Things to Do on the San Antonio River Walk
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Photo By: Visit San Antonio
Photo By: Rivercenter Mall
Photo By: Alamo IMAX Theatre
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Photo By: Robert Hensley, flickr
Photo By: Pearl Brewery
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Photo By: Aztec on the River
Photo By: Mokara Hotel & Spa
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Make 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.
River Walk boat tours include the Museum Reach, an additional 1.3 miles that were added in 2009, offering views of native landscaping and public art installations. One of the highlights is the Grotto, a cave-like structure created by local artist Carlos Cortes.
Get in some shopping and dining at Rivercenter. This 4-level shopping complex has over 100 stores, including 6 restaurants, as well as IMAX and AMC theaters, and a 1,000-room Marriott Hotel to kick back in at the end of the day.
Alamo IMAX Theatre
Another 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.
Visit 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.
Enjoy 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.
For 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 Theatre
Take 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.
Aztec on the River
Also 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.
Indulge 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.
Ford Holiday River Parade
If 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.