Visit The Alamo! What You Need to Know Before You Go!

If you plan to visit The Alamo in San Antonio, there’s lots of things to do and see. But, there’s also important things to know before you go tour the iconic historic Texas landmark.  Visiting the Alamo will help visitors understand why Texans are so deeply enriched in their culture and Texas pride. 

Without Googling, can you tell what happened at The Alamo that makes this historic building the most visited landmark in Texas? Yep, didn’t think so!

So, you’ve come to the right place to learn before you head to San Antonio to visit The Alamo!

The Alamo San Antonio Texas - Always On Liberty

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Visit The Alamo

What You Need to Know Before Go!

History of the Alamo

The Siege of Alamo - Movie Set
Photo sourced from Classic Movie Treasures

The Alamo is where Lieutenant Colonel William B. Travis, frontiersman James Bowie and Davy Crockett led about 200 Texans.

They banded together to defend the Alamo and fight for Texas liberty against General Antonio López de Santa Anna and hundreds of Mexican troops in the 1836 Battle of the Alamo.

Their sacrifice helped birth Texas and put it on the map and this important historical revolution in the history books. 

While the seige lasted 13 days, there’s tons more in history to learn about the 13 days of siege of the Alamo

On March 6th, 1836, only 90 minutes into battle on the 13th day of the siege, the fighting ceased. All the Texian and Tejano (Texans of Mexican descent) defenders had fallen, Davy Crockett included.

And though the Mexican Army suffered more casualties, Alamo was reclaimed by the Mexican army.

The significant loss of Alamo and the defenders from several different countries, including native-born Mexicans, was felt throughout Texas.

Their call for aid and refusal to surrender in the face of overwhelming odds astounded not only America but also, the rest of the world.

And this is why the Battle of the Alamo has proven to be of great historical importance to our Country, as well as cultures of San Antonio and Texas.

Hence, explaining their forever motto is ‘Remember the Alamo’.

Why is it called The Alamo?

According to San Antonio World Heritage “the name Alamo came into use after Mexico declared its independence from Spain in 1821.

The soldiers from Mexico stationed at Mission San Antonio de Valero were of the Alamo Company, named for their hometown, Alamo de Parras.

Alamo means cottonwood in Spanish.

The Alamo today

Tourists at the Alamo

While the Alamo sits in its’ original location at 100 Alamo Plaza in the heart of downtown San Antonio, most of the fort and battlefield were lost in the 1836 battle.

Adding insult to injury, just a couple of months after the siege of the Alamo, the Mexican Army returned to tear down the outer walls.

Thus leaving just the Long Barrack and Alamo Church.

But even centuries later, the spirit of Alamo remains in the hearts of Texans and ancestors of those who fought with extreme bravery and made the ultimate sacrifice in the brutal battle.

Since then, the walls and other structures have been rebuilt to commemorate, honor and remind us all of those lost in the siege. Now, The Alamo belongs to the people of Texas.

In 2011, the Texas Legislature and Governor Rick Perry designated the Texas General Land Office (GLO) the custodian of the Alamo on behalf of the people of Texas.

Today, nestled amongst towering modern buildings, eclectic shops, foodie restaurants and San Antonio’s Riverwalk, the Alamo reigns with importance forever.

The Alamo is the crown jewel of Texas heritage and a historic destination for you and your family to visit. You can discover the place that has captured the nation’s and the world’s attention for generations.

In fact, it comes as no surprise that The Alamo is Texas’ most visited historic landmark and for good reason.

Is The Alamo a National Park?

The Alamo is not a National Park. Nor is it a National Monument. However, the historic park was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1979.

And, The Alamo is featured in the National Park Service South and West Texas Travel Itinerary and American Latino Heritage Travel Itinerary. It’s a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Best time to visit The Alamo

The Alamo Fort Walls in San Antonio - Always On Liberty
Photo by Always On Liberty©

Located at 100 Alamo Plaza in San Antonio, The Alamo is open everyday and even holidays. However, they are closed Christmas Day.

