San Antonio, TX

Destination Location

  • 29.533694, -98.469778:primary
  • 29.533958, -98.469056:secondary

Overview

With its fascinating history and lively contemporary culture, San Antonio draws from the past to feed your senses. San Antonio's roots as a Spanish mission, border settlement and outpost are still obvious today in the city's buildings, industry and entertainment.

Local traditions have been influenced by Spanish settlers who originally opposed French expansion from what would later become the southeastern United States. At times, San Antonio fell within Mexican borders and this eventually set the stage for the Battle of the Alamo – the turning point for Texas' independence from Mexico. Even today, there is still a strong military presence – with the U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force both with training centres in San Antonio.

The Alamo mission site has become a shrine to American courage and independence, attracting more than 2.5 million visitors to bask in its 300 years of historic significance. The Alamo is open year round (with the exception of Christmas Eve and Christmas Day) and admission is free.

San Antonio's River Walk is the second largest draw for tourists and locals. The winding network of paths and walkways stretches through roughly five miles of the city's downtown core, one story below street level. The walk is lined with shops, accommodations, and a wide variety of restaurants. The walk also serves as a great spot for yearly festivals and is a great way to get from one San Antonio attraction to another, including the Alamo, Museum of Art and Pearl Brewery.

The restaurants along the River Walk and throughout the greater San Antonio area have been influenced by the region's distinctive cultures, which is epitomized by Tex-Mex cuisine. The fusion of Mexican and American cooking is a taste that has spread across the United States. The spicy flavours carry through into San Antonio's active nightlife scene as well, borrowing from Mexican-influenced fiestas.

Those looking for excitement beyond the food and nightlife scene can visit Sea World and Six Flags amusement park. The San Antonio Spurs of the National Basketball Association are also four-time league champions.

San Antonio's traditional Spanish hospitality allows you to immerse yourself in its culture, cuisine and history. WestJet is pleased to offer service to this destination through our code-share agreement with our great airline partners.

Destination basics

It is common to see average temperatures in the mid-30s in San Antonio during the summer time, so be sure to bring light layers and sun protection with you. Record summer temperatures have even touched 44 C in the past. Winter months are typically warm to mild, generally cooling down overnight.

San Antonio lies in a flood plain zone of central Texas, and flash-flooding can be brought on by high levels of precipitation from May to October. It's a good idea to check the forecast before you travel and consider bringing some weatherproof apparel.

Average monthly temperature and average monthly rainfall diagrams for San Antonio, TX

San Antonians love to eat, and it shows in both its fine restaurants and its casual cafes. Whether you enjoy perfectly grilled steaks, tender barbecue, tasteful vegetarian fare or perfectly prepared sushi, you will find whatever your taste buds crave. Of course, San Antonio is most famous for its Tex-Mex cuisine; no visit to the city could be considered complete without at least one dinner involving enchiladas or tamales, and one breakfast of chorizo and egg tacos.

Downtown
More culinary surprises await you just a few steps up from the River Walk. Wander just a few blocks from the river and you will discover Schilo's, serving German fare.  

The River Walk
The huge numbers of visitors to the River Walk have to eat somewhere. Some of the restaurants are excellent, some are merely good, but all of them are sure to be crowded. One of the most popular is Boudro's – A Texas Bistro. With a prime location in the heart of the River Walk, an unparalleled menu featuring Blackened Prime Rib, Ancho Shrimp, fresh fish and Prickly Pear Margaritas, it is a dining must for locals, tourists and many visiting celebrities.

Another favorite among locals and visitors alike is Paesano's River Walk, serving up delicious Italian cuisine. Don't expect to find generic spaghetti or lasagna on the menu, though, as their specialties include Shrimp Paesano's (a garlic and Parmesan shrimp dish) and a huge salad with artichoke hearts and hearts of palm. Other fine choices include County Line and Hard Rock Café for barbecue and classic American fare. For Tex-Mex, try Rio Rio Cantina, Casa Rio, The Original Mexican Restaurant, or La Paloma. Michelino's will please the stomachs of those in the mood for Italian food.

The many hotels located on the River Walk also boast some fine restaurants. Save for a few exceptions, the restaurants on the river are independently-owned. Should you not be a very adventurous diner, there are a few chain restaurants, such as the Olive Garden, located in the Rivercenter Mall.

Alamo Heights
Originally a suburb of San Antonio, Alamo Heights now finds itself located in the heart of the city. A decidedly upper-middle class area, it boasts some of the best dining and drinking options. Start your evening at Cappycino's on Broadway with drinks and appetizers, or end it there with coffee and dessert. One of the city's only smoke-free bars, Cappycino's menu is so extensive it comes in a multi-page booklet form. From here you can move on to dinner at the bar's sister restaurant, Cappy's, right next door and enjoy fresh seafood, perfectly prepared steaks and inventive chicken dishes. Be sure you don't miss their chocolate cake—it's a closely guarded recipe from Cappy's mother and is the best in town.

