Texas : Safety by City
- Corpus Christi
- El Paso
- Fort Worth
- San Antonio
San Antonio, Texas, is home to the Alamo and has the largest Hispanic/Latino population percentage over any other city in America.
It’s also a large city, with more than 1.4 million people calling it home.
The main attractions here are the Riverwalk, The Alamo, and other unique parts of downtown, but when you venture further out into the city, you’ll find SeaWorld, Missions National Park, and wildlife adventures.
Since the city is so large, we aren’t going to be able to cover all the attractions here, but the official tourism site, VisitSanAntonio.com, has a great breakdown of each neighborhood, attractions, local festivals, and everything you need to plan a trip here.
Diversity and inclusion are a way of life here.
You will be amazed at the different cultures and activities to immerse yourself in them.
- Hispanic Heritage
- Cowboy Culture
- German Heritage
- African American Heritage
- Military City USA
- Car Culture
- Yanaguana Indian Arts Festival
I was in San Antonio for a business trip a few years back, but I was lucky enough to have some time in the evening and a full weekend to explore.
Some parts of the city are mesmerizing, inspirational, and incredibly educational.
San Antonio is also in a region of Texas known as Hill Country, with sweeping views and gently rolling hills towards the nearby cities of Fredericksburg and San Marcos.
Even Austin is just 90 minutes away.
Warnings & Dangers in San Antonio
OVERALL RISK : MEDIUM
There's a wide gap between how safe the city is if you live there vs. if you visit there. The crime rates are nearly double the national average, and homicides follow the national trend of breaking records during a surge in nationwide violent crime. While you should treat this city as a medium risk, there's some comfort in knowing that most crimes are domestic, gang-related, or drug-related.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : LOW
If you want to travel around San Antonio, you will need a car rental. The cost of taxis and rideshares, readily available, will be much more than a daily rental car. VIA is the public transportation system in the city. VIA once had downtown trolleys that made getting around downtown easy, but those were halted in 2020. As of this publication, there was no clear indication if that service would ever be restored. That's another reason why renting a car is preferable.
PICKPOCKETS RISK : LOW
Of the 44,000 thefts in the city in 2021, just 152 of them were pickpockets. Use extra caution when you're at busy tourist attractions or on the Riverwalk, but it seems like enough people are using the right safety steps to keep that number down. I've walked around downtown SA several times, and while I had a small purse with only what I needed, I never felt at risk of getting pickpocketed.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : MEDIUM
San Antonio can get a little bit of everything. Severe weather is a risk all year long, and those storms can spawn tornadoes. A Gulf of Mexico hurricane can work its way inland and drop a large amount of rain, leading to flooding. Wildfires are a risk, and extreme heat and cold can happen too. The SAOEMprepare.com website is a great tool for reviewing all the risks and safety steps you can take.
MUGGING RISK : MEDIUM
The robbery rate is 50% higher than the national average, but just 16% of those are highway robberies. The bigger risk is that you might be in a place where a robbery is happening rather than you being robbed individually, but much of that risk is based on how safely you behave while you're there.
TERRORISM RISK : MEDIUM
With such a large population, so many tourist attractions, and a military presence, there's a medium risk with a great list of safety information on the emergency management website. Larger cities with a higher risk also come with a lot of additional security.
SCAMS RISK : LOW
One tourist scam here centers around scammers sliding restaurant menus underneath the doors of hotel rooms. The restaurants are fake; you could order a delivery that will never come, and you won't get your money back. You should throw away any solicitation you get while staying in a hotel and only take restaurant recommendations from the hotel front desk or concierge.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : LOW
Women are slightly less likely to be a victim of a violent crime when you look at the 2021 statistics, but there has been a surge of sexual assaults reported in the downtown area. As a woman who visited downtown by herself, I can tell you there are places where you can quickly go from walking on a well-lit street to a poorly lit tunnel or walkway. Stay in well-lit areas around crowds.
TAP WATER RISK : LOW
The 2021 Water Quality Report from the San Antonio Water System shows full compliance, and no violations were reported. If you have questions about the water quality closer to your visit, call (210)233-3546.
