The city of San Antonio boasts that its 15 mile urban waterway is our nations largest urban ecosystem. There is really something for everyone at the San Antonio Riverwalk, even dogs! There are so many things to do at the San Antonio Riverwalk. Many of them can be done with your dog. Tourism, dining, special events, or a simple pleasant hike are a few of the popular things to do at the San Antonio Riverwalk. This article will cover dog friendly things to do on the downtown stretch of the San Antonio Riverwalk. I have covered the Historic Pearl and Mission areas of the Riverwalk in separate posts.
I’ve only been a resident of San Antonio for a couple of years, but I have been to the Riverwalk more times than I can remember. It is a free, dog friendly attraction that flows right through the heart of the city. My dog Abbey is only two years old and has been to the Riverwalk several times already. She may love the Riverwalk more than I do! Before we get into things you can do at the San Antonio Riverwalk, we need to go over the parking situation.
Where To Park?
Even though the San Antonio Riverwalk is a free attraction, it will be difficult to find parking for free. It took a few visits, but eventually I learned where to park when visiting the Riverwalk. At first I used the Rivercenter Mall garage due to convenience. However, the nearly $20 cost of parking caused me to seek out other options. There are outdoor parking lots in the area as well, but those cost almost as much as the garage.
During my previous hikes along the river I recalled seeing vehicles parked along more than one bridge overhead. I did some research and successfully found cheap street parking on Convent Street. Parking in this location costs only a few quarters and has direct access to the Riverwalk. It’s about a four block walk to the Alamo and the San Fernando Cathedral, but may not be as close to your destination, so keep that in mind. I believe there may be free street parking about five blocks east of the Rivercenter Mall. I noticed this when attending a concert at the Alamo City Music Hall. I’m sure there are other options as well if you are looking for free parking and don’t mind an extra walk.
Things To Do
The simplest thing to do at the San Antonio Riverwalk with your dog is hike. There are many routes down to the Riverwalk from street level. Once you have chosen a parking spot, simply head down to the river and enjoy the scenery. The downtown sector of the Riverwalk will be the most densely populated, but it is a must see. There are weekly events taking place on or near the river. Check them out on the San Antonio Riverwalk website.
Visit the Riverwalk in the wintertime and you will find that it’s lit up by Christmas lights at night! However, dogs aren’t interested in Christmas lights. Abbey’s main interest at the Riverwalk is the wildlife: she loves the ducks. She’s on high alert the entire hike along the river and sleeps very well after the trip. If you are in need of drinking water or restrooms during the hike there are several options along the way. You will find them at the Rivercenter Mall, various restaurants along the river, and some at street level as well.
The most obvious thing to see while visiting the Riverwalk is the Alamo. The historical mission and fortress may look out of place in the center of the city surrounded by commercial shops, but it’s a must see for those with any interest in history. There are always people visiting the Alamo with mid afternoon being the busiest time of day. Pictures are not allowed inside and neither are pets except in the case of a service animal. However, the space outside the Alamo is much larger and dog friendly. While dogs probably have little to no interest in seeing the Alamo, it’s free and worth a visit if you do.
A short walk down the street to the west you will find the San Fernando Cathedral which is very close to the river. I doubt pets are allowed inside the Cathedral, but light shows take place on a weekly basis outside. Your dog(s) could easily attend one of those with you. A couple blocks south of the Alamo you can find Hemisfair Park and the Tower of the Americas. The park is dog friendly which we covered in a separate article, “A Dog Friendly Hemisfair Adventure“.
Across the street and to the west of Hemisfair Park you will find La Villita. This was one of the very first neighborhoods in San Antonio and is currently an arts and crafts market where you can find local made hand crafted items. Head several blocks to the west of the San Fernando Cathedral and you will find the largest Mexican Market in the nation. Inside the three block historic market district you will find hundreds of locally owned shops, restaurants and a farmers market.
These are just a few of the major attractions you can visit with your dog(s) in San Antonio. If you are visiting San Antonio and you brought your four legged family member along with you (which is awesome) there are multiple options. If you are thinking about visiting San Antonio with your dog(s), there are hotels with pet friendly options. Let us know what you did and what you and your dog(s) enjoyed!
If food is what you are looking for, there are many, many options around the Riverwalk. Many of the restaurants along the Riverwalk have outdoor seating because everyone wants to see the view while they eat. A major bonus about the outdoor seating is that eating at the Riverwalk becomes dog friendly.
There are at least 35 places to eat on, or around the Riverwalk. From Mediterranean, to steak, to sushi, there are a wide variety of options. Most of the restaurants maintain a rating of 4 stars or better and can get a bit pricey, especially if you start ordering margaritas! We’ve dined at more than a few of the restaurants along the Riverwalk and found Acenar to be the best value for the money. We enjoyed the blue crab tacos. That being said, it will depend on what type of food you are in the mood for, and we definitely have not tried everything. Let us know what you tried and what your dog(s) tried as well!
Keep an eye on the San Antonio Riverwalk website for special events taking place. We’ve attended NIOSA and one of the many Riverwalk parades, but it seems as if there are new events happening every week. We plan on attending the glow in the dark lantern event and future Christmas events as well. Near La Villita you will notice a small outdoor amphitheater along the Riverwalk where concert like events take place once in awhile. However, you may want to leave your furry friend at home if there is going to be loud music or fireworks at the Riverwalk.
These are just some of the things to do at the San Antonio Riverwalk with your dog. There are many things to do at street level as well, but since they are not dog friendly, I have not included them here. Plenty of other reviews focus on things to do in general, but here we focus on all things dog friendly. Whether you are visiting or you live in San Antonio there are many dog friendly things to do. Take a short hike at the San Antonio Riverwalk with your dog, or hangout the entire day. You will not be disappointed. Your dog(s) will not be disappointed either. We give it five paws!
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Even though I promote places, or things, and emerge from the woods unharmed, I am not at all responsible for you, your family, your friends, or your pets. You are solely responsible for following in my footsteps and trying things I have described on this site. I wish you good fortune on the trails to come.