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The 16 Best Museums in San Antonio, Texas [2024]

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Table of Contents

  • The Best Museums in San Antonio
  • How To Get Free or Reduced Admission to San Antonio Museums
  • Final Thoughts

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There are a lot of reasons to visit San Antonio, Texas. Its vibrant culture and unique history have made it a beloved travel spot for people around the world.

Recently, this corner of Texas has also begun to gain fame for its museum scene, which hosts exhibits from American history to art.

Here are the best San Antonio museums to add to your itinerary.

The Best Museums in San Antonio

1. The Alamo

The Alamo
Image Credit: Gower Brown via Unsplash

Originally built as a church in the 1700s, the Alamo has gone on to become one of San Antonio’s most famous landmarks. Its notoriety is almost entirely linked to the Battle of the Alamo, which took place in 1836.

Today, there are multiple ways to visit this national monument. Expert staff can take you on hourlong guided tours, during which you walk around the site, getting an in-depth look at the site’s history. There’s also an on-site exhibit that houses artifacts, photos, and other documents that elaborate on the building’s origins, its famous battle, and its modern history.

Additionally, frequent reenactments and other immersive events are held on the premises to help visitors of all ages learn about day-to-day life in the 19th century. Since the site is one of the oldest in San Antonio, reservations are required for crowd control.

Admission to the Alamo Church is free for all visitors. The Alamo is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. The nearest bus stop is Third Street and Avenue East.

  • Address: 300 Alamo Plaza, San Antonio, TX 78205
Hot Tip:

Flying into San Antonio International Airport (SAT) before checking out the museums? Check out our San Antonio airport guide.

2. Arspace San Antonio

San Antonio Artpace exterior
Image Credit: Artpace

Artpace is an art foundation that showcases the work of established and up-and-coming artists. Since opening in 1995, the space has curated a place for artists to follow their individual creative processes to bring their artwork to life in a multitude of media.

As the facility focuses on uplifting contemporary artists, there’s no true permanent collection on the premises. Instead, the showroom frequently rotates its pieces to display new work from contributing artists. Special exhibitions are also hosted at the museum, which generally features a single artist’s work.

To ensure San Antonio’s art scene continues to thrive, Artpace hosts multiple residency programs. The artists-in-residence program gives selected creatives a space to work on their pieces. The curatorial residency, on the other hand, helps ensure these pieces don’t just collect dust in archives by connecting creators with curators from around the world.

Admission is free for everyone. Artpace is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 12 to 5 p.m. The nearest bus stop is Martin and Main.

  • Address: 445 North Main Ave., San Antonio, TX 78205

“Located in the heart of San Antonio, Artpace has a national and international reputation as a laboratory for contemporary artists to create and exhibit new ideas in art. Artpace is a must-see for anyone who wants to see artwork from leading artists from around the world.”

Riley Robinson, director, Artpace 

3. Briscoe Western Art Museum

Briscoe Western Art Museum
Image Credit: Briscoe Western Art Museum

Briscoe Western Art Museum preserves the history of the American West through art, sculptures, and cultural artifacts. There are currently 12 permanent exhibits spread across 3 levels to bring Western history to life. The Ruth Bowman Bowers Women of the West Gallery is a fan favorite and highlights the work and stories of women during the westward expansion.

The Southwest and Native American Art wing is also beloved, as it highlights the cultures of the indigenous people who first inhabited this part of the country. In addition to the permanent exhibits, the site has temporary exhibitions. The museum also hosts special immersive events, like story time for children and artist workshops.

Outside is the McNutt Sculpture Garden, which features mostly bronze statues depicting scenes and figures of the American West. Briscoe also runs several venue spaces that can be booked for private events.

Admission is free for members, active military personnel, and children under 13, $8 for military dependents, $12 for seniors 65 and over, veterans, and students, and $14 for adults. Briscoe Western Art Museum is open Thursday through Monday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The nearest bus stop is Market and Presa.

  • Address: 210 West Market St., San Antonio, TX 78205

4. Casa Navarro State Historic Site

Casa Navarro State Historic Site
Image Credit: Texas Historical Commission

Built in 1855, Casa Navarro was originally the residence of local patriot and businessman José Antonio Navarro. Navarro’s importance to the area as a native-born Texan at a time when the territory was fighting for independence and its location in what was once a bustling Tejano district have made the site a local landmark.

