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Where to Stay in San Antonio, Texas → 5 Best Areas

Long-exposure shot of San Antonio Riverwalk with vibrant umbrellas lining the bank and a striking red sculpture above the bridge

Howdy traveler! Welcome to my blog post on where to stay in San Antonio, the birthplace of the American cowboy! 

As your trip planner gal, I’ve compared ALL the areas and hotels and handpicked the best ones so you can easily book your vacation in minutes! I sorted the areas by interest and hotels by price, so all you have to do is read this post, make the reservation, and pack your suitcase!

The best area to stay in San Antonio for first-timers is Downtown or River Walk. You’ll be close to the attractions and have easy access to the best hotels! But I’ve also got you covered with 4 more areas if you have specific travel preferences!

Make sure you book your hotel in advance, though, so you can secure the best prices!

If you are in a hurry

Here are the best places to stay in San Antonio, from luxury to budget. They all have very good reviews and great locations!

Here is a map showing where to stay in San Antonio, TX, with the 5 best areas I will be talking about so you can easily visualize them:

1. Downtown/River Walk – where to stay in San Antonio for the first time

Tourists enjoying a guided boat tour on San Antonio Riverwalk, passing under a historic stone bridge surrounded by mature treesTourists enjoying a guided boat tour on San Antonio Riverwalk, passing under a historic stone bridge surrounded by mature trees

Downtown San Antonio is the heart of the city and the best place to stay for travelers visiting San Antonio for the first time! It’s filled with cultural attractions, great museums, and trendy restaurants. Whether you are a museum enthusiast or foodie, you won’t be disappointed here!

The most charming area in Downtown San Antonio is the Riverwalk, where you will see stunning views of the San Antonio River. Enjoy a stroll here, explore the shops, and pick one of many charming cafes to sit down and spend some time people-watching or admiring the scenic waterways. 

Then, check out great museums like the San Antonio Museum of Art and the other fun attractions in Downtown San Antonio. At night, grab a ticket to a music event after a fancy dinner; how does that sound?

The city is home to the largest Mexican market outside of Mexico, the charming Historic Market Square – a great place to taste some Tex-Mex cuisine!

Other attractions you can’t miss include The Alamo 18th-century Spanish fortress, the Henry B. Gonzàlez Convention Center for exhibitions, the Amaldome Stadium, and the San Fernando Cathedral. And for live music events and Broadway shows, check out the Majestic Theater!

TIP: If you’re traveling with kids, take them to the LEGOLAND Discovery Center for some laser guns, 4D rides, playgrounds, and plenty of other attractions!

I did my homework and found the best places to stay in San Antonio Downtown, and now it is time to do yours by making a reservation in advance. That is, of course, if you don’t want to miss the best of the best ones that I picked for you.

NOTE: In terms of safety, it’s generally safe to walk around Downtown San Antonio. There is a slight homelessness problem in the city, but most homeless people live in shelters, and fewer of them can be seen on the streets now. Still, exercise caution and refrain from visiting secluded areas.

If you plan to continue your holiday in Texas, check out my article on the best places to stay in Austin.

Luxury hotel

This 5-star hotel located in central San Antonio is the best luxury hotel to stay in the city. You will love the spacious hotel rooms that have floor-to-ceiling windows with panoramic views and luxury amenities. There is an amazing rooftop pool, a spa with a hot tub, and a chic on-site bar and restaurant. The San Antonio Museum of Art and River Walk is within walking distance.


Hotel Valencia Riverwalk is another top-rated luxury option in River Walk!

Other accommodation options in Downtown/River Walk

Mid-Range

This hotel has a central location and offers spacious rooms with a river view, free Wi-Fi, a fitness center, and a bar

Budget

Hotel Gibbs Downtown is located at the heart of the City Center and features comfortable rooms, a fitness center, and on-site parking

Airbnb

This charming Airbnb has beautifully decorated rooms with great amenities, a fully furnished kitchen, and is within walking distance of the restaurants

Other options in River Walk/Downtown San Antonio

If you want to stay in the area of River Walk in particular, here are some more accommodation options for all budgets. 

