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San Antonio Fiesta: Things to Do on the Riverwalk

February 12, 2020

More than 11 million people stroll along San Antonio’s famed Riverwalk every year. More than 2 million of those people are locals, and many of them visit during San Antonio Fiesta.

Whether you’re from out of town or live in the city, this 15-mile oasis should be at the top of your list any time of year. It’s even more lively during the Fiesta celebrations every April.

If you want to get more out of your Fiesta celebration, don’t miss these things to do on the Riverwalk.

Things to do on the riverwalk

Check out a Night in Old San Antonio

A Night in Old San Antonio is a four-night extravaganza that takes place along the Riverwalk. While some Riverwalk events happen seasonally, NIOSA only happens during Fiesta.

The event has been running for 70 years, and today it attracts thousands of visitors. Its goal is to celebrate the city’s diverse culture. A variety of musicians and performers showcase their talents and heritage.

There’s also fantastic food to sample and more. All proceeds from the event help fund preservation of historic sites in San Antonio.

Discover Mariachi Bands

If you love music and dancing, then the Ford Mariachi Festival is one of the best things to do on the Riverwalk. Like NIOSA, it’s an exclusive Fiesta event.

The three-day festival takes place during Fiesta. Mariachi bands and Folklorico dancers from local schools sail the San Antonio River. All you need to do is pick your favorite spot and order a drink.

The boats will also make random stops. Whatever the case, you’ll experience a one-of-a-kind performance. Best of all, it’s free.

Shop with Local Artisans

The Riverwalk in San Antonio plays host to several artisan shows throughout the year. You can shop with local artisans any time you visit. The Fiesta artisan show is special though because local artisans are as excited as you are.

You can enjoy a stroll along the Riverwalk, stopping to chat with the artisans about their wares. Pick a few of your favorite pieces and take them home with you. Getting an authentic piece of San Antonio isn’t difficult.

Explore the King William Fair

King William is a historic district located along the river in San Antonio. Every year, it hosts a fair during Fiesta. Thousands of people visit this fantastic one-day event.

The day kicks off with a parade only San Antonio could host. Afterward, you can visit arts and crafts vendors and sample local eats. Kids can enjoy a special play area just for them.

The day is also filled with performances from dancers and musicians. It’s all set against the backdrop of Victorian homes and tree-lined streets.

The fair takes place on the final Saturday of Fiesta. It’s an excellent way to cap off your Fiesta celebrations.

Visit the Museum Reach

If you’re wondering what to do on the Riverwalk, why not visit some of the museums? The San Antonio Museum of Art and the McNay Art Museum are both located along the RiverWalk.

If art museums aren’t your speed, there are also several historic sites you can check out. Maverick Carter House is one of those. This Texas Historic Landmark was built on the banks of the river before the river was moved.

The Buckhorn Museum and the Texas Ranger Museum might also strike your interest. Located a block from the Riverwalk, the museum is located in the historic Buckhorn Saloon.

Things to do on the Riverwalk Get You Moving

Most people enjoy a scenic stroll along the Riverwalk, but that isn’t your only option for exploring this 15-mile oasis. You can also choose to ride a bike.

If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, why not rent a kayak and paddle through the heart of the city? While you can do this at almost any time of year, it’s even more magical during the Fiesta celebrations.

Make your way past historic sites, stop to sip at a restaurant, or do a little shopping. It’s a great way to combine exercise and entertainment.

You might even encounter a performance or two!

Sample Some Local Flavors

What’s a festival without some great local eats? Fiesta celebrates San Antonio’s cultural heritage, which means it’s the perfect time to get a taste of the city.

You may get some great eats from vendors during NIOSA or the King William Fair. Don’t forget to check out some of the Riverwalk’s famed restaurants though.

Casa Rio is the oldest restaurant on the Riverwalk. For contemporary Mexican cuisine, check out the Iron Cactus San Antonio Riverwalk. This stop is also a great choice for a liquid lunch.

Some of the best restaurants are actually in chain hotels San Antonio Riverwalk locations. The Sheraton Gunter’s restaurant is convenient for both hotel patrons and those out for a stroll.

If you’re looking for something sweet, don’t forget Justin’s Ice Cream. If you have some picky eaters with you, there are plenty of tried-and-true favorites as well.

The Historic Market Square and the Shops at Rivercenter offer even more options.

Take a Boat Ride or a Tour

Is there any other way to see the Riverwalk than to take a boat ride? Follow the river as it makes its way through downtown San Antonio, and make waves on a boat.

Better yet, take a guided tour. Even if you’re a local, you’ll likely discover some things that surprise you. Many tours will gear their stops and highlights for Fiesta during the celebrations.

Discover the Best of San Antonio Fiesta

As you can see, there’s no shortage of things to do on the Riverwalk in San Antonio. This is true no matter when you visit.

Fiesta San Antonio brings out the very best the city has to offer. You’ll see that on the Riverwalk and everywhere else you visit.

A great way to celebrate Fiesta is with a custom Fiesta medal. Learn more about this time-honored tradition on our blog.

Fiesta Medal Blogger