loading spinner
Uncover the rich cultural heritage of San Antonio as you explore historic sites, discover unique museums and learn how to prepare then feast on an authentic Mexican meal!
Rating (5)
Program No. 1981RJ
6 days
Starts at

Signature City San Antonio

Uncover the rich cultural heritage of San Antonio as you explore historic sites, discover unique museums and learn how to prepare then feast on an authentic Mexican meal!
6 days
Starts at
Program No. 1981 RJ
Prefer to enroll or inquire by phone? 800-454-5768
Plan ahead.
What kind of weather can you expect? Take a look!
Select your type of room
Price will update based on selection
Prices displayed below are based on per person,doubleoccupancy.
DATES & starting prices
Oct 10 - Oct 15, 2021
Starting at
Nov 14 - Nov 19, 2021
Small group
Starting at
DATES & starting prices
Oct 10 - Oct 15, 2021
Starting at
Nov 14 - Nov 19, 2021
Small group
Starting at

At a Glance

San Antonio today is a vibrant meeting of centuries of crossed paths — Native Americans, Colonial Spain, Germans, Old Mexico, the Canary Islands, the Wild West, the Deep South — and its big, gracious heart pays homage to them all. At the Alamo, hear of Travis’ last stand, barge the scenic River Walk’s urban twists and turns and put an unexpectedly revealing eye on San Antonio’s past.
Activity Level
Keep the Pace
Walking up to two miles each day, standing for 1-2 hours, must be able to climb up and down stairs and board motor coach with minimal or no assistance.

Best of all, you'll ...

  • Delve into the 26 ethnic groups that settled the Texas frontier, including early Spanish settlements and Germanic influences in the King William District.
  • Explore the city, visit the Alamo and other Spanish missions that make up a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • Learn how to make the perfect enchilada from a local celebrity chef whose food has been served at the White House, and then sit down to a full Mexican feast.

General Notes

Select dates are designated for small groups and are limited to 24 participants or less.
Featured Expert
All Experts
Profile Image
Allen Lee Hamilton
Allen Lee Hamilton is a professor of Texas and American history at St. Philip’s College in San Antonio. The author of four books and 30+ articles in historical and popular journals, Allen has won three NISOD Awards from the University of Texas for Teaching Excellence. He completed his undergraduate and graduate work at the University of Texas at Arlington, and his doctoral work at the University of Oklahoma. Allen is a fourth generation Texan whose family has been in this great state since 1866.

Please note: This expert may not be available for every date of this program.

