Spanish Governor's Palace
The gleaming white walls of San Antonio’s Spanish Governor’s Palace evoke an era long before the Battle of the Alamo. Established to protect the nearby Mission San Antonio de Valero in 1722, the palace was part of a presidio that housed the local military garrison. Today, it preserves many of the stories of the Lone Star State’s formative age, in the earliest days of European colonization. Uncover its secrets when you visit the Spanish Governor’s Palace, located just a few blocks away from the San Antonio River Walk and near the spectacular San Fernando Cathedral.
At the beginning of the 18th century, present-day San Antonio sat at the edge of the Texas frontier. Danger from Native American raids and the looming threat of the French led to the establishment of the five missions that make up the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park, as well as the Presidio San Antonio de Bejar. Once it was up and running, a long line of presidio captains lived in the home that is the palace today. The presidio was sold to a prominent merchant in 1804, and through the 19th century its outer buildings housed a variety of businesses. It eventually came under the care of the City of San Antonio in 1928, and a restoration that made the original structure larger than it was originally finished in 1930.
Immerse yourself in the palace’s history as you explore lush courtyards with a large fountain and a historic well, along with 10 rooms filled with antique period pieces. Admire the grand doors carved in 1930 by Swiss woodcarver Peter Mansbendel, the same craftsmen who produced the doors at Mission San Jose. On the doors, you’ll see three seashells, dragons, a medicine man mask, and the face of a baby, all symbolizing the story of the Spanish conquistadors’ conquest of the New World. Step inside and you’ll wander through a living room, dining room, and captain’s office and home that date back to the 1700’s, as well as a loft and a children’s bedroom added in 1930. Throughout your tour, you’ll come across exhibits that share information about the palace’s construction, life on the frontier of New Spain, and more.
Along with its historical significance, the Spanish Governor’s Palace’s colonial architecture makes it a charming (and popular) setting for weddings, receptions, farmers markets, and more. An essential stop on any historic tour of San Antonio, the Spanish Governor’s Palace is open Tuesday through Sunday throughout the year. Plan your visit here.
San Antonio, TX 78205