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    Things to Do Near Lackland AFB

    Is the military moving you to Lackland AFB in San Antonio, Texas?

    Known as the “Gateway to the Air Force," Lackland AFB is home to the 37th Training Wing, the largest training wing in the U.S. Air Force. The 37th TW provides the Air Force’s BMT (Basic Military Training) and professional, technical, and English language training for the military services, government agencies, and coalition partners from over 100 countries. Lackland is also home to the DoD's Military Working Dog training program at the 341st Training Squadron. 

    Joint Base San Antonio is a consolidation of Fort Sam Houston, Lackland AFB, and Randolph AFB. San Antonio is commonly referred to as “Military City USA” due to the presence of these military installations, the large veteran and military retiree population, and the overall friendliness to the military in the area.

    Whether Lackland is your new duty station or you're only visiting, you'll never be bored! From exploring cultural sites to the foodie scene or heading outdoors, you’ll always find something to do. Here’s a list to start off your San Antonio adventures.

    Things to Do Near Lackland AFB

    Local Highlights 

    JBSA Base Services

    Before beginning your explorations, connect with JBSA services for tickets, tours, and help with planning. 

    JBSA ITT & Leisure Travel

    JBSA ITT offers discounted tickets to various recreational activities, entertainment, events, and travel destinations in San Antonio and across Texas. The Leisure Travel office is a full-service travel agency that is an authorized Disney vacation planner, Sandals certified, and European and Alaskan travel specialists.

    JBSA MWR

    Before you start your San Antonio adventures, check in with the JBSA MWR for a calendar of events, Outdoor Recreation opportunities, dining, and entertainment.

    The Historic Pearl

    Located north of downtown, the Historic Pearl, a former brewery, has been transformed into a mixed-use space with dining, seasonal events, boutique shopping, green spaces, and an amphitheater. It’s also home to the third campus of the Culinary Institute of America.

    Don't miss the Pearl's weekend markets! Enjoy the Farmers Market on Saturdays, where local farmers and ranchers showcase their fresh produce and meat. Then, on Sundays, explore the Makers Market, which features talented local artisans and their unique creations.

    the historic pearl in san antonioPhoto by Henry Becerra on Unsplash

    The River Walk

    The iconic 15-mile-long River Walk is a beautiful spot to shop, dine, and stroll. Just below street level, it’s also the largest urban ecosystem in the U.S. The King William District and the Alamo are walkable from the downtown section. Embark on a riverboat cruise to explore different river sections, either for a quick drop-off or to enjoy a narrated journey along this famous waterway.

    SeaWorld San Antonio

    This attraction is located in northwest San Antonio and is known for family-friendly interactive shows and exhibits, an immersive water park, and marine life encounters. SeaWorld provides complimentary admission for active duty military personnel and up to three dependents once per year through their Waves of Honor program and discounts on other tickets and passes. Check SeaWorld's official website or contact them directly for the most current information on military discounts.

    Six Flags Fiesta Texas

    Located in the heart of a shopping, dining, and entertainment district, La Cantera, Six Flags Fiesta Texas is situated in a former quarry. Fiesta Texas is San Antonio's most popular and largest theme park, offering visitors a wide range of roller coasters, park rides, live entertainment, food, and beverages.

    Natural Bridge Caverns

    Take a guided exploration of the underground caverns and spectacular formations. Next, pan for gems at the Discovery Village Mining Company, then navigate through the outdoor maze and finish with one of the Canopy Challenge ropes courses and zip lines. Active fun for the whole family! 

    San Antonio Dining

    Foodies, rejoice! San Antonio has you covered, whether you’re looking for barbecue, elevated fine dining, amazing steak, breweries and distilleries, Tex-Mex cuisine, or an American eatery. You probably won't be able to exhaust all the options in San Antonio's Mexican and Latin American food scene.

    San Antonio Tours

    Plan a bike tour, walking tour, helicopter tour, ghost tour, or bar walk. "Visit San Antonio" has a nice round-up of area tours.

    Want to explore downtown but not sure where to start? Ride in comfort and view the sights on one of the hop-on, hop-off Old Town Trolley Tours. Stops include the Historic Market Square, San Fernando Cathedral, the Alamo Plaza, and more.

    Mission Espada in San Antonio Mission Espada in San Antonio. Photo from iStock.com/Jaclyne Ortiz

    Downtown San Antonio

    A few other attractions to add to your list include The Guenther House, Ripley’s Believe it or Not!, Witte Museum, Buckhorn Saloon & Museum, Texas Ranger Museum, Empire Theatre, Aztec Theatre, Briscoe Western Art Museum, McNay Art Museum, San Antonio African American Community Archive & Museum, and of course, the historic Alamo. 

    San Antonio Missions and the Alamo

    The San Antonio Missions National Historical Park includes the Mission San Jose, Mission Espada, Mission San Juan, and Mission Concepcion. Along with the Alamo, which was also one of the missions, the park was named the first World Heritage Site in Texas by the United Nations Organization for Education, Science and Culture (UNESCO).

