Explore San Antonio

Things to Do in San Antonio: Outdoor Adventures

If you envision San Antonio as dry and desertlike, think again: These outdoor attractions highlight the lush beauty and regional flora demonstrating the diverse ecological landscapes of the Southwest.

Located in Brackenridge Park near other attractions such as the Kiddie Park and Brackenridge Eagle Miniature Train Ride, the Japanese Tea Gardens provide an idyllic sanctuary that feels miles away from the busy streets of downtown. Stop at the Jingu House for a rejuvenating light lunch of sushi or sandwiches with a picturesque view year-round.

For a dose of culture and retail therapy, head to Historic Market Square. Complete with a farmers market, souvenir shops, one-of-a-kind restaurants and all of the Southwestern arts and crafts a visitor could desire, Market Square and El Mercado (the 32 shops within Market Square) are must-see attractions. First-timers might want to plan accordingly, because it’s easy to get lost for hours in the authentic culture and distinctive flavor of the marketplace.

Nearby on the other side of Broadway, the San Antonio Botanical Garden oasis offers a dazzling array of colors. Explore exotic plants in the Lucile Halsell Conservatory and unique plants along the Texas Native Trail. In addition to the gorgeous blossoms and fun concerts, guests will love the Garden Gate Gift Shop. 

A national historic park in the heart of the city, the newly renovated Mission Reach offers miles of restored ecosystems, natural flora and a tour of San Antonio's four historic mission sites. In addition to scenic overlooks, bike rental stations and running/walking trails, the Reach contains the Mission Trail's beautiful, historical archtecture—the kind where it’s easy to picture 18th-century villagers roaming behind stone walls and wooden doorways. 

Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch offers a sprawling habitat that gives guests the opportunity to enjoy an up-close-and-personal experience with exotic animals. View antelope, zebras and more as they graze in a natural environment that's more like a wild safari adventure than a traditional trip to the zoo. Similarly, Wonder World Park in San Marcos offers geological marvels like the Wonder World Park Cave and one-of-a-kind attractions just north of San Antonio.

Perhaps the most famous outdoor area is Texas Hill Country, which offers hundreds of miles of lush, green acreage, local vineyards and wineries and dozens of unique small towns containing farm-to-table restaurants, bed and breakfasts and more. 

Japanese Tea Gardens

Located near the zoo and botanical gardens, this small yet beautifully intricate park is a tranquil spot to wander up and down the many bridges admiring the flowers and the Koi ponds. During World War II, the gardens were renamed the Chinese Sunken Garden as a reflection of anti-Japanese sentiment.

Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch

This African safari tour offers families the experience of a lifetime, right from their own car. More than 500 animals from 40 different species roam among the 450-acre expanse of land.

The Mission Trail

Established in the 18th century, this nine-mile collection of churches and four historically preserved missions serves as a fascinating lesson in Spain’s historic attempt to extend Spanish citizenship and religion beyond its own borders. The missions grew to be very successful from 1745 to 1775, before giving way to Apache an

San Antonio Botanical Garden

The San Antonio Botanical Garden is bigger and better than ever. Don't miss the public art throughout the gardens while perusing the seasonal displays of plants and flowers.

Texas Hill Country

Surrounding the outskirts of San Antonio, the Texas Hill Country offers numerous possibilities for day trips in multiple towns, from Boerne and Kerrville to Gruene, Fredericksburg and San Marcos. Here you’ll find hiking trails, one-of-a-kind boutiques and museums, wineries, state parks and of course, bluebonnets. 

Wonder World Park

For more than 100 years, Wonder World Park has entertained visitors with its awe-inspiring attractions, like the Earth Science Exhibit, which teaches visitors about the Edwards Aquifer, Texas Springs and Balcones Escarpment through interactive exploration.

Historic Market Square

This bright, colorful market square is worth the trip to San Antonio. Complete with a farmers market, souvenir shops, one-of-a-kind restaurants and all of the Southwestern arts and crafts you could desire, it’s a must-see that is as visually stimulating as it is rewarding.