Things to Do

Walking Downtown San Antonio: Texas Star Trail

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Tony Maples Photography


It is often said San Antonio is a very walkable city. With a compact downtown filled with history, period architecture, and interesting stories, several walking tours have proven to be quite popular. One is the Texas Star Trail, established in 1986 as a Sesquicentennial Project of the San Antonio Conservation Society in cooperation with the San Antonio Sesquicentennial Committee and the Granaderos de Galvez.

The 2.6-mile walk features 79 historic sites and landmarks, and is designated by numbered red & blue aluminum Texas Star Plaques, embedded in the sidewalk; small star markers, with each star indicating direction, connect the large markers. The official tour begins in Alamo Plaza and returns to the nearby Menger Hotel but can also be started at any point along its route, or abbreviated or walked in sections. The Conservation Society designed each section to be walked in 45 minutes.

Look down then look up

Photo: Facebook/Larry J. Rodgers

Two guide mediums are available. A paper rendition of the tour featuring QR codes, which take users directly to websites, are available at the San Antonio Visitor’s Center or the Conservation Society office located at 107 King William St. Alternatively, a mobile tour enables users to follow along the original markers while clicking on and reading about many of the sites, structures, and events that shaped San Antonio history, from the Alamo in 1836 to Joske’s of Texas and more. The mobile map breaks the downtown walking tour into five different areas of interest: Alamo Plaza, Hemisfair, La Villita, Old San Antonio, and the River Walk.

Many of the landmarks feature then-and-now photographs to allow users to connect to the past while standing in front of the building or site. Guests can begin the tour by visiting and clicking on “Start the Tour” and selecting areas around their location, or by scrolling down and selecting a colored area from the map. The app can also be accessed through the Conservation Society’s website at

Photo: Facebook/Humans of Texas

A few things to note if using the mobile tour: sometimes the “back” button has to be used to restart a search, some of the locales must be typed into the search button to read the description, and the app is sensitive to device and location, so some areas are easier to search than others. The site uses Google Maps as a separate web-based application and it cannot be downloaded to a phone screen and immediately clicked on like other apps; it must be accessed from the website. This function is designed to increase accessibility because it can be used on multiple mobile devices. As always, use caution while walking and reading a phone screen. Happy Trails!