    These five Catholic missions were established in the 18th century by Spanish priests. Today, the missions (walled compounds encompassing a church and buildings where the priests and local Native Americans lived) are North America's largest concentration of Spanish colonial missions. Plan your visit to the San Antonio missions.

    Confluence Park

    Open daily, the park is a gateway to hiking, biking, and paddling trails, which begin near the Blue Star Arts Complex and end near Mission Espada. 

    Texas Hill Country

    San Antonio is at the southern end of the Texas Hill Country. Visit nearby Fredericksburg, Boerne, and New Braunfels for a taste of city/country life. Charming small towns combine with outdoor living for an unforgettable experience.

    LOST-MAPLES-ENTRANCELost Maples State Natural Area image via Texas.gov

    Outdoor Activities in the San Antonio Area

    Japanese Tea Garden

    The Japanese Tea Garden, dating back to 1919, features a lush year-round garden, shaded walkways, stone bridges, a waterfall, and ponds filled with koi fish. The garden was constructed on a former limestone quarry and is one of the most photographed spots in San Antonio. Admission is free. Plan your visit to the Japanese Tea Garden.  

    San Antonio Botanical Garden

    The San Antonio Botanical Garden covers 38 acres and offers trails through native and imported plant life, Texas landscapes, formal gardens, and seasonal displays. The Botanical Garden is dedicated to education, conservation, and experiences that immerse people in the beauty of the natural world. Discover a variety of classes tailored for adults, youth, and families, covering a range of topics from farm-to-table cuisine to hands-on horticulture experiences.

    iStock-920657440

    Japanese Tea Garden. Photo from iStock.com/Redheadedhornet

    Brackenridge Park

    This 343-acre park is home to the San Antonio Zoo, Japanese Tea Garden, walking paths, picnic areas, and the San Antonio River, making it ideal for family outings and casual strolls. It is open daily from dawn to dusk.

    Tubing on the River

    Warm weather finds San Antonians on the water, and tubing (floating on an inner tube down one of the area rivers) is a popular way to enjoy it. You can rent tubes, canoes, and river rafts from many local businesses to float down the Guadalupe, San Marcos, Comal, and Frio Rivers. Most vendors also provide shuttles to pick you up at the end of your float.

    Canyon Lake

    Canyon Lake is one of Texas' most beautiful lakes, spanning 8,230 acres and offering breathtaking views. It has eight public parks with camping, fishing, swimming, scuba diving, picnicking, wildlife viewing, boating, and other water sports. JBSA Recreation Park at Canyon Lake is available year-round for active-duty service members and Department of Defense cardholders, including dependents, retirees, and civilian employees. 

    Hiking

    Explore nearby scenic trails at locations such as Government Canyon State Natural Area, Lost Maples State Natural Area (especially in autumn), Pedernales Falls State Park, and Enchanted Rock State Natural Area. Find miles of hiking and biking trails, guided hikes, and rock climbing. 

    See 11 Ways to Get Outdoors in San Antonio.

    iStock-1243842025

    Charro cowboy in San Antonio. Photo from iStock.com/Jason Risner Photography

    San Antonio Annual Events

    The San Antonio area hosts many annual events that attract visitors. Here are just a few!

    San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo

    Every year, 1.5 million visitors attend the Stock Show & Rodeo. Since 1949, it has been one of San Antonio's largest annual events. Attend the carnival and then the Charreada, a unique blend of Mexican and Western culture. Learn more about the stock show and rodeo. 

    Fiesta San Antonio

    Start planning your Fiesta schedule now! Even some local schools close for this yearly event. Attend one of the parades: Battle of Flowers, Fiesta Flambeau (the largest night parade in the country), and the Texas Cavaliers River Parade. Then, attend a food event and watch local entertainment. Fiesta started in 1891 as a way to honor the heroes of the Alamo and the Battle of San Jacinto. It is now the city’s largest party! ¡Viva Fiesta!

    Fiesta San Antonio battle of flowers parade

    Fiesta San Antonio. Image via Visit San Antonio

    Lackland AFB and the surrounding San Antonio area offer a wealth of experiences for those new to the area or just passing through. Whether immersing yourself in the local culture or seeking adventure in the nearby Texas Hill Country, your time at Lackland AFB promises to be unforgettable. Welcome to San Antonio!

    Get our free guide to the San Antonio area!Military Family Guide to Joint Base San Antonio

    Jen McDonald

    Author

    Jen McDonald

    Jen McDonald is the Content Editor for MilitaryByOwner Advertising. She's a longtime writer, the author of the books You Are Not Alone: Encouragement for the Heart of a Military Spouse and Milspouse Matters: Sharing Strength Through Our Stories. Jen is also the host of the Milspouse Matters podcast, and has written hundreds of articles and essays which have been published in other books and numerous publications. She was a military spouse for 30 years and is the mom of four, including one son in the military. One of her happiest roles now is being a grandmother. She and her veteran Air Force husband have been stationed all around the world from Europe to the Pacific and won’t count how many houses they’ve lived in because that would be too depressing. Her passion is encouraging young military spouses and regularly sharing about topics like military life, parenting, homeschooling...and now grandparenting! See more from Jen at her site, Jen McDonald and find her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram , and Pinterest.

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