San Antonio's History and Culture

Lockaway Storage | November 1, 2022 @ 12:00 AM

San Antonio History - Beyond The Alamo

While virtually everyone has heard of The Alamo, there is a lot more history to be found in the city of San Antonio, Texas. Home to multiple UNESCO World Heritage Sites, museums, and lots of historic architecture from multiple periods; you can immerse yourself in the city’s history for days.

The Alamo and Downtown

Everyone goes to The Alamo, and while you’re there, walk across the street at Alamo Plaza, and visit the San Antonio Official Visitor Information Center, where you’ll find lots of, you guessed it, visitor info about everything that is available in the city, especially in the surrounding downtown and Riverwalk area. A short walk south will take you to La Villita Historic Arts Village. This was one of the city's earliest neighborhoods, and its cobblestone streets and period architecture are on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places. It’s also home to a thriving arts and dining scene.


A great way to see the city, and many of its sites – historic and otherwise – is the Hop On - Hop Off, double decker bus tour offered by San Antonio Sightseeing Tours.

Return to New Spain

Many people forget that San Antonio, and most of Texas, was once part of Mexico, and “New Spain” - the now defunct Spanish Empire. For history buffs, this is good news, as San Antonio’s early history was greatly influenced by the Spanish presence, and it's this Spanish history that now makes up the city’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The most popular of these sites is the Mission San José, which is one of the four missions that make up San Antonio Missions National Historical Park. For a deeper dive into San Antonio’s UNESCO sites, you can take a dedicated tour that leaves from many downtown hotel locations.

Fantastic 19th Century Architecture

If early Texas architecture is more your thing, you won’t be disappointed. The King William Association oversees five historic districts, including the most popular, and the city’s first, King William Historic District. This area was settled by wealthy German merchants in the late 1800s, and its 25 square blocks have many examples of historic mansions, set amid meticulously landscaped grounds.


Just north of the King William area is another popular spot - the Guenther House. This historic site, constructed in a combination of Art Nouveau and Victorian styles, is surrounded by lush gardens along the San Antonio River, and is home to a museum and a restaurant. The restaurant is VERY popular for breakfast and features indoor and al fresco dining.

Escape the Heat in a Museum

When you’re ready for some air-conditioned relief from San Antonio’s warm summers, you can cool off in one of the city’s many museums. Some of the city’s most popular museums are in the Uptown Broadway neighborhood, which is where you’ll find The Witte Museum - San Antonio's Nature, Science & Culture Center. Home to dinosaurs, art, a Texas heritage center, and more. Also popular in the neighborhood are the DoSeum kid’s museum, and the McNay Art Museum.

For a true Texas experience, don’t miss The Briscoe Western Art Museum, where you’ll find great examples of western art, housed in San Antonio’s original public library. For something a little edgier, check out the Buckhorn Saloon and Texas Ranger Museum

If you’re interested in history, San Antonio is hard to beat, and if you’re a fan of Texas history, it can’t be missed. Be sure to read our other San Antonio articles, featuring the Riverwalk and some of the best places to eat Downtown.

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