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The Alamo

300 Alamo Plaza, San Antonio, Texas

The Alamo is one of the most famous historical sites in the United States, forever linked to the 13-day Battle of the Alamo, when Mexican troops under President General Antonio López de Santa Anna reclaimed the mission and killed most of the occupants. Today, the 18th-century Spanish Mission San Antonio de Valero complex—now known as the Alamo—welcomes more than 2.5 million visitors per year to its chapel, barracks, gardens, and small museum.

A visit is essential for understanding the history of early Texas and the Texas Revolution. Visitors are free to tour the grounds on their own or sign up for a guided or audio tour. Sightseeing and hop-on hop-off bus tours often stop at the mission complex in addition to Mission San Jose, Market Square, and Mission Concepción.

Travelers can even combine a visit with a cruise along the San Antonio River Walk, or, for those interested in the attraction’s ghostly residents, visit the complex as part of a haunted San Antonio tour.

  • This site is a must-see for history buffs.

  • Book Alamo tickets online are on-site.

  • Don't forget to wear comfortable clothes and walking shoes.

  • San Antonio can get hot; be sure to wear sunscreen and drink plenty of water.

  • All public areas are accessible for wheelchair users.

  • Photography is prohibited inside the church and Long Barrack Museum.

The entrance is in the heart of downtown San Antonio, Texas just a block from the San Antonio River Walk. Visitors with a car will find ample parking in the area, though often for a fee. The complex is also located along the VIVA missions and VIVA centro bus routes.

While the Alamo is open year-round (with the exception of December 25, Christmas Day), many travelers prefer visiting in the off-peak season between early September and early March, when the weather is cooler and the crowds are smaller. Try getting there first thing in the morning or at dusk when the mission is beautifully lit.

A regular calendar of events features free history talks several times per day in the Calvary Courtyard, as well as living history presentations that sometimes include period impressions and live demonstrations of fire starting, leatherworking, or textile making. You can see a 17-minute film telling the 300-year Alamo story in the Long Barracks Theater and the Alamo Arbor.

Admission into the Alamo Church is free. If you’d like to take the self-guided audio tour, take the docent-led guided tour, or visit the exhibit with artifacts and historical documents, that will incur a fee. That being said, timed reservations are still required for the Alamo Church and can be booked online.

The standard Alamo guided tour—which winds through the Alamo’s battlefield and historic church and ends in the Alamo’s Exhibit (similar to a museum, with artifacts and documents)—lasts 1 hour. The self-guided audio tour is designed to last 45 minutes, though you’re welcome to go as quickly or as slowly as you like.

While you can explore the Alamo Church for free, that’s the only aspect of The Alamo you can “tour” without cost. Both guided and self-guided tours—which include the battlefield, the church, and the on-site museum—are offered for a fee. Self-guided tours last roughly 45 minutes; guided tours last roughly an hour.

Whether or not the guided tour at the Alamo is worth it depends on your interests and preferences. If you’re interested in a serious dive into this aspect of American history and would like memorable stories, facts, and anecdotes added to your visual experience, the guided tour is absolutely worth it.

The Alamo is usually open 364 days a year—every day except Christmas. The last visitors are permitted roughly 15–30 minutes prior to closing. If you’re aiming for a certain time to arrive, know that no on-site parking exists; you’ll need to park in one of the public parking lots close by.

Before going to the Alamo, know that the site is mostly outdoors—depending on the season and weather, you should bring sunscreen, bug spray, a hat (please remove when inside the church), comfortable shoes, and water. You’re also allowed to bring food and drink on-site, so long as there are no open containers in any historic buildings.


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