San Antonio Itinerary – 3 Days in San Antonio for First Timers

Spending a long weekend in San Antonio and looking for things to do?

Check out our suggested 3 days in San Antonio itinerary.

We put together a list of the best things to do in San Antonio over a long weekend. From museums and theme parks to sampling some of the best food in the US, there is plenty to love about this amazing city.

This 3 day itinerary includes:

  • CitySightseeing San Antonio Hop-on Hop-off Bus Tour
  • The Alamo (free!)
  • San Antonio Zoo
  • Riverwalk (free!)
  • Buckhorn Saloon and Museum and Texas Ranger Museum
  • Witte Museum
  • The Pearl Brewery
  • The Japanese Tea Garden (free!)
  • El Mercado (free!)
  • Six Flags Fiesta Texas

Only have few days to visit the area? We’ve also put together a handy 2 day San Antonio itinerary.

Save on Attraction Admission

Many of the popular attractions included in this itinerary are available on the San Antonio Explorer Pass.

Choose as you go from top attractions and save up to 45% off combined admission vs. paying at the gate.

Remember, this 3 days in San Antonio itinerary is just one of many ways to experience the area.

The San Antonio Explorer Pass® gives you the flexibility to create your own itinerary, so you can choose from many top attractions and create a vacation tailored to your interests.

Day 1

Stop #1:  Hop-on Hop-off San Antonio Bus Tour

CitySightseeing San Antonio Hop-On Hop-Off bus tour is a great way to get around San Antonio to all the major attractions

This comprehensive Hop-on Hop-off San Antonio bus tour is the perfect introduction to San Antonio. Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a regular traveler who hasn’t taken the time to see the sights yet, this tour provides a great overview of the city’s top landmarks and neighborhoods.

With tour buses operating at 20-30 minute intervals, it’s a very convenient and reliable way to get around to all of the most popular spots, too.

The tour takes you to the best of San Antonio, from the Riverwalk to Southtown, while professional guides provide informative and entertaining narration along the way. Enjoy the freedom to hop-on and off and explore any of the 18 stops as you go.

Insider tip: Use your San Antonio Explorer Pass and get a 48-hour pass to this City Sightseeing Hop-on Hop-off tour to get around to the other attractions listed in this itinerary.

Getting In: Hop On Hop Off San Antonio Bus Tour tickets are available as an option on the San Antonio Explorer Pass.

Stop #2: The Alamo (free!)

By Bigroger27509 (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

By Bigroger27509 (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Hop off the tour bus at the site of The Alamo, the most visited historic landmark in all of Texas. It’s conveniently located in the heart of San Antonio, and is a must-do on any itinerary.

This former Spanish mission-turned-fortress serves as monument to those who sacrificed their life in the Battle of the Alamo. This is the exact location where Texian troops achieved independence to the shouts of “Remember the Alamo!” after months of fighting in 1836.

Insider tip: Get excited for your trip to The Alamo and learn about some of the legends and myths about the battle by watching the Disney miniseries Davy Crockett from the 1950s and John Wayne’s film The Alamo from 1960.

Stop #3: The Pearl Brewery

After touring The Alamo, hop back on the bus and hop off at the next stop: The Pearl Brewery.

Although it’s not actually the site of a brewery today, it is a culinary and cultural destination along the river and is the perfect spot to belly up to for lunch.

For a fun taste of the local food scene, the Boiler House restaurant is a great place to get some classic Texas fare. Or, if you prefer something special, Bakery Lorraine serves up those delicious little macarons everyone loves.

This up-and-coming neighborhood has a unique culture of its own focused on supporting local artists, and celebrating originality.

Insider tip: If you’re here on a Saturday or Sunday, check the Farmer’s Market schedule for some authentic local eats!

Getting In: It’s free to explore the Pearl Brewery, although any purchase you make will not be covered by the pass.

Stop #4: Museum Reach Section of the San Antonio Riverwalk

After lunch, hop back on the bus and continue on to the Wyndham Garden Riverwalk Hotel stop, where you’ll find more arts and culture to explore.

Get off and explore the Museum Reach area of the San Antonio Riverwalk, 1.3 miles of lovingly landscaped walkways with plentiful displays of public art.

You’ll find stunning visual works of art from sculpture to murals, plus beautiful gardens of native plants that are particularly lovely in the spring and summer.

Insider tip: If you’re feeling up for a little jaunt, get off at the VFW Post 76 stop to check out the oldest Veterans of Foreign Wars Post in the US and walk the Museum Reach section and pick the bus back up at the Wyndham Garden Riverwalk Hotel.