Today, the home is in largely the same condition it was in when first built, both inside and outside. In fact, in addition to recounting the history of Tejano culture and Texas’ past, the facility’s exhibits preserve Navarro’s life. Personal items, like books and documents he wrote, are on display for visitors.

Even many of the furnishings used in Casa Navarro belonged to the home’s first owner, which combine with other period-accurate antiques to create an authentic interior that would match the decor of the 19th century.

Admission is free for children under 6, $2 for children 6 to 17, $3 for first responders, teachers, veterans, and seniors, and $5 for adults. Casa Navarro State Historic Site is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The nearest bus stop is Dolorosa Opposite Laredo.

  • Address: 228 South Laredo St., San Antonio, TX 78207

5. The DoSeum

The DoSeum
Image Credit: The DoSeum

San Antonio families love The DoSeum children’s museum. All the exhibits in this 2-story facility have been designed to help promote creativity and curiosity in young visitors. Guests of all ages are welcome at The DoSeum. However, keep in mind that most of the areas were created for children 10 and under, so older kids might get bored if they do not visit with younger siblings.

The DoSeum currently houses 8 permanent exhibits, including the “Semmes Foundation Spy Academy,” the “Zachry Innovation Station,” and the “Force Course.” A couple of temporary exhibitions are also usually on-site at any given time.

The DoSeum’s event calendar is full of activities like camps, workshops, and sensory-friendly events for children who are easily overwhelmed by stimuli. Just be sure to check if there are any age recommendations before you visit since some are geared toward specific age brackets.

Admission is free for members and kids under 1 and $18 for everyone else. The DoSeum is open Wednesday to Friday and Monday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday from 12 to 5 p.m. The nearest bus stop is Broadway and Humphrey.

  • Address: 2800 Broadway, San Antonio, TX 78209

6. Holocaust Memorial Museum of San Antonio

Holocaust Memorial Museum of San Antonio
Image Credit: Holocaust Memorial Museum of San Antonio

Though the Holocaust Memorial Museum of San Antonio officially opened in 2000, plans for it began in 1975, when the Jewish Federation of San Antonio first started providing community education and outreach.

Using artifacts, documents, photos, and oral histories collected from Holocaust survivors, the museum teaches visitors about this period of history. This is done in the hopes of preventing prejudice and violence in the future. It also acts as a memorial of sorts for those who lost their lives during the Holocaust and World War II.

This museum goes a step further in its mission to educate by providing teachers with tools and curriculum packets suitable for students of various ages. It also offers training and workshops to help educators learn how to tackle the topic. Only a portion of the museum’s artifacts are on display at any time since the collection is ever-growing.

Admission is free for everyone, but a $1-to-$3 donation per person is recommended. The Holocaust Memorial Museum of San Antonio is open Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Friday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., and Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m. The nearest bus stop is Military Highway and Wurzbach Parkway.

  • Address: 12500 Northwest Military Highway, San Antonio, TX 78231

7. McNay Art Museum

McNay Art Museum
Image Credit: McNay Art Museum

For 70 years, the McNay Art Museum has been one of San Antonio’s premier art facilities. In fact, when it was opened in 1954, it was the first modern art museum in Texas. Today, most of the collection housed at the McNay has been traced to artists of the 19th and 20th centuries, including pieces from masters like Picasso, Matisse, and Gauguin.

Since McNay has so many works of art in its care, only a fraction of the pieces can be displayed at a time, though the curators routinely rotate exhibits. They also regularly hold special exhibitions to showcase items from the archives and pieces on loan from other artists. In particular, the museum likes to highlight student artists.

Admission is free for members, children under 13, military personnel, and veterans, $10 for teens 13 to 19, $15 for seniors 65 and over and students 20 and over. It’s $20 for all other adults. The museum waives ticket costs every Thursday between 4 p.m. and 9 p.m.

McNay Art Museum is open Thursday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday and Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday from 12 to 5 p.m. The nearest bus stop is Austin Highway and North New Braunfels.

  • Address: 6000 North New Braunfels Ave., San Antonio, TX 78209

8. Ruby City

Ruby City
Image Credit: Ruby City

Ruby City is a relatively new addition to the city’s art scene, having opened in 2019. Since then, it’s been showcasing the work of contemporary artists from around the world. Initially, the space just held the collection belonging to Ruby City’s owner, Linda Pace. However, in the years since, the number of pieces housed by the museum has grown.

