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The tourist trolley that leaves from a station beside the Alamo is a great way to get around San Antonio, see lots of the main sights and enjoy a knowledgeable - and at times, idiosynchratic - guided tour of the city. Tickets are available for either a single non-stop tour or two day's use with the hop on-hop-off option. Choosing that option will give you plenty of time to tour the city and visit several of the major attractions.
The trolley travels in a loop that includes stops at the Institute of Texan Cultures, two missions (San Jose and Concepcion) Market Square, Plaza de Armas (from where you can walk to the Spanish Governor's House and the Cathedral) and La Villita. The trolleys keep to a timetable of 45 minutes intervals so you know just when the next one is due and can pace your visits accordingly, catching the next one or skipping one for a longer visit.
The drivers were a delight, each with an extra string to his bow along with the general tourist guide's spiel. One was a botanist who pointed out all the plants we saw along the way. Another was a keen historian with all sorts of anecdotal tales of past citizens, whilst a third had made architecture his special interest.
There are no hotel pickups for this tour. You must make your way to the starting point at the Alamo Visitors Centre. The first trolley leaves at 9.30am and the last at 4.15pm.
Updated Apr 4, 2011
If you don't have a car (or a nice friend to drive you around), you will love Bus 7! It basically hits all of the downtown attractions in San Antonio, from the Alamo to the San Antonio Museum of Art, San Antonio Zoo and all the way to the Botanical Garden. It only costs 80 cents to ride the bus, and day passes are available for only $3. Just print out the schedule (available from the Web site) and you're good to go!
Updated Apr 4, 2011
Maybe it was the 80’s movie Cloak and Dagger that first got me interested in San Antonio as a destination… however it piqued my interest, the most fascinating thing growing up about San Antonio was the river cruise on these flat bottom boats. The idea of being purely lazy for an hour while a well educated tour guide tells you about a city hits my travel itinerary just about every time. I have been on these cruise several times in my life, and each time is just as enjoyable. There is a good mix of history, culture, and most important geography shared with you on this trip, and it makes for a good start if you are planning to venture through on your own without a map. It was a great trip to get your bearings, scope out the best restaurants for the evening, and also people watch those taking a stroll on the walk. In particular, if you are walking along the sidewalk, the boatmen will bring you into the act, like when my wife and I were holding hands. The operator mentioned to all the people in the boat that we were clearly in love because we still liked to hold hands. If the person is critiquing something about a particular person in a negative light, they normally wait until out of earshot! Overall, this is a great activity to do when in San Antonio.
Written May 18, 2008
Phone: (800) 417-4139
San Antonio's Sightseer Special Bus No 7 is a great way to get to the attractions that lie to the north of the downtown area, especially those centred around historic Brackenridge Park. Starting at the Riverwalk Streetcar Station on the hour, the bus travels north up Alamo, stopping at the Alamo, San Antonio Museum of Art, Brackenridge Park, San Antonio Zoo and the Witte Museum before reaching its terminus at the entrance to the Botanic Gardens about 20 minutes later. On its southward return it continues on to the arts village of La Villita before looping back to head north again.
At only $1 for a single journey ticket valid for 2 hours travel (transfer tickets available, free for the first one and only 15c for subsequent transfers - you must ask for your transfer ticket when you first get on the bus) or $3.75 for an unlimited travel Day Pass, San Antonio's bus service is excellent value and a great way to get around the city.
You can print a timetable and information sheet for the Sightseer Special by clicking on the website and entering "7" into the Choose a Schedule menu option.
Updated Dec 18, 2007
I would recommend a rental car if you can afford it. San Antonio has grown ALOT. Whereas it used to take you 15 mins to get anywhere in the city 10yrs ago, now it can take 30 mins. Which means in taxi cab fare, alot of money one way and round trip. I like Enterprise personally because they are reasonable in prices, they have good maps if you ask, and they pick you up and take you back to your hotel. My recommendation (because I always do this) would be to make a reservation with whatever rental car company you choose but near your hotel so that you'll be within range of their pick up service. Don't get a rental car at the airport if at all possible. All airport rental car agencies charge an airport fee per day which is usually ridiculously priced. The regular ones do not.
Getting to places like Sea World, Fiesta Texas, The Forum, and La Cantera can take a while depending on where you are coming from. -I have no affliation with Enterprise other than being a consumer that looks for a good deal wherever I can get one.-
Updated Nov 23, 2007
We traveled around San Antonio on the city's Metropolitan Transit System. We purchased the Big Pass, which allows you to take unlimited rides for a full month on the Metropolitan Transit system. This included both the buses and the streetcars. In the six days we were there we used this pass for all travel except our Off the Beaten Path excursions. We more than got our money's worth out of it. If you have a pass, be sure to ride the Streetcars, just to see some of the areas around the town. This is also the best way to get from downtown to the King William area. And of course, don't forget to take that glass elevator up to the top of the Tower of the Americas.
Besides the Big Pass you may also purchase a Day Tripper pass, which will allow you unlimited travel on the city bus and the streetcar for one day. You may also purchase fares for single bus or streetcar routes.
Visit their website for up to date information on prices, routes, and a list of locations where passes may be purchased.
Updated Jul 25, 2005
Phone: (210) 362-2020
Another way to enjoy a view of the River Walk area is to take the Yanaguana Cruise. The ticket office is located at River Center Mall, 315 E. Commerce. This 1-hour tour will take you along the San Antonio River. Your guide will point out the sites along the Paseo del Rio/Riverwalk area and explain the river’s history. The River Walk area has a history that dates back to 1921. This area of San Anatonio flooded repeatedly whenever there were heavy rains, with the worst flood occurring in 1921. Destruction of property and loss of life had some people talking seriously of paving over the river and constructing an underground storm drain. Some people however wanted to save the river. One such person was Robert Hugman who is called the “Father of the River Walk” because it was he who created the master plan that makes the River Walk the place of natural beauty that you see today. Tours generally leave every half hour from 10:00 A.M. to 8:00 P.M. daily. Some restaurants in the area also offer dinner cruises through Yanaquana. For more information about these tours visit their web site.
Updated Jul 25, 2005
Phone: 210-244-5700 or 1-800-417-4139
San Antonio is a large city & spread out. Your best bet for travelling around the city is to rent a car. We do not have a subway or train system...the buses are yicky...and the taxis are few & expensive.
Written Oct 26, 2004
Unless you visit San Antonio on a Sunday when municipal parking are free, be ready to pay 5+$/day. There are many open parking with people (we can't really call them 'guard') ready to collect your money!
On a Saturday, I had found as an alternative: the deserted parking of the Frost Bank in West Houston Street. It was open and completely empty. Apparently this bank was not open during the WE. Not too sure if that could be a good tip for free parking, there was small panels mentioning towing away for non-authorized vehicle at any time. Some of the parked cars were obviously not authorized. However as soon as I had removed some money to a nearby cash machine, I moved to one of the regular paying parking! So I can't really say if the towing policy is really enforced on a Saturday but I doubt it!
Updated May 3, 2004
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Had to get a hand to heave me up, but once there, I felt right at home.. ;-)
Updated Apr 13, 2004
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