16 Things to do on the San Antonio River Walk
Take a boat ride, catch a show at one of the historic theatres, go shopping, watch a parade, enjoy fine dining or grab a cold beer at the area’s oldest bar, those a just a few things you can do along the River Walk.
Photo By: VisitSanAntonio.com
Photo By: San Antonio Museum of Art
Photo By: Rivercenter Mall
Photo By: Al Rendon
Photo By: Rich Kaszeta, flickr
Photo By: The San Antonio Riverwalk.com
Photo By: Bob Howen
Photo By: Michael Giordano
Photo By: Aztec on the River
Photo By: David Finell
Photo By: Richard Nowitz
Photo By: Megan John
Photo By: Mark Menjivar
Photo By: The San Antonio Riverwalk.com
Photo By: Robert Hensley, flickr
Photo By: Mokara Hotel & Spa
Make memories with a River Walk boat tour. See many of San Antonio’s unique features just a few feet away. You'll see a statue of the city's 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, with a boat landing at the San Antonio Museum of Art. The Museum Reach also offers 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 four-level shopping complex has over 100 stores, six restaurants, as well as IMAX and AMC theaters, and a 1,000-room hotel to kick back in at the end of the day.
Texas Cavaliers' River Parade
During San Antonio’s Fiesta celebration each April, you’ll find the Texas Cavaliers lighting up the River Walk on vibrant floats during their River Parade. An organization of 600 civic and community leaders, the Texas Cavaliers are dedicated to supporting charities in the San Antonio area.
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 cocktails.
Confucius Wishing Lanterns
Celebrate Chinese New Year in San Antonio with this annual tradition of honoring loved ones and making personal wishes. Guests can personalize candle-lit paper lanterns with their own messages to cast onto the River Walk to light up the night. Be sure to arrive early and watch Asian-inspired music and dance performances to kick off the ceremony.
For over a century, this area north of downtown San Antonio operated as a brewery; today Pearl is a popular culinary gathering spot. Take a weekend cooking class or pull up a seat at one of its restaurants, from Mexican fare at La Gloria to five-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
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.
Ford Holiday River Parade
If you’re in San Antonio around Christmastime, you’ll want to see the Ford Holiday River Parade. An annual tradition in the city for over 30 years, this parade showcases illuminated floats with local celebrities and bands, along with more than 1.8 million LED lights along the banks of the river.
La Villita Historic Arts Village
Soak up the history of the city with a trip to San Antonio's very first neighborhood. Located on the south bank of the River Walk, the streets of La Villita are lined with art galleries, restaurants and shops selling jewelry, imported Mexican folk art and more.
Love Lock Bridge
Adopted from the now defunct Paris landmark, San Antonians and visitors alike can attach padlocks written with sentimental messages to their lovebirds to a fence. Just above the River Walk, you can see the bridge along the fence outside of the Bexar County Courthouse Wedding Chapel.
Tobin Center for the Performing Arts
In a city swimming in cultural, educational and artistic experiences, the Tobin Center has provided a home for performing arts groups and other creatives in San Antonio. You'll find musical performances, lectures or film screenings at this state-of-the-art venue on the River Walk.
Kayaking on the River
There are plenty of outdoor adventures in San Antonio, along the Mission Reach section of the River Walk is an eight-mile stretch of an official state paddling trail. You can kayak along the Mission Reach in solo or guided tours all year-round provided by the Mission Adventure Tours company.
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.
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 cafe where you can take in rooftop views of the city.