San antonio texas

15 Best Places to Take Pictures in San Antonio

Explore San Antonio's photogenic landmarks and hidden gems, from the historic Alamo to scenic spots, perfect for capturing the city's diverse beauty.

If you’re planning a trip to Texas, you’re probably wondering about the best places to take pictures in San Antonio.

San Antonio, with its rich history, vibrant culture, and a mix of architectural styles, is a treasure trove for photographers.

From the winding paths of the River Walk to the historic halls of the Alamo, the city offers a myriad of backdrops perfect for every photo enthusiast.

Whether you’re a seasoned photographer or just someone looking to capture the essence of the city, San Antonio promises diverse and breathtaking spots to frame that perfect shot.

In this guide, I’ll cover the top spots to trigger Insta envy in San Antonio based on my frequent trips to Texas.

The Well-Known (But Unmissable) Places to Take Pictures in San Antonio

1. The San Antonio Riverwalk

San antonio, texas - san antonio, texas -.

Consistently voted the top attraction in the state of Texas, you better believe the San Antonio Riverwalk is an excellent spot for taking pictures.

Full of scenic waterways, concrete waterfalls, and sidewalks, the Riverwalk is architecturally admired for harmoniously combining retail, restaurants, and natural scenery.

Because the Riverwalk is enveloped in gorgeous Indigenous landscaping, it’s a frequent host of cultural festivals that represent more than three centuries of history.

Best Time to Visit

This topic is widely debated among locals because there are two solid times to head to the Riverwalk.

Mid-morning, around 10 or 11 a.m., is great for catching street photography as the shops and restaurants lining the walk start to open and attract visitors.

After sunset, closer to 8 p.m., is another ideal time as the lights lining the walk illuminate the architectural beauty.

Best View

There are several spots along the San Antonio Riverwalk that provide stunning views, but my favorite views can be seen from La Villita.

Representing the artistic square of San Antonio, this village features tons of amazing photo settings, including spacious courtyards and plazas that emit a wide range of European architectural influences.

Whether you fancy yourself an architecture, landscape, or street photographer, La Villita offers endless ways to capture the beauty of the Riverwalk.

Pro Tips

You’ll want to try to plan your trip outside of the summer because that’s prime time for tourists!

To avoid insanely large crowds, you’ll want to aim to visit in the fall, winter, or spring months.

There’s also a plethora of retail options and art galleries worth exploring between photo sessions.

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2. The Alamo

San antonio battle of alamo.

Grounded in 300 years of complex history, The Alamo is another prime spot for taking pictures in San Antonio.

Remembered as the historic site of The Battle of the Alamo in the 1800s, The Alamo now serves as an educational site for guests to learn about The Texas Revolution and the state’s fight for freedom from Mexico.

Today, this San Antonio fortress garners more than 2 million visitors a year.

Best Time to Visit

To avoid the crowd from group tours, you’ll want to visit an hour or two after the influx of opening-hour visitors, so around 11 a.m. is best.

However, near closing time isn’t a bad alternative!

The Alamo closes at 5:30 p.m. daily, and if you get there between 4:45 and 5, most group tours have ended, and you’ll have heaps of open areas to explore without disruptions.

Best View

You’ll have to visit The Alamo in person to get the best views.

Because of its wide-open setting, you’ll have no issue finding a great spot to take photos across the three-acre property.

I recommend starting in the Convento Courtyard, where you can appreciate unbeatable views of the long barrack and Alamo church while also getting to see the adjacent Calvary Courtyard.

Pro Tips

Make sure to appreciate and take some photos of the church’s trademark scalloped roofline, which not only looks cool but also boasts historical importance for storing hay and grain for the U.S. Army.

3. The San Fernando Cathedral

A large stone building with a clock tower.

Founded in the 1700s, the San Fernando Cathedral is another top spot for taking pictures in San Antonio.

Praised for being the oldest religious community to consistently operate since 1731, this cathedral is truly a gem in the heart of south-central Texas.

You can even attend mass here or make it your wedding venue!

Best Time to Visit

The best time to get stunning photos of the cathedral is around 3 p.m.

During this time, the sun will be in the perfect position to enhance the warm colors and architectural details of the French Gothic and Spanish Colonial structures.

Best View

My favorite views of the San Fernando Cathedral can be found right at the heart of the Cathedral Centre Hall.

Whether you head up the rooftop or take photos of the hall from the ground floor, you’ll be sure to get captivating shots of the oldest religious community in the state.