The Alamo Operating Hours:

No matter what time of year, the best time of day to visit The Alamo is the morning hours. And, the best day of the week to visit The Alamo are weekdays when it’s less crowded.

That said, when schools are in session, you may experience a little crowding because of school field trips or school groups. 

In my opinion, the least desirable times to visit The Alamo are during weekends and holidays; especially when the kids are out of school.

Also, be aware there are several events in February, March and April that you may want to combine with your visit. St. Patrick’s Day, Fiesta San Antonio, and the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo are very popular. Of course, there’s other events going on in Alamo City throughout the year.

You’ll definitely need to wear your patience pants and comfortable cowboy boots.

In my opinion there really is no bad time to visit The Alamo. Just some days and times may be more crowded than other times.

Having visited The Alamo several times myself, our favorite times to visit San Antonio are from September to May. The weather is beautiful and the gardens are all in bloom. 

It’s also a great time to visit San Antonio’s River Walk which is literally right across the street.

If you’re planning to visit The Alamo in the Spring, I vehemently recommend combining your trip to San Antonio with the Texas Bluebonnet super bloom.

How much does it cost to visit The Alamo?

Admission to The Alamo Church is free and always will be.

But to provide a convenient experience, preserve the Alamo’s precious historic building, and reduce crowds, timed reservations are required.

That said, if you wish to take a specialized tour (below), get your credit card out. Those tours are a bit pricy.

What tours are at The Alamo?

You can create memories that will last a lifetime with an unforgettable, expert-led tour, and authentic history experience for you and your family.



Tourist information to know before you visit The Alamo

Alamo Church Doors

You’ll definitely want to scope out how you’re going to get to The Alamo and where where you’re going to park.  We recommend bringing your credit card and cash for souvenirs, tour fees and food at nearby restaurants.

Things you should do and not do when you visit The Alamo

Everyone who enters the premises of The Alamo needs to know and appreciate that it’s a place to honor that deserves respect.

Therefore, you should go over a few rules with your family before walking through the gates.

    • Put your phone on silence. Again, The Alamo is a church environment.
    • You also cannot take photos with your phone or camera. Better yet, enjoy the experience by turning it off and putting it into your pocket or purse.
    • Never wear a hat in the Church at The Alamo. So, please remove your ball cap, visor, cowboy hat, or anything other than religious headwear.
    • Obscene or offensive verbal language spoken or on clothing will not be tolerated.
    • Only Service Animals are allowed in accordance with the ADA. Pets or Emotional Support Animals are NOT permitted. So, leave Fido and Fluffy at home; even if they are the best dog or cat in the world or however they are restrained.
    • While you may bring food and drinks onsite, it cannot be in an open container. Visitors are not allowed to eat inside The Alamo buildings or exhibits. Food and drinks are available for purchase in the Gift Shops and at the vending machines in the concession area.
    • No alcohol, smoking, vaping, or other use of tobacco products is permitted anywhere on the grounds or in buildings.
    • No professional photography or videography. Also, no drones are permitted on the grounds or in the buildings.
    • No unathorized firearms (concealed and open carry allowed with permit only).
    • No soliciting, disruptive, or disrespectful behavior.
    • Jogging, running, bicycles, skateboards, hoverboards are not permitted on the grounds or in the buildings.

For more detailed information, check out The Alamo’s Site Rules and Policies.

Is The Alamo handicap accessible?

The Alamo Fort Thoroughfare - San Antonio Texas

The Alamo is committed to making its’ historic site accessible, whatever your disability access needs (mobility, hearing and sight impaired).

Restrooms are Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant. They can be found outside The Alamo Gift Shop exit.

Are pets allowed at The Alamo?

NO pets are permitted on The Alamo historic grounds and in buildings including Emotional Support Animals.

However, only trained Service Animals, as defined under the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), are welcome at The Alamo and The Alamo grounds, Church, and other historic buildings with their handlers.