  • Luxury: Mokara Hotel & Spa – One of the best luxury hotels on River Walk that has a large rooftop pool, spacious rooms with a panoramic city view, an on-site restaurant, and a very chic bar.
  • Mid-range: Menger Hotel – Feel like you’re in a movie in this regal, family-friendly hotel with beautiful decorations and an outdoor pool.
  • Budget: Fairfield Inn & Suites – This centrally located hotel is within walking distance of all main city attractions and has comfortable rooms, free Wi-Fi, and a swimming pool. 
  • Airbnb: River Walk Courthouse Apartment – This Airbnb is located at the heart of River Walk and has rooms with modern amenities, a city view, and the most charming decor!

Things to do in River Walk/Downtown San Antonio

Mediterranean-style building of the San Atonio Museum of Art with a terracotta roof, ornate windows, and a manicured garden featuring a bronze statue.Mediterranean-style building of the San Atonio Museum of Art with a terracotta roof, ornate windows, and a manicured garden featuring a bronze statue.

2. Southtown & La Villita – nicest neighborhood in San Antonio for nightlife

Historic red sandstone courthouse building in San Antonio, Texas, at dusk with a clear sky and surrounding greeneryHistoric red sandstone courthouse building in San Antonio, Texas, at dusk with a clear sky and surrounding greenery

Southtown and La Villita are neighborhoods located 1 mile (2 km) South of Downtown San Antonio. If you want to be within walking distance of nightclubs, bars, and restaurants, you are at the right place!

I am sure you won’t have difficulty finding great dining and bar hopping in Southtown, but before partying, don’t forget to allow some time for sightseeing, as there are many nice museums and tourist sites here, too!

If you go to La Villita Historic Arts Village, you won’t be able to stop taking photos for a second. Known as the center of the Arts District, La Villita is one the most picturesque places in San Antonio, with cute historic buildings by the river, cafes, and craft shops!

Visiting in April? Check out the calendar for Fiesta San Antonio, the largest annual festival going on in multiple locations in the city, celebrating its diverse heritage and culture!

As a special treat for wine, beer, and whiskey aficionados, read our special blog post dedicated to the best distillery tours in San Antonio

FUN FACT: This area that encompasses the historic district is also known as King William, in honor of the Prussian king from the 1870s. Southtown was mainly populated by Germans in the beginning, and they named the central street according to their king’s name. 

By staying in Southtown or La Villita, you will also be very close to the City Center, so this area is also a good alternative for those who cannot find a place Downtown. 

PRO TIP: I highly recommend you rent a car to get around in San Antonio. The public transportation system can be slow, so staying anywhere apart from River Walk and Downtown (these 2 are the most walkable areas) will be easier with a car.

Now, here are the best places to stay in San Antonio for nightlife:

Luxury hotel

Hilton Palacio is one of the best places to stay in San Antonio if you want to enjoy river views. Located in the City Center, this hotel boasts a very nice outdoor pool, a sun terrace, spacious rooms with river views, and a good fitness center. You can have drinks at the rooftop bar with a friendly atmosphere and enjoy a great breakfast in the morning.

Other accommodation options in Southtown & La Villita

Mid-Range

This boutique hotel has a fitness center, comfortable rooms with a fully equipped kitchen, free Wi-Fi, and an on-site bar

Budget

This modern apartment can fit 4 guests, has a beautifully decorated interior, and offers access to an outdoor pool

Airbnb

This Airbnb offers beautifully decorated rooms with modern amenities, free wifi, and a nice garden

Things to do in Southtown & La Villita, San Antonio

  • Visit the San Antonio Art League and Museum
  • Have a delicious dinner at Rosario’s Mexican Café Y Cantina
  • Discover the beautiful streets of the La Villita Historic Arts Village (map)
  • Have a cocktail at Bar 1919
  • Dance till the early hours of the morning at Bonham Exchange
  • Party at Jokesters 22 Pub N Grub

3. Northwest – where to stay with family in San Antonio

Amphitheater seating by the San Antonio Riverwalk with a serene waterway and a quaint stone bridge, surrounded by lush greenery and mature treesAmphitheater seating by the San Antonio Riverwalk with a serene waterway and a quaint stone bridge, surrounded by lush greenery and mature trees

Northwest is located 8 miles (12 km) North of San Antonio Downtown and is the best and safest neighborhood to stay in San Antonio for families. From family hotels to fun attractions, you have everything you need to have the best time with your kids here!

