San Antonio - Travel Review

Updated: Mar 23, 2021

A few months ago, we went away on a six-week trip around America for our honeymoon! Now that we’re back, I’m doing a pretty thorough job of documenting it on my blog. I wrote one BIG post about the trip already, but as I’m the sort of person who likes surprises, and because it was already pretty long, I decided to take one thing from each place we went to – except for Chicago and Canada because we weren’t there for long – and talk about it in detail for those that want to know bits about it before they go or are just interested in our experience.

If you’re like me in the sense that you like to be surprised and don’t want “spoilers” about  something before you visit a place, you can read about everything we did in less detail in the original blog, here! I will be going into a bit of detail – not too much – here, so just keep that in mind!

I’ve already written about our trip to Alcatraz and Universal Studios which were pretty amazing! This post is going to be a little shorter than those, but not because I didn’t love the place I’ll be talking about, it was just a considerably smaller place than the previous two!

So far on the trip, we had traveled down from San Francisco to Los Angeles via Greyhound bus. We left L.A on a big Amtrak train, and traveled for over 30 hours to get to San Antonio, Texas!

Sadly, we were only in San Antonio for one whole day. We arrived really early in the morning – not long after 4am – went to bed in our amazing hotel (Best Western Sunset Suites) for a few hours, then got up to explore.

We didn’t see a lot of San Antonio, but the River Walk is really lovely, a great place to grab a bite to eat, and we really enjoyed walking around just taking it all in, because it was really beautiful.


San Antonio River Walk. Photo Credit – Ashleigh Nicole

There are loads of things to do in San Antonio – Mission San Jose, McNay Art Museum, Botanical Gardens and much more! As we only had one day, we chose something near by the hotel. The Alamo!

It’s such an iconic piece of America’s history, a must see!

Originally a Spanish mission (1700-1793), until it became occupied by the Spanish military, and it became an outpost and army garrison. It continued to be a military outpost once Mexico claimed independence from Spain, and then in it played a big part in the Texas revolution between 1835 to 1836. In 1836, the Texan rebels retreated into the Alamo, and it was then surrounded by Mexican soldiers. It was during this time that the Republic of Texas was born. The Mexican troops charged the Alamo, and many were killed in battle, including James Bowie and Davy Crockett. On April 21st, there was a battle near Houston, where there Texan forces defeated the Mexican troops, and the famous saying “Remember the Alamo!” was born!

This is just a very, very brief history of the Alamo. A really great site, that I used to refresh my memory can be found here.

Today, you can see many artifacts from those that fought during the battle of the Alamo, plus much more. It is open year round, and it’s free to enter. You don’t even need to book in advance, you can just stroll up to it and wait in line to enter. There is the option of the audio tour, or alternatively you can just walk around and read the signs. That’s what we did.

It is important to note that there are a number of rules to follow when visiting, as it is a shrine –

  1. Gentlemen, please remove your hats inside the Shrine.

  2. No open containers are allowed inside the buildings.

  3. No food or drinks are allowed inside the buildings.

  4. Photography is not allowed inside the buildings.

  5. No camera or cell phone use is permitted inside the buildings.

  6. Please do not touch the walls or display cases inside the Shrine unless cases are marked for interactive content.

  7. No pets are allowed on Alamo Grounds (service animals allowed).

  8. No obscene or offensive clothing is allowed.

  9. No bikes or skateboards are allowed on the grounds.

  10. Please lower your voice when speaking.

  11. No unauthorized weapons are allowed. Legal firearm carry allowed with state issued permit.

Some may think that these are little strict, or little excessive but I think it’s really nice and very respectful plus they aren’t really that hard to adhere to.

Anyway, we walked up to the Alamo and waited in quite a long line but we didn’t really mind because it’s such a beautiful place!


The Alamo Shrine. Photo Credit – Ashleigh Nicole

There are several different aspects to the Alamo site. The main building, which was originally the mission and is now The Shrine. Inside you can trace the battle that took place there and learn all about the soldiers that lost their lives, plus much more.

Along with The Shrine there is actually only one other original building. The Long Barrack (which I sadly don’t have a photo of!), first built as a convent and then used during the battle when the soldiers retreated inside of it.


Alamo Hall. Photo Credit – Ashleigh Nicole

Alamo Hall, pictured above, looks to me like it may have once been accommodation of some sort, or possibly stables. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that in actual fact it was a fire station, built in 1922! I think it’s a really lovely building, that fits in so well with the rest of the area.


The Gift Shop. Photo Credit – Ashleigh Nicole

The building pictured above holds the gift shop. Now, you might wonder why someone would take a photo of a gift shop. I wouldn’t blame you! I didn’t realize that’s what it was until after I had taken it and we had actually gone in. I thought it was one of the beautiful, original buildings. I was even more surprised when I found out that in fact that it was once a Centennial Museum, built in the 1930s! It is a really lovely building to hold a gift shop, and there are so many interesting things to buy!

This was actually one of the only gift shops we went to during our trip – that’s six weeks of travelling, so a lot of gift shops! – where we spent quite a lot of time wondering what to buy. We settled on an exciting souvenir – a fridge magnet! I know, how out of control?! At the end of the day, we only had back packs and this was only our 3rd city, we had to choose wisely.

There is also a really great model of the battle to see as well, which has so much detail to it!


Model of the Alamo. Photo Credit – Ashleigh Nicole

For all the buildings are really beautiful and historical, the outside area of The Alamo is stunning. I wasn’t expecting it all! One of the first things you see is the big lawn directly outside of The Shrine, which is lovely but I really liked the The Arcade which is where you wait in line. Again, I sadly didn’t get a photo of it, but it is just a really lovely area, with arched walls and wooden beams, with plants and branches entwined here and there!


Gardens at the Alamo. Photo Credit – Ashleigh Nicole

There are also some really beautiful gardens to walk through, with some lovely ponds and fountains. It probably only took us an hour and a half to two hours to walk around, and it was a really great activity for us to do. I would highly recommend it for anyone, whether you’re a history buff, a sight seer, or just someone with a couple of hours to spare!


The Alamo at night. Photo Credit – Ashleigh Nicole

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