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Institute of Texan Cultures

Get a feel for the Lone Star State’s cultural diversity at this museum that dishes up fun, education, and some little-known facts about Texas history.

The Institute of Texan Cultures celebrates the state’s rich multicultural heritage. You’ll find historic artifacts, artist exhibitions, photographs and interactive displays across this 182,000-square-foot (16,900-square-meters) complex. This downtown museum operated by the University of Texas at San Antonio also conducts research and puts on events throughout the year to serve as the forum for the understanding and appreciation of Texas and Texans. 

Texas is well known for its Mexican and Spanish influences, which are on display here. However, you’ll also get a glimpse into some 20 other cultures that have helped to shape Texan history — German, Japanese, Swedish and Native American to name a few.

The institute has a wide range of long-term and temporary exhibits that tell the stories of Texans and their state’s legacy. There are also a variety of impressive permanent collections, including historical manuscripts from local authors, architects and urban planners, rare books, photographs and oral histories. These collections are used for historical research by students and authors, and are available for all visitors to look through. It’s advisable to email in advance, through the institute’s website, if you have specific research interests.

Check the institute’s website for details about upcoming events. The Texas Folklife Festival is a three-day summer extravaganza of food and entertainment that always draws a crowd. There are performances, dancing, live music, parades and food stalls, all celebrating the state’s melting pot of more than 40 different cultures. If you miss this, there are plenty of other events throughout the year, such as the Day of the Dead festival in October, a Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon in November and in December the annual Toy Day, a toy-drive event celebrating “timeless Texan toys.”

Located on the University Campus at HemisFair Park in downtown, the Institute of Texan Cultures is just a short walk from The Alamo and the River Walk, and easy to get to on foot or public transport. There’s a small entrance fee, but money goes back into research and maintaining the museum’s collections. For history buffs intent on delving deeper, there’s an extensive library of resources available for perusal.


Guide to Exploring around Institute of Texan Cultures


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Lodging Near Institute of Texan Cultures

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$151
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 7,931 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.

$125
Wyndham San Antonio Riverwalk

Wyndham San Antonio Riverwalk

111 E Pecan St, San Antonio
3.7
of 5, from 3,148 reviews
4.5 out of 5.0

Located in Downtown San Antonio, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Artpace and River Walk. Alamo and Shops at Rivercenter are also within 1 mi (2 km).

$152
San Antonio Marriott Rivercenter

San Antonio Marriott Rivercenter

101 Bowie St, San Antonio
4.3
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Overlooking downtown San Antonio's River Walk, this polished, 38-story hotel opens directly onto the Rivercenter Mall; the Gonzales Convention Center, Alamo, and HemisFair Park are two blocks away.

$199
Grand Hyatt San Antonio

Grand Hyatt San Antonio

600 E Market St, San Antonio
4.4
of 5, from 4,434 reviews
4.0 out of 5.0

Grand Hyatt San Antonio is just off IH-37, on the San Antonio Riverwalk, adjacent to the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center. Rivercenter Mall is 1 block from the hotel, and the Alamo is 0.4 miles from the hotel.

$170
Omni La Mansion del Rio

Omni La Mansion del Rio

112 College St, San Antonio
4.3
of 5, from 3,186 reviews
4.5 out of 5.0

Built on the banks of the Riverwalk, this seven-story, grand-hacienda-style hotel is 3 blocks from the Alamo, 7 blocks from the convention center, and 8 from El Mercado.

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La Quinta Inn & Suites San Antonio Riverwalk

La Quinta Inn & Suites San Antonio Riverwalk

303 Blum Street, San Antonio
4.1
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3.5 out of 5.0

Conveniently located in downtown San Antonio, La Quinta Inn & Suites San Antonio Riverwalk is close to the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center and 2 blocks from the Alamo and the Riverwalk.

$259
Hilton Palacio Del Rio

Hilton Palacio Del Rio

200 S Alamo St, San Antonio
4.4
of 5, from 1,863 reviews
4.5 out of 5.0

Located on the Riverwalk, this hotel is across from the convention center and adjacent to La Villita shops and galleries; the Alamo, Rivercenter Mall, and Arnesan River Theater are within 2 blocks.

$130
Drury Plaza Hotel San Antonio Riverwalk

Drury Plaza Hotel San Antonio Riverwalk

105 S Saint Marys Street, San Antonio
4.6
of 5, from 3,424 reviews
3.5 out of 5.0

Located in Downtown San Antonio, this hotel is steps from Tower Life Building and River Walk. Alamo and Shops at Rivercenter are also within 10 minutes.