Heading to San Antonio, TX this spring? Explore the city without the heat or crowds with this guide that covers the city’s best spring activities.
Located a short 80 miles from Texas state capital Austin, San Antonio has a culture of its own. Founded in 1718, the once simple mission has grown to become the seventh largest city in the United States and a hot bed for the arts, culture, technology, and premier cuisine.
From roughly October through April, San Antonio offers mild to warm — in other words, not blazing hot — temperatures that are ideal for enjoying the outdoors. Whether you want to stroll along the San Antonio River, live it up at one of the city’s festivals, or enjoy steaming steak fajitas on an outdoor patio, you can find the ideal setting in spring. Add these top attractions to your list of things to do in San Antonio.
San Antonio River Walk
The most scenic way to see San Antonio’s downtown sights is by taking the San Antonio River Walk, a 15-mile stretch of cypress-lined paths, native plants, and arched stone bridges that run alongside a man-made river through the city’s center. Lined with restaurants and shops, the River Walk also gives you easy access to popular spots like the Alamo, the San Antonio Museum of Art, and the Briscoe Western Art Museum.
You can tour the River Walk by walking the paths on each side of the river or hopping on one of the tour boats. Additionally, the city’s bike share program, B-Cycle, has more than 50 stations throughout downtown.
If your spring vacation falls on St. Patrick’s Day, put on your favorite green duds, and head to the St. Patrick’s Day Festival. All along the river — transformed into the green River Shannon for the holiday — you can find live music, kids’ activities, Irish food, an artisan show, and the River Parade, which winds through downtown.
Guadalupe State Park
On a warm sunny day, take some time to cool off in the Guadalupe River, a local favorite about 30 miles north of San Antonio. Popular pastimes include swimming and tubing, but the area also features hiking and mountain bike trails as well as scenic campsites. “Camping in the spring is fabulous because you avoid the crowds,” says Crystal Henry, a contributing writer for The San Antonio River Walk Association’s RIO magazine.
Hill Country Wildflowers
On your road trip to the Guadalupe River from San Antonio, expect to see some spectacular displays of Texas’ famous wildflowers. Starting in mid- to late March, the landscape includes magenta phlox blooms, bluebonnets (the Texas state flower), Indian paintbrushes, and bright yellow flowers along the roadside.
You can thank former First Lady, “Lady Bird” Johnson for transforming Texas highways from blah to bursting with colorful spring blooms. Since the late 1960s, driving to view the wildflowers has been a tradition for visitors and locals alike.
Just remember to be cautious when enjoying the flowers. “Stopping on the side of the road can be dangerous, especially on a busy highway,” notes Henry. “And bluebonnet season typically means it’s rattlesnake season, so be prepared with closed-toed shoes. Also, most residents hold the bluebonnets sacred, so don’t pick or trample them.”
Fiesta San Antonio
Every spring since 1891, San Antonio has hosted Fiesta, one of the nation’s premier cultural festivals. Originally launched to honor the Alamo and Battle of San Jacinto heroes, Fiesta has evolved into a massive 10-day celebration of the city’s diverse cultures.
Theme Parks Galore
San Antonio is home to not one, but two major theme parks — Six Flags Fiesta Texas and SeaWorld San Antonio — as well as several water parks and smaller amusement parks. Splashtown San Antonio offers more than 50 rides and attractions to help you cool down when the temperature kicks up. Morgan’s Wonderland, designed for special needs children, offers rides and games for everyone. Visiting in the spring offers all the fun without the summertime crowds.
300 San Antonio
Throughout 2018, San Antonio plans to pull out all the stops for its Tricentennial celebration. Special events take place throughout the city from January through December. The pinnacle event — Tricentennial Commemorative Week — takes place May 1 through May 6 and features a packed calendar of arts and entertainment to celebrate its landmark birthday.
Spring is a big sports season in San Antonio. Not only is this basketball-loving city home to the Spurs, it also routinely hosts the NCAA Final Four. In 2018, the city hosts the Men’s Final Four, a particularly impressive accomplishment during the year San Antonio celebrates its Tricentennial. March Madness, Final Four Fan Fest, and other events are taken up a notch for the city’s 300th birthday.
Not into basketball? Check out a San Antonio Missions baseball game or the Valero Texas Open, held at TPC San Antonio in mid-April.
Historic Market Square
Take in the sights, sounds, and spices of Old Mexico at Historic Market Square, an outdoor plaza filled with shops and restaurants. Considered the largest Mexican market in the U.S., you can find local artists selling pottery, paintings, and leather goods and local retailers offering Mexican artifacts, clothing, and art. The market also features amazing Mexican and Tex-Mex fare in the square’s restaurants and food court.
What’s at the top of your list of things to do in San Antonio in the spring? Tell us about it on our Facebook page.