San Antonio - Deep in the Heart

San Antonio is the seventh largest city in the United States and has a multitude of activities to offer. Not only will you get to experience the great activities and scenic beauty of the JW Marriott Hill Country, but you could venture off-site for many more wonderful site-seeing adventures.

Take a walk through Texas history in scenic San Antonio. San Antonio offers a wealth of culture, history, and some of the best Tex-Mex cuisine in the state. Check out the following sites for a taste of what San Antonio has to offer!

Show Us Your Badge

Flash your conference badge to receive discounts or free items at local restaurants! Click here for a list of participating San Antonio restaurants as well as a list of major restaurants, bars, and night clubs in the area and a map to find them all!

TIP:Don't toss those badges out before going back to the airport, as select retailers and restaurants at the San Antonio International Airport also offer a 10 percent discount!

Six Flags Fiesta Texassee below for special ODTUG discounts! 

Enjoy exciting rides like the popular Superman: Krypton Coaster or family-friendly Wagon Wheel. For those looking to cool off, check out White Water Bay, full of ways to splash into summer.

Click here to check out special Six Flags’ discounts for ODTUG including discounted tickets, parking, and meal vouchers.

Tower of the Americas
Check out the Tower of the Americas, a 750-foot tower giving patrons a breathtaking view of San Antonio and beyond. Enjoy a trip to the top of the tower, visit the observation deck, and make plans to enjoy lunch or dinner at the Tower Café. Want to see all of Texas from overhead? Enjoy the new Skies over Texas 4D Theater ride. 

SeaWorld San Antonio
Get the chance to see whales, dolphins, and other marine life up close. Enjoy rides like the Steel Eel or visit SeaWorld’s own Lost Lagoon water park.

Step Back Through Time: The Missions & Alamo
San Antonio began as a community of five Spanish colonial missions built along the spring-fed San Antonio River. Today, all five missions are open to the public, including the Alamo. Also stop by the Espada Acequia at Mission Espada—this irrigation system is one of the oldest of its kind and was originally constructed to irrigate the mission’s surrounding farmlands. For easy access from mission to mission, San Antonio’s twelve-mile Mission Trail is perfect and welcomes hiking and biking.

Escape (Down) to the River Walk
Looking for a riverside oasis to indulge in cultural beauty, shaded parks, and the sounds of lapping waves? Escape to San Antonio’s famed River Walk. This crossroads of culture and commerce offers meandering pathways along the banks of the San Antonio River, one story beneath the city proper.
The River Walk’s latest addition is the Museum Reach which stretches north from downtown and connects the existing River Walk to the San Antonio Museum of Art and the Pearl Brewery complex, with shops and restaurants. Public art lines the banks. And don’t miss the lock and dam system, the only one in Texas. The River Walk will expand to thirteen miles to connect San Antonio’s missions with cultural districts and museums in the next few years.

Linger in La Villita
Along the banks of the River Walk, you’ll find La Villita “the little village.” Originally established by Spanish soldiers stationed at the Alamo, La Villita has been reincarnated as a historic arts village where beautifully restored residences house galleries and shops full of interesting sights. You might even catch a performance at La Villita’s outdoor Arneson River Theatre.

It's Free Live Music
Located adjacent to the River Walk and San Fernando Cathedral, the nation’s largest cathedral sanctuary, Main Plaza is ready to welcome you with a medley of free weekend concerts—from legendary conjunto performers and troubadours to blues and country musicians. Sit back under the centuries-old live oaks, listen to the many fountains, and discover what a weekend in San Antonio is really like.
Live duos are featured on the outdoor patio at the River Walk's renowned classic jazz club, The Landing, (weather permitting) from 3:00 p.m. on. One of the oldest jazz clubs in the U.S., The Landing and the Jim Cullum Jazz Band star in the NPR radio show, Riverwalk Jazz. The San Antonio Summer Art and Jazz Festival, an annual free three-day event held on the first full weekend of June, features ten great jazz concerts, an arts and crafts fair, and delicious Texas cuisine. It's great fun and entertainment for the whole family.

Watch Working Artists
San Antonio’s culture thrives in a variety of arts districts. One burgeoning art scene is Southtown. Here you can stop into Garcia Art Glass and watch celebrated glass blower Gini Garcia and her talented staff create one-of-a-kind keepsakes. Not far away, Market Square (the largest Mexican market in the nation) is a haven for working artists. From painters and musicians to wood-workers and a blacksmith, this sanctuary of culture is a San Antonio must-see.

