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Visit The River Walk in San Antonio, Texas: Fun Tourist Destination!

San Antonio is a charming and historic city in Texas. My future husband spent many childhood years there. It has the Alamo and so much more!

Boatride along San Antonio Riverwalk

Boatride along San Antonio Riverwalk

San Antonio River Walk

Next to The Alamo, San Antonio's famous Riverwalk downtown is probably one of the most visited tourist destinations ever in that part of Texas, and for good reason. But it was not always the case.

From the age of ten, my husband grew up in San Antonio and can remember when the Riverwalk was a place to be avoided due to muggings and mayhem. It was not well patrolled by police nor as scenic an area as it is today. San Antonio houses several military bases and even the soldiers were advised to stay clear of that area! All of that changed substantially for the better when HemisFair came to San Antonio.

1968 World's Fair

In preparation for the World's Fair (a.k.a. HemisFair) in 1968, city planners helped spur endeavors to help clean up the downtown river area to show off the City of San Antonio to the many tourists worldwide who might be seeing it for the first time.

This clean-up process happens in every town, city, or country when events of magnitude bring attention to a place along with tourists and their dollars. Whether it is Olympics, World Fairs, or other events, it generally encourages the host city to put on its best face for others to see.

Efforts to extend the river for HemisFair and since that time has served the city and its businesses well. The Riverwalk is now well policed, and people can feel safe whether strolling the sidewalks, taking a boat ride, shopping, or dining at one of the many restaurants that line the scenic riverfront.

My Early Memories

HemisFair had already taken place when I took my psychiatric nursing course in San Antonio, so those of us who were students took full advantage of the scenery and action when we had some free time.

The scenery included all the attractive young men in soldier's uniforms who were found in abundance gracing the Riverwalk with their handsome youthful faces and firm bodies.

I don't think that any of my classmates found their Mr. Right among those Army and Air Force guys, but we certainly had some fun visiting, flirting, dining, dancing, singing, and even one time went on a swimming date with a group of them. Ah yes! Those were the days!

Only one mishap occurred while coming down the steps of one of those stone bridges that links one side of the Riverwalk to the other. One of my heels broke off, and fortunately, I caught myself before tumbling down face forward. It was common back then to wear high heels. So at first glance, it would have appeared to onlookers that I had a severe limp. I attracted no soldier's eye that day! (Smile)

Nearby Sites of Interest

With the Riverwalk in downtown San Antonio, any tourist is sure to head for that area if they want to depart with the flavor of having visited San Antonio.

A sampling of sites that one can see along the waterway adjacent or nearby includes some of the following.

  • The Alamo ~ Most people already know that this was a historic mission where the famous battle occurred between early Texans fighting for their independence from Mexico.
  • La Villita ~ One of the first neighborhoods in San Antonio is adjacent to the Riverwalk. It has a fascinating history and now houses an active arts community in the quaint architecturally styled buildings. If one is looking for a distinctively different and handmade object of art, perhaps as a souvenir, head for La Villita. A wide variety of choices are there to suit almost anyone's interest or budget. My husband's office for many years had some artwork that we acquired at La Villita.
  • The Spanish Governor's Palace ~ Now a museum, the Spanish Governor's Palace was the capital building of Spanish Texas in 1722. Although it has the name of King Ferdinand VI with the date 1749 inscribed over the door, the Spanish king never lived there. Instead, it was the working residence of the local captain in the area. It is a beautiful building worth seeing, and one can learn more history of the early days in the San Antonio region by visiting there.
  • The King William District ~ This is now a historic district where mansions mingle with more modest abodes. One of the first neighborhoods established in this region of Texas, it was first settled by immigrant Germans. Located on the south side of the San Antonio River, one can take hourly tours through this district or walk the streets or even stay in one of the Bed and Breakfast establishments in this beautiful area. ( I created a linocut inspired by one of the columned homes seen there and titled it "Classically Adorned."
  • El Mercado ~ An authentic old Spanish marketplace adds interest to this downtown area.
  • HemisFair Plaza ~ Among many remaining buildings from the 1968 World's Fair is the 750 foot Tower of the Americas on 92 acres in a setting of waterfalls, a great children's playground, museums, etc. Head on over to this plaza if you want a bird's eye view of San Antonio from the top of the tower.

Passage of Time

Through the years, when my mother-in-law still lived in San Antonio, my husband and I spent many a happy hour strolling along the River Walk and taking in the sites.
We have dined at several restaurants while seated under the brightly colored umbrella tables outdoors, and at the same time, we were able to watch the boats take tourists up and down the San Antonio River. One of our favorite restaurants was Casa Rio. This location is a great area to watch people.