In the Northwest, you can go hiking at the beautiful Government Canyon, have fun with kids at the aquapark, and have delicious family dinners in one of many nice restaurants. 

If you go to North San Antonio, you will also find Six Flags Fiesta Texas, an awesome amusement park waiting with games, adrenaline-pumping attractions like Batman: The Ride (the world’s first 4D free-fly coaster), a water park, and much more! This can only add to the awesome reasons to travel to North San Antonio, right?

As for shopping opportunities, you’ll find plenty at The Rim (map) shopping mall and nearby stores at the La Cantera Parkway!

Surprise the family with a day trip to the nearby Natural Bridge Caverns (map), a stunning natural reserve with subterranean cavern tours 27 miles (43 km) from Downtown San Antonio!

Thanks to its great family attractions, North San Antonio is the most convenient place to stay in San Antonio with kids, and I have already picked the best and safest family hotels for you:

Luxury hotel

This luxury 4-star hotel has spacious family rooms, an outdoor pool, a nice sun terrace, and a good breakfast. You can work out in their gym, chill in the bar, or just spoil yourself in the King Studio Suite! Delicious complimentary breakfast is at your service, as well!

Other accommodation options in Northwest

Mid-Range

This beautiful hotel offers a free airport shuttle, spacious family rooms with a pool view, a fitness center, and an on-site restaurant

Budget

La Quinta features an outdoor pool, free parking, a fitness center, an on-site restaurant, spacious rooms, and free Wi-Fi

Airbnb

This Airbnb has modern rooms to accommodate up to 5 people, a large living room with great amenities, and a nice garden area

Things to do in Northwest

  • Go hiking at Government Canyon State Natural Area
  • Have fun at the waterpark Aquatica San Antonio
  • Have a nice family dinner at Rudy’s Country Store and Bar-BQ
  • Spend the day at the amazing theme park Six Flags Fiesta Texas
  • Take a golf lesson at Oak Hills Country Club
  • Go for dinner at Augie’s Alamo City BBQ Steakhouse (map)

4. Pearl – the coolest area to stay in San Antonio

Iconic 'Pearl' sign suspended on a metal archway between brick buildings, with the historic Pearl Brewery building in the backgroundIconic 'Pearl' sign suspended on a metal archway between brick buildings, with the historic Pearl Brewery building in the background

Pearl is located in North San Antonio, in the Tobin Hill district, just 1 mile (2 km) from Downtown. Once you step into this neighborhood, you will instantly realize how cool it is!

Pearl is surrounded by beautiful historical buildings, and it is so much fun to get lost in its streets, checking out designer boutiques, cool cafes, and trendy bars. 

San Antonio is the only U.S. city to receive the UNESCO designation as a Creative City of Gastronomy. This is due to its culinary heritage rooted in Mexican, Spanish, German, and French influences.

If you are a foodie, there is an amazing selection of restaurants and food courts, local breweries, and bakeries here. At night, you can take a pint in local bars, listen to live music and mingle with locals. How does that sound?

You can’t miss the iconic Pearl Brewery, which features a farmers market, a bar, and a restaurant! 

Linking the Pearl and Downtown is the Broadway Corridor, a major construction project to be completed in summer 2024. Once it’s complete, it’ll make a better connection between the city’s cultural institutions, and overall make the commute much more fun with tons of parks and other public spaces around!

By staying in Pearl, you will still be within walking distance of Downtown San Antonio and will be able to enjoy local experiences in a hip area. Making this another great area to choose if Downtown happens to be booked out.

Let’s check out the best places to stay in Pearl, San Antonio North:

Luxury hotel

Hotel Emma is the best place to stay in San Antonio with its upscale facilities. This 5-star hotel has deluxe rooms with luxury amenities, a fancy swimming pool, a fully-equipped fitness center, and on-site parking. You will love the cozy lounge area with a fireplace and the chic bar that offers a great selection of drinks. San Antonio International Airport is just 8 miles (10 km) away.

