Updated: Nov 1, 2020
Planning a trip to Texas? Then you need to experience the culture and Tex-Mex food of San Antonio. If you stay for a week, it will give you plenty of time to attend it’s world famous theme parks. Here are some suggestions for a jammed packed week of fun.
El Tropicano on the Riverwalk Hotel
110 Lexington Avenue San Antonio, TX 78205
Staying Downtown is a Must when staying in San Antonio! (The rooms have a microwave, coffee maker, and free WI-FI.)
OK, maybe I’m speaking from my stomach, but this place has the BEST breakfast buffet! Therefore, it’s my favorite hotel on the Riverwalk. The buffet is HUGE with a wide selection and it’s only $10.99 a person. The buffet used to be free back in days. (sad face) Also, the price of a room is easy on the pocket book at $100 a night, plus its right on the Riverwalk. I love waking up in the morning and heading on foot to the Riverwalk. I have only two complaints. First, you have to pay for parking, but that’s to be expected when booking a hotel downtown. Second, the walls are really thin! I could hear the family in the room next to us coming back drunk from the Riverwalk around 3 am. I could hear their entire conversation along with the baby crying. (annoying)
Riverwalk in San Antonio
849 E. Commerce Street, San Antonio, TX 78205
You should spend at least one day enjoying walking up and down the #1 Riverwalk in America. It’s a three mile stone pathway surrounded by restaurants, boutiques, bars, and clubs. Yes, you can carry open containers around with no worries.
If you are going downtown pack your favorite tennis shoes, because you will be doing a ton of walking. The best advise I can give you, is do not eat on the Riverwalk. The Riverwalk restaurants are tourist traps and the food is yucky and over priced. I suggest finding a street vendor and enjoying some authentic Tex-Mex street tacos. Also, be careful when it comes to mixed drinks around the Riverwalk. The restaurants and vendors are known for putting just a drop off liquor in their drinks. I would stick to beer or wine so you’re not broke without a buzz.
Rio San Antonio Cruise
You haven’t experienced the Riverwalk, unless you take a ride on the “Rio San Antonio Cruise” aka boat ride down the Riverwalk. The lines are crazy long for the ticket booth and to get on the boat. I suggest having one person stand in line for the boat, while the other purchases the tickets at the booth. If you want the best view then sit in the front of the boat. I think the best time to take a Riverwalk boat ride is at night. It’s lovely during the day, but the city lights up at night, and it’s breathtaking. The tour last about 30 minutes.
849 E. Commerce San Antonio, TX 78205
Follow the Riverwalk trail to the three story Rivercenter Mall.
You can spend hours roaming around this mall. It’s one of my favorite malls. If you have some picky eaters, then the food court has a wide selection of fast food restaurants for them.
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.
300 Alamo Plaza, San Antonio, TX 78205
The Alamo is within walking distance from the Riverwalk.
If you want to go inside the Alamo then you will be excited to know that it’s free. A guided tour is $18 and the Audio tour is $7. They take professional pictures at the door of the “shrine” (picture above). The earlier you get there the better, because the lines are long to go inside the shrine. The inside of the shrine is very small and it takes an entire 10 minutes. You are not allowed to take pictures inside. Honestly, not much to see inside, but small rooms with stone walls. If the lines are too long, then you can walk the outside gardens of the Alamo, and go inside the Alamo barracks museum behind the gates without waiting in those ridiculously long line. If you are lucky, you can see the famous Alamo cat on the grounds. We were lucky and saw a glimpse of the cat.
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 really cool experience.
Two other great spots located downtown are:
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 do not mind driving, I suggest stopping at Mi Tierra Café Y Panaderia. They are open 24 hours, and I’ve never been when they aren’t busy. They have a huge selection of Mexican pastries and the food is really delish.
Courtyard by Marriott San Antonio SeaWorld®/Westover Hills.
11605 State Highway 151, San Antonio, TX 78251
Once you have experienced downtown, then it’s time for the theme parks in San Antonio. We like to stay at the Courtyard by Marriott.
The best part about this hotel is that it’s 3 miles from SeaWorld, and the hotel has a free shuttle to the SeaWorld & Aquatics park. The shuttle saves you money so you’re not stuck paying for parking at the park, plus you get dropped off right at the front (VIP style). At this hotel you do not have to pay for parking, but you do have to pay for breakfast. We usually bring snacks and breakfast items with us, so we can save money on unnecessary extra purchases which can add up real fast.
I love a good view, so we always pick a room with a pool view. I enjoy sitting on the patio and drinking my morning coffee.
A huge plus is the outside pool is heated, so you can swim through out the year. We usually spend a few hours at the hotel pool on every family vacation.
