Things to Do on the San Antonio River Walk
Take a boat ride along the River Walk, and keep the fun going: Catch a show at an historic open-air theatre, relive the Alamo’s story in 3-D and enjoy a cold one at the area’s oldest bar.
Boat TourMake memories with a River Walk boat tour. See many of San Antonio’s unique features just a few feet away -- a statue of city namesake St. Anthony of Padua, the Alamo, the longest continuously operating courthouse in Texas, and the second-tallest free-standing tower in the US are among the sites you’ll see along the 2.5-mile route. 960 1280
Alamo IMAX TheatreAnother popular draw at Rivercenter Mall is its IMAX Theatre. The big star here is Alamo: The Price of Freedom, a nearly hour-long 3-D movie depicting the plight of the 189 Texans and settlers who fought to defend the besieged fort over the course of 13 epic days. 960 1280
Esquire TavernVisit the oldest San Antonio River Walk bar. Established in 1933, the Esquire Tavern opened with a celebration of Prohibition’s end. While this storied watering hole saw an extended hiatus (from 2006 to 2011), it’s since reopened, offering a full menu of food, beer, wine and cocktail options. 960 1280
Casa RioEnjoy riverside dining at Casa Rio. A fixture of the River Walk since 1946, this Mexican restaurant offers a solid lineup of tortillas, tacos … and trivia: Did you know that while filming The Getaway in 1972, Steve McQueen and Ali McGraw dined here? Oh, and the restaurant sits on land first granted title in 1777 by the King of Spain. 960 1280
Pearl BreweryFor over a century, this area north of downtown San Antonio operated as a brewery; today Pearl is as popular culinary gathering spot. Take a weekend cooking class or pull up a seat at eclectic restaurants, from Mexican fare at La Gloria to 5-star Italian cuisine at Il Sogno Osteria.
Arneson River TheatreTake in an outdoor dance or musical performance at Arneson River Theatre. This historic open-air venue, located on the north side of the river, was built between 1939 and 1941 by the government’s Works Progress Administration. Today, it’s just a great place to catch a show, from folk music to opera. 960 1280
Aztec on the RiverAlso check out the Aztec Theatre, the second-most popular attraction in Texas (behind the Alamo). Built in 1926, the theater was one of the lavish motion picture palaces built during America’s economic boom. Today, the Aztec is listed in the National Register of Historic Places, with lavishly restored columns, sculptures and murals. 960 1280
Mokara SpaIndulge in a relaxing treatment at Mokara Spa. Located inside the Mokara San Antonio hotel on the River Walk, this 17,000-square-foot spa features whirlpools, steam rooms, saunas and an outdoor poolside café, where you can take in rooftop views of the city. 960 1280
Ford Holiday River ParadeIf you’re in San Antonio come Christmastime, you’ll want to see the Ford Holiday River Parade. An annual tradition in the city for over 30 years, this 1-hour parade showcases illuminated floats with local celebrities and bands, along with more than 1.8 million LED lights along the banks of the river. 960 1280
McDonald ObservatoryEvery year, approximately 60,000 visitors visit the McDonald Observatory, located 140 miles northwest of Big Bend National Park. Attend a fun “star party” at night or take a guided tour during the day for a solar viewing, plus explore the exhibits and see the 362-inch Hobby-Eberly Telescope, the observatory’s largest telescope. 960 1280
Big Bend National ParkBig Bend National Park holds national significance as the largest protected area of desert, known as the Chihuahuan, in North America. This massive area, larger than Rhode Island, is home to more than 1,200 plant species, more than 450 bird species, 56 species of reptiles and 75 species of mammals. The area is also a hot spot for archeologists, who have discovered Native American artifacts estimated to be 9,000 years old. 960 1280
Petroleum MuseumStop by the Petroleum Museum in Midland, TX. Through interactive exhibits, visitors learn about all aspects of the petroleum industry, from geology, the formation of oil, oil exploration, pipelining, marketing and refining to the economic and political impact of the industry. 960 1280
Lajitas Golf ResortEnjoy first-class accommodations at Lajitas Golf Resort. Located in Lajitas, TX, this resort has several topnotch amenities, including the Maverick Ranch RV Park and Agave Spa. And there’s not a shortage of fun activities to keep you busy. In addition to golfing, the resort provides visitors the opportunity to go rafting, horseback riding, mountain biking, hunting, hiking and much more! 960 1280
