Top Photo Spots in San Antonio

The best places to take photos in San Antonio!

Are you traveling to San Antonio, TX and looking for great spots to take some photos?  Do you love history?  Do you love Spanish Missions?  Do you love architecture?  Do you love modern art?  Have you ever heard of the Riverwalk?  Even touristy spots can be fun, so pack your camera and read on!

I spent part of my youth in San Antonio, and though I now live in Austin I am still pretty familiar with the town.  I still get down there several times a year, and always bring the camera, just in case!  It has a lot of culture and history and offers some excellent spots to take some great photos.  If you love history, the Spanish Missions might be your thing.  If you prefer tourist spots, the Riverwalk is for you.  Heck they even have the Alamo (also a Spanish Mission) so let's just get into it!

By the way, if you want to see all my San Antonio shots, you can get to them on my blog by going here:

1)  The Alamo

Remember the Alamo?  OK, bad joke  - but it's definitely a great place to visit when in San Antonio, so don't forget that!  Here's the thing though - it gets incredibly crowded.  My first "photo visit" there resulted in so-so shots with folks in them.  There is nothing wrong with that sort of shot - I take a lot on my travels - but I wanted some HDR goodness with a clear scene.  So the next time around, I went early on a Sunday morning and had it all to myself - well, I had the front.  It was so early that it wasn't open yet!  Anyways, make sure you check it out!

the Alamo.jpg

2)  Mission Espada

Mission Espada is the smallest and most remote of the San Antonio missions, but it is my favorite by far.  It just has so much charm.  The nice thing about it being remote is that it is less crowded, which is obviously good if you are trying to take some photos.  I went out there one day with my Mom (thanks Mom!) and we were the only ones there.  Definitely pay this place a visit!

SA Mission Espada interior HDR - Version 2.jpg
Mission Espada facade HDR - Version 2.jpg

3)  The Riverwalk

Ah, the Riverwalk - stores, restaurants, bars, drunk tourists - what's not to like?  It's actually a pretty fun place, and is a good way to enjoy downtown San Antonio.  If you are not familiar with it, it is a network of stores and bars/restaurants that line the San Antonio River as it winds its way through the downtown area.  It has been there forever it seems, but it continues to get further development as the city extends the reach of it.  Just ask anyone, and they can tell you where to find it!

SA Riverwalk bridge HDR - Version 2.jpg
Riverwalk sunset HDR - Version 2.jpg

4)  The McNay Art Museum

I enjoy going to museums and the McNay Art Museum in San Antonio sits on a lovely campus that is camera-worthy!  I got there early one morning (sounds familiar?) and was able to walk around gettting all sorts of HDR photos without a soul there to disturb me.  It was awesome.  I would highly recommend getting some shots of the main building there - it's just really beautiful.

McNay reflections HDR - Version 2.jpg

5)  The Arneson River Theatre

Ok, technically this is just another part of the Riverwalk, but I wanted to call it out specifically because it is both a popular and beautiful stretch of the river.  They host musical and theatrical performances here and it is just a wonderful spot to take in some entertainment.  

Arneson River Theatre.jpg

6)  The San Antonio Zoo

I have fun at zoos, though I often feel bad for the animals.  I bet they get tired of living like that.  Anyways, San Antonio has a pretty nice zoo, and they expanded it a few years back and their African savannah area is pretty wide open.  Check out the bears too - I caught the grizzly sleeping one day!

Sleepy bear.jpg
old friends.jpg

7)  The San Antonio Skyline

There are probably a lot of places from which to take a nice shot of the San Antonio skyline.  I took this shot from atop a parking garage that I happened to park in while there on a photo excursion.  That large tower in the distance off to the right side is the Tower of Americas, which has a revolving restaurant at the top - another fun experience to have in San Antonio!

San Antonio skyline morning HDR - Version 2.jpg

8)  The Westin La Cantera

The Westin La Cantera is a nice family resort that sits out on the northern edge of town, just on the edge of the Texas hill country.  We go there a couple of times a year, just to enjoy a little getaway without the hassle of lengthy travel.  It still gives you convenient access to downtown if you need it (25 minutes or so away), but since it is a little remote it feels like you are "away from it all".  I has a great big pool with a nice waterfall - and it gets really crowded with kids - but there is also an adult pool for those moments when you need a little quiet.  Throw in a nice workout facility and a Starbucks in the lobby, and you're all set!  There's also a great golf course, so you'll be busy.  Don't forget the sunscreen!

Westin's waterfall.jpg

9)  San Fernando Cathedral

The San Fernando Cathedral is a beautiful and historic church that is just a stone's throw away from the Riverwalk, so it is very easy to get to if you are already downtown.  I recommend getting there in the evening so that you can catch it all lit up - it's breathtaking!  There are also these great little fountains in the front of it, so be sure and get those in the shot too!

San Fernando Cathedral dusk fountain HDR - Version 2.jpg

10)  Mission San Jose

I think of Mission San Jose as "the big Mission" as it is pretty large and seems to be the most popular.  It has a wonderful entryway that is just amazingly beautiful.  This is also known as "the Queen of the Missions" since it was largest and strategically important to the missionaries at the time.  

An exquisite entrance.jpg
Mission San Jose full view HDR - Version 2.jpg

11) Spanish Governor's Palace

This is a historic building downtown built of adobe in the 18th century Spanish colonial style.  I must admit I have never been inside, but I do like the look of the entry quite a bit!

12) El Mercado / Market Square

This is the historic Mexican market downtown, and it's just a short stroll from the Spanish Governor's Palace and San Fernando Cathedral.  I definitely recommend checking this place out.  It's fun to shop here and of course you can get great Mexican food, and great photographs too!

Well that's it for now!  I hope this list gives you some good ideas about where to shoot in San Antonio.  The city is rich with culture and history, so definitely pack the camera!  Thanks for looking!