Explore San Antonio on a Budget
As an intern in San Antonio, you have the opportunity to forward your career in one of America’s most iconic cities. With culinary and hospitality industries booming, San Antonio is host to an eclectic mix of foods and cultures. It’s important to spend some of your free time discovering the many popular and hidden gems within the city. While bigger theme parks and attractions in the city can become a bit pricey over time, there are plenty of ways to explore San Antonio without breaking the bank.
Of course, no visit to San Antonio is worth mentioning if you don’t visit the Alamo. Movies, songs, and folklore all pay homage to this iconic mission fortress in the heart of downtown San Antonio. You can take a trip back to 1700 from the building’s humble origins and learn its importance to both the Spanish and Mexican rulers as well as its significance in the Texas Revolution. While admission to the church and Alamo grounds are free, you can purchase an audio tour for only $7. For added convenience, tours are offered in English, Spanish, Japanese, German, and French.
San Pedro Creek and Culture Park
The newly renovated San Pedro Creek and Culture Park is located near the Alamo and is free to the public. Here, you visit see the Plaza de Fundacion’s spectacular “Rain from the Heavens” public art installation of custom tile work that adorns a dozen generational benches. This picturesque park is similar to the Riverwalk, however, it is not as crowded. You can enjoy a calming walk while taking in the commissioned art murals and sculptures that depict the exciting history of San Pedro Creek.
Stroll along the San Antonio River to experience the sights, sounds, and tastes of San Antonio’s diverse culture. Locals and visitors flock to the side streets along the river for its shopping, upscale restaurants, vibrant nightlife, and public attractions. The Riverwalk is perfect place to enjoy a cup of coffee and with friends or to simply watch how Americans interact. If you want an even better glimpse of San Antonio’s historic sites, book passage on a riverboat tour. While strolling along the Riverwalk is absolutely free, a narrated tour of the sites along the river is $12.
The Briscoe Western Art Museum
With its entrance along the Riverwalk, the Briscoe Western Art Museum houses artifacts that tell the multi-faceted tales from America’s Western civilization. From the famed sword belonging to Santa Anna to Pancho’s leather saddle trimmed with silver, the Briscoe takes you deep inside western history. There is even a life-sized replica of a Western Mail stagecoach on display. Admission to the Briscoe Western Art Museum is $10. However, admission is free on Tuesday nights from January through July.
Japanese Tea Garden
Let your troubles go with the wind in the tranquil atmosphere of the Japanese Tea Garden. Follow the shaded walkways for a serene tour of the meticulously kept flora and fauna throughout the park. You can sit and read or listen to nature beside the garden’s 60-foot waterfall. Or take a postcard-worthy shot of the arched stone bridge and koi ponds. For those times when you need balance and find your Zen, a quiet stroll in the Japanese Tea Garden may be just what you need.
El Mercado, colloquially known as Market Square, is a bustling place for shopping and entertainment. Here, you can find handmade creations, street foods, and music. Weekends in Market Square are often filled with local bands, up-and-coming food creations, and spirited street vendors. With just a little bus or taxi fare, you can have a great time interacting with locals and enjoying the sights and sounds.
As San Antonio’s largest park, host of outdoor activities awaits you at Breckenridge Park. You can gather fellow interns and co-workers for a game of softball before grilling your favorite foods on the barbecue pits. Early morning walks along the 1.7-mile trail will keep your homesickness at bay. Or on days when the weather is perfect, enjoy a bit of fishing in the stocked pond. No matter what your interests are, there is something for everyone at Breckenridge Park. The park grounds are also home to the San Antonio Zoo, the Japanese Tea Garden, and Breckenridge Golf Course. The San Antonio Botanical Gardens is also found on the park’s grounds and is home to life sized dinosaurs at varying times of the year. Entrance into the park is free, however, other attractions may incur an added fee.
Cheap ways to get around San Antonio
The bus system is a great way to get around town if you don’t have a car during your internship. The VIA Metropolitan Transit offers bus routes that are both inexpensive and user-friendly. Plus, buses make stops at many of San Antonio’s top attractions. One-way fare for bus transport is about $1.20 and an unlimited one-day pass is $4.
If you’re in the mood for a bit of fun, or you just want to try it, the VIA Metropolitan Transit also operates a streetcar service. You can hop on one of three different routes through downtown that reaches attractions such as the River Walk and the Alamo. Fare for the streetcar costs the same as the bus at $1.20 per ride but you can also purchase an unlimited one-day pass for $4.
Why explore San Antonio?
Fresh air and sunshine is a proven combination in preventing the mild depression and anxiety that may occur during your internship. Seeing new sites and taking in a bit of history will also cheer you up on days you miss home. Take advantage of the free opportunities to explore San Antonio and keep your internship happy and healthy.