Annual Mariachi Band ConcertMariachi bands are big in Texas thanks to the state’s large Mexican population. Midland’s Annual Mariachi Band Concert and Workshop attracts locals and tourists alike eager to learn techniques, style and music from mariachi band members who play the guitar, vihuela, guitarron and trumpet. 960 1280
Airpower MuseumTake a trip back in time to see historic aircrafts from World War II, on display at the Airpower Museum in Midland, TX. The museum’s exhibits include the Aircraft and Vehicle Display, American Combat Hall of Fame, the Nose Art Gallery and the George Bush Exhibit, chronicling the 41st president’s aviator experiences in World War II. 960 1280
Gourmet River TripGo adventuring! Take a gourmet river trip through Big Bend National Park. Experience the park’s beauty while you travel along the Rio Grande, enjoying tasty meals that may include marinated shrimp, rack of lamb, quail and beef Wellington -- and that’s just for breakfast! 960 1280
Texas' Hidden Gem: Big Bend 11 Photos
Beau RivageTrue story: In July 2011, a Baton Rouge accountant named Deborah Boies walked into this waterfront casino on the Gulf Coast of Biloxi, MS, and sat down at the casino’s $1 Wheel of Fortune machine. After investing $15 in less than a minute, jackpot! She won the $1,191,744.89 on the machine. 960 1280
Green Valley Ranch Resort and SpaEscape the fast-paced Vegas scene. Just 20 minutes from the Strip, this resort sits on 8 acres of land bordered by cool palm trees. In between coiffing your winning hands at the resort’s spa, check out the casino’s 55 gaming tables, 2,200 slot and video poker machines, and 22-table poker room. 960 1280
MGM Grand DetroitThere’s Vegas, and then there’s … Detroit? Yep, that’s right. The Motor City is one of the largest US cities to offer travelers a casino resort hotel. This beaut includes 100,000 square feet of gaming space with 4,000 slot and video poker machines, along with more than 90 table games. For further relaxation, grab a pint at TAP sports pub or sample the fare at 2 Wolfgang Puck eateries. 960 1280
Gold StrikeOnce you’ve paid your respects to the King in nearby Memphis, hightail it to this resort and casino 20 minutes away, in Tunica Resorts, MS. You’ll find 52 table games and 1,400 slot machines, plus a nightclub, spa and steakhouse restaurant that’s snagged high marks from Wine Spectator magazine. 960 1280
Atlantis Casino Resort SpaIn recent years, the main casino in this resort in Reno, NV, ditched its tropical theme for something more elegant -- think accent lighting and new, streamlined furnishings. Spanning 67,000,000 square feet of space, the casino also boasts 1,500 slot machines and plenty of gaming excitement, including the classic card game baccarat. 960 1280
Borgata Hotel Casino & SpaHands down, this is the best casino resort in Atlantic City. The $1.1 billion property gets high marks from travelers for its sheer size (it’s the largest hotel in New Jersey) and its Las Vegas feel (it is Atlantic City’s top-grossing casino). The 161,000-square-foot casino floor boasts 4,000 slot machines and 200 table games -- as well as the largest poker room on the East Coast! 960 1280
Harrah’s New OrleansA stone’s throw from the mighty Mississippi is another mighty sight: this 115,000-square-foot casino -- home to 2,100 slot machines, more than 90 table games and a poker room. If that’s not sensory overload enough, swing by the French Quarter, just 1 block away. 960 1280
Golden NuggetYou didn’t think we’d forget Vegas, did you? This Vegas landmark (open since 1946), boasts the largest casino in downtown -- we’re talking 38,000 square feet of gaming space. Near the casino’s registration desk, you won’t soon forget seeing the Hand of Faith -- a gold nugget, found in Australia in 1980, that was purchased by the resort for more than $1 million. 960 1280
Eldorado Resort CasinoYou’ve landed at Shreveport Regional Airport -- so, where’s the first place you go? This swanky casino, located just 7 miles away. The 30,000-square-foot space is home to more than 1,500 slots and video poker machines, as well a gourmet steakhouse and bar-and-entertainment venue where you can belt out some karaoke. Or kick back with a drink. 960 1280
America’s High-Stakes Casinos 13 Photos
National Finals RodeoA cowboy casts a cool look during the National Finals Rodeo, popularly known as the “Super Bowl of rodeo.” The 10-day event, held each year in Las Vegas, determines the world champ in 7 main events, including bareback riding, steer wrestling and team roping.