Some of the highlighted pieces that are routinely displayed at Ruby City are “Man Choking His Shadow” by Tala Madani, “Played Ground” by Shahzia Sikander, and “Dance Trance” by Willie Cole.

Special exhibitions are also a frequent part of Ruby City’s galleries, which generally display new or honored pieces from contemporary artists. Though visual arts are the primary media that can be seen at the museum, Ruby City honors art of all types. For example, concerts are a staple part of the facility’s yearly event calendar.

Admission is free for all visitors. Ruby City is open Thursday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The nearest bus stop is South Flores and Daniel Street.

  • Address: 150 Camp St., San Antonio, TX 78204

9. San Antonio Art League and Museum

San Antonio Art League and Museum
Image Credit: San Antonio Art League and Museum

The San Antonio Art League and Museum (SAALM) houses over 600 works of art, most created by Texas-based artists.

Notably, the museum doesn’t focus on a particular art style, period, or medium, with pieces ranging from paintings and drawings to photography and sculptures. In addition to the pieces permanently on display in the gallery, there’s a wing dedicated to rotating temporary exhibitions that showcase artists from Texas and other areas of the American South.

There’s also a special gallery that’s only accessible to visitors who are SAALM members. Not only does this space allow guests a chance to see exclusive work, but they’re also given the chance to purchase pieces. Some of the works of art on display at the museum are “Grief” by John Squire Adams, “Victorian House” by E. Darst, and “Landscape” by George Innes.

Admission is free for all visitors. The San Antonio Art League and Museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The nearest bus stop is South St. Mary’s and King William.

  • Address: 130 King William St., San Antonio, TX 78204

10. San Antonio Fire Museum

San Antonio Fire Museum
Image Credit: San Antonio Fire Museum

Housed in a decommissioned firehouse, the San Antonio Fire Museum was started by a group of firefighters who wished to educate and preserve pieces of the history of the industry. To many visitors, it’s considered to be one of the best fire museums in the country.

Throughout the space’s museums, visitors see displays of numerous pieces of contemporary and antique fire equipment, including authentic fire carts, trucks, uniforms, and more. The space also honors members of San Antonio’s fire department through photos and documents. There’s even a 1953 truck that’s been fully restored for young visitors to climb on and explore while wearing replicas of firefighting gear.

While the museum is primarily a self-guided experience, knowledgeable staff are on hand to answer any questions you might have. The museum can arrange tours upon request, especially for group visits. Additionally, the museum hosts a series of educational and fundraising events each year.

Admission is free for children under 3, members and up to 4 guests, military personnel in uniform, and local fire department members in uniform. Tickets are $4 for children 3 to 12, $6 for seniors 60 and over, and $10 for adults. Bexar County residents can visit for free on the first Tuesday of the month.

San Antonio Fire Museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The nearest bus stop is Third Street and Avenue East.

  • Address: 801 East Houston St., San Antonio, TX 78205

11. San Antonio Museum of Art

San Antonio Museum of Art
Image Credit: San Antonio Museum of Art

Since its opening in 1981, the San Antonio Museum of Art (SAMA) has been one of the most important spaces in Texas for art history and appreciation. The facility houses thousands of pieces, though only a fraction of this collection can be displayed at any given time.

Notably, over 5,000 years of art history and evolution are represented in the space, with some of the oldest pieces dating back to ancient Egypt, Rome, and Greece. SAMA’s gallery space has 9 wings, though there are a number of additional rooms for temporary exhibitions.

Some pieces preserved by SAMA are “The Accused Being Restrained by Guards” by Frederick Richard Pickersgill, “Aero Buster, Put Inside” by Charles A.A. Dellschau, and “Banumbirr” by Gali Yalkarriwuy. This is a self-guided museum, but docents can answer questions, and you can reserve guided tours.

Admission is free for members and children under 13, $12 for students, $17 for military personnel and seniors 65 and over, and $22 for adults. The San Antonio Museum of Art is open Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Friday and Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. The nearest bus stop is North St. Mary’s and Camden.