Stop #5: Buckhorn Saloon and Museum & Texas Ranger Museum

Buckhorn Saloon and Museum and Texas Ranger Museum

Hop back on the bus after exploring Museum Reach and ride a few more stops to the Buckhorn Saloon and Texas Ranger Museums.

Highlighting Texan history and culture, these two museums are the perfect complement to one another and are conveniently located in the same building.

Buckhorn Museum: See wildlife from every continent of the world, natural artifacts collected from travelers passing through the area, and more at this Texas natural history museum.

Texas Ranger Museum: Explore the frontier America at this homage to early Texan history and culture with hundreds of Texas Ranger artifacts, including weapons, photographs, and more. A must-see for any fans of Texan heritage and the days of the wild frontiers.

Getting In: Buckhorn Saloon & Texas Ranger Museum tickets are available as an option on the San Antonio Explorer Pass.

Stop #6: Market Square/El Mercado

Mi Tierra is a local favorite restaurant in San Antonio

Photo credit: Mi Tierra Cafe & Bakery’s Official Facebook Page

Get back on the bus and ride it all the way to El Mercado, the largest Mexican market outside of Mexico and one of the top 10 outdoor markets in the US, according to Frommer’s.

Home to over 100 locally owned shops and stores, El Mercado is one of the best places to go for authentic Mexican fare and music and to immerse yourself in one of the cultures that has had such a large influence on San Antonio.

Day 2

Stop #1: San Antonio Zoo

The San Antonio Zoo is one of the best things to do in San Antonio with Kids

For your first stop of the day, head to the San Antonio Zoo, home to 750 different species of animals from around the globe, from alligators to zebras.

Dedicated to inspiring curiosity and educating the public about animals, the San Antonio Zoo is a fun edutainment experience for kids and adults alike.

Kids will especially love a ride aboard the San Antonio Zoo Eagle, the park’s historic train, and the Zootennial Carousel, which features four famous Texas animals.

Since you’re already in Brackenridge Park, you can also use this time to visit the Kiddie Park, just a bit south of the Zoo.

Insider tip: Download the San Antonio Zoo app to plan your day and do a little background reading about all the the animals you can expect to see during your visit.

Getting In: San Antonio Zoo tickets are available as an option on the San Antonio Explorer Pass.

Stop #2: Witte Museum

H-E-B Body Adventure exhibit at the Witte Museum in San Antonio is designed to educate kids about healthy livingConveniently located across the park from the San Antonio Zoo, head to the Witte Museum to explore a variety of topics, from history, science, and South Texas heritage, through entertaining immersive experiences.

Exhibit highlights include Texas art and historic artifacts, wildlife collections, and the highly interactive and educational H-E-B Body Adventure.

It’s the largest museum in San Antonio, and offers plenty of delightful rotating exhibits alongside its permanent collections: be sure to consult their website before you go to see what’s currently on!

Getting In: Witte Museum tickets are available as an option on the San Antonio Explorer Pass.

Stop #3: The Japanese Tea Garden (free!)

Since you’re in Brackenridge Park, you simply must pop by the Japanese Tea Garden for a bit. It’s a lovely serene spot in the middle of the bustling city that makes for a great end to a full day.

Stroll through lush gardens filled with koi ponds, stone sculptures, bridges, floral displays, and much more. Snap some photos here and come away feeling refreshed and ready to relax for the evening.

Getting In: The Japanese Tea Garden is free to explore.

Day 3

Stop #1: Six Flags Fiesta Texas

Six Flags Fiesta Texas in San AntonioEnd your trip with a bang at this large, part theme park, part water park.

Six Flags Fiesta Texas is packed with lots of entertainment, classic theme park fun, water pools, slides, and rides with varying thrill levels, so no matter what type of theme park attendee you are, you’ll have a blast.

The park itself is divided into six different areas, each with distinct themes and unique rides. Our favorite ride is the Boomerang, a triple-loop coaster that thrill-seekers will adore.

NEW in 2018 is the Wonder Woman Golden Lasso Coaster, the world’s first single-rail coaster! This attraction joins their popular line-up of superhero rides, including BATMAN: The Ride and SUPERMAN: Krypton Coaster.

Getting In: Six Flags Fiesta Texas tickets are available as an option on the San Antonio Explorer Pass.

Let’s Recap

There you have it – our suggestions for how to make the most of your 3 days in San Antonio.

Plan to add a few of the attractions above to your San Antonio itinerary to make the most of your trip to Texas.

Remember, you can save on admission to many of these popular attractions and more with a San Antonio Explorer Pass.

The information contained in this post, to the best of the author's knowledge, was accurate at time of publishing. We do our best to ensure and maintain the accuracy of this information.

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