SeaWorld San Antonio
10500 SeaWorld Drive
San Antonio, TX 78251
We went on a Friday when the weather was over cast with clouds and the place was empty. We hit the jackpot. I ordered the tickets online 3 days in advance, which saved us a lot of money. Also, Ebates has 2.5% cash back on SeaWorld tickets right now. You can buy all day dining with your tickets for $49.99, but my family doesn’t eat that much. If you have older kids it may be worth it. Go to “special offers”, we scored free Aquatica tickets with our SeaWorld tickets. Also, we picked credit card wrist bands, so we could make purchases without digging for our credit card.
SeaWorld has a “teachers card”. Active and certified k-12 Texas grade school teachers get complimentary tickets (Register by online by May 31, 2019)! The teachers card gives you unlimited admission to SeaWorld San Antonio valid until January 5, 2020. Teachers can add an Aquatica card for $30.
SeaWorld offers Free Preschool Card for kids 5 and under. Free admission to SeaWorld through 2019, but you must register by May 31, 2019. (Texas Residents only.)
Make sure you packed plenty of snacks and a water bottle. You are not suppose to bring food into the park, but security never said anything about our snacks. Save money by refilling your water bottle at the water fountain outside the restrooms. The awesome part is the water fountains have a filter for water bottles. Our kids are too old for strollers, but we did rent a plastic stroller because the kids will eventually get too tired of walking. When the park opens head over to the dolphin area, because the dolphins are extremely sociable first thing in the morning. Yes, the dolphin is looking right at my son. They were following him all around the tank. My son had a blast playing with the dolphins. We went back midday and the dolphins seemed to be done with people. They were just swimming around and not interacting with anyone.
They have an entire kids section. Sesame Street Bay of Play has a variety of rides. We spent hours in this section riding the rides over and over again. You are not allowed to take your backpacks on the rides, so bring your crappiest backpack so no one touches it. You can even meet the characters and watch a show. The park schedule has meet and greet times. There is a splash pad, so make sure the kids bring their bathing suits and towels.
My son was tall enough to ride the larger rides outside the kid area. His favorite was Journey to Atlantis. I think they rode it over 20 times.
Lunch with Shamu
Lunch buffet with the orcas is expensive, but 100% worth the money. You need to purchase your tickets online in advance. You get a behind the scenes experience with the trainers along with an all you can eat buffet. The food is the typical “OK” theme park fast food. However, the show is amazing. Yes, you get to be up close and personal with the orcas. That’s my son standing about 20 feet from orcas. If you want a good seat you need to show up 40 minutes early, and stand behind the hostess stand. You will notice a lot of people showing up just standing around. If you’re not standing behind the hostess stand, then you showed up early for a crappy seat. They seat based on where you are in line behind the hostess stand. You will NOT see a sign telling you where to stand.
FYI- the pools are not heated. (burr) We went in March, and the water was freezing! We made the best out of the situation. We went on a Saturday and the place was packed. However, they had a ton to do for the bigger and smaller kids. We got there right when the park opened and grabbed some chairs and marked them with our towels. No one touched our stuff and everyone was respectful. They have plenty of life vests for the kids ,so no need to bring floaties. Aquatica has a ton of animals you can see up close and personal. You can pet the stingrays or feed the fish for $5. We lucked out, because a sweet couple gave us their food to feed the stingrays for free.
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.
Six Flag San Antonio
17000 Ih-10 W, San Antonio, TX 78257
I’m sad to say we have never been to Six Flags San Antonio, so I’m super jealous if you are able to squeeze this in on your trip. I personally can’t wait to go. Let me know what you think about it.
2800 Broadway Street
San Antonio, TX
They offer $3 tickets for EBT families. Also, if you have a Bank of America credit card or debit card you can receive one free general admission ticket. Free Family Day- First Tuesday of the month 5:30 pm-7:30 pm.
With over 6 exhibit areas, this place will keep everyone busy for the entire day. The kids had a great time.
Japanese Tea Garden
200-414 Alpine, San Antonio, TX 78212
This place is stunning and it’s FREE. Free to enter and free parking. No excuses! This garden is year round and features a 60 ft water fall with a pond full of Koi. It’s even wheel chair accessible.
Magic Time Machine
902 NE Interstate 410 Loop, San Antonio, TX 78209
Keep in mind your going for the experience not the food. The servers dress in costumes representing popular pop culture icons from the past, present, and future. Each booth is decorated and has it’s own theme. My kids loved this place. The kids had spooky drinks too, with dry ice that light ups. It was super cool.
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)
They have one of the most diverse selections of snakes in the entire nation. Many of the animals just roam around the facility freely, while others are behind cages. They have a petting zoo with some amazing animals. Your kids will enjoy all that this zoo has to offer.