The San Antonio Riverwalk is a special place. I love going there, and I know my wife loves it too!
The San Antonio Riverwalk is in downtown San Antonio. It consists of a network of walkways on the banks of the San Antonio River.
The walkways, one level below street level, are lined with many restaurants, shops, and hotels. They connect many of downtown San Antonio’s attractions.
When I first went to the Riverwalk with my family and a few friends several years ago, it felt to me like I was in Venice, Italy.
It was a Friday evening. We arrived after dark and the subdued lighting created a special atmosphere. There was a buzz in the Riverwalk that I had not experienced anywhere else in Texas before.
That special memory has stayed with me ever since!
We usually come from north of downtown San Antonio, going south on I-37 (Hwy 281). I take Exit 141-A and turn right onto E. Commerce Street. This takes us past the Rivercenter Mall, and the San Antonio Riverwalk is right there. There are a few “pay” parking lots in the area.
Take a look at my map of San Antonio attractions to help you find your your way to the Riverwalk.
Once I’ve parked, we make our way to the Rivercenter Mall’s Food Court where there is access to the Riverwalk.
If my family and I go to The Alamo first, we cross the street in front of the main entrance to The Alamo, go down some stairs that lead to a hotel, walk through the hotel, and voila!
I find it fun to simply walk along the San Antonio Riverwalk and enjoy the ambience.
My kids, however, feel constantly drawn to the water! (See the little guy with the “3” on his back?)
So I tend to keep an eye on them just in case the urge for a quick swim becomes overwhelming!
All the walking becomes tiring, and there’s nothing like stopping off at one of the many restaurants along the way for something good to eat and drink.
One of my favorite lunch restaurants is the Mad Dogs pub. It’s an English pub that serves traditional pub-fare. My favorite is Bangers & Mash, and my wife and kids love the Fish & Chips!
If English pub-fare is not your thing, there are many other choices!
When my kids start to get antsy, the best way to restore their excitement is to take them on a boat ride!
There are inexpensive 35-minute boat tours on the Riverwalk every day from about 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. They are great fun! The tour leaders give lots of information on the history of the Riverwalk. I like taking our out-of-state guests on this tour and everyone loves it!
We also sometimes take the river taxi. These boats are similar to the boats used for the tours. They stop at almost 40 places along the San Antonio Riverwalk.
The company who operates the boats works with some of the San Antonio Riverwalk restaurants to do dinner or cocktail cruises. I like this a lot. It makes for a very nice romantic cruise!
The ticket stations for a boat cruise can be tough to find if you just start wandering around the Riverwalk like my family and I did. Since then I discovered that there are ticket stations at the Rivercenter Mall, Market St. Bridge, and at the Holiday Inn Riverwalk.
I like dining at the Riverwalk. There is a special atmosphere in the Riverwalk in the evenings.
My favorite restaurants are Biga on the Banks, Acenar, Texas Land & Cattle Steakhouse, and Landry’s Seafood House.
Biga on the Banks is a great restaurant for a romantic meal, like an anniversary dinner! It has outdoor seating with very nice views of the Riverwalk. It is a bit more expensive, but the great variety of food and the service makes it worth it for our special occasions.
Acenar is a popular Mexican restaurant with great food and a very nice atmosphere. It has outside tables with a nice view of the river.
The Texas Land & Cattle Steakhouse is an old family-favorite. We have one near our house and eat there regularly. My kids love going there, especially for the deserts. The TXLC in the Riverwalk is no different. Great food for a reasonable price!
Landry’s Seafood House is a child-friendly restaurant with a nice, casual atmosphere. My kids like it a lot. I do too!
I definitely suggest that you make reservations. The Riverwalk is very popular, especially over weekends, and wait-times can get longer than your stomach would prefer!
There are several attractions near the San Antonio Riverwalk that I like to go to.
The Alamo is one of my favorites. My wife loves shopping at the Rivercenter Mall and we all like the movies. I have also taken the kids to the IMAX theater inside the Rivercenter Mall. My kids think the Ripley’s Believe It Or Not and Guiness Book of World Records stores across the road from The Alamo’s main entrance are very cool. So do I!
Every year around the second week of January is the Mud Festival. This is when the Riverwalk is drained and cleaned. I think it’s quite stunning how different the Riverwalk looks with no water!
We enjoy staying in a hotel near the Riverwalk, or even on the Riverwalk. I will tell you about our favorite San Antonio Riverwalk hotels on a separate page.
As I said in the beginning, I love the San Antonio Riverwalk, and my family does too!