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The Alamo

At a Glance

Mission San Antonio de Valero was established in 1718 on the banks of San Pedro Creek by a Spanish missionary as a waypoint to Spanish settlements in East Texas and named after a Spanish viceroy. It was moved to its third and final location in 1724. It ceased being a mission in 1793 and became a Spanish military outpost to protect territory from French and American threats in adjacent Louisiana. 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. On March 6, 1836, the Alamo was a fortress occupied by 189 Texians, Tejanos, Americans and Europeans who bravely fought to the death at the end of a 13-day siege initiated by Mexican dictator General Antonio López de Santa Anna. The Alamo served as a U.S. Army outpost and depot from 1846-1877. It was during this period that the Army added the Alamo's famous bell-shaped top, as the church’s walls and roof had never been completed during the mission era.

The Alamo Church

Visitors are often surprised to find the 4.2-acre Alamo compound in the center of an active and vibrant downtown. Upon entering the Alamo Church, part of the original Spanish mission, you’ll find a reverent space that honors the 189 men who gave their lives in battle for Texas liberty on March 6, 1836.

The Long Barrack Museum

The Long Barrack is one of two remaining buildings from the original mission. Formerly a convento, or residence for the missionaries, the Long Barrack is now a museum dedicated to the 300 year history of the Alamo.

Living History Encampment

Alamo Living History staff provide live history demonstrations for visitors daily. These demonstrations include period impressions, firing demonstrations, fire starting, textiles, leather working, and more.

The Convento Courtyard

Near the Long Barrack museum is the Convento Courtyard, which features a water well. The well itself is believed to date to the mission period; the structure surrounding it was likely built in the late 1930s.

The Wall of History

Exit the Church and view the Wall of History, an outdoor exhibit which provides a historic overview of the Alamo’s 300-year history.

The Acequia

This waterway designates the remains of the irrigation system called an acequia, which brought water to the complex from the San Antonio River during the Spanish colonial period.

Special Exhibition Hall

In 2017, the Alamo presents a new exhibition exploring the life of legendary Alamo defender James Bowie and his famous knife. The exhibit is free to the public in the Alamo’s Special Exhibition Hall.

The Gift Shop

The Alamo Gift Shop is housed in a building constructed in 1937. Often mistaken as part of the original Alamo compound, the structure was built as one of nine Texas Centennial Museums honoring the 100th anniversary of Texas independence and was dedicated in 1938.

Alamo Cenotaph

The Alamo Cenotaph is located in Alamo Plaza in front of the Church and Long Barrack. Built in 1939 by the Texas Centennial Commission, the Cenotaph serves as a memorial to the men who lost their lives in the 1836 battle.

Getting to The Alamo

300 Alamo Plaza,
San Antonio, TX 78205

The Alamo is about 20 minutes south of the airport and just steps away from the River Walk. You'll find The Alamo nestled in the heart of downtown on Alamo Plaza, between E. Houston and Crockett streets. From there, you can drive along the World Heritage Trail to explore more missions or explore the historic downtown San Antonio River Walk, just a short distance from Mission San Antonio de Valero, better known as The Alamo. The southern extension of the San Antonio River Walk, known as the Mission Reach, connects to the other four Spanish colonial missions. You can hop on a SWell Cycle and ride the Mission Reach hike & bike trail at Blue Star to explore more missions.

Map of Alamo Area

Take I-35 S. Follow I-35 S to exit 158B to merge onto I-37 S/US-281 S toward Corpus Christi. Take exit 141A for Commerce St. toward Downtown. Take right and continue on E Commerce St. for half a mile and turn right onto Alamo Plaza.

Take I-37 N to San Antonio. Follow I-37 N to exit 141 toward Commerce St/Downtown/The Alamo. Merge onto I-37 Access Rd. Turn left onto E Commerce St for half a mile and turn right onto Alamo Plaza.

Take I-35 E to I-35 S to San Antonio. Follow I-35 S to exit 158B to merge onto I-37 S/US-281 S toward Corpus Christi. Take exit 141A for Commerce St. toward Downtown. Take right and continue on E Commerce St for half a mile and turn right onto Alamo Plaza.

Take I-10 E to San Antonio. Follow I-10 E use the left lane to take exit 570 for I-35 N toward Austin. Use the right lane to take exit 158 for I-37 S toward US-281 N/Johnson City/US-281 S/Corpus Christi. Keep right at the fork, follow signs for I-37 S/US-281 S/Corpus Christi and merge onto I-37 S/US-281 S. Take exit 141A for Commerce St. toward Downtown. Take right and continue on E Commerce St. for half a mile and turn right onto Alamo Plaza.

Take I-45 N. Take exit 48B for I-10 W toward San Antonio. Follow I-10 W to San Antonio. Take exit 574 to merge onto I-37 N/US-281 N toward Johnson City. Take exit 141 toward Commerce St/Downtown/The Alamo. Merge onto I-37 Access Rd. Turn left onto E Commerce St for half a mile and turn right onto Alamo Plaza.

Take I-35 N to San Antonio. Follow I-35 N and use the right two lanes to exit 153 and merge onto I-10 E/US-90 E/US-87 S. Use the right two lanes to take exit 574 to merge onto I-37 N/US-281 N toward Johnson City. Take exit 141 toward Commerce St/Downtown/The Alamo. Merge onto I-37 Access Rd. Turn left onto E Commerce St for half a mile and turn right onto Alamo Plaza.

Take US-281 S to Downtown San Antonio. Continue onto I-37 S/US-281 S. Take exit 141A for Commerce St. toward Downtown. Take right and continue on E Commerce St for half a mile and turn right onto Alamo Plaza.

Photo for exploring the area

Explore the Area

San Antonio is a city on the rise, with eclectic neighborhoods to explore, a buzzing food scene and vibrant nightlife – all near our historic World Heritage Site missions.

 
Photo of downtown San Antonio

Touring the City

With the new VIA VIVA public transportation routes, San Antonio River Mission Reach hike & bike trails and guided tours throughout the city, San Antonio is incredibly accessible for all kinds of adventurers.

 

Alamo Events

World Heritage Festival Press Conference

World Heritage Festival Press Conference

Join us for the opening of the World Heritage Festival! 

5 Sep 2018

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