Now those young soldiers that still frequent this downtown location look like fresh-faced babies to me. What happened? As I look in the mirror, I believe Father Time has been adjusting the mirrors because they no longer reflect what I feel like inside. He has a mischievous sense of humor! At least, so far, he has left my memories pretty much intact. He had better not mess with those!

Planning a Visit

There are many other buildings and sites of interest near the downtown Riverwalk. Perhaps this will give a tourist a starting place to think about making some plans if visiting this scenic city in the future, not to mention the outlying areas of interest.

In this post, I merely tried to give one an impression of the downtown area along the San Antonio River, and it is by no means exhaustive of what there is to do and see in this great city. There is much, much more to this charming inland metropolis that could keep one entertained for weeks at a time.

Additional Sources:

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2009 Peggy Woods

Comments are most welcome!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 14, 2021:

Hi Devika,

The Riverwalk in San Antonio is an attraction that most people who visit this city wish to see. Spending time there can be a lot of fun. Thanks for your visit and comment.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on April 14, 2021:

Peggy thank you for sharing beautiful places of visit. It is amazing to see what you have to offer from your side of the world.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 13, 2021:

Hi Larry,

I agree with you that the Riverwalk in San Antonio is a treasure! Thanks for your comment.

Larry on April 13, 2021:

Exciting to see the positive evolution of the River Walk. It is a

San Antonio treasure.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on March 27, 2015:

Hi Patricia,

Some friends of mine have mentioned that I should write books or have my own website. I am working on the latter idea. Glad you enjoy these hubs and thanks for the share. Hope your family does get well. Am keeping them in my thoughts and prayers.

Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on March 27, 2015:

Hi Peggy

You know that I am composing a travel brochure from your hubs to use when I do get to Texas (if I can ever get my family well enough so I can come).

Thank you for all of the great tips.

And I also will gladly share this

Voted up shared and pinned to Awesome HubPages ps

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on March 27, 2015:

Hi poetryman6969,

Some parts of the River Walk in San Antonio are better to walk along than others. The boat rides certainly go further now than they did when they were first started. Nice that you have personally experienced both. As to my photo...that was many moons ago! :)

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on March 27, 2015:

Hi Don,

I think cities with rivers running through them are all considering making them a focal point. Some of them got started in featuring them as an asset earlier than others.

Happy for you that even with that last snowfall, Spring is bound to win the battle against Mr. Winter sometime soon weather wise no matter what the calendar shows. This is bluebonnet season in these parts and although we have not yet taken a country drive, we see patches of them in Houston now. Thanks for the share.

poetryman6969 on March 26, 2015:

I definitely prefer the guided boat tour to actually walking the river walk. Someone had a infant who did not care for the sun and all the people our last trip but we enjoyed the ride anyway.

You looked nice by the Sunken Garden.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on March 26, 2015:

Hi Susie,

Yes it would be nice! Houston has a bayou running through the center of town and they are doing some wonderful things with it. Thanks for the share.

Don A. Hoglund from Wisconsin Rapids on March 26, 2015:

Hi Peggy! The San Antonio River Walk certainly looks like an attractive and pleasant place to spend an afternoon. My hometown of Minneapolis has done similar things along the river. Although I seldom visit the river here, I would miss it if I did not live near it. All the snow melted off here in Wisconsin, but then we got some more. Up votes and sharing.

Susie Lehto from Minnesota on March 26, 2015:

I just tried to leave a comment but must have hit the wrong button and got sent to your profile page, like wow man!

I was saying that I think every city should have a river walk for people to enjoy. And, wouldn't it be nice if there were trees and bushes with edible fruits and berries for anyone to eat.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on June 19, 2013:

Hello GermaineWilson86,

Nice that you have great memories of being on the San Antonio River Walk. :)

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 26, 2012:

Hi Alicia,

I'm glad to hear that you enjoyed your virtual look at the San Antonio Riverwalk area. Yes...it has surely changed and all for the better. It is a beautiful attraction in that Texas city. Thanks for your comment.

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on May 26, 2012:

The Riverwalk area of San Antonio looks like it has a wonderful atmosphere, Peggy. I'd love to take photos there. I'm impressed with how the area was changed from a dangerous place for visitors into a tourist attraction. I enjoyed reading your hub as well as traveling along the Riverwalk as I looked at the photos and watched the videos!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 26, 2012:

Hi bdegiulio,

Hope that your son is enjoying his Air Force experience. Please thank him for serving our country for me. Nice that you got to see some of San Antonio including the Riverwalk & Alamo while you were there. Thanks for your comment.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 26, 2012:

Hi KoffeeKlatch Gals,

Hope your wishes come true and that you get to see and enjoy the San Antonio Riverwalk in person someday. Thanks for your comment.

Bill De Giulio from Massachusetts on May 26, 2012:

Hi Peggy. Brings back memories of my son's Air Force boot camp graduation when we were in San Antonio a few years back. Wonderful city with lots to see and do. We really enjoyed the River Walk and the Alamo. Great Hub.