  • Address: 200 West Jones Ave., San Antonio, TX 78215

12. Spanish Governor’s Palace

Spanish Governors Palace
Image Credit: City of San Antonio

San Antonio’s Spanish Governor’s Palace is the last surviving structure from the area’s original Spanish Colony. As a result, it’s been a nationally recognized landmark since 1970. Best known for being the home of the local governor, it went on to be the capitol building in the 1700s.

Today, the space is a history museum that showcases the city’s Spanish roots. Many of the rooms have been furnished with both authentic and recreations of pieces. This meticulously chosen decor gives visitors a peek at what life for local aristocracy would have been like during the 18th century.

Though nothing beats seeing the Spanish Governor’s Palace in person, the site also offers a virtual tour. The museum can also be rented for private events and tours.

Admission is free for children under 7; $3 for kids 7 to 13, military personnel, and seniors 60 and over; and $5 for all other adults. The Spanish Governor’s Palace is open Tuesday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The nearest bus stop is Dolorosa Opposite Laredo.

  • Address: 105 Plaza de Armas, San Antonio, TX 78205

13. Texas Air Museum at Stinson Field

Texas Air Museum — Stinson Chapter
Image Credit: Texas Air Museum — Stinson Chapter

At Stinson Municipal Airport (SSF), the Texas Air Museum at Stinson Field educates visitors about Texas’s role in aviation advancements. What makes this museum unique, aside from its exhibits, is its location. The Stinson airfield is one of the oldest in the country.

Today, the most popular pieces housed at this museum are its vintage pieces, which include early planes, uniforms, and aviation weapons. Some visitor favorites are an ejection seat from an F-4 Phantom, an AVRO Tri-Plane, and a Bleriot owned by aviation pioneer Katherine Stinson.

While the museum has pieces from throughout the history of aviation, the museum specifically focuses on memorabilia from World War II, which brought about some of the most significant changes to the industry. This museum is entirely staffed by volunteers, many of whom have experience in aviation, including some of the plane and vehicle models displayed on-site.

Admission is $2 for children, $3 for youths, $4 for military personnel, $5 for seniors 55 and over, and $6 for adults. Texas Air Museum at Stinson Field is open Tuesday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The nearest bus stop is Roosevelt Opposite 98th.

  • Address: 1234 99th St., San Antonio, TX 78214

“Our goal is to preserve aviation history through the preservation and display of aircraft and artifacts from the early beginning to the present and to preserve the memories of the sacrifices and accomplishments made by men and women in both civilian and military aviation. Also, we strive to provide an understanding of aerospace history and appreciation of how aviation science technology has shaped the world we know today.”

John D. Tosh, director, Texas Air Museum

14. Texas Transportation Museum

Texas Transportation Museum
Image Credit: Texas Transportation Museum

The Texas Transportation Museum, or the TTM, first opened in 1964 as a way to preserve the state’s transportation history and development. All of the exhibits at the museum can be divided into 6 categories. One of the most popular is the gallery dedicated to model trains. However, there are also spaces that showcase artifacts from the Longhorn and Western Railroad, vintage railroad cars, vehicles, and even iterations of San Antonio’s public transportation system.

Some of the most recognizable pieces at the TTM are a Ford Model TT from 1924, a John Deere Model H tractor from 1946, and a Santa Fe Pullman train car that guests can actually walk through. Additionally, the museum offers a number of unique experiences for guests. These include train rides and participation in community events like an egg hunt around Easter and themed rides around Halloween and Christmas.

Admission is free for children under 4, $6 for children of military members, $8 for military personnel and children 4 to 12, $9 for seniors 65 and over, and $10 for adults. The Texas Transportation Museum is open on Saturdays and Sundays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

  • Address: 11731 Wetmore Road, San Antonio, TX 78247

15. UTSA Institute of Texan Cultures

UTSA Institute of Texan Cultures
Image Credit: UTSA Institute of Texan Cultures

Since its opening in 1968, the UTSA Institute of Texan Cultures has been one of the city’s most important centers for the conservation of the state’s culture and folklore. Between the exhibit space and the library, the facility houses millions of items ranging from photos and books to quilts and furniture.

Rather than display fine art, the space showcases crafts and folk art that have been common in Texas throughout the state’s history. In addition to the exhibits permanently on display, the museum hosts a number of temporary exhibits that delve into specific periods of San Antonio’s past or the work of some of the area’s most significant figures. Among the special events hosted by UTSA is the yearly Texas Folklife Festival.

