San Antonio is the second largest and most visited city in Texas, and is home to famous sights like the San Antonio River Walk and The Alamo. It’s also incredibly family friendly, as I learned on a recent trip there with my kids. Its mix of rich history, culture, and attractions means everyone gets to have fun while learning along the way.
Here are my top picks for things to do, where to stay, and where to eat with kids in San Antonio. Read at your own pace or skip to a specific section using the links below:
Things to Do in San Antonio with Kids
We were able to experience the best that downtown San Antonio has to offer; so many unforgettable family activities that we did in such a short amount of time.
We had been looking forward to seeing The Alamo because my son has been learning about the Mexican/American war at school. When people think of The Alamo they picture the Battle of the Alamo at Mission San Antonio de Valero church, which is part of The Alamo grounds. But it’s not all there is to see here—there’s also a historical barracks, a living history encampment, cannons, educational exhibits, and a 50,000-piece LEGO recreation of the site.
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Entrance to The Alamo is free, but to add to the experience, we got tickets to see the Collections Center, a gallery space with more than 500 genuine artifacts of The Alamo Collection. Many of the pieces on display are from the personal collection of musician Phil Collins.
** There will soon be a new Alamo Visitor Center and Museum, which is on track for a 2026 launch!
When it comes to things to do on the River Walk, a San Antonio Riverwalk boat ride should be at the top of your list. I thought it was the perfect way to capture the heritage, wonder and culture of this unique, picturesque, city. There are three boarding docks along the San Antonio River Walk, and boats depart about every 15 minutes from 10am to 10pm. Learn about the city’s architecture and captivating points-of-interest by hopping on any one of the boat cruises; narrated tours; river shuttles; or dinner boat cruises.
We chose a 35-minute narrated river cruise, and it was perfect for families of all ages. The river cruise took us along the San Antonio River Walk. Along the way, we took in the sights, spotted restaurants we wanted to visit, planned our walking excursions, and saw some of the historic buildings that make the Riverwalk so iconic.
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I recommend taking the river cruise on the first or second day of your stay so you can get an overview of historical landmarks and some of the shopping and dining options to choose from.
Hopscotch: Immersive, Experimental Art Gallery
We were glad we stopped at Hopscotch, a one-of-a-kind immersive art gallery where you go on a magical adventure through a world of art, play, and imagination. Using light, music, and art, each room allows you to engage all of your senses and encourages you to interact with the art exhibitions. Don’t forget to stop by the lounge and see the full menu of delicious alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages available for purchase to take with you as you explore the gallery. And keep your phone on hand: There are plenty of opportunities to get that perfect and fun photo for your Instagram or to share with your friends and family.
Doseum Children’s Museum
Doseum Children’s Museum is San Antonio’s STEM based museum for kids. Originally founded as San Antonio Children’s Museum, The DoSeum has grown over the past 25 years to become a premier leader in informal education, while still staying true to the mission of connecting families and transforming communities. It’s a place where interactive fun and hands-on learning come together. The DoSeum offers exhibits, programs, camps, classes, and field trips designed for all learners.
If you’re visiting San Antonio with kids, set aside a day trip to visit SeaWorld San Antonio. You’ll enjoy a variety of animals and experiences, including in-water dolphin interactions, close up observations of penguins, and of course, the Orca Encounter. During the animal presentations, we learned that SeaWorld is one of the largest marine animal rescue organizations in the world, and has rescued over 40,000 animals. And each admission ticket to SeaWorld contributes to conservation efforts by rescuing sea lions, sea turtles, and other animals.
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To beat the heat, head to the Journey to Atlantis at SeaWorld San Antonio. This thrill ride is part water park and part roller coaster, making it the perfect hot-day combo. You get a breathtaking panoramic 360-degree view at the top of the first peak, followed by a 10-story plunge into the lake below. If you’re not a coaster fan but still want to cool down, just stand by the railing at the bottom of the plunge to get fully drenched as the coaster hits the water.
We also got drenched in the Rio Loco ride, a water raft that bounces through unpredictable twists and turns, with our family calling it the “crazy river” of San Antonio!
Ripley’s Believe it or Not!
My kids read the Ripley’s Believe it or Not books and have always been fascinated by strange and odd things that defy the impossible. When I found out that San Antonio was home to one of the Ripley’s Believe it or Not Museums, I knew it would be a great place to take them. Robert Ripley, was the ultimate traveler and collector who grew a vast souvenir collection exploring the world for over 35 years, part of which is on display at the museum.