Profile Image of Tim Draves
Tim Draves View biography
Tim Draves teaches Texas history at the University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio. He has served as the editor of The Journal of the Life and Culture of San Antonio since 2005, where he promotes research and understanding of over 300 years of the town’s history. Tim is a member of the Bexar County Historical Commission and has won several Texas research and teaching awards.
Profile Image of Ken Erfurth
Ken Erfurth View biography
Ken Erfurth is a life-long resident of San Antonio whose interest in the region’s history, culture, and architecture began at an early age. He holds a bachelor’s from the University of Houston and is a registered architect. He has been conducting educational adventures in San Antonio for various groups for over 20 years. In recent years, Ken has used photography to document the unique visual aspects of his native city and surrounding area. His images have been exhibited and published in multiple forums.
Profile Image of Allen Hamilton
Allen Lee Hamilton View biography
Allen Lee Hamilton is a professor of Texas and American history at St. Philip’s College in San Antonio. The author of four books and 30+ articles in historical and popular journals, Allen has won three NISOD Awards from the University of Texas for Teaching Excellence. He completed his undergraduate and graduate work at the University of Texas at Arlington, and his doctoral work at the University of Oklahoma. Allen is a fourth generation Texan whose family has been in this great state since 1866.
Profile Image of Diana Barrios
Diana Barrios View biography
Diana Barrios’ cooking-class techniques, spiced with warmth and wit, were honed during her years of weekly cooking segments on San Antonio morning television. Her local celebrity status resulted in guest cooking appearances on National TV shows as "Good Morning, America" and the Food Network. Encouraged by her new friend, Emeril Lagasse, Diana collected family recipes for the "Los Barrios Family Cookbook" that is sold nationally and for which Emeril wrote the forward.
Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
The Alamo Remembered, Tejano Accounts & Perspectives
by Timothy M. Matovina
Gone to Texas, a History of the Lone Star State
by Randolph Campbell
Gone to Texas engagingly tells the story of the Lone Star State, from the arrival of humans in the Panhandle more than 10,000 years ago to the opening of the twenty-first century. Focusing on the state's successive waves of immigrants, the book offers an inclusive view of the vast array of Texans who, often in conflict with each other and always in a struggle with the land, created a history and an idea of Texas.
San Antonio Missions National Historical Park
by Louis Torres
Texas, My Texas: Musings of the Rambling Boy
by Lonn Taylor
In a collection of essays about Texas gathered from his West Texas newspaper column, Lonn Taylor traverses the very best of Texas geography, Texas history, and Texas personalities. In a state so famous for its pride, Taylor manages to write a very honest, witty, and wise book about Texas past and Texas present.
Empire of the Summer Moon: Quanah Parker and the Rise and Fall of the Comanches
by S. C. Gwynne
S. C. Gwynne’s Empire of the Summer Moon spans two astonishing stories. The first traces the rise and fall of the Comanches, the most powerful Indian tribe in American history. The second entails one of the most remarkable narratives ever to come out of the Old West: the epic saga of the pioneer woman Cynthia Ann Parker and her mixed-blood son Quanah, who became the last and greatest chief of the Comanches.
From a Limestone Ledge: Some Essays and Other Ruminations about Country Life in Texas
by John Graves
Some of the most sensible, genial prose west of the Mississippi. A kind of sequel to Hard Scrabble-recounting more about his twenty years of quiet combat with the forces of nature.
Crown Jewel of Texas, the Story of the San Antonio River
by Lewis Fisher
Gates of the Alamo (historically accurate novel)
by Stephen Harrigan
The Gates of the Alamo enfolds us in history and, through its remarkable and passionate storytelling, allows us to participate at last in an American legend. Filled with dramatic scenes, and abounding in fictional and historical personalities-among them James Bowie, David Crockett, William Travis, and General Santa Anna--Harrigan describes the battle from both sides.
People of the Storm
by Allen Lee Hamilton
People of the Storm is a sweeping historical novel about the epic and often brutal struggle between the United States and the Kiowa Indians over land, culture, and a way of life.
San Antonio: Outpost of Empires
by Lewis F. Fisher
San Antonio: Outpost of Empires is a vivid, honest portrait in words and pictures of San Antonio's evolution over the course of nearly three centuries, from the days of the colonists of New Spain to the defense of the Alamo to the inrush of a "jumble of races" to the rapid growth of the modern era.
As Texas Goes: How the Lone Star State Hijacked the American Agenda
by Gail Collins
Gail Collins, the best-selling author and columnist for the New York Times, visited Texas and discovered that in Texas, where Bush, Cheney, Rove, & Perry had created a conservative political agenda that is now sweeping the country and defining our national identity. Through its vigorous support of banking deregulation, lax environmental standards, and draconian tax cuts, through its fierce championing of states rights, gun ownership, and, of course, sexual abstinence, Texas, with Governor Rick Perry’s presidential ambitions, has become the bellwether of a far-reaching national movement that continues to have profound social and economic consequences for us all. Like it or not, as Texas goes, so goes the nation.
Print All
Map details are not available for this location.
View Map
Expand All
6 days
5 nights
12 meals
5 B 4 L 3 D
Check-in, Registration, Orientation, Welcome Dinner
San Antonio, TX
Drury Plaza Hotel San Antonio Riverwalk

Activity note: Hotel check-in from 3:00 p.m.

Afternoon: Program Registration: 3:00 p.m. After you have your room assignment, ask front desk staff or check signs in the lobby for the location of our Road Scholar meeting room to register with the program staff and get your welcome packet containing the up-to-date schedule that reflects any changes and other important information. If you arrive late, please ask for your packet when you check in. Orientation: 4:00 p.m. The Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer questions. Periods in the daily schedule designated as “Free time” and “At leisure” offer opportunities to do what you like and make your experience even more meaningful and memorable according to your personal preferences. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may change due to local circumstances/conditions. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding. The Group Leader will give us presentation on San Antonio, explaining how the River Walk was developed and explaining how various cultures converged on the area to make it the unique place that it is today. Each evening, the hotel hosts a complimentary “kickback” reception with a rotating variety of food and drink daily from 5:30-7:00 p.m. on the second floor. Everyone is invited.