Susan Hazelton from Sunny Florida on May 26, 2012:

The Riverwalk looks and sounds amazing. Your pictures are beautiful. Some4day I may get to visit...Someday.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 03, 2011:

Hello breathing,

Glad that you liked this hub about the San Antonio, Texas River Walk. It is a fun place for tourists and those who live in San Antonio as well.

TANJIM ARAFAT SAJIB from Bangladesh on August 02, 2011:

Great hub....you have written well.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on October 07, 2010:

Hello Abecedarian,

Since my mother-in-law no longer lives in San Antonio we do not get over there nearly as often. Thanks for describing what will be happening to the Riverwalk. Sounds absolutely wonderful! It will certainly help spur tourism to the Mission San Jose and probably the other missions once people see that one. There is so much history in San Antonio! My husband will be very interested in reading this as he spent many of his childhood years in San Antonio. Thanks!

Lady Liberty from These United States, Texas on October 07, 2010:

Peggy, this an amazing hub. I can understand why people think the Alamo is small, the outlying wall of the Alamo includes the park in front of it and other buildings were distroyed in the battle and with time. I don't know how long it's been since you've been to San Antonio, but the Riverwalk will be an amazing place to see in a couple of years. It's expanding all the way to Mission San Jose. They tore down the old drive-in theatre and are building a mega library with outdoor theatre for "movie in the park" type affair. The river taxi will charge a day pass fee so that tourists can get off and on at different locations.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 01, 2010:

Greetings Anolinde,

If you can possibly visit the San Antonio Riverwalk around Christmas-time, with all the sparkling lights in the trees reflecting in the water below, your family would be dazzled by the beauty. Hope your wish comes true! Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment.

Jane Simmons from Niigata on April 30, 2010:

I've been there once with my ex-boyfriend. Absolutely beautiful, especially at night! Would love to take my family there one of these days :) Great hub!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on November 15, 2009:

Hi successfulblogger,

I have to agree with you! We have enjoyed San Antonio's Riverwalk all times of the day and night. So much to offer not only tourists but also local residents. Soon the Christmas lights will be hanging from the trees reflecting in the water. Pretty time of year over there. Thanks for commenting.

successfulblogger from Los Angeles,Ca on November 15, 2009:

The Riverwalk is fun, both during the day and at night.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on November 10, 2009:

Hello Truth From Truth,

Hope you get to San Antonio, Texas and get to enjoy the Riverwalk, Los Patios, The Alamo, the missions and much, much more. It really IS a fun tourist destination! Glad you liked this hub.

It is my pleasure reading your hubs. The best way to get people reading your hubs is to read and comment on other people's hubs. Often people do the nice thing and reciprocate.

Thanks for the comments.

Truth From Truth from Michigan on November 10, 2009:

Ive always wanted to go to San Antonio

after reading your hub

it sounds even more tempting

great pictures , well placed information

thank you

Truth From Truth from Michigan on November 10, 2009:

thanks for checking my hub page

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on October 27, 2009:

Hi Laurel,

Wouldn't count on the lottery. Gave up on that idea years ago...just can't stand throwing money away. Ha!

Visiting San Antonio did not cost us much beyond the gas getting there as my mother-in-law used to live in that city. She has now gone on to her next life...but we surely enjoyed seeing more of San Antonio when she was alive. At the least...we had free lodging!

Laurel Oakes on October 27, 2009:

I need to win the lottery just so I can go to all the wonderful places in your Hub's.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on October 24, 2009:

Hello Wendi M,

Have a wonderful time on the Riverwalk seeing the great lighting display this year. Nice that you get to visit San Antonio that often. Thanks for the comment. Do you have favorite places or are you still trying the different ones out each time?

Wendi M on October 23, 2009:

I love this Hub. My parents moved down to Medina, from New England, 4 years ago. I was flying down there once a year, and spending at least one night on the Riverwalk each time.

I've already been down there twice this year, and I'm flying back down for Thanksgiving. We're supposed to spend the Saturday night after Thanksgiving on the Riverwalk to see the display of Lights.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on October 23, 2009:

Hello Prosehag,

You certainly confirmed the idea that San Antonio's Riverwalk is a fun tourist destination! Thanks for recording your fondness for this area. Wish I was sitting alongside the river right now!

Prosehag from Central Savannah Riparian Area of Gawga on October 23, 2009:

I LOVE the Riverwalk; your hub is well written and informative-- I like that you include the history of the river area, because the transformation is truly amazing. Many other cities would do well to do similar things with their own rivers.

The Christmas lights coming on at the Thanksgiving celebration, with the boat parade and entertainments--all those bands and other music--, is the best!! Fun for everyone!I have only great memories of San Aantonio!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on October 22, 2009:

Hello GNelson,

Nice to hear that you enjoyed San Antonio's Riverwalk so much that you went back with your wife. Hopefully she liked it as much as did you. Thanks for the comment.

