Wonderfully sunny, historic, and multi-cultural are but a few descriptions of San Antonio, Texas. Known far and wide as the home of the Alamo, San Antonio has a lot in store for your student group including amazing theme parks, phenomenal food, and plenty of attractions for those on a budget. Really, San Antonio is one of the most affordable and most scenic cities for student groups to take advantage of the opportunity and visit!
When to Visit:
The summers in Texas, as you may expect, can get incredibly hot. It's also the busiest season in San Antonio so especially stay away from the city in July if you don't like heat and crowds. The crowds also flare up around festival times such as in April for Fiesta, the city's own Mardi Gras-style Carnivale. Late fall and late spring are perhaps your best times, particularly if you wish to sample some of the area's waterparks which close for the winter season.
As San Antonio is one of the more affordable cities, people tend to ignore certain aspects of the travel budget. Don't forget to budget for lodging, and don't be picky by only looking at hotels on the Riverwalk. Just the name Riverwalk is enough to drive up prices and make people book even though many hotels use the name while not being anywhere close to the actual landmark. Be careful where you choose. Outlying neighborhoods are much more affordable such as those to the northwest of downtown (i.e. Leon Valley, Helotes). Also, don't ignore the historic districts when looking for a hotel, but be wary of the boutique and historic inn prices.
The food in San Antonio is phenomenal but don't get trapped under the plethora of Mexican food. While the Mexican food in San Antonio is amazing - absolutely fantastic - there are a ton of options over a variety of cuisines. There are a bunch of budget-friendly cheap eats to sample around the city like Giovanni's Pizzeria, Burger Boy, and the amazing tacos at Mama's Kitchen.
Free Attractions: San Antonio is pretty awesome, especially with all of the free attractions it offers. From the urban parks to the stylized gardens, open museums, and historic landmarks, San Antonio's free attractions are enough to keep your group highly interested without shelling out a bunch of cash.
- Alamo - You can't come to San Antonio without seeing the famed Alamo. If you have some time, take a look around the exhibits and see the introductory film on the historic happenings of the UNESCO World Heritage Site.
- Fort Sam Houston Museum
- Brackenridge Park
- HemisFair Park - Always renovating and innovating, HemisFair Park is a veritable wonderland for families, friends, and groups who are looking for a beautiful and scenic park.
- Japanese Tea Garden
- King William Historic District - Settled by affluent German immigrants in the 1840s, King William district is beautiful and full of a small town charm with plenty of attractions and shops.
- San Antonio Fire Museum
- San Antonio Missions National Historical Park - The UNESCO World Heritage Site preserving the Spanish Catholic mission churches of the 17th-19th centuries.
Attractions Charging Admission:
- San Antonio Museum of Art ($): free Tuesdays 4-9 pm, Saturdays 10 am-12 pm.
- Buckthorn Museum & the Texas Ranger Museum ($$)
- Casa Navarro State Historic Site ($)
- Witte Museum ($)
- San Antonio Botanical Garden ($)
- Schlitterbahn Waterpark ($$$)
- Six Flags Fiesta Texas ($$$)