Article by Brent Salter, founder and Chief Amigo at Amigo Walking Tours.
San Antonio is one of America’s most affordable cities for locals, but it’s also a great destination for budget travelers looking to experience the Lone Star State without having to stage a train heist to afford it. Being streetwise and knowing some tricks not only makes a budget stretch further, but it also makes a traveler subconsciously feel like a winner, instead of merely a survivor in unfamiliar territory.
Below are some favorite activities in San Antonio that will leave a smile on your face, as well as some additional money in your wallet for an extra taco or margarita!
Activities that are Always Free
The Usual Suspects: The two most-visited tourist spots in Downtown are the River Walk and the Alamo, both of which are free to experience.
All the Colors: San Antonio loves art, and you’ll see public installations throughout Downtown and incredible murals on the Near West Side. But there are two niche indoor exhibition spaces for art in the Downtown area that are free, as well as an outdoor projection show at night in the heart of the city.
Close to Downtown: San Antonio’s multiculturalism is evident throughout the city, but three spots are particularly worth visiting, and they won’t cost you a thing.
Activities that are Free at Certain Times
Museums on Tuesdays: Almost every major museum in San Antonio has free admission on certain days of the week. Tuesday afternoon seems to be the sweet spot. So check out the websites for more information, whether you want to see fancy saddles at the Briscoe Western Art Museum, Roman statues at the San Antonio Museum of Art, T-Rex bones at the Witte Museum, or a Rodin at the McNay Art Museum.
Parking on Streets and in Garages: Okay, so this questionably made the list, but it can save you some money if you have a car. Downtown has metered 2-hour parking and many paid options for parking lots and garages 24/7, but locals and visitors can take advantage of free metered parking all day Sunday and on all other days after 6pm. Also city-owned garages provide free parking on Tuesday evenings, details of which can be found here.
Activities that are Practically Free
Bar 601 at the Tower of the Americas: The Tower of the Americas is the tallest structure in San Antonio and is affectionately called “the cupcake on the toothpick.” Generally going to its observation deck costs around $15 per adult. But those in the know go to the Tower’s Bar 601, which offers the same views but requires no ticket. Drinks are reasonable any time of day, but the happy hour deals never fail to make patrons smile. This is probably the single-best money saving hack in Downtown.
Amigo Free Walking Tours: There are around 100 options for tours of San Antonio, but only one of them is free. Amigo Walking Tours takes guests on a two-hour walk through the highlights of Downtown, providing humor and kindness alongside the best stories of the city’s history. There is no set price for the tour, allowing guests of any travel budget a full experience. At the end of the tour, guests can tip their guide whatever amount they feel is appropriate.
On Your Next Trip
When you are next in beautiful San Antonio, remember these activities to make the most of your time and budget in the city. And if you’re headed elsewhere in the world, then check out all the great options the Free Tour Community makes available to travelers who want the greatest experiences from their journeys!