Pro Tips

To achieve a large depth of field, I recommend using a camera with a low aperture and a zoom lens for added versatility that will allow you to focus on gorgeous details like the carved stone and limestone blocks.

4. The San Antonio Zoo

A tiger resting on a rock.

Street and wildlife photographers will rejoice over the sights worth capturing at The San Antonio Zoo.

Primely located on North St. Mary’s Street, this zoo is home to animals from nearly every continent.

A wide array of different scenes creates a versatile list of stunning photoshoot locations, whether you’re capturing the pelicans at Big Lake, the lions in Big Cat Valley, or the giraffes and zebras in the Savanna.

Best Time to Visit

The best time to visit the San Antonio Zoo is just after noon when the families with younger kids have likely had their full and the second wave of kids coming after naptime aren’t there yet.

In my experience, the best time to visit the zoo for photos is around 1-2 p.m., which will allow you to capture the vibrancy of every unique animal and the setting more clearly.

Best View

It’s hard to pick the best view here because there’s so much to see and do, but the area for animal encounters has to be the winner.

The interactive nature between kids and animals can best be captured from the Savanna part of the zoo.

Here, you can feed the giraffes and capture incredible real-life, unforgettable events!

Pro Tips

Keep in mind that weather is of utmost importance here because the summers in San Antonio can be sweltering, so shoot to visit in the fall or spring.

In terms of camera choice, make sure you bring a camera with weather sealing to ensure your camera is protected from the elements.

Ideally, your camera will have a long telephoto lens to make your far-away subjects appear closer and will also have excellent auto-focusing capabilities.

5. The Artisan

A colorful mural painted on the side of a building.

Though not a landmark in the traditional sense, The Artisan is undoubtedly a great spot to take pictures in the San Antonio area.

The store interior is full of clothing, décor, and art, while the exterior boasts a vibrant mural that is a must-capture for photographers.

Best Time to Visit

To best capture the colorful mural, you’ll want to visit during daylight.

For strictly exterior shots, I’d suggest going on Monday or Tuesday between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

The store’s closed these two days of the week, which means you can move around freely without a crowd to get the best shots!

If you can’t make a Monday or Tuesday happen, I suggest going around 10 a.m. before the store opens or shortly after the store closes around 5:30 to avoid the masses.

Best View

The Artisan is located on S. Presa Street, so really, any spot on that street will provide a stellar view.

The perfect spot is near the bus stop between Vance and S. Presa.

If you want to try something different, I highly recommend grabbing a caffeinated beverage of your choice at Eight Ball Coffee next door to capture some shots with a unique perspective.

This will also give you the opportunity to take a cool blend of street and architectural photography!

Pro Tips

Painted by local artist Angélica Leandra, the mural featured on The Artisan’s exterior is an ode to Mexican folklore and embroidery.

Because of the vivid colors, you’ll want a camera that has exceptional image quality and color accuracy, like an Olympus OM-D E-M5 MARK III or a Canon EOS 90D.

6. The San Antonio Japanese Tea Garden

A stone gazebo with a tree in the middle.

Rich with walkways and stunning stone arch bridges, The Japanese Tea Garden is another must-visit place for taking photos in San Antonio.

Thanks to park commissioner Ray Lambert, what started as a limestone quarry and cement factory soon transformed into a tea garden designed to reflect Japanese art and culture.

Best Time to Visit

So much of the natural and textural beauty of the tea garden requires you to visit during the day.

Because it’s open from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., you’ll want to avoid peak hours around lunchtime.

You’ll be able to roam around freely from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m., as it’s the slowest period for the garden.

Best View

There are too many views to pick just one, but my favorite view can be seen from The Jingu House.

Here. you can relish the lush greenery surrounding you, the stone bridges, and the enormous waterfall.

Pro Tips

If the sun gets too strong or you just want to explore a bit more, be sure to take a stroll along the shaded walkways!

7. Majestic Theatre

A large auditorium with many people watching a performance.

If you’re seeking a fantastic photoshoot location with a vintage flair, look no further than The Majestic Theatre.

Best Time to Visit

I’d suggest popping by on a Saturday or Sunday for lovely exterior shots because the theatre is closed on weekends.

If you’re hoping to get gorgeous interior shots of the largest atmosphere theatre in the country, I suggest staying after a show and taking photos once the audience has left.

Best View

You’ll get the best exterior view directly outside the barbershop across the street, Puro Handsome Barbershop.

You can also play around with taking photos within the barbershop!

Pro Tips

If you’re mostly planning on taking shots of the dim interior, you’ll need a camera designed to perform well in low light, such as the Sony RX10 or the Canon Eos R100.