Safest Places to Visit in San Antonio
San Antonio has nearly a dozen neighborhoods you can peruse on the tourism website, but let’s highlight some of the most popular for tourists.
Downtown: There are many things to do packed into the downtown core, including the Riverwalk.
You can walk alongside the river or take a gondola ride through the water.
The Riverwalk is truly a magical place with live music and string lights bringing a festive, authentic atmosphere.
Remember, the Alamo is in this part of town too.
It’s one of five Spanish colonial missions.
Missions National Park/South: The other four missions in San Antonio are in Missions National Historical Park on the city’s south side.
I am purposely not telling you the history of the missions, so I don’t give away anything from the tours.
My only regret about my trip to San Antonio is that I couldn’t make it to Missions National Park.
I did see the Alamo, and it’s just so fascinating to know the history of the land now surrounded by a large city.
Alamo Heights: This is the section of town for art lovers.
The McNay Art Museum is here, and the Broadway Cultural Corridor is just around the block.
While this is a highly residential neighborhood, you’ll find the locals very welcoming and happy to tell the stories of their home slice of history.
Northwest/Alamo Ranch: You’ll find SeaWorld in this section of the city.
The theme park is surrounded by newer residential areas with shopping and dining nearby.
North Central SA: This part of the city is home to Six Flags Fiesta Texas, bringing exciting thrill rides and roller coasters to your trip.
The newest attraction here is Dr. Diabolical’s Cliffhanger, known as the roller coaster with the steepest dive on earth.
The “Most Haunted Hotel in Texas” is also in San Antonio, and you can take the Sisters Grimm Ghost Tour if you want to experience it.
You’ll even get to eat a three-course meal in the hotel or just take the guided walking ghost tour.
The Tower of the Americas has things to do from ground level all the way to the 750-foot observation deck.
The Chart House restaurant is a local favorite, as the whole dining area rotates (slowly) during your meal, so you don’t miss a view.
The ground floor has a 4D movie theater.
The San Antonio Visitor’s Center is right across the street from the Alamo.
If you want to review things to do or see local events, this is a great place to start with a staff ready to help you make the most of your adventure.
Places to Avoid in San Antonio
The San Antonio Police Department (SAPD) breaks the city into patrol districts.
In 2021, the south and west patrol districts had the highest crime rates.
While you might have to drive through these parts of town to get to some attractions, you should stay on main roads and don’t cut through neighborhoods.
Police and local neighborhood leaders say the hot spots for crime can move from different neighborhoods, so that information might change a little by the time you arrive.
Each patrol district has a San Antonio Fear-Free Environment (SAFFE) leader, and you can contact the district where you’ll be staying or visiting to get information closer to your travel dates.
- Central – SAFFE: (210)207-7413
- East – SAFFE: (210)207-7566
- North – SAFFE: (210)207-8350
- Prue NW – SAFFE: (210)207-7169
- South- SAFFE: (210)207-8964
- West – SAFFE: (210)207-7421
The intersection of Wurzbach Parkway and Military Highway in the North Central neighborhood is known for having a lot of traffic and accidents.
In one particular 12-day period, there were six major accidents at the crossroads.
Safety Tips for Traveling to San Antonio
- Use the Community Crime Map on SAPD’s website to get crime data information closer to your visit. All you do is enter an address, and the interactive map allows you to choose the types of crime and perimeter you want to search for. Each incident includes crime information if you click on the pin marking the crime.
- Sign up for alerts from the San Antonio Police Department Alert Network. You can get emails or text messages with crimes in progress or a list of new trending crimes. For example, car thefts have been rising, and this alert system would tell you about the most common types of cars targeted.
- AlertSA is another app to have for safety. This one will inform you about severe weather heading toward the area or risks during and after a storm, like power outages.
