San Antonio Missions

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Explore where the city’s rich history meets national parks with the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park to experience the history of the people who first lived in the Spanish missions. Visit San Antonio Missions National Historical Park to learn about the history of the beautiful Spanish colonial missions. Along with the Alamo, it was named the very first World Heritage Site in Texas by the United Nations Organization for Education, Science, and Culture (UNESCO) World Heritage Site.

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6071 San Jose Dr, San Antonio, TX 78214 United States

The San Antonio Missions invite you to experience diverse American history at the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park where you can hear the stories of the people who came to the Spanish missions in the 1700s to live. Along with the Alamo, this park was named the very first World Heritage Site in Texas by the United Nations Organization for Education, Science, and Culture (UNESCO) World Heritage Site. Tourists flock to these sites to learn some history and see how the cultures of the Spanish and the Coahuiltecan weave together and harmonize. Book a tour today to see for yourself!

Get a History Lesson at San Antonio Missions With Us!

How to Get There

Four out of the five San Antonio Missions are nestled in the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park, about 2.5 miles from each other. The Alamo, on the other hand, is located just a 20-minute drive south of the airport, close to the River Walk. It is situated in the downtown area on Alamo Plaza, between E. Houston and Crockett streets. From here, visitors can take the Mission Reach hike and bike trail to discover additional missions. 

Mission Concepción sits approximately three miles south of the Alamo in downtown San Antonio, and past the historic King William District. This mission can be reached via the World Heritage Trail or the VIA VIVA Missions from downtown. Mission San José is nestled 2.6 miles south of Mission Concepción and can be reached in almost 5 minutes by walking along the World Heritage Trail, or in an 18-minute drive via Roosevelt Avenue from downtown. 

Positioned a few miles downstream from Mission San José, Mission San Juan Capistrano can be reached by car by following the World Heritage Trail from Napier to Padre Road and then heading south on Mission Road for three miles. The final tourist destination on the World Heritage Trail, Mission San Juan, is lodged about 1.5 miles south of Mission San Juan Capistrano and 8.5 miles south of the Alamo. 

Visitors can follow the World Heritage Trail by car and take Villamain Road south and then turn onto Camino Coahuilteca for the final stretch, to get to the main entrance. But why navigate your way through San Antonio to reach all these missions when you can just book a tour that will take care of everything for you, from pick-up to drop-off?


Best Time to Visit San Antonio Missions

The San Antonio Missions are open year-round so you can visit these historical sites whenever you want. However, it's recommended that you visit San Antonio between November to April, because the weather is mild and pleasant and hotels tend to be cheaper during that time.



Visit this National Park Service site and the star attraction of San Antonio to travel back in time and see what it was like to live in the mid-1700s! Learn about the historic Battle of the Alamo at the Shrine of Texas Liberty! Marvel at the integrity of the oldest Spanish mission in Texas — the mission Espada! See the economic hub of the missions which once was home to Native American artisans — the Mission San Juan! Gaze at the grandiosity of Mission San José and learn why it's called the Queen of the Missions! Be amazed by the resilient stone structure of the nation's oldest unrestored stone church — the Mission Concepcion! And last but not least, do check out other complexes and outposts in the historical park such as Rancho de las Cabras!



Learn a history lesson or two at San Antonio Missions from our wonderful guides who will take you on a narrated tour of the sites! You will learn about how the San Antonio Missions showcase the blending of cultures between the Spanish and indigenous peoples such as the Coahuiltecan. Tourists visit these historical sites to observe this very symbolism from the layout of the settlements where indigenous communities were integrated into the central plaza and the design of the churches and other complexes which feature a mix of Catholic symbols and indigenous motifs, to the preservation of elements that represent the continuation of shared values after the missions were no longer under direct religious control. Learn about the Battle of the Alamo and more at these historic outposts!



In southern Texas, along a 7.7-mile stretch of the San Antonio River, reside the San Antonio Missions — five outposts rich in culture and history. These complexes were constructed during the early 1700s as part of the Spanish government's efforts to settle and control the area, convert the local natives to Catholicism, and defend the northern border of their territory. In addition to proselytizing the locals, another purpose of establishing the missions was to create self-sufficient communities loyal to the Spanish government, with everything they needed to sustain themselves.

1978 was a significant year in preserving the national historic sites of San Antonio. That year, the United States Congress founded the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park to protect and recognize the national significance of the four Spanish Colonial-era missions in San Antonio, namely Mission Espada, Mission Concepcion, Mission San Juan, and Mission San José. The park's sweeping 475-acre boundaries also preserved agricultural lands, irrigation systems, and other sites of historical or cultural significance related to the missions. The Alamo, or Mission San Antonio de Valero, is owned by the State of Texas and managed by the Daughters of the Republic of Texas — reasons for the mission's exclusion from the park.