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Explore New Heights at The Tower of The Americas in San Antonio
September 7, 2023 By CityPASS
Known for its historic Spanish missions and the famous Battle of the Alamo for Texas independence, San Antonio is steeped in history and culture. Among the city's many attractions is the Tower of the Americas, located in the heart of downtown San Antonio. Once the tallest observation tower in the U.S., this must-see landmark boasts family-friendly ground-level attractions, a 4D theater ride, and, of course, spectacular views.
The History Behind Tower of the Americas
The Tower of the Americas is an engineering marvel with quite an interesting backstory. It was built to celebrate San Antonio's history — and to show off the city to the world.
When Was the Tower of the Americas Built?
Construction began on the tower in 1966 and was completed in 1968. San Antonio architect O'Neil Ford designed it in preparation for the 1968 World's Fair, also known as the HemisFair '68, which also happened to be held on the 250th anniversary of the founding of San Antonio. It was completed just in time for the fair's opening on April 6, 1968. Since, the tower has remained an iconic structure and a beloved destination for tourists and locals alike.
How Tall Is the Tower of the Americas?
The 750-foot-tall Tower of the Americas was the country's tallest observation tower when it was first unveiled. It held that position until the Stratosphere Tower in Las Vegas was completed in 1996. However, it remains strong as the second-tallest observation tower in the United States. Its distinctive design accommodates an indoor and outdoor observation deck and the revolving Chart House restaurant that offers gorgeous panoramic city views.
How To Best Experience the Iconic Landmark
This iconic landmark is not just about its beautiful views, though. From visiting the Chart House restaurant to embarking on a thrilling 4D film ride, there are many things to see and do here.
Panoramic Views From the Tower’s Observation Deck
A glass elevator ride takes you 550 feet above the bustling streets of San Antonio to the Flags Over Texas Observation Deck. Upon stepping off the elevator, you're greeted with a 360-degree panoramic view that stretches to the horizon, along with photos that highlight points of interest throughout the city.
The observation deck offers two options for enjoying its beautiful views. The inner deck is enclosed with floor-to-ceiling glass windows and includes a gift shop and several telescopes for taking in the cityscape from all angles. The outer deck is an open-air design that allows you to take in the refreshing breeze, creating a sense of awe-inspiring freedom as you gaze out into the vast expanse of the Texas countryside.
Unique Dining Experiences
While you can enjoy café treats and Starbucks Coffee at the Tower Café, located on both the ground floor and the observation deck, there are a few other dining options to make your visit particularly special.
Beginning with Happy Hour, Bar 601 offers a chic and vibrant experience with appetizers, cocktails, top wines, and a rotating selection of draft beers. But you won't want to miss the Chart House rotating restaurant.
Famous for its steak and seafood, the Chart House is a fine dining restaurant that brings together remarkable food with stunning 360-degree views. It's important to note that there is a dress code at this restaurant. The Chart House's website suggests wearing business or dressy casual attire. The restaurant does not allow beachwear, gym clothes, excessively revealing clothing, baseball hats, or other athletic apparel.
Entertainment Offerings and Events
The view is one of many forms of entertainment at the Tower of the Americas. The Skies Over Texas 4D theater is an immersive and captivating experience that takes visitors on a thrilling journey through the beauty of the Lone Star State.
Throughout the year, the tower regularly hosts ground-level attractions and events including live music performances, cultural festivals, and holiday celebrations.
Educational Exhibits and Attractions
For history buffs and curious minds, the Tower of the Americas features educational exhibits that delve into the tower's construction, the history of San Antonio, and the significance of the HemisFair '68. Get to know the city's past and how the tower became an essential part of its identity.
For example, here's a fun fact from the exhibit: The "top house," which is the rotating structure at the top, is so well balanced that it only takes a single horse-powered motor to rotate it.
If 4D adventures and views of the whole city isn't enough to get your entire family on board, the many events and activities happening year-round surely will. These events include free concert Fridays — dubbed Party on the Plaza — car shows, movies in the park, food festivals, market nights, and even back-to-school supply drives to help families thrive during the school year.
Experience Tower of the Americas in San Antonio With CityPASS® Tickets
For travelers looking to make the most of their time in San Antonio, CityPASS® tickets offer discounts on unforgettable San Antonio experiences like the Tower of the Americas, GO RIO San Antonio River Cruises, and the San Antonio Botanical Garden.
When you book CityPASS® tickets, you can save up to on top San Antonio attractions, leaving you with more money to enjoy the Chart House restaurant or an elegant evening out on the town.
San Antonio Lodging
To get the most out of your stay in San Antonio, we recommend finding lodging near San Antonio’s top attractions. Use this map to find the right lodging for you:
Header Image Courtesy of The Tower of The Americas