Our visit to The Ripley’s Believe it or Not in San Antonio was filled with wonderful WOW moments. A three-story building filled with hundreds of unbelievable but true artifacts. The two exhibits that stood out for the kids were a model of the tallest man in the world (nearly 9 feet tall), and the world’s largest tire, which stands nearly 12 feet tall and weighs over 6,500 lbs!
Even if you’ve been to any one of Ripley’s 29 museums around the world, it’s worth checking out the Ripley’s Believe it or Not in San Antonio, as each museum has its own unique exhibits and are constantly adding new artifacts and elements.
Where to Stay in San Antonio
On our San Antonio vacation, my family stayed at the Omni la Mansion del Rio San Antonio River Walk Hotel, a family-friendly luxurious waterfront oasis conveniently positioned right on the famous San Antonio River Walk.
The Omni recently completed a multi-million-dollar renovation of its guestrooms and suites, with design elements that emphasize a Spanish-modern aesthetic and the property’s rich heritage with details like colonial-style arches and exposed decorative wood beams.
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If you’re looking for some extra space for your family or group, consider booking the Parlor suite, a spacious suite overlooking the picturesque San Antonio River Walk. It’s actually three rooms in one suite and can sleep up to eight people comfortably, thanks to three full bathrooms and separate living and sleeping areas.
Top Family Friendly Restaurants in San Antonio
San Antonio has an amazing food scene and plenty of family friendly restaurants. My husband and I LOVE trying new restaurants with our kids. Here’s our list of favorite spots that got the seal of approval from the whole family.
Situated on the ground floor of the luxurious Omni Hotel Resort La Mansion, Four Brothers blends Southern and South Texas cuisine with Latin and French influences. The menu offers everything from decadent dishes to crowd-pleasers like its famous Bexar Cornbread: jalapeno cheese cornbread baked in a pan shaped like the state of Texas. It’s perfect for a night out with the family, especially on the patio adjacent to the River Walk, or just an adults only date night.
Toro Kitchen & Bar
With the music, ambiance, and incredible Spanish cooking at Toro Kitchen + Bar, my family felt transported to another country. We had too many tapas plates to count, including aged Jamon Serrano and manchego cheese, plus the best paella in San Antonio.
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Our favorite adult dessert was the Carajillos—a popular Spanish cocktail consisting of Licor 43 and espresso and the favorite kid dessert was the Torrijas—a classic Spanish dessert with bread soaked in sweet cream, fried and drizzled in Licor 43 honey. This place is perfect for families and the paella offerings are all family-style servings. There’s live music on the weekends, an addition that makes their motto “Spain is closer than you think” really come alive.
The Jerk Shack
The Jerk Shack is family-owned and operated by Chef Nicola Blaque. With a commitment to serving fresh and authentic Caribbean cuisine, The Jerk Shack’s menu offered something for everyone—whether you are in the mood for the most tender and flavorful Jamaican Jerk Chicken or the spicy Rundown Shrimp (or for dessert, the most delicious banana pudding). If your family is craving the flavors of the Caribbean, this is the place to visit during your stay; the servings are generous, so you might want to share (or not).
Two Bros BBQ Market
Saucy charred ribs, lots of grilled meats, and some serious tri-tip makes Two Bros. BBQ Market a serious dining option in San Antonio. It all started with two brothers, Jason and Jake Dady, who dreamed of a classic Texas Pit BBQ joint with family-friendly flare. The focus of the meat here is to “Smoke ‘em Low and Slow in Our Custom Pits” which makes this the classic Texas BBQ style market. Two Bros. BBQ Market has received recognition across the food industry, making it a San Antonio attraction all on its own. Don’t miss out on all the wonderful sides as well that pair perfectly with the meat.
La Panaderia is a beloved family-run business empire that serves three different areas of San Antonio, Texas. It specializes in freshly baked conchas, pan dulce, Mexican pastries, and other delicious treats.
For José and David Cáceres, making fresh bread symbolizes family. Well organized queues and friendly employees make the whole experience a pleasure. The prices are reasonable and everything is delicious. And it’s not just sweets—we also tried the Mexican Cubana and La Clasica torta, both which were fantastic.