There are many other prime choices for both lunch and dinner in Alamo Heights. Paloma Blanca on Broadway offers some of the city's best Tex-Mex and margaritas, as does La Fonda on New Braunfels. For hamburgers, pizza and salad, nothing beats E Z's Brick Oven And Grill at either their original location on New Braunfels or their newest addition in the Quarry Market. For creative sandwiches, the best tea and Sunday brunch, be sure to visit Madhatter's Tea on Avenue B near the Witte Museum.

Several spots in this neighborhood combine great dining with a great bar. To see and be seen, try Café Soleil on Broadway. Their contemporary menu is a big draw for sophisticated diners, while their bar draws a mixed crowd of young and old, all attracted equally to the live music, the Internet-linked computers and the pool tables.

The Loop/North Central
Circling the city, Interstate Loop 410 is lined with many fine restaurants. For excellent Chinese cuisine, try Formosa Garden, located on the access road between the Nacogdoches and Broadway exits. Its diverse menu includes everything from Szechwan Chicken and Lemon Chicken to Beef with Broccoli and Sweet & Sour Pork, all reasonably priced and perfectly prepared. For fun Cajun food, visit Acadiana Café on the Far West side of town between the Culebra and Marbach exits. Just about everything comes with hush puppies here, and there is always the option to "blacken" everything, be it fish, chicken or shrimp.

Should your tastes range more toward traditional fare, you might try Aldino in the Airport Hilton, where you should definitely try the red beans with venison sausage. Several restaurant chains are located around The Loop as well.

One of the city's Italian cuisine treasures is hidden on Brookhollow just off of the highway. Fratelli's offers the usual Italian dishes such as lasagna and fettuccine alfredo in huge portions at reasonable prices. While the quality is not necessarily remarkable, it is always consistently satisfying.

Outside the City
San Antonio offers many more wonderful dining options off the beaten path. Try Bolo's Grill, located in the Omni Hotel on IH-10 at Wurzbach. Offering exquisite game, beef and chicken entrees in an elegant atmosphere, Bolo's is an excellent choice for a celebration or a night on the town. Enjoy elegant Italian cuisine at La Scala or Razmiko's, romantic dining at The Grey Moss Inn or Crumpets, more Tex-Mex at Los Barrios or La Fogata, or great burgers at Tycoon Flats or Chris Madrid's.

San Antonio is Texas' second largest city, and is rich in its diverse cultural offerings. Famous as the location of the Alamo and the River Walk area, San Antonio is a vibrant city that is growing rapidly.

River Walk/Downtown
The heart of the city's tourism business beats along the River Walk and in the downtown area. Densely packed with hotels, attractions, restaurants and bars, a visitor could conceivably spend their entire trip right here. The area bustles with activity nearly every night of the week and almost all year long, with locals and tourists alike enjoying mouth-watering cuisine at Boudro's or Paesano's River Walk, singing their hearts out at Howl at the Moon. Not your average tourist trap, the River Walk entices many locals to brave the crowds and enjoy their city.

King William/Southtown
If San Antonio gets funky, this is where it happens. Once primarily residential and neglected, the area has seen a resurgence of interest and an infusion of capital. Urban professionals are snatching up historical homes and refurbishing them, entrepreneurs are launching hip new businesses, and the locals are taking notice. Wander just a few blocks from downtown and discover Rosario's. If you can, check out the area during a First Friday celebration. This community-wide celebration held the first Friday of each month draws crowds from all over the city for art openings, theater productions, dining and shopping.

Alamo Heights
One of the original suburbs of San Antonio, Alamo Heights harbors some of the city's finest dining establishments and upscale shopping opportunities. And with good reason, as a huge portion of the city's wealth resides in this neighborhood. For dinner, locals flock to Paloma Blanca or Cappy's. Beer and pool preside at the Broadway 50/50. For a gift for that special someone, you can't go wrong at Sloan-Hall. At Twin Sisters, pull up a chair and get your daily dose of neighborhood gossip over breakfast or lunch.

Monte Vista/Olmos Park
Neighboring Alamo Heights, this area is home to some of the most exquisite mansions in the city. At the very least it is worth driving through just to gawk. You will find some wonderful neighborhood secrets, such as the thick chocolate shakes at Olmos Pharmacy or superb take-out at WD Deli.

