640 IH 35 South

New Braunfels, TX 78132

If you are driving from San Antonio to Houston then right off the freeway.

(Adults $12.75 & Children $9.75 & under 2 Free)

Free Parking

Our zoo boasts one of the most diverse snake collections in the nation, offering a unique and immersive experience for all visitors. Wander through our facility and encounter a variety of snakes—some moving freely in carefully monitored environments, while others are safely housed behind enclosures.

But that’s not all! We also feature an exciting petting zoo with a range of amazing animals, perfect for kids and adults alike. Your family will love exploring and interacting with our fascinating creatures.

People looking at the animal displays at Animal World and Snake Farm in San Antonio. | Week in San Antonio, Texas

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Hi, I’m Misty! Welcome to Glam Journey, where you’ll find travel-related content, itineraries and booking services for the adventurous mom who is living her version of a glamorous life.

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