San Antonio Riverwalk, TX | March 2024 | Road Trip Reflections

My pup Valentine and I have been on an indefinite road trip, living nomadically since October 2023! If you'd like to see more posts & vlogs about our travels & adventures, please click here.

This is the first River Walk I've ever been to! I actually thought this was the one and ONLY River Walk that existed lol I was surprised to find out there are more and I've gotten to go to a few others but San Antonio might be my favorite one! There are different areas of it that go from laid back and quiet to bustling and lively. I also loved the art displays along it. There's a little something to be enjoyed by everyone!


I absolutely loved that there were art installations all along the river! You can use this map and go on a self guided tour. There are 23 installations total from huge hand painted fish to a sonic passage to tile murals and more. I was lucky that I was very close to the Pearl and there are 5 along the river in that area. I saw the Pearl Turning Basin (we went walking there often and even saw a proposal there--she said yes and we all clapped! :)) , River Origins and Movement #1 and #2, the Grotto, F.I.S.H., and the Ewing Halsell Pedestrian Bridge.

The path I walked was from the Pearl down to the pedestrian bridge and it felt very safe. It wasn't crowded but there were enough joggers, dog walkers, locals and tourists walking around where I didn't feel like I was alone and everything was well lit. By the time I walked back I was able to catch the gorgeous sunset but it wasn't totally dark yet and felt fine. The Pearl area in general felt very safe since there were always people around (there are many restaurants as well as a hotel there) and they do have security riding around on bikes too. 

My favorite was the F.I.S.H. sculptures! They are a group of 25 seven foot long hand painted fiberglass resin fish that are anatomically correct models of the long-eared sunfish (native to the river). They also light up from within at night and it's so fun to see them there! There's a 26th fish on display in the DoSeum, San Antonio's Museum for Kids where you can get up close with it! 


For awhile I thought the river by the Pearl was the River Walk but no, where all the real action happens is in downtown! I made my way there on a Sunday so it was pretty packed. A few thoughts on the main River Walk:

  • Parking was a bit of struggle downtown and the only area I had issues with my entire time in San Antonio (which is to be expected!) I found a spot on Hemisfair & E Cesar Chavez along the street which worked perfectly because it was free on Sundays, I got to walk through Hemisfair which is a fun spot with a park (it has a jumbo chess board and cute butterfly and mosaic benches and playground for kiddos) and restaurants, and there's an entrance to the River Walk a little past the Hemisfair where the Mexican Cultural Institute is with a great view of the Tower of the Americas.
  • Compared to the river by the Pearl, downtown was WAY more crowded especially where all the restaurants are and the seating along the river. If you have a small dog having them in a stroller or carrier or carrying them is the way to go in those congested spots! There are no guard rails along the water and I'm surprised nobody fell over lol I do think it would be fun to eat there for the ambience and the view! And it would be a fun place to grab drinks with friends!

  • It was a little confusing for me to figure out where I was on the river! There are maps all around but it doesn't tell you where you are, it's also not displayed in the direction you are going. I asked a few people at times and I eventually got to where I wanted to go but I also thought I had gone one path and I totally did not lol

  • There are quieter areas as well. If you keep walking past all the restaurants, there are quiet areas as well as benches along the way. 
  • It felt safe to be walking around there by myself with Val in both the crowded and empty areas. (I was there in the middle of the afternoon.)

  • And you can go up to street level to explore downtown and the Alamo as well.

  • I found Valentine's twin!! This pup had a shorter lion  haircut but besides that they looked about the same size and had the same look! The owner and I both spotted one another and waved hi and laughed and I told her I was going to take a pic! I wish we weren't on opposite sides so we could stop and say hi! Here's the photo--Val's twin right?? This seriously made my day :D


Since I missed a section of the River Walk when I went on my own, Vanesa said we could actually walk along it on the way to the Saga Cathedral Show, another one of her amazing recommendations!

Vanesa's husband Kirk also joined us--we discovered we both have trypophobia and he doesn't know anyone else who has it!! I'm glad he knows he is not the only one anymore. We bonded over how terrible and creepy clusters of circles / holes can be lol. We are also both not very fond of heights and get confused by the River Walk so good thing Vanesa was there to make sure we didn't get lost! (Her sense of direction is amazing!) 

We parked next to a park and in a neighborhood with a bunch of historic homes--it was beautiful and there were plaques that provided some history. Then we walked along the river which continued to run along the river and was really peaceful and nice. Eventually it gets more crowded and leads to the theater and La Villita. From there we walked to the cathedral.

It was pretty busy with lots of people around but I would recommend going with a friend instead of alone since the show is at night. 

I knew it was a show projected on the side of the cathedral but it was so much more than that! The images were so precise and matched the windows and different aspects of the architecture. It also provided some history and really cool graphics. 

There were some tables and chairs if you got there early enough or you can bring towels and sit on the floor. Dogs are allowed and it was never too loud or anything for Val. 

It's a really nice way to spend the evening when it's not as hot and enjoy being outside. I don't think I've ever seen anything like it and really appreciated the artistic aspects. I recommend checking it out! 

I was lucky enough to get to see so many things in San Antonio so this recap is split into a few parts--you can find them all here.

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