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5 Hidden Gems to Discover in San Antonio

Presented by Sun Country Airlines May 9, 2019

Mission San Jose

If you’ve already crossed off all the must-sees from your list like the Alamo or River Walk, or if you’re looking for some off-the-beaten-path things to do, San Antonio does not disappoint. From quirky yet educational exhibits, to tasty eats, and some real natural beauty, you’re sure to find something surprising.

Here are five hidden gems worth checking out on your next San Antonio vacation:

The Southtown Neighborhood

Southtown is conveniently located just a few blocks (or a short trolley ride) from the Alamo – just far enough away from the touristy epicenter to be central while offering a more authentically local vibe. Known for its arts, eclectic shops, lively bars and restaurants, and overall bohemian attitude, it’s a great place to spend an afternoon or evening. Check out Azuca Sabor Latino for hot salsa and cold margaritas or Feast for a great farm-to-table menu. Blue Star Arts Complex has tons to see including a museum and brewpub, and on the first Friday of every month, many of the shops and galleries stay open late. 

San Antonio Missions National Historical Park 

While the Alamo might be the most famous Spanish mission in San Antonio, it’s by no means the only one. In fact, there are four more just south of downtown. While these might not be technically “hidden” gems, they are certainly lesser-known sites that are well worth a visit. Established as an official National Historic Park in the 1980s, the park was also named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2015. If you don’t have time to see all four, we recommend focusing on Mission San Jose, which is the largest and most notable. 

Japanese Tea Garden 

What was formerly a bustling rock quarry is now a tranquil oasis in the heart of the city. Here, the peaceful wandering paths, koi ponds, unique stone bridges and waterfalls are just a few of the reasons you’ll want to have your camera ready. Be sure to stop by the Jingu House for tea, too, and treat yourself to a light afternoon snack. The garden is open year-round, and admission is free.

Japanese Tea Garden

The Magic Lantern Castle Museum 

With a name that sounds like we might have made it up (we didn’t, we promise), The Magic Lantern Castle Museum is (not surprisingly) whimsical and obscure. Focusing on the Hollywood history of the Magic Lantern -- the earliest form of the slide projector -- this collection showcases the mystique behind what’s known as the “father of motion pictures and grandfather of television.” 

The Old Time Wooden Nickel Company

Again, this one may not be so hidden as the 2,500-pound wooden nickel right out front makes this place easy to spot from the road, but it’s what’s inside that counts. The company has been producing wooden nickels for more than 70 years, so they have quite a bit of history to share about this unusual type of currency. Luckily, you won’t need any currency of your own to check it out as admission is free.

So why wait? Plan your next getaway and book a nonstop flight from PDX to San Antonio for as low as $89* one-way at suncountry.com.

*Fare is valid for one-way travel and is inclusive of all government taxes and fees. Must be purchased by 11:59pm CT (Central Time) on June 3, 2019, for travel June 5-30, 2019. 10-day advance purchase is required. Additional baggage and other service fees may apply. Seats are limited and fare may not be available on all flights or dates within the travel range. Valid for new bookings only. Fares, routes, and schedules are subject to change without notice. Restrictions apply.