A few weeks ago, as part of my Cooper Tires trip to San Antonio, Texas, I had a few hours of free time before the event began. Since it was my first time in San Antonio (and certainly not my last, despite the awful flight delays I experienced), I ventured out to see the Alamo, one of the most popular tourist attractions in Texas. I loved my visit, and learned a few surprising things about a visit to the Alamo.
The Alamo, formerly known as the Mission San Antonio de Valero, is essential piece in learning about the Texas Revolution and Texas history. While many people know the battle cry “Remember the Alamo”, few understand the details of the Battle of the Alamo.
Disclosure: My first visit to San Antonio was complimentary as part of my Cooper Tires trip. I later returned with my family at my own cost. All opinions are my own.
Surprising Things to Know When You Visit the Alamo
It’s in the Middle of Downtown San Antonio
For some reason, I expected that I would need to take a bus or a cab to the Alamo, but it’s located right in the middle of downtown in the heart of San Antonio. I stayed at the Omni La Mansion Del Rio on the River Walk, and it was a quick five minute walk to the Alamo.
There’s also a trolley available to take guests around downtown if you’d prefer not to walk. There are lots of shops, restaurants, and other attractions surrounding the Alamo as well, so it’s a pleasant walk.
If you aren’t staying right downtown, you may want to combine your visit to Alamo Plaza with a visit to the River Walk. Here are some things to do with your family on the San Antonio River Walk.
Admission is Free When You Visit the Alamo
Although you can pay for an audio tour, admission into the Alamo is completely free. Just walk right in. Even if you don’t have an audio tour, employees are located throughout the property and are eager and happy to answer any questions.
VIP tours, Battlefield tours, and After Hours are also available for an additional fee. They can be booked in advance on the Alamo website.
During my first visit, I opted out of the audio tour because I didn’t have too much time for my visit. On my second trip, with my family, I decided to purchase the audio tour for the four of us. I’d definitely recommend it. While kids may want to walk past the written descriptions of of the various exhibits, the audio tours helps bring history to life. I got so much more out of my second visit with the tour.
Guests Must Follow Rules of Reverence at the Alamo
As a shrine to Texas liberty, the Alamo imposes rules of reverence to their guests. There are no food and drinks allowed in the buildings, and photos are not permitted. Guests are asked to lower their voices and not wear offensive clothing. Employees are located throughout the shrine area to ensure cooperation to the rules.
The full list of rules are listed here. If visiting the Alamo with kids, it may be a good idea to review the rules in advance to make sure that your kids understand them.
There’s Much More Than Just the Shrine
Although the Shrine is certainly the most recognizable part of the Alamo, there really is much more. There’s the Long Barrack, gift shop, Alamo Hall (a facility for special events), theater with introduction movie, a wall of history, and beautiful gardens.
If you take the audio tour, you’ll be directed to other parts of the Alamo as well as the shrine. Definitely plan a little extra time in your visit to make sure you can explore as much of the Alamo as you’d like. I felt that my first visit was too short, so I planned a little extra time for my second visit.
The Alamo also offers educational programming – check out the online calendar for more info.
The Alamo is open 7 days a week. During peak season (from late May to early September), the hours are 9am-7pm. In the off-peak season, the Alamo closes at 5:30pm. There are extended hours over the holiday season, but the Alamo is closed on Christmas Day.
In addition to the Omni La Mansion Del Rio, we also recommend the Drury Inn.