- The Riverwalk is open 24 hours, but only between Mulberry and Eagleland Plaza. The less congested parts of the Riverwalk are open for limited hours, usually between sunrise and sunset. The path spans 15 miles to get between all the missions. That’s a long way to walk and even a tough bike ride for some people, but you can also paddle parts of the river south of Nueva Street.
- Runners and joggers should check out the Maps and Transportation section of the tourism website, as they have suggested routes. With five options, you’ll be able to see some of the sights on your morning or evening run while being safer than choosing your own unknown path to run.
- The river is very close to the riverwalk, and in some parts, there are no barriers to stop you from falling into the water. It is illegal to swim in the water, and violators could be fined $500. Despite any viral video you might have seen of someone doing this – just don’t.
- When you visit the Alama and other missions, you are walking on sacred and solemn ground. You’ll learn about the Texas Revolution here and realize people gave their lives here fighting for independence. Visitors are asked to avoid wearing any offensive clothing (even if they think it’s a funny shirt), remove their hats when walking into the church (a good rule of thumb in any church), and keep their voices quiet as a sign of respect. No flash photography is allowed, and you can’t use a mobile device if you aren’t wearing headphones when playing back video.
- On average, 24 cars are stolen each day in San Antonio. While it might sound obvious, lock your car when you park and don’t leave personal items inside. You’d be surprised how many people don’t follow those simple instructions. Thieves will go through parking areas and just quickly pull on door handles. Any door that opens will result in the car being rummaged through.
- One thing that sticks out from my visit to San Antonio was how fast I had to run to cross the street, even when I had the right of way. To stop the rash of pedestrian accidents, Vision Zero San Antonio is an organization working with the city to make intersections safer. You can review a map of the most dangerous intersections on the Vision Zero website.
- Long holiday weekends and winter holidays will bring thousands of people to town. Texas Independence Day (March 2) and San Jacinto Day (April 21) are also holidays in this area. You should be extra cautious of pickpockets and thieves, plus book your trip well ahead of time so you can get a hotel room in a safe part of town.
So... How Safe Is San Antonio Really?
SAPD and city leaders have a lot of crime problems to solve, but the positive news for tourists is that crime is relatively hidden from plain view.
Just 11% of violent crimes were against strangers, and just 16% of robberies were on main roads or sidewalks.
63% of robberies in 2021 happened in homes.
Don’t let that snapshot of crime give you a false sense of safety.
In November 2022, five shootings were reported during a 24-hour period on a weekend – each in a different part of town.
Even some of the “safe” parts.
The main concern for tourists is car break-ins, which make up half of the 44,306 thefts in the city.
Remember those 24 cars stolen each day?
As of the end of September 2022, car thefts were up another 26%!
Use the resources we’ve provided to reach out to law enforcement and local leaders.
They can give you the most current safety advice for your trip.
You should treat this city as any major city and be prepared for a crime risk.
Situational awareness, trusting your gut instincts, and common sense will go a long way here.
How Does San Antonio Compare?
- Visas - You'll need a U.S. Travel Visa or Visa Waiver. That, plus a passport, will be required to get through Customs. The process of getting a Visa can take months, but check the U.S. State Department website for all the information. Follow the process exactly as described, or else you'll have to start all over again.
- Currency - You can only use the U.S. Dollar (USD) currency here, and it's wise not to carry cash. You should never use a public ATM in a large city like this as you never know who is looking over your shoulder. A credit card should work for all purchases, and that gives you better monitoring control over potentially fraudulent purchases. Keep all receipts, and don't throw them in public trash cans.
- Weather - The average daily high doesn't go below 62 degrees (F) but the nights can get near freezing in the winter. You'll need a jacket during those winter months, but the summers can be incredibly hot. You'll need comfortable walking shoes because there's a lot of ground to cover downtown.
- Airports - San Antonio International Airport is about 10 miles from downtown, but in traffic that ride can take 30 minutes. It's a large airport with plenty of connecting flights, so you won't need to consider other options.
- Travel Insurance - We always recommend travel insurance, especially for places like San Antonio that get severe weather. Travel delays and cancelations are common during major storm events.
San Antonio Weather Averages (Temperatures)
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