Other accommodation options in Pearl

Mid-Range

The perfect place if you’re visiting with a large group or family – it can fit up to 10 guests

Budget

The nearest budget hotel to Pearl, with charming wooden decor and furnishings ideal for stays year-long

Airbnb

This pet-friendly Airbnb offers cabin-style accommodation with a nice private balcony, off-street parking, and a fenced yard

Things to do in Pearl

  • Take a pint at the Pearl Brewery
  • Have a homemade ice cream at Lick Honest Ice Cream
  • Feel like a local at the Pearl Farmers Market (map)
  • Try foods from international cuisines at the Bottling Dept Food Hall
  • Explore The Grotto riverfront artificial cave
  • Visit the San Antonio Zoo and Olmos Park for a day in nature
  • Go on a day trip to the beautiful SA Missions National Historical Park

5. West San Antonio – where to stay in San Antonio on a budget

Aerial view of downtown San Antonio featuring the Tower of the Americas, colorful buildings, and a distinctive red sculptureAerial view of downtown San Antonio featuring the Tower of the Americas, colorful buildings, and a distinctive red sculpture

West San Antonio is the best place to stay in the city if you are traveling on a budget. The area’s main attractions are located around 17 miles (27 km) West of Downtown San Antonio.

Here, you will be able to find relatively cheap hotels, but don’t worry, as this area is not just all about budget accommodation. You will find some of the most popular attractions here, too! It’s a quiet and family-friendly area with plenty of things to do.

West San Antonio is famous for having one of the largest theme park-focused aquariums in the world, SeaWorld San Antonio. You can discover the underwater world, see more than 39,000 animals, and have fun at the aqua park and amusement park. 

And when you want to go shopping, head to The Shops at la Cantera (map), it’s one of the best shopping malls in San Antonio!In West San Antonio, you will also find affordable local restaurants, lush green parks, and shops. I recommend Big’z Burger Joint 151 (map) for the best burgers around!

Luxury hotel

Hyatt is one of the best places to stay in San Antonio, with amazing facilities such as a swimming pool with a water park surrounded by beautiful trees, a BBQ area, a nice onsite restaurant, and spacious rooms with garden views. You can enjoy working out at the fitness center while enjoying the nice garden views and taking golf lessons at the onsite golf courses.

Other accommodation options in West San Antonio

Mid-Range

A 3-star accommodation with an outdoor pool, lovely interior, and a fitness center

Budget

This hotel has an indoor pool, a fitness center, daily housekeeping, and rooms for up to 4 guests

Airbnb

Centrally located in West San Antonio, this Airbnb has a beautiful garden, a fully furnished kitchen, and a homey vibe

Things to do in West San Antonio

BONUS: Where to stay near San Antonio Airport (SAT)

Entrance signage for San Antonio International Airport with a metallic finish on an overpass against a clear sky and the multi-level parking structure in the background.Entrance signage for San Antonio International Airport with a metallic finish on an overpass against a clear sky and the multi-level parking structure in the background.

I always recommend my fellow travelers to stay near the airport if they have an early flight or are only coming to town for a layover. San Antonio is no exception to the rule!

You’ll find some neat, top-rated places around the airport so you can have a good night’s sleep and avoid spending precious time on the commute or traffic jams when you need them the least!

And as you’re around, take a picture with the world’s largest concrete cowboy boots! This unique statue is located just 2.2 miles (3.5 km) from the airport!

I’ve handpicked the best hotels for every budget near San Antonio Airport, so you can pick your favorite and book in an instant:

  • Luxury: Estancia del Norte San Antonio, A Tapestry Hotel by Hilton – Although it’s a 3-star hotel, and I don’t normally sort those into luxury, this hotel checks all the boxes for this category: posh, spacious rooms with modern décor, fabulous outdoor swimming pool, free parking, and an on-site bar are all included! Plus, they offer a free airport shuttle.  
  • Mid-range: Hilton Garden Inn – Here’s a 3-star hotel I recommend for excellent value for money. You get many of the same amenities from the luxury hotels in the area, like the pool, a gym, and a free airport shuttle, but at a lower price! The rooms may be simpler and less stylish, but they’re still excellent for short stays!
  • Budget: Embassy Suites San Antonio Airport – This budget hotel is located just outside of the airport and has free parking, a free airport shuttle, a pool, and even a gym! Everyone says the rooms were clean, which is a big plus for budget hotels!
  • Budget: Pear Tree Inn – I had to give you an extra budget stay near the airport because this one blew me away! It’s the most affordable place near the airport, but it looks so beautiful inside and out and has all the modern features (pool, gym, complimentary breakfast, and free parking)!

