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San Antonio Botanical Gardens

A tranquil getaway in the center of the city, whether you come for lunch, a stroll or bird-watching.

It’s hard to believe there could be so many birds in the confines of the city but there are hundreds of different species in the 38-acre (15-hectare) San Antonio Botanical Gardens. A useful guide can be printed off from the official website. Was that a black-bellied whistling duck or a downy woodpecker? It’s all there on the Birding Checklist, which makes for a fun activity for amateur bird-watchers of all ages.

The Texas Native Trail, the main path, winds through three distinct landscapes of native plants: South Texas, Hill Country and East Texas Piney Woods. Almost everything is signposted, with interesting information about the type of plant — such as cacti, flowers and ferns — and their uses by birds, animals and people, including Native Americans and modern city dwellers. Early Texan houses have been reconstructed on site as part of the regional theme.

These gardens sit on what was once the San Antonio Water Works. It became city land in 1899 but a master plan for a botanical garden wasn’t developed until the late 1960s. The initial project was completed in 1980. A $6.9 million conservatory was added in 1988 and today consists of several greenhouses packed with a range of speciality plants, including tropical fruits, ferns and succulents. Photographers will enjoy capturing images of the beautiful and unusual plants here. The greenhouses surround a sunken courtyard and tropical lagoon, perfect for sitting and cooling off on a hot day.

There are formal and display gardens that change seasonally; come in late April to catch the roses in bloom. There’s a small entrance fee, but all funding goes back into the gardens.

The Carriage House Bistro is open for lunch Tuesday to Friday, and brunch on Saturday and Sunday. You’ll often find locals here on weekends, enjoying brunch in one of the most relaxing locations in town.


Guide to Exploring around San Antonio Botanical Gardens


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Lodging Near San Antonio Botanical Gardens

See all 340 Hotels near San Antonio Botanical Gardens
$335
Hotel Emma

Hotel Emma

136 E Grayson, San Antonio
4.7
of 5, from 63 reviews
4.5 out of 5.0

Set in a converted brewery in San Antonio's hip Pearl district, this elegant hotel is 15 minutes on foot from the 343-acre Brackenridge Park and golf course, and a 10-minute drive from McNay Art Museum.

$67
Best Western Plus Downtown North

Best Western Plus Downtown North

2131 N Interstate 35, San Antonio
4.0
of 5, from 112 reviews
3.0 out of 5.0

Situated in San Antonio, this hotel is 0.3 mi (0.5 km) from Quadrangle and within 3 mi (5 km) of Alamo and River Walk. Rivercenter Mall and San Antonio Botanical Gardens are also within 3 mi (5 km).

$159
Hotel Contessa - Luxury Suites on the Riverwalk

Hotel Contessa - Luxury Suites on the Riverwalk

306 W Market Street, San Antonio
4.6
of 5, from 3,059 reviews
4.0 out of 5.0

This 14-story, Mediterranean-inspired hotel is on the Riverwalk, two blocks from the convention center, La Villita Historic Arts Village, and the Rivercenter Mall, and five blocks from the Alamo.

Villager Lodge

Villager Lodge

1126 E Elmira St, San Antonio
2.0 out of 5.0

Located in Downtown - Riverwalk, this hotel is within 2 mi (3 km) of Pearl Brewery, River Walk, and Alamo. Rivercenter Mall and San Antonio Botanical Gardens are also within 3 mi (5 km).