Free things to do when you’re bored in San Antonio

Places and events to spend your time but not your money

Do you want to find ways to enjoy San Antonio but you have little to no money in that mangled college bank account? We’ve got you covered. Here are some places and events that cost nothing, plus one that costs just two dollars.

The Japanese Tea Garden – A waterfall, a koi pond, gardens and pagodas—what’s not to like about this gorgeous little piece of east Asia nestled right next to Trinity in the heart of San Antonio?

Brackenridge Park – The towering cypress trees next to the tranquil San Antonio River and one of the last great inner city heron rookeries in Texas make this a wonderful picnic spot to sit and gather one’s self. Find some trees to hammock on, picnic in the shade or just enjoy a walk.

The Alamo – Though some may say “Ala-no!”, others might call it a “glorified tourist destination,” and some might say it is required viewing for anyone who sets foot in the state of Texas. (Note: though this one is free, you must reserve it in advance.)

The Riverwalk – Though many may be familiar with the touristy downtown destination, not everyone is familiar with the many miles that go beyond that heavily visited inner-downtown circuit. You can find beautiful spots both north and south of downtown that have wildlife, beautiful flora, interesting art pieces and simple tranquility.

Every First Friday of the Month at Blue Star Arts Complex – Check out a whole complex worth of art, wander the corridors with friends, listen to a band or chat with some of the city’s greatest visual artists. This arts complex located in the King William District south of downtown is the place to be on this night.

San Antonio Public Library – Does Coates not have that book you’re after? How about a movie or a piece of music? The San Antonio library system will even acquire a piece of media from another regional library system if it does not have it. The beautiful Landa Library sits only a block away from Trinity and is a great free resource for students.

San Pedro Springs – Wanna swim in the second oldest park in the country? Enjoyed for thousands of years by the Payaya people, it was established as a park by King Philip V of Spain in 1729. It is a historical, cultural and geological landmark that is open for swimming from 1-7 p.m. on weekends and 5-7 p.m. on weekdays. But get in quick, as it closes for the year on Sept. 26.

Fotoseptiembre – Do you like photography? Throughout September, the festival organization, Fotoseptiembre USA, hosts galleries across San Antonio and features a wide array of artistic perspectives. (Visit for full schedule and locations)

Two Dollar Tuesdays for San Antonio Missions game at Nelson W. Wolff Municipal Stadium – This is the most expensive item on this menu, coming in at an exorbitant two dollars. You can enjoy San Antonio’s minor league baseball team on one of the eleven Tuesday nights they’re playing at home this year.

Free Movies at the Marquee – Every first Saturday, third Saturday and third Thursday you can enjoy a free movie on the lawn of the Mission Marquee. Just bring a chair and some snacks. (Movies start 15 minutes past dusk.)

Open Mic Mondays at the Comedy Lounge – Come laugh or (if you’re brave) get laughed at every Monday open mic night at the Upstage Comedy Lounge. (Laughter starts at 8 p.m.)

Wellness at The Tobin Center – H-E-B is sponsoring a series of free public experiences at the Tobin Center “designed to address aspects of living and being well.” Experiences include yoga, zumba, meditation, drum circle and even a “Dance Happy Hour.” Come and get well. (Various times, visit their website for more information.)

Witte Museum – San Antonio’s finest natural history museum boasts a free Tuesday entry from 3-6 p.m. Come and feast your eyes on some dinosaur bones.

Community Yoga at Mission San Jose – Become more mindful amongst the Missions. This class meets every Saturday from 10 to 11 a.m. under a large oak in the heart of the Historical Park.

McNay Museum of Art- With a Trinity student ID, students can wander the gorgeous McNay Museum mansion for free and witness world-famous artists and artworks around almost every turn. (Various hours, closed Monday and Tuesday)

Ford Parade of Lights – ( Sept. 2-4 and Sept. 9-11) For two weekends, from the banks of the downtown River Walk, spectators will get to enjoy an illuminated procession of ten 26-foot boats filled with colorful lanterns. (The event starts at 8 p.m., consult the River Walk website for parade route information)

So there you have it. Experiencing San Antonio doesn’t have to break the bank—go out, grab a friend or two and enjoy!