TIP: If you still prefer to have all the features of an urban area during your stay near the airport, you can look for accommodation in Alamo Heights, which is halfway between San Antonio and the airport. 

FAQs about where to stay in San Antonio

The historic Majestic Theatre in San Antonio with its neon marquee displaying a heartfelt message, 'We love you San Antonio, see you soon.'The historic Majestic Theatre in San Antonio with its neon marquee displaying a heartfelt message, 'We love you San Antonio, see you soon.'

🗺️ What is the best area to stay in San Antonio?

If you are visiting the city for the first time, the Downtown area is the best place to stay in San Antonio, thanks to its proximity to cultural attractions and museums. The best hotels I highly recommend here are Thompson San Antonio and Canopy By Hilton.

❌ What areas to avoid in San Antonio?

Located on the Southeast Side of Texas, Pecan Valley and East Terrell Hills are the areas where you should not stay in San Antonio due to the high crime rate. Also, Villa de San Antonio and Arena District have high crime rates and should be avoided.

👫 What is the best place to stay in San Antonio for couples?

Downtown San Antonio is the best place to stay in San Antonio for couples offering nice river views and romantic restaurants. Some of the best hotels here for couples are Thompson San Antonio and Canopy By Hilton.

👨‍👩‍👦‍👦 Where to stay in San Antonio for families?

Northwest San Antonio is the best area to stay for families thanks to its safe atmosphere, family-friendly attractions, and hotels. Some of the best places to stay in the Northwest for families are Embassy Suites Hilton and La Quinta Wyndham.

🛎️ Best Hotels in San Antonio River Walk?

🤔 What should I not miss in San Antonio, Texas?

Here are the top attractions you should see in San Antonio:
● SeaWorld San Antonio, 
● The San Antonio Museum of Art
● Six Flags Fiesta Texas 
● La Villita Historic Arts Village 
● San Antonio Art League and Museum
● Guinness World Records Museum

🏞️ What river flows through San Antonio?

The San Antonio River flows through San Antonio, Texas, and is known for the picturesque River Walk that lines its banks in the city’s Downtown area.

❓ How many days should I spend in San Antonio?

3 days is just perfect to explore everything San Antonio has to offer! It’s enough time to see all the attractions, enjoy the city and even spend some time in gorgeous green spaces!

📅 When to book a hotel in San Antonio?

Around 2 weeks before the trip (15 days) is the best time to book a hotel in San Antonio. Avoid last-minute booking, but also don’t book months in advance because your plans can change.

Conclusion

Twilight view of a bustling Riverwalk scene with restaurant terraces, colorful tents, and a tour boat reflecting red lights on the waterTwilight view of a bustling Riverwalk scene with restaurant terraces, colorful tents, and a tour boat reflecting red lights on the water

I hope you enjoyed reading my blog post about where to stay in San Antonio, TX. By now, you should be ready to start the countdown until your trip!

If you are a person like me who likes to discover cities on foot, I highly recommend you stay in San Antonio Downtown, but all of the areas I mentioned have a lovely vibe (with friendly locals). 

Now, if you’re still indecisive, here are my 2 favorite San Antonio hotels that have convenient locations and reviews:

  • Thompson San Antonio – One of the best luxury hotels in Downtown San Antonio with comfortable rooms
  • Canopy By Hilton – Ideally located in Downtown San Antonio, a great place to stay by the San Antonio river

I would like to remind you again that in order not to miss your favorite place to stay in San Antonio and get better deals on hotels, do not forget to make a reservation in advance!

If you have any other suggestions or questions about San Antonio and Texas, please do not hesitate to comment below. I’ll be glad to leave a reply to them!

Enjoy San Antonio,

Darija


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