Where to go: San Antonio's 4 best museums

Where to go: San Antonio's 4 best museums
The Alamo. | Photo: Chris K./Yelp
By Hoodline - Published on September 28, 2018.

Looking to check out the best museums in town?

Hoodline crunched the numbers to find the top museums in San Antonio, using both Yelp data and our own secret sauce to produce a ranked list of the best spots. From an up-close look at Texas history to firefighting artifacts, here are the must-see museums for locals and visitors alike.

1. The Alamo

Photo: Lisa G./Yelp

Topping the list is The Alamo. Located downtown at 300 Alamo Plaza, the historical site and landmark is the highest-rated museum in San Antonio, boasting four stars out of 853 reviews on Yelp.

What's known today as the Alamo is what's left of the San Antonio de Valero Spanish mission. It's best known as the site of the Battle of the Alamo, which took place during the Texas Revolution. Outnumbered Texan defenders withstood 13 days of siege by Mexican troops before the walls were stormed.

It now serves as a museum of not only the battle, but of the Texas Revolution and early Texas history. It's free to walk the grounds and you can also grab a self-guided audio tour or a guided tour. Inside, you'll see the remains of the mission, which houses authentic artifacts and informative exhibits.

Nathan W., who reviewed it on July 25, wrote, "It's the Alamo. If you are visiting San Antonio, you visit the Alamo. It's free to go inside and walk the grounds. I'm not sure the audio tour is worthwhile. I would either just walk it myself or get the guided tour for a few dollars more."

2. San Antonio Fire Museum

Photo: Christy K./Yelp

Next up is the San Antonio Fire Museum, situated downtown at 801 E. Houston St. With five stars out of 20 reviews on Yelp, the museum has proven to be a local favorite.

Located inside an old firehouse, the volunteer-run museum houses firefighting artifacts and memorabilia, including vintage firetrucks and gear, rare photographs and documents and more, with a special focus on San Antonio firefighting history.

Yelper Timothy A. said, "I stopped by here on my last day in town, and had a very pleasant tour from one of the retired volunteers. ... The museum is exactly as you would expect. Lots of old trucks and memorabilia, but there is also a special section for the kids to play in and dress up."

3. Battle For Texas: The Experience

Photo: Battle For Texas: The Experience/Yelp

Battle For Texas: The Experience is another much-loved go-to downtown, with 4.5 stars out of 24 Yelp reviews. Head over to 849 E. Commerce St., inside the Shops at Rivercenter.

Expanding on the Alamo experience, this walk-through, sensory museum immerses visitors inside its interactive exhibits. You'll see a collection of curated artifacts not on display at the Alamo itself, including artifacts from Bowie, Travis, Crockett, Seguín and Santa Ana. It also has multimedia presentations that cover everything from the Battle of the Alamo to daily life of early Texas settlers.

Yelp reviewer Hoa L. wrote, "I had average to low expectations coming here as I've been through the Texas school system, watched the Alamo movie and no longer felt like a tourist giddy about the Alamo. However, this exhibit exceeded any expectations and helped me rekindle the joy of Texas history and the Alamo."

4. Texas Transportation Museum

Photo: VSevolod S./Yelp

Finally, check out Texas Transportation Museum, which has earned 4.5 stars out of 20 reviews on Yelp. You can find the museum at 11731 Wetmore Road.

The museum is volunteer led and collects, preserves and displays historically significant transportation equipment. Start things off by taking a ride on its working passenger train, then check out its collection of vintage train engines, automobiles, firetrucks, horse carriages and tractors. It also has exhibits and displays, including model railroads.

Jessica S. wrote, "My family and I visited today and had a lot of fun. I'm into history and my husband enjoys trains. This is a small locale with a volunteer staff and they do great work with what they have. My favorite part was the Pullman cars. We had a fun morning out. Staff was very friendly."