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When people think of San Antonio, two images come to mind: the Alamo and the River Walk.

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river walk in San Antonio

We’ve all seen the iconic images of the San Antonio River Walk – with open boats carrying visitors past historic buildings while others enjoy delicious meals along the River Walk. San Antonio’s River Walk is one of two iconic sights!

The River Walk features an area of walkways with restaurants and businesses along the downtown river. The River Walk’s downtown portion is about 2.5 miles long if you walked the entire area. Since the river wanders, it is usually shorter to take the streets above to get from point to point, but it is a lot prettier on the River Walk!

River Walk optical illusion building in San Antonio
This building looks like it is flat!

The Sites

The River Walk crosses through several important areas of downtown San Antonio. The River Walk passes by the Convention Center, the Tower of the Americas, and the Rivercenter Mall. It is just a block or two from other important San Antonio locations – think The Alamo, St. Joseph’s Church, and the art deco theaters like Aztec and Majestic. To me, the most fun part of the River Walk is just walking by and seeing all the gorgeous areas and hear about their history.

open boat on San Antonio River Walk

Boat Tour

You can catch the GoRio at two spots along the River Walk. On a busy weekend, you’ll wait approximately 45 minutes for a boat ride. Once you’re on, the ride itself lasts approximately 45 minutes. The most important aspect of the ride is the historical points you’ll learn from your guide – plus you don’t have to walk! At a cost of $12 (discounts available to some groups), I actually recommend taking this tour if you’ve got the time. We did not buy the tickets in advance but you can get a discount if you do. Check out their website. (You can take your drinks on the tour, including alcoholic drinks!)

River Walk

Walking Tour

While most walking tours in San Antonio don’t solely focus on the River Walk, since it is an important part of the city’s history, at least portions of the tour will include the River Walk. While there are many different kinds of tours you can take, depending on your interests, I was extremely pleased with my free walking tour from Amigo Tours and I highly recommend them. Their business just started summer 2018 and I was not compensated in any way to endorse them – they’re just that good!

River Walk Rivercenter Mall in San Antonio, Texas

I do feel that some of the restaurants here don’t try too hard since they know that tourists will be coming anyway, so I would warn you to check out Yelp reviews before you commit to a place for dinner. On the other hand, we ate at Fogo de Chau (an all you can eat Brazilian steak place) and had an excellent dinner.

I recommend taking one of the Viva buses to visit the other cultural and tourist areas of San Antonio like the Missions. Each line stops by the Rivercenter so it is convenient to get to other spots.

River Walk tree growing out of stone wall with lights on it
This tree grows out of the wall!

Know Before You Go

  • Hotels on the River Walk are convenient but expensive. Select a hotel a block or two away.
  • It is very crowded on the weekends. Visit during the week if possible.
  • Take the boat tour – you won’t regret it!
  • The River Walk is free.
  • Check a restaurant’s review before selecting it.

I’ve stayed at the San Antonio Marriott Rivercenter before and loved both its facilities (plenty of restaurants!) and location. You can walk outside directly onto the River Walk!

Looking for more things to do and see in San Antonio? Check out these great posts:

Happy travels!
Annick, The Common Traveler

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Don't miss the River Walk when visiting San Antonio, Texas. Here are some great ways to see it. #sanantonio #riverwalk
Don't miss the River Walk when visiting San Antonio, Texas. Here are some great ways to see it. #sanantonio #riverwalk