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739 E. Cesar E. Chavez Blvd.
San Antonio, TX 78205
Children 3 years & under: Free
Monday – Friday: $8
Saturday & Sunday: $11
When you visit downtown San Antonio you can’t help but notice the Tower of the Americas. My Seattle-based sister refers to it as the “Space Needle in the South” to irk my San Antonio-based sister. Around every corner of the Riverwalk, it looms out at you. After a few days of walking around downtown, we decided we had to check out the view from the top.
Finding Parking for our truck
We didn’t know there was parking for the Tower of the Americas that cost only $8 so we drove around for a while looking for an open parking lot. Our Ram 3500 DRW doesn’t like the tiny parking garages around downtown. We eventually found the South Conference center parking lot at the base of the tower. We paid $5 an hour at the parking meter and headed towards the tower. We purchased tickets at the box office outside for $12 each then escape the bitter cold into the base of the tower. The entranceway smelled of the same delicious coffee of all the Starbucks I have ever been to. We walked through a mini arcade towards a roped elevator.
The Ride up
After a few minutes, we boarded the elevator with a few other visitors. The elevator shot up the side of the tower and there was a sudden burst of light. Unbeknownst to us, one of the sides of the elevator was a window to the outside. Everyone “ooohhhed” and moved around for a better look as we soared up. I have a slight mistrust for elevators, probably from too many action movies, or from the fact that so many of them have expired inspection certificates. I got a little queasy thinking about this elevator exposed to the elements but we made it safely to our first stop, the restaurant.
The revolving restaurant and bar
Chart House is a steakhouse located in the tower. It offers a panoramic view of the city as it slowly rotates. We had been eating mostly plant-based so the idea of an expensive steak wasn’t appealing to us. We’ve also heard mixed reviews about the food. Not that it was bad, but that it isn’t worth the inflated tourist prices. We stayed on the elevator as it went towards its next stop, the bar.
TIP: Visit during Happy Hour – Mon-Fri 4:30pm-7pm
The bar is part of the Chart House restaurant but it doesn’t rotate. You are up on a balcony overlooking the restaurant though so it is fun to watch the people down below slowly go by. Like a restaurant merry-go-round. We decided to come here after visiting the observation deck. It was still happy hour so we got some great tasting appetizers for around $5 each. For now, though, we stayed on the elevator as it took us to our final destination, the observation deck.
Different View of San Antonio
The observation deck offers 360 degrees views of the city. On the railing are pictures of the view your looking at with landmarks and buildings labeled for ease of identification. It really helps because everything looks so different from up here. The Alamo is barely visible through the hotels and trees surrounding it and isn’t as impressive when staring at its roof. There are period stairwells that allow you to go outside. The area is chained off so there is no risk of falling but the wind whips at you as it races by. It was biting cold, so while we did venture outside for a bit we spent most of our time in the warmth.
Another cool part of the observation deck is the Flags over Texas exhibit. It wraps around the inside wall of the observation deck and tells the history of the six nations that have ruled over Texas. There is plenty of reading material but they also have a button for a dramatic narration at each exhibit. Once we got our fill of the sites and history we wound our way over to the elevator. The adjacent gift shop was closed so we went to grab snacks at the bar. When we were done with snacks we head towards to base of the tower again.
4D Thrill ride
On the ground floor, you have access to a “4D adventure” theater ride called Flags over Texas. Rae isn’t a fan of 3D and our parking meter was running out so we skipped it this time. It is included in your admission though so I recommend checking it out. If you do check it out or have been on it let us know in the comment section below. Looking for other things to see while visiting San Antonio? Check out our top 5!