Just off the city’s River Walk, the San Antonio Museum of Art (SAMA) is a must for anyone with an appreciation for art. It houses the largest collection of Egyptian, Greek, Roman, and Asian art in the southern US, with more than 30,000 pieces spanning 5,000 years in its collection.
SAMA is located in an old Lone Star Brewery building, just a 30-minute walk from downtown San Antonio on the Museum Reach of the River Walk. Visitors are often surprised by the museum’s collection. Its 6,000 square feet of gallery space devoted to Asian art is the largest of its kind in Texas, including the largest collection of Liao dynasty Chinese ceramics in the world. A large hall featuring Roman antiquities is sure to impress, as well.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Save money by purchasing a combination pass that gives you access to SAMA and other San Antonio area attractions.
- There’s an on-site restaurant, Tre Trattoria at the San Antonio Museum of Art, serving lunch, dinner, and brunch.
- The museum is fully accessible, with a limited number of wheelchairs and lightweight folding stools available for guest use.
How to Get There
SAMA is located at 200 W. Jones Avenue in San Antonio, about a 10-minute walk from the Pearl District and a 30-minute walk from downtown. You can access it from the River Walk on foot or by water taxi to the Museum Reach. The VIVA Culture bus and hop-on-hop-off buses stop in front of the museum, or you can rent a bike from one of the city’s many bike-share stations to get here.
When to Get There
Museum hours are 10am to 9pm Tuesday and Friday, 10am to 5pm Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday. SAMA offers free admission Tuesdays from 4pm to 9pm and Sundays from 10am to noon, and the museum is generally busier during those times.
When Art, History, and Science Converge
In 2011, a San Antonio chemistry professor reached out to SAMA about exploring the use of X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy on some of the museum’s Roman marble busts, as well as 18th-century frescoes from the Alamo. This tool allowed scientists to detect chemical elements on the surface of the artwork that were no longer visible. They found that a sculpted portrait of Antinous, lover of Roman Emperor Hadrian, was formerly decorated with gold.