North East/North Central
Shopping centers, housing developments and highways are popping up all over North East and North Central San Antonio as many new residents move in, both from out of town and from within the city's more central neighborhoods. This kind of rapid growth seems to require predictability, as is evidenced in the plethora of restaurant and shopping chains. If you want to shop at Old Navy, use the phone book. Otherwise, be a rebel and shop at a place like James Avery Craftsman

Northwest/Medical Center
The medical industry is big business in San Antonio, so this area continues to grow at a steady pace. Sort of a hodgepodge of strip shopping centers, restaurants, residences and office complexes, the atmosphere of the neighborhood seems a bit disjointed. Still, you can find great dining at Jacala Mexican Restaurant, Texas Land & Cattle Steak House and Bob's Smokehouse. Shopping is somewhat limited to chain stores.  

Far Northwest
When big money folks are tired of paying city taxes, they flee outside the city limits. Locals that feel the need to escape the city head out this way to dine at Rudy's BBQ and then dance the night away at Leon Springs Dance Hall. The next day, shop at all the antique stores in Boerne or spend the day at Six Flags Fiesta Texas or Sea World.

San Antonio is a niche marketer's playground. The citizenry boasts a broad range of interests, and there never seems to be an overwhelming crowd at anything except perhaps the most popular Fiesta events. Whether your tastes are sophisticated and refined or run more toward the casual and relaxed, you're liable to have a great time in this city.

Music
Music lovers will revel in the variety of live music available almost every night of the week in San Antonio. From jazz and symphonic music to Tejano and rock 'n roll, music exudes from bars, restaurants and concert halls across the city. The San Antonio Symphony performance season includes both traditional scores and pops performances, often with vocal accompaniment by popular artists like James Taylor and Willie Nelson. Jim Cullen's Jazz Band holds court at The Landing on the River Walk, and Arjon's is the hotspot for Tejano, cumbia and salsa music. Bars like The White Rabbit host rock and pop bands, while Cibolo Creek Country Club and Gruene Hall are the best choices for live country music.

Theater
There are several theatrical venues whose productions run the gamut of genres. For national acts, The Broadway Bank Theatrical Series hosts numerous touring productions in the historical Majestic Theater and, occasionally, the Municipal Auditorium. Recent performances include Grease, Chicago, Rent, Phantom of the Opera and Cabaret. Outstanding local productions grace the stages at the Josephine Street Theater with recent performances including Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and Steel Magnolias. To enjoy great local talent and dinner, check out the Harlequin Dinner Theater at Fort Sam Houston. Guadalupe Theater and Jump-Start Theater typically produce more avant guard and cultural works.

Not to be left out, children can enjoy productions designed just for them at theaters such as the Magik Children's Theater.

Art
Art of all genres and media abound at the many museums and galleries in San Antonio. From cutting-edge contemporary works to more traditional pieces, you will admire the depth of this city's talent pool. Be sure to visit the McNay Art Museum and the San Antonio Museum of Art to marvel at their impressive collections as well as the touring exhibits they host. As far as galleries go, some of the best include Blue Star Arts Complex, ArtPace, One9Zero6, Cletus Gallery, and Wallace-Musket Gallery. To catch the work of budding artists, visit Say Si, which displays student work in its gallery. Many restaurants and coffeehouses also display the works of local artists; pay a visit to Rosario's or WD Deli to enjoy the delicacies and the view.

Cinema
As with any major city, San Antonio offers more movie theaters than you could count. While there's at least one in every part of town, a few that stand out among the crowd. If you're staying downtown, the cinema in River Center Mall is a great choice for first run releases and is within walking distance of many of the hotels. The fairly new cinema at the Alamo Quarry Market offers first-run features with shows as late as midnight. If not for a movie, stop in just to see the enormous quarry-inspired movable mechanical display in the lobby. For arthouse films, your only option is the Crossroads Theater. Finally, for larger-than-life films, check out the IMAX Theater adjacent to River Center Mall downtown. A perennial favorite is Alamo—Price of Freedom, which tells the story of the battle of the Alamo; it's a great film to catch before visiting the cradle of Texas liberty.

Dance
Whether you want to get down with your bad self or simply prefer to watch, San Antonio's dance offerings fit the bill. If you like to dance the night away, be sure to check out The Bonham. Located downtown, this is perhaps the best dance club the city has to offer. Predominantly a gay bar during the week, the weekends and Wednesday night "straight nights" draw a very mixed crowd. Huge dance floors, a pounding sound system and the requisite disco lighting make for a fun, dance-‘til-you-drop evening. The place really doesn't start hopping until after 10pm. Three multi-format entertainment complexes—The Atrium, Park Place and Sunset Station—offer several different dance floors with different genres of dance music, all under one roof. A great concept if you can't decide between hip-hop and country.

For those who prefer to watch the professionals, there are several dance companies that perform regularly, including the San Antonio Dance Umbrella and Urban 15. The city also hosts many touring companies during the year, quite a few performing culturally significant movements.

