San Antonio Missions National Historical Park | PARK AT A GLANCE

Mission San Jose at San Antonio Missions National Historical Park

Mission San José at San Antonio Missions National Historical Park

PARK OVERVIEW

San Antonio, Texas, has the largest concentration of Spanish Colonial architecture in the United States, and four examples of this are the missions of San Antonio Missions National Historical Park: Mission San José, Mission San Juan Capistrano, Mission Concepción, and Mission Espada. A fifth mission, the Alamo, is not part of the park. There is more Spanish Colonial architecture in California, but the buildings are spread out around the state. In San Antonio, the five missions are all within ten miles of each other. The reason for the proximity is that there was only one military fort serving the area, so the missions had to be close enough together to make it feasible for the soldiers to defend them (only a handful of soldiers were actually stationed at any one mission).

All missions welcome visitors from 9 AM to 5 PM each day. However, the churches at each mission are functioning Catholic churches and can thus be closed at any time for church services, weddings, funerals, and other events. The grounds of each mission are open every day from sunrise to sunset, regardless of events. 

While the missions are not owned or operated by the federal government, the National Park Service does maintain a Visitor Center at Mission San José where you can get information, watch a film about the missions, and peruse an exhibit area. Park Rangers offer daily tours of the Mission San José and Concepción grounds (tours do not go inside any of the churches), and they are often on duty at the other missions to answer questions. Church personnel may also be on hand to assist you.

Visitors are welcome to drive to each mission, and all have ample parking. For those who want some exercise, a paved multi-use trail called the San Antonio River Walk makes it possible to visit all of the missions in one day by bike. The length of the trail is approximately 10 miles if you include a trip to the Alamo.

OPERATING HOURS

The National Park Service Visitor Center at Mission San José is typically open daily from 9 AM to 5 PM, except when closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day.

The mission grounds are open year-round from sunrise to sunset. The churches tend to be open every day from 9 AM to 5 PM unless closed for church functions. Visitors are welcome to attend church services.

There is a National Park Service contact station at Mission Espada and San Juan Capistrano that opens at 10 AM when staffing allows.

Times can always changes, so before making travel plans be sure to visit the National Park Service’s official Operating Hours and Seasons web page for San Antonio Missions National Historical Park.

FEES

There is no fee to visit any of the missions that are part of San Antonio Missions National Historical Park, but each church appreciates donations. Collection boxes are available inside all the of churches.

The Alamo is free to enter, but it does have fees for guided tours.

SCHEDULING YOUR TIME

Mission Concepción
allow 1-2 hours depending on whether you attend a guided tour

Mission San José and Visitor Center
allow 2-3 hours depending on whether you attend a guided tour

Mission San Juan Capistrano
allow 1 hour

Mission Espada
allow 1 hour

If you visit the missions on bike, plan to spend an entire day, 9 AM to at least 7 PM (not including a trip to the Alamo).

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Last updated on June 12, 2022
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