GNelson from Florida on October 22, 2009:

The riverwalk at Christmas was very nice! Went there on business and had to go back with my wife.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on October 22, 2009:

Hello The Rope,

Very happy to have given you a bit more information about San Antonio, Texas and the Riverwalk. Thanks for leaving a comment. Am sure that if you go, you will enjoy yourself.

The Rope from SE US on October 22, 2009:

keep hearing how great it is, this hub really lays everything out, makes me want to visit even more. thanks for a good read!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on October 21, 2009:

Hi jill of alltrades,

I also hope that you can visit the Riverwalk in San Antonio someday and also see many of the other sites in that great city. Thanks for reading and leaving a comment.

jill of alltrades from Philippines on October 21, 2009:

Very interesting! I wish I can visit one day!

Thank you for sharing.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on October 21, 2009:

Hi Candie,

Will check it. Thanks for the heads-up. Don't check it as often as I should. LOL

Candie V from Whereever there's wolves!! And Bikers!! Cummon Flash, We need an adventure! on October 21, 2009:

Hey! Oh, I wanna I wanna I wanna!! (PS, check your email..sent you a request!)

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on October 21, 2009:

Hello Candie,

I really, REALLY! hope you get to visit there since you so DEARLY want to become a tourist in San Antonio. Let me know when you go and perhaps we can meet under one of those colorful umbrella tables on the Riverwalk. Wouldn't THAT be nice! Thanks for the comment.

Candie V from Whereever there's wolves!! And Bikers!! Cummon Flash, We need an adventure! on October 21, 2009:

Ah, Peggy, you've done it again! This is one place I would dearly (did I say 'dearly'?.. I mean 'DEARLY') love to visit! I've seen photos of it at night, and it is spectacular!! Great hub.. and thank you!!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on October 21, 2009:

Hi Ethel,

I had gone over to San Antonio with a fellow OR nurse the year after graduating and we did more touring. Thus, the Sunken Garden backdrop. May do some more hubs about things in San Antonio in the future. Glad you enjoyed the trip and the old photo. (Smile)

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on October 21, 2009:

Hi Hello, hello,

Like you...I also like reading about other places. Glad you enjoyed this hub about the Riverwalk in San Antonio, Texas. If you ever come for a visit, you will have some idea of what there is to do and see while there. Thanks for the comment.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on October 21, 2009:

Hi agusfanani,

This link will tell you more about the legendary hero Jim Bowie: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Bowie He died at The Alamo fighting off forces from Mexico during the battle for Texas independence.

Lots of history in San Antonio, Texas! Thanks for commenting.

Ethel Smith from Kingston-Upon-Hull on October 21, 2009:

Well I enjoyed this trip. Nice touch the photo from your dating days :)

Hello, hello, from London, UK on October 21, 2009:

This is a great hub and I like reading about other places. Thank you for sharing these photos and bringing all these information to our attention.

agusfanani from Indonesia on October 20, 2009:

As answered the poll that I never visited Texas, but this hub has given quite a lot information about Texas. I'd read a story about Fort of Alamo and I think it depicted heroic sides of American. One story which I liked very much about a legendary soldier Jim Bowie also came from this city, right ?

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on October 20, 2009:

Happy that you liked this San Antonio Riverwalk hub, sukhera143. Thanks!

sukhera143 from Home on October 20, 2009:

Great hub.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on October 20, 2009:

Greetings Godslittlechild,

They have celebrations along the Riverwalk many different times throughout the year and it really gets decorated at Christmas time. Colored lights dangling from the trees with reflections in the water make it really pretty. Glad to have shown you a bit more about it and thanks for leaving a comment.

Godslittlechild on October 20, 2009:

I saw the Riverwalk 4th of July Celebration one year on tv. It looked wonderful to me and your hub confirms it!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on October 20, 2009:

Hello loveroflife,

I agree! I was simply concentrating on the Riverwalk in San Antonio and may address some other sites in the future with hubs. Thanks for reading and leaving a comment. Obviously you, like Pete, have visited San Antonio.

loveroflife on October 20, 2009:

Old Spanish missions, especially San Jose Mission, are also great attractions in San Antonio.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on October 20, 2009:

Hey Pete,

What is this negative attitude about visiting Texas? There is much here to like if pointed in the right direction. (Smile) So you have visited the Riverwalk and Alamo in San Antonio. The Alamo seems particularly small being surrounded by the city as it is. We all had the same reaction as you when seeing it for the first time.

Pete Maida on October 20, 2009:

I'm not a big fan of visiting Texas but I thought the Riverwalk was a great place. I was also amazed at how small the Alamo was.

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