Getting Around San Antonio

In San Antonio you'll find many transportation options ranging from cars to carriages. The city also offers excellent bus and trolley service (our recommended way to see the downtown area without the headache of finding a parking place.)

Driving in San Antonio

Driving in San Antonio is a real challenge, especially downtown thanks to the numerous one way streets. With some of the oldest streets in the state, San Antonio doesn't follow a grid system, but instead a meandering collection of streets that trace the river's passage through the city.

Our suggestion? Park and walk. Pay parking lots are sprinkled downtown; rates are sometimes by the day and sometimes by the hour. Don't plan to just park "for a few minutes" without paying; you will be towed.
Covered parking garages are a blessing during the hot summer months. You'll find covered parking garages at many of the downtown hotels (they are available for non-guests for a fee) and at sites like Rivercenter Mall.

Once you've parked, you'll find much of the downtown is easily accessible on foot. Strolling the River Walk is a real San Antonio pleasure; temperatures on the River Walk are several degrees below those found at street level. Walking the River Walk, you'll be able to reach the Alamo and many of the attractions found nearby.When it's time to branch out, trolley service aboard the VIA San Antonio streetcars link the main tourist sites.

Trolley Service

VIA Downtown trolleys, constructed like old-fashioned trolleys but with rubber tires, are a fun and inexpensive way to explore the downtown area. The red, yellow, purple, and blue line trolleys serve four routes and stop at all major downtown attractions. The small fare is well worth the cost (you can also purchase a monthly streetcar pass if you think you'll be riding a great deal.) You can pay by cash, with a streetcar token, or with a streetcar pass. Discounts are available for seniors, children, the mobility impaired and Medicare recipients. Transfers between the streetcars are free.

If you'd like to park your car and ride the trolleys, you'll find free parking at VIA's Ellis Alley Park and Ride east of downtown at Chestnut and Ellis Alley. From the parking lot, you can take the yellow or brown streetcar line to the downtown area.

The line you'll want to take will depend on your destination. The lines intersect at several points in town so you can transfer from one line to another.

Trolley Routes

  • The Blue Route travels from downtown to the southern areas of the city. Its stops include the Alamo, Blue Star Arts Complex, Central Library, Henry B. Gonzales convention center, HemisFair Park, the King William Historic District, La Villita, Municipal Auditorium, Rivercenter Mall, the San Antonio Information Center, and Southtown.
  • The Yellow Route stops at the Alamodome, Ellis Alley Park and Ride at St. Paul Square (for free parking for VIA customers), convention center, El Mercado-Market Square, Institute of Texan Cultures, Rivercenter Mall, St. Paul Square, Sunset Station, and Tower of the Americas.
  • The Red Line stops include the Alamo, the convention center, El Mercado-Market Square, HemisFair Park, La Villita, the Rivercenter Mall, and the San Antonio Information Center.
  • The Purple Route includes the Alamodome, the convention center, El Mercado-Market Square, HemisFair Park, the Institute of Texan Cultures, La Villita, Rivercenter Mall, and Tower of the Americas.

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