But, they must be properly restrained at all times. And, handlers or someone capable must clean up after their Service Animal.

What kind of weather to expect when you visit The Alamo?

Most of The Alamo historic site is outdoors. So, you need to check the San Antonio weather forecast before arriving and be prepared for what the weather brings.

You’ll want to take your sightseeing bag along with water, comfortable shoes, and a hat and/or umbrella for inclement weather. If it’s cooler, you will want to either wear or bring a jacket or sweatshirt.

Parking When You Visit The Alamo

There is no parking at the Alamo. So, you’ll need to park in one of the public parking in downtown San Antonio.

TripSavy states in their article Getting Around San Antonio: Guide to Public Transportation,

“San Antonio’s public transit options aren’t great, even compared to other Texas cities. Cars are, by far, the most popular means of transportation, and the city isn’t exactly built for bikers and pedestrians—although there are certainly some walkable areas, and downtown is fairly bike-friendly.

If you are driving a motorhome or pulling a camper, we recommend parking at one of the local RV parks or campgrounds.

You can drive your toad or tow vehicle or take an Uber, Lyft or take public transportation. However, do know that large dually trucks, tiny RVs (like ours) or larger vans aren’t really ideal for parking in the city (voice of experience!).

Since we are retired military, we were able to park our RV and stay at Fort Sam Houston and Lackland Air Force Base.

We also stayed at Alsation Golf and RV Resort in nearby Castroville, Texas and drove in to park.

Check out our review of Alsation Golf and RV Resort

Arriving to visit The Alamo

If you have registered for any tours listed above, you’ll want to be on the grounds about 10-15 minutes before your tour begins so you don’t miss it.

Once you get to The Alamo, you’re going to notice how surprisingly small it really is. The grounds are only 5 acres.

While the silver screen and travel photos depict much grandeur and greatness, he Alamo building itself and the interior Fort area is quite small.

While relishing its’ beautiful architecture, the 300-year old former Spanish mission-turned-fortress is a great historic exhibit that’s open year-round.

You and your fellow sightseers will experience first hand the history of The Alamo. And you’ll get to walk the very small battlefield and hallowed grounds.

We highly recommend spending as much time as you can to absorb the greatness and understand why this historic landmark is so amazing.

Again though, realizing this is a church atmosphere, please be mindful of disinterested or loud children. It’s a place of reverence and should be respected as so.

Our visit to The Alamo

The Alamo at Night - San Antonio Texas - Always On Liberty
Photo by Always On Liberty©

We attended the 13 days of interactive living history events to commemorate the 181st anniversary of the 1836 siege and Battle of The Alamo while our son was in town visiting.  

We all went on the 1-hour guided tour by Alamo History Interpreters exploring the story that made Texas so famous.

It was very interesting to learn about the events and heroes that endured such gallantry and valor, hardship and sacrifice. Our guided tour cost us a bit of cash ($30 each – 2017) but, it was well worth the tour fees.

The Alamo Guided Tour took us along the original footprint of the Spanish mission. It ended inside the Alamo Church. The exhibits were very well done with artifacts and chronological historical lineage on placards. Again, we were not permitted to take any photos.

Wrapping up why you should visit The Alamo

The Siege of the Alamo and all that remains has a special place in our Nation’s history books.

But also, it’s a deep-rooted impression on Native Texans. This iconic landmark proves the grit and tenacity of those who stood for better ideas and the fight for Texas Liberty.

Other fun things to do in San Antonio 

While you’re planning your trip to see the Alamo, don’t forget to read up on other great places to visit in the San Antonio area:

Warbirds Memorial Park: Lackland AFB in San Antonio

Air Force Basic Military Training Graduation in San Antonio, Texas

Natural Bridge Caverns – San Antonio, Texas

7 Friendliest Places to Visit in Texas Hill Country

First Time Visitor’s Guide to Fredericksburg, Texas

Visit the Alamo San Antonio Texas - Always On Liberty

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