When to go: First full week of December 960 1280
Caldwell Night RodeoThe cowboys are the stars at this annual 5-day rodeo event. Held in the Boise metro area, Caldwell Night Rodeo draws crowds of more than 40,000 people, eager to see the big draw: many of the world’s top professional cowboys who make Caldwell Night Rodeo an annual stop on their circuit.
When to go: Mid-August 960 1280
Pendleton Round-UpReady for some bulldogging? A cowboy reaches for a steer’s horns at the Pendleton Round-Up, one of the 10 largest rodeos in the world. Started in 1910, the annual rodeo event draws crowds of 50,000 to Pendleton, OR, where the town’s motto is, “The Real West.”
When to go: Mid-September 960 1280
Dodge City Roundup RodeoWestern heritage -- and big bucks -- draw championship cowboys and cowgirls to the annual Dodge City Roundup. Since its start in 1977, the 10-day event has grown to include a payout of nearly $254,000, alongside an audience of more than 100,000 people.
When to go: Late July to early August 960 1280
Cheyenne Frontier DaysThe granddaddy of rodeo events, Cheyenne Frontier Days has been held in its namesake Wyoming town since 1897. The outdoor rodeo and western celebration features hundreds of horses performing rodeo events and track acts. The annual event draws nearly 200,000 people, with a whopping 100,000 free pancakes served by the local Kiwanis club.
When to go: Last full week of July 960 1280
Ellensburg RodeoAfter more than 75 years, the Ellensburg Rodeo in Washington State has grown from a local competition among ranch hands to a leading rodeo festival: More than 600 contestants vie for prize money in excess of $400,000. In the Pacific Northwest, the rodeo is second in size only to the Calgary Stampede in Alberta, Canada.
When to go: Labor Day weekend 960 1280
Fort Worth Stock Show and RodeoFor 23 heart-pounding days, the annual Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo puts on quite a show at the Will Rogers Memorial Center. The annual event, which draws a crowd of 900,000, showcases the world’s original indoor rodeo, with 36 performances of professional rodeo on display, such as calf roping.
When to go: Mid-January to early February 960 1280
Nebraskaland DaysWild West showman Buffalo Bill considered North Platte, NE, his hometown, and went on to found modern-day rodeo in the city. Today, the legacy continues with Nebraskaland Days: The largest rodeo event in western Nebraska showcases parades, art shows, concerts, food events and, of course, rodeos.
When to go: Mid-June 960 1280
Yellowstone RodeoExciting rodeo action mixes with stunning mountain sunsets at the annual Yellowstone Rodeo in southwestern Montana. The annual event showcases the big rodeo draws -- including bareback bronc riding, bull riding, team roping and saddle broc riding -- as well as a “calf scramble” event in which kids can safely compete.
When to go: June through early September 960 1280
National Western Stock ShowNow in its 106th year, the National Western Stock Show in Denver spans 16 days, and a 100-acre show ground home to the second largest rodeo in the United States. Hands-on animal exhibits feature 15,000 head of horses, cattle, sheep, alpacas, llamas and more -- plus, a chance for the little ones to go giddy-up.
When to go: Last 2 weeks in January 960 1280
RodeoHoustonFor the world’s largest live entertainment and livestock show, head to Houston’s Reliant Stadium. In 2012, this massive 1,900,000-square-foot facility hosted the annual Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo -- and a whole lot of animals: 26,305 livestock and horse show exhibitors competed for a shot at a Houston championship.
When to go: Late February to mid-March 960 1280
Reno RodeoBilled as the “wildest, richest rodeo in the West,” the Reno Rodeo spans 10 days and attracts more than 140,000 fans. Events include a Miss Reno Rodeo Queen pageant, cattle drive, carnival rides and the Xtreme Bull Riding Tour stop, featuring 40 of the world’s best pro bull riders.
When to go: Late June 960 1280
Florence Junior ParadaThe world’s oldest continuous junior rodeo finds its home in Florence, AZ. Eighty years since its start, the annual Florence Junior Parada rodeo draws hundreds of future PRCA (Professional Rodeo Cowboys Assocation) cowboys and cowgirls, ages 5 to 18, to compete in rodeo events such as team roping, breakaway roping and even bull riding.
When to go: Late November 960 1280
America's Biggest Rodeos 13 Photos