Woman walks down the steps at La Villita the little village of San Antonio, Texas

Alamy Stock Photo

La Villita Historic Arts Village

San Antonio

History meets commerce at downtown's La Villita. San Antonio's first neighborhood, this 'little village' of stone and adobe houses dates back to the early 1800s and now contains a collection of touristy shops and galleries. It doesn't exactly offer a portal into the past, but it's worth a stroll, especially if you pause for a walking tour that puts the village into the right historical context. (Maps are posted around the village.)

La Villita occupies the space between Paseo de la Villita and Nueva St, and between Alamo and Presa Sts.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby San Antonio attractions

1. Briscoe Western Art Museum


Devoted as much to general Western history as it is to art, this small downtown museum pays its respects to cowboys, Hispanic settlers, Native Americans…

2. River Walk

0.24 MILES

The River Walk is a 15-mile-long glorious network of waterside pathways that’s tucked below street level and lined with bars and restaurants. It's the…

3. Ripley's Alamo Plaza Attractions

0.27 MILES

Time to throw the kids a bone? After touring historical sites all day, you can reward them with a visit to this teen-friendly trio: Ripley's Haunted…

4. Buckhorn Saloon & Museum

0.33 MILES

Waaaay back in 1881, when the Buckhorn Saloon first opened, the owner promised patrons a free beer or shot for any deer antlers they brought in. Although…

5. San Fernando Cathedral

0.33 MILES

Founded in 1731, San Antonio’s cathedral ranks as the oldest church in Texas. On the edge of Main Plaza, its prime interest for modern visitors is as a…

6. The Alamo

0.33 MILES

For proud Texans, the much-fabled Alamo, entered freely off San Antonio’s central plaza, is not so much a tourist attraction as a place of pilgrimage…

7. Tower of the Americas

0.39 MILES

San Antonio’s 750ft-high Tower of the Americas is a skyline-defining landmark left over from the 1968 World’s Fair. From the 579ft-high observation deck…

8. Spanish Governor's Palace

0.44 MILES

The name now attached to this low-profile adobe structure is an exaggeration. When built in 1722, it was the home and office of the captain of the local…