The Alamo, the River Walk, the historic Spanish colonial architecture, Tex-Mex food and the San Antonio Fiesta draw roughly 39 million tourists annually to San Antonio, one of Texas’ most-visited cities. But if you prefer a less-traveled itinerary in San Antonio, we’ve found off-the-radar and new things to see and do in the Alamo City.
Spill Your Secrets
The Secrets room at Hopscotch — an incredibly stimulating, interactive art gallery — urges you to confess. In a pitch-black room, illuminated only by a neon sign that reads, “Nothing makes us so lonely as our secrets,” you can listen to other people’s deep dark secrets from an old-school payphone and unload your own in a private phone booth.
Stunning Strip Mall Dining
San Antonio’s booming food scene matches the innovation and creativity found in any major city. Clementine, a more relaxed fine-dining restaurant hidden in an unassuming strip mall, serves as one of the city’s crown jewels. To experience the full breadth of chef John Russ’ mastery, opt for the family-style “Feed Me” menu. Served omakase-style, his experiments with in-season produce, like white mushroom salad with pomegranate and chamomile-brined chicken, resemble works of art — on both the plate and the palate.
Texan Wine Tasting
San Antonio’s only downtown winery, Rerooted, serves wine — made by owner and sommelier Jennifer Beckmann, it features Texas Hill Country-grown grapes — from kegs, saving millions of pounds of glass from landfill. The industrial-chic tasting room in Hemisfair Park offers flights, snacks and wine growlers to go.
Phil Collins’ Obsession
Part of the Alamo Exhibit at the Ralston Family Collections Center that opened in March, the Phil Collins Collection provides a new reason to remember the Alamo. Enamored by Davy Crockett as a boy watching Disney’s King of the Wild Frontier show, the British rock star has gathered Alamo artifacts for decades. The Alamo now displays more than 400 pieces of Collins’ unique collection, including original documents, weapons (like Crockett’s rifle) and other relics.
Bath House Bar
Debuted in January near the remnants of a former hot springs retreat roughly 15 minutes south of downtown, Camp Hot Wells offers an unusual perk with your beer or wine: a complimentary foot soak in a tub of natural sulfur hot springs. It also has private tubs that can accommodate up to 10 people for a soak, though you must sign up for a free membership to reserve these spaces.
Seek Sanctuary at the Spa
In the heart of San Antonio’s River Walk district, the Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star Mokara Hotel & Spa offers an in-the-know ode to wellness. Step off the busy riverside path for some well-deserved pampering at the best spa in the city: the 17,000-square-foot Four-Star Mokara Spa. After a complimentary glass of prosecco and time spent lounging in the large Jacuzzi, eucalyptus steam room or dry cedar sauna, you’ll be whisked off for a premium treatment, like the Hydrafacial or Warm River Stone massage.
Boot Camp for Cooks
Visit the Culinary Institute of America steps away from the trendy, Forbes Travel Guide Recommended Hotel Emma in the Pearl District for themed cooking, baking and mixology classes. The institute even offers multi-day boot camps — like one on grilling and barbecue — for ambitious home chefs.
Kayak the Walk
Many have sauntered along San Antonio’s legendary River Walk, but few have kayaked it. Tour the 15-mile River Walk’s Museum Reach section — from the Pearl District to Brooklyn Avenue Lock and Dam — by kayak or stand-up board on weekends. Rent one from Mission Adventure Tours.
Alamo City houses not one but two new gaming centers. Opened in 2022, Boeing Center’s Tech Port Center and Arena include a LAN Gaming Center with 60 high-performance gaming computers, a food hall and bar, the San Antonio Museum of Science and Technology, an event venue and more. In May, Six Flags Fiesta Texas debuted a first-of-its-kind e-sports arena: ESIX Gaming powered by Coca-Cola. It features a 52-seat lounge with cell phone charging stations, 50 PCs, 10 game consoles, a Coke VIP lounge and retail space for testing the latest gaming equipment before purchasing. Game on!