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San Antonio FYI: 10 Alamo City Sights You Can't Miss

By Rebecca Prager –

Class of 2020, welcome to San Antonio! Maybe you're wondering what to do with your first weekend in your new home. Fortunately, San Antonio is packed with things to do and if you somehow run out of local activities, there are plenty of day trips you can take to get out of the city.

So, to get your first-year bucket list kick started, make sure you don't miss these 10 things: 

1. The Alamo (obviously) and the San Antonio Missions

Save this trip to San Antonio’s most famous historic monument for when the family comes to visit and begs you to take them. Aside from the Alamo, the real beauty is the nearby Mission San José, whose original bell tower is completely intact and still holds regular church services.

SA FYI: Do yourself and your family a favor during Texas’ unusually warm fall season and grab day passes for the city’s air conditioned trolley service! The hop-on-hop-off leisure allows you to see all of downtown and spend as much time as you please at the local artisan village, La Villita, or the tradition Mexican marketplace, El Mercado.

2. The Pearl

Back in the day, San Antonio was home to the incredibly successful Pearl Brewery which was in operation even throughout Prohibition. The Pearl area features local businesses, shopping, restaurants, community events and festivals, as well as access to the Riverwalk.

SA FYI: The Pearl hosts an incredible pet-friendly farmer’s market every Saturday from 10am-2pm with local vendors, brunch options, live music and acro-yoga performances. Every December, the Pearl also hosts my all-time favorite food heritage celebration, the Tamales! festival.

3. San Pedro Springs Park 

Our nation’s second oldest public park (right behind Boston Common) is right here in gorgeous San Antonio! San Pedro Springs Park features riverside biking and walking trails, tennis courts, a public pool, and much more. The park, located near downtown just south of campus, is also rumored to be a Pokémon Go hotspot.

SA FYI: If you’re itching to explore outside of Trinity’s own outdoor pool, the natural springs pool at San Pedro is FREE 2pm-9pm,Tuesday-Sunday!

4. San Antonio Museum of Art (SAMA) and the McNay 

Whether you’re an art buff or not, our local art museums, SAMA and the McNay, always have really incredible permanent and traveling exhibitions to explore with your freshman hallmates. Even better, the SAMA is always 100% free to Trinity students!

SA FYI: The second Friday of every month is ART Party at the SAMA. That means free food, live music, crafts and access to the entire museum! Second Thursdays at the McNay is the perfect place to try SA’s hippest food trucks, picnic on the museum lawns, and see all of the art exhibits at no charge.

5. AT&T Center

Forget the freshman flu, catch yourself some Spur fever this year! Our 5 time NBA Finals Champions always put on a great show at our newly renovated sports and entertainment stadium. Soon you too will be saying, “¡VA LOS SPURS VA!”

SA FYI: Every Fall semester at Trinity, the university buys out a bunch of seats for a Spurs game and sells them at a really awesome student rate (usually $10-$15) so head down to the Witt Center and get yours ASAP! 

6. Japanese Tea Gardens 

Right down from the San Antonio Zoo, find yourself in a paradise of natural botanical beauty, the Japanese Tea Gardens. The Japanese Tea Gardens is always free and open to the public, a great spot to walk and clear your mind during midterms or bring a picnic lunch.

SA FYI: For some spooky after-hours fun, the Tea Gardens are well-lit and open 24 hours which means you can roam the grounds at night looking for Pokémon, hosting a hall scavenger hunt, or just enjoying the gardens under the stars.

7. St. Mary's Strip 

What college town would be complete without a local bar & live music scene? Nearby St. Mary’s Street is home to an eclectic variety of businesses including Candlelight Café (a cozy late night study spot), La Botaníca (great brunch, vegetarian options, and feminist bingo), and Paper Tiger (a live music venue that features underground and mainstream artists).

SA FYI: Every seasoned Trinity student will swear by authentic street tacos served up by El Regio food truck, parked 6 nights a week outside Hardbodies Male Strip Club. The wait can be long - but trust me - Hardbodies Taco Truck is the best way to satisfy late night cravings after an evening on the town!

8. Government Canyon

Is outdoor adventure still calling your name? Make a day trip out of the hiking and biking trails just 45 minutes away at Government Canyon. The natural park has a camping and BBQ friendly picnic area, great for a hall-family weekend escape.

SA FYI: Once you’ve conquered Gov Canyon, sign yourself up for Trinity OREC’s weekend programs that visit other Texas wildlife areas like Enchanted Rock and Big Bend for FREE!

If all that San Antonio sightseeing has left you with an appetite, say no more… 

9. But first, coffee.

It’s college - we get it. As homework, group projects, quizzes and exams pile up, your days and nights will grow longer and your body will start running on two things: caffeine and the quest for Wi-Fi.

Good news! San Antonio has plenty of both, so try Local Coffee (hip, trendy and well stocked with Bakery Lorraine and Bird Bakery pastries) Rosella (quieter and a perfect for group study) Halcyon (tableside DIY s’mores and live jazz at night).

10. Foodies for thought. 

Some nights your Mabee meal plan just won’t cut it, but where’s a college kid to eat for cheap around here? If you’re looking for something different from your regular Whataburger / Taco C / Chipotle grind, here’s some alternative local cuisine suggestions:

American/Gastro Pub

The Luxury (right on the river, sandwiches and “crack” fries), Barbaro (custom gourmet pizzas, bites to share), Tycoon Flats (burgers and live bands, a Trinity favorite). 


Pho Kim Long (tasty Vietnamese noodle bowls and boba tea), Yaya’s Thai (right next to yoga and URTH juice bar) Niki’s Tokyo Inn (sushi, authentic Japanese atmosphere, and amazing chicken yakisoba).

Mexican/Latin American 

La Fonda (authentic homemade enchiladas since 1931), El Milagrito (best Mexican breakfast around, large groups welcome), Rosario’s (a Southtown favorite of SA locals with sizzling fajitas and more).


Main Street Pizza (pastas any way you like and bomb garlic bread), Pizza Classics (buy 1, get 1 free any size when you pick up), Purple Garlic (family style portions & decadent desserts – also a giant sandbox for the little kid in all of us)

Middle Eastern/Indian

Moshe’s Golden Falafel (served with fresh Israeli-style pita, couscous, and hummus), Pasha (shwarma, shish kebabs, and ALL the naan), Bombay Hall ($7 all you can eat Indian buffet, need I say more?).

*WARNING: All mentioned restaurants are San Antonio originals and guaranteed delicious.

About Rebecca

Rebecca Prager is a senior Neuroscience and Spanish major with aspirations of entering the field of social work in South Texas. At Trinity, Rebecca serves as Co-Chair of Greek Council and is an active member of Sigma Theta Tau sorority. She considers San Antonio her new home.


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