San Antonio Riverwalk - Top 10 Walk

San Antonio Riverwalk
San Antonio Riverwalk. Getty Images / Photodisc

The San Antonio River Walk or Paseo del Rio is a gem of a walking route for visitors and local Texans to enjoy. It was created as a pedestrian street one level below the shops and automobile streets. A bend of the San Antonio River was dammed to prevent flooding, making this a quiet backwater that is now lined with shops, restaurants, and attractions. An extension, the Paseo del Alamo, leads to the Alamo.

The Paseo del Rio Association says the San Antonio River Walk is the number one tourist attraction in Texas. Riverwalk is a common way of spelling, although the association separates it as River Walk.

Strolling on the River

You should take the chance to stroll there on a visit, or enjoy a boat tour. The route is flat and paved, with some stairs. The river is often drained in January and a Mud Festival is held with many fun events. When I served as an officer of a walking club organization which has headquarters nearby, we typically walked the Riverwalk and had an evening boat tour with dinner and margaritas. Christmas on the River Walk is also a festive time.​

Year-Round Walks on the San Antonio River Walk

The River Walk is featured on two year-round trails hosted by the Texas Wanderers, a member club of the American Volkssport Association. The route has been voted one of the Top Ten Walks in the USA out of over 1400 different routes on multiple years since 1995, including #1 in 2011 and 2013.

And that's not just due to Texans voting early and often, visitors love it, too.

The starting point is at the El Tropicano Riverwalk Hotel, 110 Lexington Ave (downtown San Antonio). As changes can occur suddenly, check the walk listing or Texas Wanderers Club site beforehand.

As with all year-round walks, please allow the staff to serve their regular customers before asking them any questions. A file box labeled "Walk Box" will be at the espresso bar in the hotel lobby. Identify yourself as a volkssport participant and you will be given the box to assist yourself. Register, take a map and enjoy the walk. This walk, and the hotel, is open daylight hours, so you can get a jump on the summer (or winter) heat.

South San Antonio River Walk Route

The South River Walk route is has a choice of distances, 11 kilometers (6.8 miles) or 6 kilometers (3.1 miles), rated easy but includes stairs.  The route includes the Alamo - stop and soak up the history of that brave locale. Then all along the river on a pleasant trail away from traffic.

The route goes through the restaurant, shopping and entertainment areas along the river in downtown - bring an appetite and your money. It can also get crowded along this section on weekends and evenings and during festivals, so be prepared to slow down and enjoy. In addition to the Alamo, it goes through the King William district, La Villita historic arts village, HemisFair Park, the Institute of Texan Cultures and San Fernando Cathedral.

North San Antonio River Walk Route

If you want to enjoy a different route, the River Walk North route map is also available in the same Walk Box. You have a choice of the distance of 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) or five kilometers (3.2 miles) and it is rated easy. The route includes the museum reach of the Paseo del Rio or River Walk, passing the San Antonio Museum of Art, walking trails in Brackenridge Park and passing through the Pearl Brewery complex.

Enjoy San Antonio and don't fall into the river!