Alamo Plaza is arguably the most iconic landmark in San Antonio. The commercial centre is renowned for being part of the 18th-century Mission San Antonio de Valero’s original courtyard. The most famous of San Antonio’s 5 missions is the Alamo. The Battle of the Alamo between Mexican and Texan soldiers took place on the grounds in 1836, making it a symbol of Texan heritage and independence.

Whether you are a history buff or just keen to discover San Antonio’s intriguing past, Alamo Plaza is a fantastic place for visitors to start their trip. As a popular tourist attraction, the plaza can get busy. Plan your visit early in the morning or late in the afternoon when the crowds are at their smallest. The plaza’s central location means that after you’ve explored the Alamo, you are within easy walking distance to a host of other excellent tourist spots and restaurants. 

Alamo Plaza in San Antonio - one of the highlights of 10 Most Popular Streets in San Antonio (Read all about San Antonio here)

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What are the highlights of Alamo Plaza?

Alamo Plaza is both a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a place of pilgrimage for proud Texans. The landmark attracts those who want to explore the site where hundreds of brave revolutionaries, including Davy Crockett and James Bowie, died fighting for Texas’s independence from Mexico. More than a museum or attraction, The Alamo Mission is considered a shrine to the fallen soldiers who held out for 13 days against General Antonio Lopez de Santa Ana. Upon entering, visitors are asked to remove their hats and to keep their voices down.

The main chapel displays historical artefacts and paraphernalia, including a period knife and Crockett’s buckskin vest. The Long Barrack Museum is a former residence for the Spanish priests and later a hospital for soldiers. Here, you can watch a short video about the Alamo Siege and the Texas revolution. The exhibits at the Alamo Gift Shop and Museum provide some more interesting cultural information.

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What else can you do at Alamo Plaza?

Alamo Plaza is a great place to learn more about daily life during the 1830s. The Alamo’s hands-on demonstrations include what people wore, what kind of medical practices and instruments were common at that time, and what it was like to be part of the cannon crew. You can also take in Alamo Plaza’s historical significance with a stroll through the peaceful Alamo Gardens set behind the chapel. The pecan oak trees provide shady spots to people-watch while escaping the strong Texan sunshine.

The San Antonio River Walk is about 1 block from Alamo Plaza. The paved path runs alongside the San Antonio River and has dozens of restaurants, bars and cafes to suit all tastes.

Good to know about Alamo Plaza

Admission to the grounds, Alamo Church, and museum is free. If you’re interested in learning all the fascinating details of The Alamo’s storied past, you can either join a 1-hour guided tour or buy a self-guided audio tour that has multiple languages.

After spending half a morning exploring Alamo Plaza, you will have the rest of the day to discover the best spots in San Antonio. One block south from Alamo Plaza, on the River Walk, is the Shops at Rivercenter. The 4-floor shopping mall contains some 80 chain stores, an IMAX cinema and the Legoland Discovery Center.

If weird, wacky and strange things appeal to you, head to Ripley’s Believe it or Not Museum located opposite the plaza. You can also see taxidermy oddities at The Buckhorn Saloon & Museum. The museum is on pedestrian-friendly Houston Street, which borders the Alamo Plaza.

Within easy walking distance from the Alamo Mission is the Main Plaza, home to the 18th century Spanish Governor’s Palace and San Fernando Cathedral. Visitors looking for traditional Mexican food and souvenirs will find the 3-block Market Square a fun place to explore.

Alamo Plaza in San Antonio

Location: Alamo Plaza, San Antonio, TX 78205, USA

Open: May–September: daily from 9 am to 7 pm. September–May: daily from 9 am to 5.30 pm

Phone: +1 210-225-1391

Jacqui de Klerk | Contributing Writer