8. Landa Gardens Conservancy

A garden with a tree and a house.

Featuring a community garden, playground, and shaded pavilion, it’s no surprise The Landa Gardens Conservancy tops the list of best spots to take photos in San Antonio.

Best Time to Visit

The best time to visit is during daylight hours when you can accurately capture the lush greens of the five-acre garden.

I suggest between 2-4 p.m. when things are quieter and less crowded.

Best View

This is a tricky one!

The best view from The Landa Gardens is indubitably within their community garden.

With a medieval theme and four components breaking up the layout, there are tons of sights and scents to savor!

The garden is categorized according to the following segments: beauty and color, herbs, medicinal, and grasses and culinary.

Pro Tips

Be aware that a film permit is required for photography at The Landa Gardens and all San Antonio Public Library Locations — you can secure a permit by visiting their website.

9. The Wonder Chamber

A woman in a green dress sits on top of a giant lollipop.

Best Time to Visit

Because this is an indoor immersive experience, there are several good times to visit the Wonder Chamber.

The hours of operation vary. but to avoid crowds and get the highest quality photos of each exhibit, I recommend going during the quieter timeframe: 3-4 p.m.

Best View

The best view at the Wonder Chamber will vary since the installations are frequently swapped out.

However, you have an hour to explore more than 25 spaces full of artistic installations, so you can find a great view from just about anywhere.

Pro Tips

Wider and faster lenses inside museums are always a plus, so I recommend using a camera with a wide aperture and a fast shutter speed.

10. The San Antonio Botanical Garden

A group of children walk past a large dragon sculpture.

Natural beauty runs rampant at The San Antonio Botanical Garden.

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Dating back to 1980, this garden is full of gorgeous formal and display gardens that can elevate any photographer’s portfolio!

Best Time to Visit

The best time to visit The San Antonio Botanical Garden is at 8 a.m. when it first opens.

This is usually the quietest time, so you can take photos without disturbance!

Best View

My favorite view can be found at The Lucile Halsell Conservatory.

Featuring five different rooms of exhibits, you can admire exotic plants from all over the globe.

Pro Tips

Spring is typically the peak flower season and more bearable than the extremely hot summers Texas is known for, so plan your visit in March or April!

The Lesser-Known San Antonio Photo Spots (Local Secrets)

If you’re able to explore San Antonio for more than a weekend, there are tons of holes in the wall and local favorites worth checking out!

Here are a few of my favorite lesser-known San Antonio photo spots:

  1. Summer Moon Coffee: Artistically, Summer Moon is your go-to grunge café for photos in the San Antonio area, with natural wood elements broken up by bits of teal. And their signature wood-fired coffee roasting process provides smooth coffee you can’t wait to sip on.
  2. Lowcountry: Arguably the best craft cocktail spot in San Antonio, Lowcountry also offers a scenic courtyard and cozy atmosphere that’s perfect for intimate portraits and gorgeous food and drink shots.
  3. Salado Creek Greenway: This walking trail won’t appear at the top of your Google search, and that’s for the best! This secluded, peaceful 20-mile walking trail is less congested than most San Antonio trails and is lined with a sea of pecan and live oak trees that make it easy to capture picturesque landscape photos.
  4. Murals at Midtown: There are tons of murals populating the streets of San Antonio, and the Murals at Midtown tour is the best way to experience them! Featuring a mix of known and hidden murals throughout the city, you’ll discover a variety of local artists focusing on different topics that make for truly impressive photos.
  5. The Original Donut Shop: While you may not think of a donut shop as the best place for taking photos in San Antonio, The Original Donut Shop will completely change your mind. Equipped with a gorgeous, shaded patio, this donut shop has tons of potential photoshoot locations to choose from, and don’t forget about the backdrop potential of the artwork covering the storefront!

FAQs about Taking Photos in San Antonio

Is it legal to take photos in San Antonio?

Yes. As long as you’re mainly focusing on people-free photos, you can freely take pictures of landscapes, architecture, and more.

Are there places in San Antonio where photography is strictly prohibited?

Most museums ban photography, so be sure to check the rules of any location prior to attempting to take photos.

Can you bring dogs on the Riverwalk?

Yes, as long as you leash your dogs, they’re welcome to join you on The San Antonio Riverwalk.

What’s the biggest tourist attraction in San Antonio?

The Alamo is hands-down the largest attraction in Texas because of its historical significance, so be prepared to plan your trip around crowds. If you want to avoid crowds entirely, avoid tourist-heavy locations like The Alamo and The San Fernando Cathedral altogether.

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