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San Antonio is one of our favorite US cities to visit. Not as popular as its neighbor Austin, San Antonio has lots of fun things to do with kids and toddlers and should not be overlooked! Dave and I have been before and I’ve also been with my mom, but it was Milana’s first time. We were there for 3.5 days and had a blast! Read on for our top picks for things to do in San Antonio with toddlers and kids. San Antonio is one of the few cities with many restaurant playgrounds, making it a great destination for families with young kids!
We stayed at the Hyatt Regency San Antonio Riverwalk and I couldn’t recommend it more! The staff is phenomenal (everyone from valet to front desk to management) and the location can’t be beat. When you walk outside of the hotel, you’re in the middle of the river walk. We had a room facing the river walk and our stay was great. I highly recommend staying here if visiting the city!
Downstairs below the lobby, was a small candy/ice cream store, with a tv/kid chairs outside. It was a great way to cool off and rest in between exploring!
One of the highlights in San Antonio is the Alamo. You can read up on the history of the Alamo and when you visit, you can do an audio tour to learn more about the significance.
Since the hotel was right in the middle of the river walk, we spent quite a bit of time there! Milana loved wandering and checking out all the shops and restaurants.
If you don’t want to walk everywhere, there are water taxis or guided river cruises you can take. We opted for a water taxi, which will pick you up anywhere on the river walk, you just need to flag them down.
Just like most major cities, San Antonio has a children’s museum called The DoSeum. We have been to quite a few all over the US and overseas, and I will say that this was one of our least favorites. The outside area was great, however when it’s hot (it gets really hot in SA!), it’s unbearable to be without shade. The metal slide was designed very poorly. Sitting in direct sun, it gets incredibly hot and people were catching kids before they hit the hot bottom so that they don’t get burned. Inside, most of the activities were geared toward older kids and they lacked the interactive exhibits we’ve seen at other museums. Still, Milana had a blast, especially in the outdoor creek area.
Across the street from the DoSeum, is Kiddie Park, the oldest children’s amusement park in the country! It’s best for kids 2-6, as the rides are small and won’t fit bigger kids. Milana loved it and it was cool to see such a landmark!
One afternoon, we visited the Historic Market Square. It’s the largest Mexican market outside of Mexico. Here you will find over 100 locally owned shops, selling everything you can imagine. There are restaurants and food vendors as well. It reminded us of the markets we’ve been to in Mexico and it’s a great way to spend the afternoon! Milana found this cute sweater, and insisted on buying it. She wore it for the rest of the day, even though it was nearly 90 degrees outside!
The highlight of our trip was visiting Barney Smith’s Toilet Seat Museum. I first visited Barney in 2003 with my mom and loved his art! Barney, a retired plumber, is well-known in San Antonio and creates toilet seat art that he displays in his garage. He will be 96 later this month and has recently sold his entire collection to someone in Dallas, where it’s currently being displayed. He’s very friendly, very proud of his work and will happily host visitors! Just be sure to call first, since it takes him a little time to get ready and set everything up. I asked Milana which was her favorite, and she said all of them and I have to agree!
About 20 minutes from downtown, is the Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch, a drive through safari. The admission is per person and you are handed a bag of food when you enter. You must stay in your car while feeding the animals, this was definitely a huge highlight for Milana! The animals are not wild animals and are used to being fed by people. They are very well taken care of and this facility takes conservation very seriously. Dave and I were here when we visited, and it was nice to bring Milana to experience it as well.
San Antonio is one of the few places in the US that has a ton of restaurants with playgrounds and play areas. We couldn’t visit them all, so we settled on a couple. The first one we visited was Two Bros BBQ. The food was really good and they had a playground in the backyard, which was perfect for Milana.
Another place popular with families is El Machito. This San Antonio restaurant has a playground that is large and fun for all ages. It’s a Mexican restaurant that gets packed in the evenings, so arrive early. The food here is really good! Milana had the roasted chicken with rice and beans and elote for her meal and loved it. For dessert, she couldn’t decide between the churros or flan, so we got both! The churros here are amazing, one of the best we’ve had.
San Antonio has a surprisingly large number of vegan/vegetarian restaurants. We started off with Revolucion, which has cold-pressed juices and we use them at home, but didn’t like it at all! It was the only one we truly hated and wouldn’t recommend. Their juices were just awful and their coffee was not drinkable. We ended up throwing most of it away, a huge waste of money since that stuff isn’t cheap! The only good thing here was the acai bowl, but I wouldn’t travel here just for that.
Down the street from the hotel was Señor Veggie. They have a pretty extensive menu and their food was really good! Dave and I had the Good Karma bowl which had quinoa, black beans, kale, tempeh, mushrooms, carrots and turnip. The kid meals were amazing and Milana chose the broccoli rice bowl, which had broccoli, rice and black beans.
But our favorite restaurant in the city was a short walk from the hotel, Pharm Table. This place believes food has the power to heal and uses only the freshest local ingredients. Menus vary daily, depending on what is seasonally available. I had the tacos, which had lots of pickled and roasted veggies and non GMO corn tortillas. Dave had a quinoa bowl, which was really good too. Milana loved their brownie balls, made out of dates and cocoa.
We didn’t really dine on the River Walk, but one day we had some pretzels and sausages at the Biergarten. It’s right next to the hotel, closer to the Alamo side. The pretzels were just as good as the ones we had in Germany and the sausages were all really good!
There are lots of things to do in San Antonio with kids. Lots of activities, and great food options. If you’re considering visiting the city with kids, you won’t be disappointed!