Explore History through Architecture
Just south of downtown, the King William Historic District -- the first historic district in Texas -- reflects San Antonio’s European heritage in a gracious residential area settled in the late 1800s by German immigrants. These beautiful Greek revival, Victorian, and Italianate-style mansions have been well maintained and are considered to comprise one of San Antonio’s most elite neighborhoods. Take a self-guided walking tour. Free brochure guides and maps are provided atsaconservation.org.

Savor the Splendor of a Mariachi Mass
Every Saturday at 5:30 p.m., San Fernando Cathedral, the oldest cathedral sanctuary in the nation, offers a bilingual mariachi mass. This is the perfect way to immerse yourself in the culture of San Antonio while marveling at stunning architecture and religious works of art.

San Antonio Zoo
The San Antonio Zoo is the third largest zoo in the country with winding paths, limestone cliffs, and large shady trees. While visiting the zoo, hop aboard the zoo’s Eagle Train.

  • Eagle Train
    Take a journey through the park’s shaded landscapes and attractions aboard a miniature train, the San Antonio Zoo Eagle.

Find Your Muse at Museums

San Antonio has many distinct museums that you won’t find anywhere else—and you can visit them (at the right times) free of charge.

  • McNay Art Museum- Free Thursday nights and the first Sunday of the month. The McNay Art Museum is set in a 1920s mansion and has wide-ranging collections, including post-impressionist and modern pieces, theater-centered works, medieval offerings, Native American art, and more.
  • San Antonio Children's Museum
    Up to four children free accompanied by paying adult, third Thursday of the month from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. The San Antonio Children's Museum gives youngsters fun ways to explore the world around them. Kids operate elevators with a pulley, create bubbles they can stand in, land a plane, stage a play, mine for diamonds, open a bank account, milk a cow, create an artistic masterpiece, and much more. The new Science City teaches them to think like scientists.
  • San Antonio Museum of Art
    Free Tuesdays from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. The San Antonio Museum of Art is housed in a castle-like building that was formerly the Lone Star Brewery. This museum is noted for its antiquities collections and the 30,000 square-foot Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Latin American Art—the largest repository of its kind.
  • Witte Museum
    Free Tuesdays 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. The Witte Museum is San Antonio's premiere museum of South Texas history, culture, and natural science. Located on the banks of the San Antonio River, the Witte offers permanent exhibits that include dinosaur skeletons, cave drawings, wildlife dioramas, and even several historic homes.

Park It!

Get out and enjoy San Antonio’s year-round great weather. The city has many parks that are free and fun for the entire family. Here are a few favorites!

  • Phil Hardberger Park
    The Phil Hardberger Park features 1.5 miles of multi-use trails, a 1.8-acre dog park, picnic facilities, and a large playground. For even more outdoor action, park-goers can access the Salado Creek Greenway Blanco to Huebner segment near the Voelcker homestead in Hardberger Park and enjoy an additional 1.7 miles of trail.
  • Brackenridge Park
    One of the city’s most beloved parks, Brackenridge Park, is a 343-acre refuge in the heart of the city that offers a full day of family fun. This oak-studded oasis follows the northern bends of the San Antonio River, creating many alcoves perfect for picnics. There is also a stunning playground, trails for quiet walks, and a dog park for four-legged entertainment. Sidled up next to Brackenridge Park is the Japanese Tea Garden.
  • Japanese Tea Garden
    A botanical retreat that offers stone walking paths woven through ambient gardens and ponds brimming with Koi—all at no cost! Brackenridge Park is also adjacent to the San Antonio Zoo.
  • HemisFair Park
    Originally the site of San Antonio’s 1968 World’s Fair, HemisFair Park is a lush, greenscape in the middle of bustling downtown San Antonio. Enjoy water gardens, public art, and historic homes as well as an imaginative 15-acre playground for kids. Splurge on the modest entrance fees to the Majik Children’s Theater, the Institute of Texan Cultures, and the 750-foot-tall Tower of the Americas.
  • San Pedro Park
    San Antonio's oldest park and the second oldest park in the United States behind Boston Common, San Pedro Park provides a beautiful and historic setting where you can take a swim in a lake shaded by cypress trees. The park is also home to San Pedro Playhouse, the San Pedro branch library, McFarlin Tennis Center, and the Koger Stokes Softball Complex.

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