Dinner: At the hotel, we will have a catered welcome meal with beverage choices of coffee, tea, water included

Evening: At leisure. Continue getting to know your fellow Road Scholars, settle in, and get a good night's rest for the day ahead.

Texas History, River Walk, Alamo, Menger Hotel
San Antonio, TX
Drury Plaza Hotel San Antonio Riverwalk

Activity note: Getting on/off public transportation; riding about 1/2 mile (2 stops). Walking up to 2 miles on downtown streets and climbing stairs; standing for up to 2 hours.

Breakfast: Each day in the hotel’s second floor mezzanine, the breakfast buffet offers choices such as make-your-own Belgian waffles, scrambled eggs, sausage, fresh fruit, oatmeal, biscuits and gravy, coffee and more.

Morning: We’ll be joined by a college professor who will explain why Texas is the most universally famous place in America in a two hour lecture focusing on the sweeping events and fascinating characters that make this the amazing place it is. John Steinbeck once wrote, “I have said that Texas is a state of mind, but I think it is more than that. It is a mystique closely approximating a religion.” Next we’ll embark on a field trip by foot with a local expert to explore some of San Antonio’s most iconic sites. We’ll also learn about the development of the River Walk and its impact on the transformation of the area.

Lunch: We’ll stop at a nearby restaurant for a buffet lunch with beverage choices of coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: After lunch, we will continue our walking exploration of downtown San Antonio with our local expert. The Spanish colonial mission we know as the Alamo was established in 1718, and moved to its current location in 1724. Its history is fascinating and complex. After its gallant defense by 182 Texans against General Santa Anna’s army in 1836, “Remember the Alamo!” became a rallying cry for Texas independence. We'll hear the story of the Alamo, then visit the Shrine, view artifacts, and watch a short movie. We will then visit the historic Menger hotel, across the plaza from the Alamo. The Menger, the oldest continuously operating hotel west of the Mississippi, was established in 1859 and set the standard of luxury for its day. Historic events that took place here include Teddy Roosevelt’s Rough Riders cavalry brigade recruitment. Our expert will take us inside for a peek at the elaborately appointed lobbies and the Menger bar, to see memorabilia from TR's time. We’ll understand more about Texas pride as we visit these historic sites. From here, we will have some free time to explore the area independently or return to the hotel on foot along the river.

Dinner: We'll walk to a nearby restaurant that offers a variety of main course choices; coffee, tea, water included, other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure.

Tejano Traditions, Historic Neighborhood, Spanish Missions
San Antonio, TX
Drury Plaza Hotel San Antonio Riverwalk

Activity note: Getting on/off motorcoach; driving approximately 1 hour total, up to 15 miles, over the course of the day. Walking up to 2 miles and standing for up to 2 hours at historic sites. Ability to board a motorcoach with minimal assistance several times a day.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: In our meeting room, we will embrace the essence of San Antonio by examining historical and cultural influences and their presence today. Two "culturistas" will explore aspects of local food, music, family traditions, and festivals that are part of what makes San Antonio one of America’s four unique cities, as per Mark Twain. As we meander through the streets of the city we will see words and names such as Flores, Mi Tierra, La Villita, San Fernando, Presa, and Alamo: names given by San Antonio’s early settlers 300 years ago. They represent the mix of cultures and traditions that make the city so memorable.

Lunch: We’ll venture to South Town for a meal at a popular local restaurant, where we will enjoy a choice of plated main courses. Coffee, tea, water included; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: After lunch we'll take a short walk around King William historic neighborhood and learn the rich history of this district. Next we'll travel by motorcoach to explore the San Antonio Mission National Historical Park, a UNESCO-designated World Heritage Site. Led by our expert Group Leader, we’ll explore the missions that make up this complex and learn about the early settlement and efforts of the Spanish to convert local people to the Roman Catholic Church and an agricultural form of life. We’ll see how the Spanish used “acequia” (irrigation systems) to develop self-sustaining agricultural communities along the San Antonio River. Among the highlights is Mission San Jose y San Miguel de Aguayo — the so-called “Queen of the Missions” — carefully restored by the WPA in the 1930s.

Dinner: The cost of this meal has been excluded from your program cost for you to enjoy dinner at the location of your choice. There is a wide variety of restaurants within a short distance from the hotel.

