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Visiting San Antonio, Texas, you can’t miss going to the Alamo. If you do, everyone will wonder what you did instead and you’ll be left questioning whether you should have just gone! My first impression was that it was so small – I was expecting a big fort. I soon learned that it was much more than that. Most importantly, it is FREE to visit, a part of US history and a must-see. After all, how many places will you visit that have their own battle cry?

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outside of old building - The Alamo

What is the Alamo?

Any student of American history will tell you that the Alamo was a fort. But in reality, it was a mission in this area (you may also want to visit the other Missions while you’re here!). With battle cries like “Remember the Alamo!” and “Come and Take It!” the Alamo represents the spirit of some of the earliest Americans. But that battle didn’t take place until February 23rd to March 6th, 1836. During the Battle of the Alamo, the Americans held out during an assault by Mexican troops under General Santa Anna. This is where Davy Crockett and Jim Bowie met their death.

Founded in the 18th century, the Alamo de Valero was a Roman Catholic mission which was to convert the local Indians. It eventually became a fortress compound. The Alamo served as a central location for farming. The Alamo is one of five missions in San Antonio which are recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

education signs at the Alamo

What you’ll see.

The building you see in all the photos was the mission’s church. The long barrack is the oldest building in town and can also be visited. In the last ten years, these historical display boards have been added that help you understand what happened here throughout the last three centuries.

The grounds themselves are beautiful. Walking around, you’ll see a tent recreation of what it must have been like to stay inside the Alamo when it was used as a fort.

Alamo water feature in alamo grounds
Koi fish live in this water feature.

How to get here.

The Alamo is a short walk away from the River Walk. If you’re staying at the Marriott Rivercenter, it is about a block and a half away. If you’re staying further away, there are plenty of parking garages nearby, or take the Viva bus – the three tourist lines all stop at the Alamo. There are plenty of parking lots nearby, but you’ll be paying quite a bit of money to parking meters.

large tree on Alamo grounds

Know Before You Go:

  • Entrance is free – donations are appreciated.
  • It gets really crowded on weekends. If possible, visit during the week or early in the morning.
  • Texas is HOT ya’ll! If you have the option, visit in the fall or spring.
  • You can walk on your own or take a tour – $7 for self-guided or $15 for an hour tour.
  • Photos of the iconic church without anyone in front of it are rare! Wake up early!
  • Check the park schedule for live reenactments.
tent in park on Alamo grounds

Wondering what else to do while you’re in San Antonio? Take a look at these 10 Things To Do in San Antonio.

You can find out more officials details on their website.

Happy travels!

Annick, The Common Traveler

You can't miss The Alamo if you're in San Antonio, Texas, USA. Here are some tips to know before you go.