UTSA also supports student artists through a variety of initiatives to celebrate the different cultures that contribute to Texas and San Antonio’s identities.

There is no standard admission, but visitors are asked to make a donation, with the suggested amount being $12 per adult. The UTSA Institute of Texan Cultures is open Thursday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The nearest bus stop is Cesar Chavez in Front of the Institute of Texan Cultures.

  • Address: 801 E César E. Chávez Blvd., San Antonio, TX 78205

16. The Witte Museum

The Witte Museum
Image Credit: The Witte Museum

The Witte Museum inspires visitors to cultivate an interest in history and the sciences. Today, the museum has over 320,000 artifacts, ranging from historical pieces to contemporary items. The museum has 9 wings, covering everything from Texas history to paleontology. While most of these spaces are always open to visitors, you need an appointment and research request to use the library archives.

Some of the most popular things to see at the museum are the “H-E-B Body Adventure,” the Robert J. & Helen C. Kleberg South Texas Heritage Center, and the Naylor Family Dinosaur Gallery. The Witte also frequently displays temporary exhibitions, often in collaboration with other museums around the country.

Most of the displays are designed to appeal to visitors of various ages and use a combination of traditional and interactive features. Special events, like field trip shows, lectures, and even nature walks and picnics, are also a staple part of the Witte’s event calendar.

Admission is free for members and children under 4; $11 for kids 4 to 12; and $15 for military personnel, teens 13 to 18, and seniors 65 and over. It’s $16 for all other adults. The Witte Museum is open Wednesday through Saturday and Monday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday from 12 to 5 p.m. The nearest bus stop is Broadway and Pershing.

  • Address: 3801 Broadway, San Antonio, TX 78209

How To Get Free or Reduced Admission to San Antonio Museums

We’ve indicated with each museum whether or not children, students, or seniors receive free or reduced admission. There are also several other programs that offer similar concessions.

The Museums for All program offers free or reduced admission to museums throughout the U.S. for those receiving food assistance (SNAP benefits). Participating attractions in the greater San Antonio area include the Blue Star Contemporary, the Briscoe Western Art Museum, the McNay Art Museum, the San Antonio Museum of Art, and more.

Bank of America’s Museums on Us program offers cardholders free general admission on the first full weekend of every month to the following San Antonio museums: the Briscoe Western Art Museum, The DoSeum, the McNay Art Museum, the San Antonio Museum of Art, and The Witte Museum.

Participation is subject to change, so please verify participating museums and entry conditions before your visit.

Hot Tip:

Looking for a place to stay in San Antonio? Read up on our take on the Thompson San Antonio Riverwalk and Hyatt Regency San Antonio Riverwalk.

Final Thoughts

Clearly, San Antonio has no shortage of museums worth visiting. From natural history to fine art, there’s a space in the city to suit nearly anyone’s interests. Whether you’re planning a family trip or a solo adventure, this list has hopefully helped you narrow down your options so you know which San Antonio museum to add to your itinerary.

Frequently Asked Questions

How many museums are in San Antonio?

Currently, there are over 35 different museums and exhibits in the San Antonio area. However, this number doesn’t count all of the private or small galleries and exhibitions in the city. Pop-up museums also aren’t necessarily included in this museum count.

Does San Antonio have a natural history museum?

San Antonio’s Nature, Science, and Culture Museum, also known as the Witte, is the area’s natural history museum. It looks at how Texas, and particularly the San Antonio area, has evolved over the years. Other museums also have natural history exhibit spaces.

What is the most famous thing in San Antonio?

San Antonio is famous for a lot of things. However, its most well-known landmark is the Alamo. This building has played an essential role in the city’s history. Today, it’s a museum and historical site that draws tourists from around the world.

What museums are free in San Antonio, Texas?

San Antonio has several museums that offer free admission to all visitors. These spaces range from historical sites to art spaces, so there’s something for everyone. Some museums also offer free admission to qualifying visitors, such as SNAP members or in-county residents.

Amar Hussain's image

About Amar Hussain

Amar is an avid traveler and tester of products. He has spent the last 13 years traveling all 7 continents and has put the products to the test on each of them. He has contributed to publications including Forbes, the Huffington Post, and more.

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