Evening: A San Antonio native will regale us with stories about the city's interesting past and colorful characters. Afterwards, we’ll set out with our Group Leader to San Fernando Cathedral for an outdoor light show by French artist Xavier De Richemont. This 24 minute show tells the story of San Antonio from its beginnings to present day.

Mary Menger, River Barge Ride, Free Time
San Antonio, TX
Drury Plaza Hotel San Antonio Riverwalk

Activity note: Getting on/off barge; riding about 1 hour; climbing up/down stairs to access River Walk area of city and restaurants.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We’ll be joined in our meeting room by a local university professor on the intriguing story of German immigrant Mary Menger, who operated two large San Antonio enterprises in the mid-19th century and demonstrated that a woman can thrive during a time when men dominated local commerce. As a widow and single mother, Menger profited from both the Western Brewery and Menger Hotel, becoming San Antonio’s largest employer. After a short break, we'll catch a narrated barge ride on the San Antonio River, located 20 feet below street level and just steps from the famed Alamo. We will learn about the history of the area and the blend of old and new from our barge driver as we float along the river.

Lunch: We'll enjoy lunch at a river walk restaurant near the hotel with a variety of main course choices, with coffee, tea, water included.

Afternoon: The rest of the afternoon is an opportunity for personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most. Please refer to the list of Free Time Opportunities. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions and give directions.

Dinner: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Evening: At leisure.

Folk Medicine, Cooking Demo, McNay Art Museum, Cathedral
San Antonio, TX
Drury Plaza Hotel San Antonio Riverwalk

Activity note: Getting on/off motorcoach, driving 10 miles total, under 1 hour. Walking up to 1 mile, standing up two 2 hours at museums.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We'll start the day by taking a peek at the system of folk medicine that came to be used by the early Texans, who were often forced to find substitutes for remedies that had been available in their previous environs. They began to share “cures” with people from other cultures such as Native Americans, Mexicans, Germans, Poles, Swedes, and many others. A local educator will join us in the meeting room as we look inside the medical cabinets of these early settlers. Next, we'll travel by motorcoach to a family-owned restaurant, where we will have a culinary demonstration with all you need to know to begin Tex-Mex cooking. With the head chef and owner, we’ll learn how to prepare a delicious Mexican meal with picante while hearing the story of how her mother struggled to start the restaurant and how the family business has expanded to satisfy the hunger of thousands of happy customers.

Lunch: At the family restaurant, we’ll savor a delicious meal of Tex-Mex cuisine. Coffee, tea, water included; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: Next, we will ride to the McNay Museum of Art, a Spanish Colonial Revival-style home that opened as the first museum of modern art in Texas in 1954, for a docent-led field trip. It features captivating works of art by modern masters including Paul Gauguin, Vincent Van Gogh, Edward Hopper, Georgia O’Keeffe, Pablo Picasso, Jackson Pollock and Pierre-Auguste Renoir. Next, we’ll step back in time with our Group Leader to the 18th century Spanish colonial era of San Antonio at San Fernando Cathedral. It was built from 1738-50 by settlers from the Canary Islands who had been granted land by Spain’s King Philip V. The cathedral is the oldest religious community in Texas and is still an active parish of the Archdiocese of San Antonio. Santa Anna raised the red flag of “no quarter” from the church tower during the siege of the Alamo. One of the most interesting of the cathedral’s holdings is what purports to be the final resting place of Davy Crockett, William Travis, and Jim Bowie.

Dinner: We’ll enjoy a farewell dinner at a local restaurant and reflect on our week's experiences.

Evening: At leisure. Linger over dinner or return to the hotel and prepare for check-out and departure in the morning.

Program Concludes
San Antonio, TX

Activity note: Hotel check-out by 11:00 a.m.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet. This concludes our program.

Morning: If you are returning home, safe travels. If you are staying on independently, have a wonderful time. If you are transferring to another Road Scholar program, detailed instructions are included in your Information Packet for that program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on another rewarding program in the future. Don’t forget to join our Facebook page and follow us on Instagram. Best wishes for all your journeys!

Your Well-Being is Our #1 Priority

We’re committed to making your experience as safe and enjoyable as possible.

See Our Safety Roadmap
Click here to provide website feedback
Website Feedback