San Antonio is a super tourist friendly city with everything at a walking distance. If you are driving to the city you can just park your car at one of the many parking garages and start walking. And if you do get tired, the street car is the easiest way to move around the city as it stops at all the major tourist attractions. You can just hop on one and hop off at your desired stop. I can't recall how much the fee is (or if there's any) but if there is I'm sure it very minimal. Be aware though of the times they stop at a particular stop. If you are in a hurry waiting for the street car may frazzle your nerves.
On my last trip to San Antonio I stayed at the Red Roof Inn across the highway from the Convention Center. Instead of walking across busy streets or driving half a mile and parking we decided to take the public transportation.
The maps are pretty easy to read and the routes are pretty consistent. I'm not really a fan of public transportation in the BUSY cities of Dallas, Houston and San Antonio because of the sketchiness of the people...but things were fine. I'm not so sure I'd be comfortable at night, by myself but it was ok being with another friend.
I believe the wait time per stop is 15 minutes (although we never waited for than 5 minutes)and the price is $1.10 everytime you step on.
***Note: The sign says streetcar with a trolley-looking thing. Each time we got on the stop at our hotel it was a regular bus... So, don't expect a trolley or you may be waiting a LONG time.
We chose to take a trolley tour so that we wouldn't have to fight the traffic in an unfamiliar city. I struggled with which tour to take and was offered a free pass for this particular company. I wanted to tell others that we didn't get the whole tour, our driver only let us off when he wanted to rather than at scheduled stops. This started off fine until we had stops we were interested in , asked to get off and never saw him again. We didn't get our hour tour and only stopped twice out of 7 stops. It was Spring Break so traffic and parking was horrendous. We lost money on this venture. Just so you know.
In the downtown area, you will have the option of taking the VIA San Antonio's famous street cars. This is part of the overall transit bus system in San Antonio, but in particular the downtown area is serviced by these hop-on, hop-off streetcars. If you are not going to be navigating around the Riverwalk area, this is likely your best bet.
The streetcars arrive at every trolley stop every 10 minutes, so you will not be waiting very long!
A one-day all access pass is available for $3.75 as of September 2008, so enjoy the ride!
Locations all over downtown San Antonio.
Fares Full Reduced
Regular Bus & Streetcar $1.00 $.50
Express Bus Service $2.00 $1.00
First Transfer Slip Free!
Additional Transfers $.15 $.07
VIATrans Service $1.50
VIATrans Child $.75
Special Events Service $2.00 $1.00
Vanpool Service See pricing schedule
Starlight Service $5.50 $2.75
Was in San An for a few days in the end of June 2007. Fare price for return trip is a dollar for an adult. Commuted by trolleys and didn't drive ourselves at all. The service isn't that frequent and efficient, though.
We wanted to visit Merchant's Square where El Mercado was located, so we asked at the visitor's center for the best way to get there. It was suggested we take the trolley, which stopped across the street at The Alamo and at many other places.
The charge was $.80 for adults; $.40 for kids; an extra $.15 can purchase a return trip if you make arrangements when you first pay. The trolley had large comfortable seats and was equipped for wheel chairs.
We booked tickets for the full day grand tour of San Antonio, which runs a whole day from 9a.m.-5p.m. There were four different company tour buses in front of the visitor center and so we were a bit confused with which motor couch we were suppose to get on. There were no good directions on the pamphlets and no directors outside the visitor center where you stand to get the bus.
If you choose not to go on the grand tour by motor couch you can go by the YELLOW AND GREEEN trolley, take note, not the GREEN STREET CAR. The trolley is a directed tour whereas the streetcar is not. If you get on the streetcar they will not guide you in what you are seeing and with the trolley you get on and off whenever you like. The trolley is in my opinion a better way to go than the motor couch because there are shops/restaurants around town that you may want to visit while on your tour and the bus will not allow for you to get on and off as you please. The trolley stops every 30 and 45 minutes and also on the hour at designated stops.
You can also go on a half day tour from 9a.m.-12:15 p.m. To speak with a representative with the Alamo Visitor Center call 210-247-0238 or 210-212-5395.
By Air : The international airport at San Antonio is around 20 kms from the downtown River Walk area and is directly linked via expressway. The airport has connections to over 50 cities. There is a shuttle service which is available to most hotels in the downtown area.
By Rail : Amtrak runs a service to and from Los Angeles, New Orleans, and Chicago and Greyhound and Kerrville Bus Company have a regional and interstate service. There is a new Amtrak's station which is found in St. Paul Square, between the Sunset Station complex and the Alamodome.
Downtown streetcar service : Streetcars come by each stop about every 10 minutes. You get from Alamo Plaza to just about anywhere in downtown San Antonio within 10 minutes. Each streetcar line has it's own unique symbol and colour. Be aware that this is not the colour of the trolley but the colour shone in the front of the trolley (red, blue, purple and yellow). It only used to cost around .50c per ride.
Although the downtown tourist ares isn't too big, the city provides a 'trolley' service which can be used to travel form one end of the city to the other. Useful information can be found ont he website cited below.
These trolleys depart from the Alamo Visitor Center, which is right across from the Alamo (Plaza) and at the Menger Hotel. You can use this all day by getting off and on at the designated stops or take a tour, which by the way they have many several different tours depending on your time and how much you want to see. I would recommend these because there is always something you may miss in seeing or end up not having enough time.
Tickets may be purchased at the Alamo Visitor Center - 216 Alamo Plaza, next to the Alamo, in the Menger Hotel, IMAX Theartre, and street level Rivercenter Mall.
Or call 210.228.9776 24 hours a day to make reservations - major credit cards accepted