Festivals
San Antonio is an amazing city comprised of many different cultures. And the people here like a good party. Combine the two traits and you have more cultural festivals and events than you can imagine. San Antonio's biggest party, Fiesta, is a 10-day long celebration of the city's history and culture; it is held every year in April. Comprised of parades, debutante balls, street parties, concerts, sporting events and more, you are guaranteed to find something for everybody. So significant is this festival that the city practically shuts down on the last Friday afternoon so that everyone can attend the Battle of Flowers parade that winds through downtown. Other popular events include Jazz's Alive, Juneteenth, Cinco de Mayo and St. Sophia's Greek Funstival.

San Antonio

State: Texas

Country: United States of America

San Antonio by the Numbers
Population: 1,436,700 (city); 2,328,700 (metropolitan)
Elevation: 650 feet / 198 meters
Average Annual Precipitation: 33 inches / 84 centimeters
Average January Temperature: 51°F / 10.6°C
Average July Temperature: 85°F / 29.4°C

Quick Facts

Electricity: 110 volts, 60Hz, standard two pin plugs

Time Zone: GMT-6; Mountain Standard Time (MST)

Country Dialing Code: 1

Area Code: 210 & 830

Did You Know?

Basketball legend Shaquille O'Neal (Shaq) went to high school in San Antonio and helped his team win the state championship his senior year.

Orientation

San Antonio is located in south-central Texas and is one of the most populated cities in the state. San Antonio is about 80 miles (129 kilometers) from Austin and 195 miles (314 kilometers) from Houston.  

What began as a small settlement of missionaries, priests and Native Americans has swelled into a metropolis of nearly one million citizens of varying ethnicities, cultures and backgrounds.

Native Americans originally occupied this area. Many lived along the stream that is now known as the San Antonio River, some as early as 9000 BCE. In the late 17th Century, Spanish settlers migrated north from what is now Mexico to settle along the banks of the stream, claimed the area for themselves, and Christianized the peaceful tribes inhabiting it. As decades passed, the Spanish colonists dominated the area agriculturally, spiritually and culturally. In 1718, Mission San Antonio de Valero was established along the river; the chapel and its grounds would later be known as the Alamo. Over the next few years, the Spanish culture and the Catholic faith would come to play an integral role in the settlement's development.

In 1821, Mexico won its independence from Spain and held its claim to northern territories, including land that included San Antonio, with the aid of U.S. settlers who had entered the area while it was under Spain's rule. Tension slowly arose between the American settlers and the Mexican government, particularly over the issue of slavery. In 1833, that tension flared into all-out disdain following General Santa Anna's declaration of himself as president. The settlers refused to acknowledge his authority, trounced him in a confrontation, and braced for the backlash. Retribution was harsh. Led by Santa Anna himself, thousands of Mexican soldiers marched into the territory and confronted a ragtag band of only 188 rebellious Texans barricaded within the Alamo. The battle that ensued resulted in the deaths of over 1000 Mexicans and all of the Texan rebels, and numerous myths and legends that are still debated by historians today.

Ultimately, Texas won its independence from Mexico, and San Antonio became a part of the Republic of Texas. An influx of European immigrants followed the Mexican-American War. San Antonio's inherent Tex-Mex style blended with the new European influences to create a vibrant, growing community. However, the city's isolation from the remainder of the state helped preserve its reputation as a rowdy, rebellious place and resulted in the gradual decline in new residents. The reputation diminished only after the arrival of the railroad and the construction of Fort Sam Houston.

Progress ensued, the population grew, and the city prospered. Over the following decades, the city witnessed the confluence of wealth in neighborhoods like King William, Monte Vista and Alamo Heights. Downtown developed into the city's business center with the construction of the Tower Life building and Joske's department store. And, thanks to the brilliance of a local architect and the support of business leaders, the River Walk and all its beauty was created out of a seedy, run-down flood zone running through downtown.

Several industries became quite dominant in the economy. Here you will find five US military bases, including one of the Air Force's largest training academies; for years they have influenced the cultural climate and have contributed to the city's growth. The University of Texas Health Science Center, along with several other top medical entities, has made the city a leader in that industry. San Antonio's designation as one of the top tourist destinations has sparked phenomenal growth in the city's tourism and convention business, and has led to the expansion of the convention center downtown. In recent years, telecommunications has come to play a vital role in San Antonio's economy, as Southwestern Bell Telephone continues to relocate large divisions of its business to the city.

Points of interest in San Antonio, TX

See all points of interest San Antonio, TX

Departing from:

^Total price one-way per guest. See terms and conditions.

*Prices are per guest, based on double occupancy and are limited; may not reflect real-time pricing or availability. See terms and conditions.

Explore our world.

or find your dream vacation with our Vacation Finder